The American debacle: the country’s two million cases сovid-19 (The Guardian, UK)

First coronavirus Americans seemed to be some mysterious disease that affects people in distant lands. But for 14 weeks in the U.S. were one million confirmed cases. It took another six weeks, and America has overcome the grim milestone of two million of positive test results for covid-19, as reported by Johns Hopkins University.

Lost lives seriously affected the economy and wrenching political turmoil — all this has a negative impact on the tired American society. However, experts warn pandemic, the main thing is yet to come that the pain will be much greater, although the authorities are opening stores and offices, and loudest political rhetoric of the American President about the epochal crisis deflates to almost complete silence.

“We see only the first 100 meters of the marathon,” said the Director of the Research center for infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota Michael Osterholm (Michael Osterholm).

According to him, a society typically becomes resistant to virus when naturally or through a vaccine infected at least 60% of the population, and have antibodies. USA, with this figure still very far away, and no firm does not give firm guarantees that will develop an effective vaccine.

“We have a maximum of five percent of infected persons — continued Osterholm. And if five percent brought us such pain, suffering and economic losses that will be at sixty percent? That’s a sobering thought. All suffering and death is only the beginning. But people are not yet aware of this fact”.

The actual figure of people infected with coronavirus in the United States probably several times more confirmed two million, said Irwin Redlener (Irwin Redlener), working Director of the National center for disaster preparedness at Columbia University. But it is unknown due to the lack of tests.

Problems with the development and production of effective test prevented US from acting effectively at the beginning of the pandemic, although currently the testing is conducted more often, they cover only about six percent of the population.

People with covid-19 often no noticeable symptoms, or appear only minor symptoms type of dry cough and low temperature. “We see only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, said Redlener. We have a shortage of tests, and especially now, when in all 50 States resumed the work of the company.”

Insufficient stocks of test kits, swabs for taking smear, ventilators and personal protective equipment for health workers are the first characteristic feature of the pandemic in the United States. The embodiment of confusing and sometimes shocking action in response to the pandemic has become the Donald trump. He predicted that the virus will disappear in April from sunlight, then began to quarrel with the governors, and then spoke about the virtues of chlorine as injections and anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which has not proved its effectiveness in the fight against covid-19.

“From the beginning, the White house gave false information and engaged in speculation, said Redlener. — If there is a situation, opposite of the concept of “task complete”, this is it. In fact, it’s American fiasco”.

But although the number of deaths from the coronavirus in the United States crossed the one hundred thousandth abroad, amounting to a quarter of the world total, this crisis has quietly disappeared from the political agenda.

Trump is very busy with sending the military to suppress anti-racist protests, which began due to the death of George Floyd and he stopped his daily press conference on the pandemic. The possibility to open the businesses that he provided to the States, and this process has been somewhat haphazard, because at least in 12 States, the number of people infected continues to grow.

Chief expert on infectious diseases in the administration of Dr. Anthony Fauci (Anthony Fauci) said that for several weeks have not seen the President, although the health crisis continues. “Where will it end? While we are only at the beginning,” he said this week.

Epidemiologists in the course of the crisis is very concerned that much about covid-19 is still unknown. The world health organization was forced to clarify that it is still unclear how the virus is transmitted by people who have no symptoms, although she did say that such cases are very rare.

It is also unknown why certain groups of people who work together, for example, packers of meat, infected with the virus most often, and among the living prisoners crowded cases of infection less. There is no clarity in the question of how the virus will react to the summer heat, and how serious are the second and third waves of infection. Not everything is clear even with symptoms of the virus, which first consistently carried a cough and high temperature. It turned out to be wrong.

“There’s a lot we just don’t know and we need to show more humility and self-criticism. We do not control, we are simply floating adrift,” said Osterholm.

The decisions that are taken in the context of the ongoing pandemic will inevitably acquire a political and moral nature and not just scientific.

Due to the economic downturn, which in its scope can compete with any crises of the past century, more than 40 million people have been left without work. In such circumstances, any tightening of the regime of self-isolation in order to prevent the spread of the virus is fraught with unbearable emotional and financial pain. On the other hand, attempts to return to the old life rules and habits without the vaccine are likely to lead to overflow of the hospitals sick and dying.

We need to execute the difficult task, not allowing either of the other extremes, said Osterholm. — And we have already decided that everything is over. But this is not so.”