Skolnik: COVID-19 – Time Is Running Out
by Richard Skolnik/the former regional director for health for South Asia at the World Bank. He was the director of an AIDS treatment program for Harvard and taught Global Health at the George Washington University and Yale. He is the author of Global Health 101 and the instructor for Yale/Coursera’s Essentials of Global Health. Los Alamos Daily Post
The US is falling further and further behind in its fight against COVID-19. The number of new cases has been at an all-time high. The number of deaths has been climbing. We have the tenth highest number of deaths per million population in the world and Florida has almost as many cases in a week as China has had during its entire outbreak.
In addition, many hospitals are becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, health workers continue to face PPE shortages, and test results are taking so long in some places that they are of no value in managing the epidemic.
In fact, when it comes to COVID-19, the US is a shockingly bad outlier. Many other countries, from all income groups, have effectively used traditional public health measures, plus varying degrees of “lockdowns” to suppress the outbreak. Vietnam has had fewer than 1,000 cases and Thailand fewer than 3,500. Rwanda can return COVID-19 test results faster than many places in the US. Although the virus arrived in South Korea and the US on the same day, an American has a 70 times greater risk of dying of COVID-19 than a South Korean.
Moreover, our COVID-19 trajectory puts us on course to have more than 200,000 deaths by the early fall. This will be about the same number who died in the 20-year Vietnam War.