With more than four million cases, the coronavirus seems to be giving no respite to the United States , which has been leading global infection statistics for several weeks, although it has managed to keep deaths at bay.
The pandemic in the world’s leading power has sailed in waters stirred by politics, racial protests and a vast deployment of funds to contain the economic effects of the disease.
What do the experts think about the issues that have dominated the environment since the first positive in the country was known last January?
Politics vs. pandemic
The United States is experiencing an electoral year and politics seems to be an unavoidable matter.
For the democratic strategist Federico de Jesús, the underlying problem is not that this is a year of elections but “that the United States has a president who does not understand or does not want to understand that the electoral and the public health issue should not have absolutely nothing to do with each other. “
“I do not blame politics or politicians, because there are Republican and Democratic politicians who have said and done things that they would not normally do in an election year,” added this analyst, who recalled that the first stimulus package approved by Congress following COVID-19 had the support of both parties.
“It is not that politics has gotten in the middle, it is that President Donald Trump has put politics in the middle,” he insisted.
Doug Badger of the Heritage Foundation said the president “has clearly suffered politically as a result of the pandemic.”
He noted that Trump “shares the blame with senior federal health officials, most of whom were in his agencies long before” he was elected “and will remain there after he leaves office.”
“But the idea that the United States is the ‘most affected’ country is not true, at least up to this point,” he said, arguing that the nation “has had fewer deaths due to COVID-19 per million inhabitants than Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Sweden and France “.
Masks, between Trump’s yes and no
The use of the mask became the apple of contention when Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence , refused to wear this garment in public despite the opposition’s claims.
The order to cover his face was adopted in different areas of the country, but it was not until a few days ago that Trump agreed to carry one.
“Some seem to attribute magical powers to the masks, while others see them as a badge of servility. It is neither. It is a piece of cloth ” , settled Badger, who judged as“ a separate issue ”if anyone who decides not to use it is penalized.
De Jesús, for his part, said that this controversy “revealed fundamental contradictions between what the president’s followers say they believe and what they actually believe.”
He recalled in this context episodes in which conservative sectors defended businesses that decided not to sell their products to gay couples claiming their right to defend their principles, but now they see it as a matter of freedom whether or not they comply with the requirement to wear a covered face in these places.
“The important thing is that a large part of the population has been unprotected for following the president’s political recommendations,” De Jesús observed with concern.
What about the health system?
The virus exposed in the United States the deficiencies of its health system, which has the private sector as the largest provider of health services. This forced the government to make a huge sacrifice to care for the sick.
“The American hospital system is not adequately designed to treat uninsured patients,” William Checkley, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explained to Efe.
“When an uninsured person needs medical attention,” added this specialist, “the costs can end up being prohibitive. “
Without coverage, the patient must bear the full cost of care at higher rates than a person with health insurance.
Care in the country is compulsory and is guaranteed by the Federal Law on Emergency Medical Treatments and Labor, which requires institutions to examine and stabilize a patient in the event of an emergency, but does not order them to do so “at no cost to patients who can’t pay, “according to Checkley.
Hence, many patients must go to hospital charities to negotiate their debt or finance the payment of costs .
In an attempt to assist those affected by the pandemic, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act was passed to expand national health insurance to people without coverage, to cover the costs of diagnosing COVID-19 and offer certain paid sick leave workers.
Other federal resources were derived to cover the costs of the tests. The costs of treatment for people without insurance will be covered by a fund created for providers, since as the disease persists it will require new disbursements.