America’s Tragic Supremacy in a COVID-19 World

Staff at a shopping center in central Moscow wear face masks to work, March 3, 2020. Image: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty

Early blunders in its COVID-19 response have pushed the US to a tragic supremacy: It now has more confirmed cases than any other country, The New York Times reports. 

Some of the now 82,000+ cases and more than 1,000 deaths likely could have been prevented by more rapid testing, clear communication, and a unified response.

And this is just the beginning. 

As hospitals become overwhelmed with cases over the next 4 months, 81,000 Americans will likely die from the virus, according to a new Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecast. (The range they posit is between 38,000 and 162,000 deaths.)

And while New York City is now bearing the brunt of COVID-19, “second wave” cities including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are seeing cases surge, Axios reports. A stubborn lack of sufficient testing may be masking other cities’ spiraling cases.

Global COVID-19 cases have surpassed half a million as cases explode in European hotpsots, CIDRAP reports. Details from select countries:

South Africa, which has the most cases on the continent, has launched a 21-day lockdown, as fears mount that its economic inequalities will leave people in townships dramatically more vulnerable. Thomson Reuters Foundation  

Hopes that Russia would escape COVID-19 have been crushed as the 7 reported cases on March 10 have now rocketed to 840; the government has closed nonessential workplaces and is building a new hospital outside Moscow among other steps. Science

Mexican public health experts have decried President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s frequent speeches downplaying COVID-19 and a March 22 video, urging Mexicans to go out to eat. Vox
Disaster looms for Afghanistan, as thousands of Afghan returnees cross the porous border from hard-hit Iran each day, The New York Times reports—many heading back to Herat, already Afghanistan’s COVID-19 epicenter with 1.5 million people and no lockdowns or restrictions.

The virus has pushed France close to its breaking point, as cases spiked to 29,000 and nearly 1,700 deaths—while officials warned hospitals in Paris could be saturated before the end of the weekend, according to Reuters.

Italy is still seeing a rise in cases, but at a slower pace—offering some validation that the nation’s lockdown could be paying off, The Washington Post reports.

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