Dead bodies of coronavirus infection wrapped in plastic ready to be loaded onto a refrigerated container truck that serves as a temporary morgue at a hospital in New York. Photo credit: John Minchillo/AP
South Korea has 9887 infections with 101 deaths while the US has 205,035 confirmed infections and 4,516 deaths as of today even though both countries reported coronavirus cases the same day, January 20, 2020. Singapore has 1000 infection cases and only 3 deaths even though they reported their first case 3 days after.
The US had 11 cases two days after reporting their first novel coronavirus case and President Trump assured the US citizens that the situation was under total control. 19 days after President Trump said that coronavirus infection cases in the US were very well under control and on February 27, 2020, he said that anybody that needed a test got a test and that they had the tests which were beautiful.
The question is why are US recording higher COVID-19 infection cases and more deaths lately? What actually went wrong with the infection rate if he, President Trump is now projecting up to 240,000 deaths (maximum) earliest three weeks from now.
The key factors that suggest the most reasonable answer to the question are delay to lockdown, resistance to social distancing and delay to expanded testing. Here are the details of the identified reasons:
The death toll in the United States stood at about 4, 516 today and it continued to far surpass other nations with more than 205,035 confirmed infections, about 20 % of the global total at the time of this report.
The US implemented lockdown at a later time than it should. Most countries severely affected by coronavirus infection had delayed implementing full lockdowns, opting instead for only partial lockdowns. This enabled the COVID-19 situation in these countries to progress from the second to the third stage.
The medical task force on COVID-19 predicted between 100,000-240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the virus (which implies more deaths), assuming some people don’t follow social distancing guidelines.
Some of the initial coronavirus tests sent out to states were seriously flawed; some did not even work at all. Part of the problem came from the CDC which insisted that it would manufacture the tests itself.
Many other countries, after recording their first coronavirus infection case, quickly asked private companies to develop their own tests. South Korea, which recorded its first case on the same day as the US, complied with the directive within a week. South Korea has 9887 infections with 101 deaths as of today. South Korea and Singapore tested widely for the virus, isolated cases and quarantined suspected cases to suppress transmission of the virus.
President Trump has also praised South Korea’s handling of the health crisis and even asked President Moon Jae-in for help with medical equipment to fight the outbreak in the United States
The US only allowed laboratories and hospitals to conduct their own tests on February 29, almost six weeks after the first case was confirmed.
Again, it was reported that the federal agency shunned the World Health Organization (WHO) test guidelines used by other countries and set out to create a more complicated test of its own that could identify a range of similar viruses when it should have quickly reacted to curtail the current spread and act later to deal with other viruses later. The US medical task force on coronavirus also hinted that the number of deaths could shrink if everybody uses the guidelines which President Trump extended through April 30.
Slow response and rate to expanded testing is another reason why the US is recording higher infection cases deaths lately.
As of Monday, The US had conducted about 287 tests per 100,000 people in the US (with huge variations depending on the county, city, and state). Would this figure be said to be very much at par with South Korea and other countries, as claimed by President Trump, if compared to 709 per 100,000 in South Korea and 600 per 100,000 in Italy?
Another reason is mainly due to the high amount of pre-existing and chronic conditions many US citizens suffer from, which are considered key risk factors that make them prone to coronavirus infection.