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Pandemic has exposed American exceptionalism as a mirage

By Robert B. Reich, Tribune Content Agency on

No other nation has endured as much death from COVID-19 nor nearly as a high a death rate as has the United States.

With 4.25 percent of the world population, America has the tragic distinction of accounting for nearly 30 percent of pandemic deaths so far.

And it is the only advanced nation where the death rate is still climbing. Three thousand deaths per day are anticipated by June 1.

No other nation has loosened lockdowns and other social-distancing measures with deaths increasing, as the U.S. is now doing.

No other advanced nation was as unprepared for the pandemic as was the U.S.

We now know Donald Trump and his administration were told by public health experts in mid-January that immediate action was required to stop the spread of COVID-19. But according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, "there was a lot of pushback." Trump didn't issue guidelines to stop the spread until March 16.

 

Epidemiologists estimate that 90 percent of the deaths in the U.S. from the first wave of COVID-19 might have been prevented had social-distancing policies been put into effect two weeks earlier, on March 2.

No nation other than the U.S. has left it to subordinate units of government -- states and cities -- to buy ventilators and personal protective equipment. In no other nation have such sub-governments been forced to bid against each another.

In no other nation have experts in public health and emergency preparedness been pushed aside and replaced by political cronies like Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who in turn has been advised by Trump donors and Fox News celebrities.

In no other advanced nation has COVID-19 forced so many average citizens into poverty so quickly. The Urban Institute reports that more than 30 percent of American adults have had to reduce their spending on food.

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