A new report from Columbia University on COVID-19 deaths estimates that hundreds of thousands of Americans have died because the United States’ response to the pandemic has been an “abject failure”, especially the actions of President Donald Trump. With an adequate response, the United States could have avoided tens of thousands of deaths and untold amounts of suffering, the researchers said.
Dr Irwin Redlener, lead author of the study and founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, blamed the White House in an interview with The Daily Beast: “We think it was a deadly scramble. by an administration that did not want to face reality.
In the report, titled “130,000 to 210,000 preventable COVID-19 deaths – and counting – in the United States,” researchers at Columbia’s NCDP investigated “the staggering and disproportionate nature of COVID-19 deaths in states -United”.
Researchers compared the United States’ response to the coronavirus to that of six other countries – South Korea, Japan, Australia, Germany, Canada and France – and found that the U.S. government’s response to the pandemic was unfavorable to all. The United States has suffered a death rate from COVID-19 more than double that of Canada and 50 times that of Japan. Extrapolating from the deaths per 100,000 population in each country, the researchers estimated how the United States might have fared if it had followed the lead of a more robust response. The answer: always better than in reality.
“If the United States had followed Canadian policies and protocols, there might have been only 85,192 deaths in the United States, making over 132,500 American deaths ‘preventable.’ If the American response had mirrored that of Germany, the United States may have had only 38,457 deaths, leaving 179,260 preventable deaths, ”the researchers wrote.
The researchers chose the half-dozen countries that have achieved some level of success in responding to the pandemic.
“We have to take inspiration from the best. We should be the best, ”Redlener said. “We have the resources, the economy, the scientific expertise to do this the right way. We are facing a deadly pandemic and we have had some very misguided leaders who have chosen to berate the providers of masks and social distancing. The president himself has become a super-broadcaster. He has blood on his hands.
The researchers cite several well-known but catastrophic factors that have affected the U.S. response: insufficient testing, delayed lockdowns, a lack of a unified federal response, and a failure to impose non-medical interventions like masks and social distancing. US leaders, the researchers wrote, have shown a “failure to model best practice,” particularly wearing masks during public appearances. Although research publications rarely venture into politics, the Scientific American and New England Journal of Medicine have published editorials excoriating the Trump administration for its handling of the pandemic over the past month.
“There is always confusion, mismanagement and dishonesty, and we reap the consequences of misbehaving in power. Usually academic publications are not so overtly political, but this incredibly anti-scientific administration has caused enormous tragedy in America. The fact that these deaths could have been avoided is a staggering achievement, ”said Redlener.
More than 220,000 people in the United States have died from the coronavirus this year and more than 8.3 million have tested positive, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Public health experts believe millions more have contracted the virus but have not received an official diagnosis due to a lack of adequate testing. The actual number of deaths from the virus may also be much higher than that recorded.
Public health officials across the country are warning that the coming winter could be a particularly brutal time as coronavirus infections reach a third peak and flu season arrives. Adding to this grim prediction, Columbia researchers wrote that the federal government’s “continued mismanagement” of the pandemic shows little sign of improvement: “The abhorrent failures of US government policies and crisis messages persist. . “
The end, according to Redlener, is nowhere in sight.
“Americans have a bad case of pandemic fatigue. We want to get back to some semblance of normalcy, but we’ve never done what we need to do to get to that state, ”he said. “We have delayed the return to normalcy and have fallen into this fabric of dishonesty and opposition to science concocted by the president.
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