Waging War on COVID-19

The U.S. government failed in its duty to protect its citizens, instead, they allowed hundreds of thousands to die, millions to lose their jobs and put the interests of corporations and the ultra-wealthy ahead of the general public.

Luca D'Agruma

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented death, trauma and damage to our country.

When the government instituted the first lockdown in March, no one could have anticipated the drastic change to our lives.

For six months, our lives have been on pause while the world is turned upside down.

As the virus spreads rapidly throughout the population, our country is falling into an economic crisis that
is costing millions to lose their jobs, homes and savings.

Cases of mental illness have sky-rocketed as the world stresses over the safety of everyday activities and chores.

Frighteningly, tens of millions of unemployed workers are being thrown off their company healthcare plans, leaving them stranded without insurance in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

The death toll is staggering. Deaths from COVID-19 eclipsed combat deaths from World War II, killing over 350,000 Americans.

Our elected officials have failed to provide a strategy that effectively curbs the spread of COVID-19. According to COVID Exit Strategy (CES) an organization of public health experts, every single state is in “uncontrolled spread,” the worst of the CES designations.

In Santa Barbara, hundreds of new cases are reported with every update, relegating our city into the worst tier and placing restrictions on actives and businesses.

While governors cannot control the lack of national leadership, they must be held accountable for their failure to create hard-hitting action that actively curbs cases. Because of this failure
of our elected officials, we are now experiencing a massive surge in cases. According to the CDC director, COVID will cause more deaths per day than we had in 9/11 for months straight.

Our government must do better a better job in stopping COVID, but it also has to recognize their policies have to help more than hurt.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the absence of clear leadership has doomed our country.

The first wave did not end with the lockdown; instead, it ebbed and flowed depending on the policy at the time.

Instead of firmly crushing the virus, which countries like Australia, Vietnam and New Zealand have successfully done, the virus continues killing Americans and crippling our economy.

Somehow as a country, we have collectively accepted our situation and learned to live with it.

In reality, learning to live with COVID is the worst policy we could have ever chosen. Our government has a obligation to protect its citizens, but they have forgotten that.

Instead, they chose to protect the stock market and the profits of multi-national corporations, refusing even to attempt to address COVID.

It is hard to describe just how abhorrent it is that our nation has allowed so many people to die needlessly.

If we only had a week longer of lockdown, what might have happened? Two weeks? How many people would still be alive?

We are digging deeper and deeper into the ground with our COVID policies. Every day we wait to attempt to get out is making our situation worse.

Until we have full vaccine deployment, our country has a moral crisis in its hands.

Our government has at least partially caused a recession through its failed COVID-19 suppression policies. Yet are acting as though the economic crisis and the pandemic aren’t linked, when in fact the economic wellbeing of Ameri- cans directly impacts their ability to live safe lives.

Far beyond the minimum of providing for the unemployed, the homeless and the uninsured, our government must invest into protecting every American’s life, by instituting recurring direct payments to working families so that they can keep themselves, small businesses and our society healthy.

Fortunately, multiple vaccines are ready for deployment. Millions of the people who are most at risk will now be immunized, a massive win for public health.

Unfortunately, it will take months to immunize enough people to make a dent in the population.

It may be possible to spread the virus even while vaccinated, though unlikely (clinical trials don’t reveal this).

While the vaccine will save thousands of lives, it can’t work on its own. Several vaccines in development require weeks to create antibodies and depend upon receiving a second dose to keep long-term immunity.

From the public health standpoint, life will be able to go back to normal in the Fall of 2021, when enough people will have been vaccinated for herd immunity to make enough of a difference.

For now, we need a plan to crush COVID and to stop ignoring the problem that at the rate we are going, tens of thousands will die before they have a chance to receive a vaccine.

President-elect Biden must examine these problems and create a plan for a national COVID response. The essential idea he and his team must understand is that, in reality, every action he takes holds thousands of lives in the balance.

Biden’s national coronavirus response must be hard-hitting and overwhelming.

He must eliminate activities that cause the most community spread while providing economic support to those who need it—however he can.

After vaccines are widely available, it will be shameful to look back and find ways to save more lives. We must take every possible action to prevent death and suffering now, or we will severely regret it.