haseltine1_Chip SomodevillaGetty Images_randpaul Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Why America Is Losing to COVID-19

There is a very simple explanation for why the COVID-19 outbreak has exploded in the United States. Unlike China, Singapore, and South Korea, the Trump administration has not even bothered to pursue widespread testing, contact tracing, and mandatory two-week quarantines for at-risk individuals.

NEW YORK – Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s behavior over the past two weeks is exactly what’s wrong with America’s response to COVID-19. Paul has a compromised lung, so he decided that he should be tested for the disease out of an abundance of caution. From the time of his test until he was confirmed positive six days later, Paul did nothing to protect those around him. On the contrary, he met with other senators, cast votes on the Senate floor, played a round of golf at a private club, and even squeezed in a few laps at the Senate pool.

In the countries that have contained the coronavirus outbreak, such irresponsible behavior has not been tolerated, and even could have landed Paul in jail. As a physician (ophthalmologist), he, more than anyone, should know that if he was concerned enough about COVID-19 to be tested for it, he should have been equally concerned about the risk he was posing to others.

Containing the transmission of any infectious pathogen – especially one as contagious as COVID-19 – requires aggressive action. Defensive moves like closing businesses or social distancing are effective only when combined with rigorous, systematic efforts to get ahead of the spread of the disease.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/D90mm1q