Expert Speak Health Express
Published on Apr 06, 2020
COVID19: Americans brace for brutal week against grim backdrop of chaotic policymaking

Americans are bracing for the “hardest and saddest” week of their lives. The coronavirus pandemic, which has already killed more than 9,600 by 5 April in the US and sickened more than a quarter million here, is likely to land its deadliest blow around 10 April. Projections by the US government indicate that COVID19 could kill 855 New Yorkers on that single day.

America’s top infectious diseases doctors on the White House coronavirus task force continue to plead with Americans to comply with social distancing guidelines in place from mid-March. From the time the alarm bells first rang in early January 2020, America’s policy response to the coronavirus pandemic has been one of mixed signals and squandered time. Most of the dead are in New York City, where hospitals are swamped with patients and funeral homes are overwhelmed.

After weeks of zig zag messaging and internal debate, the Trump administration finally urged Americans to cover their faces in public. Trump announced new guidelines that call for everyone to wear face coverings such as T-shirts and scarves while outside the house. However, Trump made it clear that he won’t wear a mask while the healthcare system is desperately urging the president to lead by example.

America’s experiment with social distancing has moved at an almost leisurely pace while the virus itself rips through the land. Here is a timeline of key moments since late February as America lurched towards a barely coherent message on the concept of “physical separateness” which is crucial to blunt the curve.

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Nikhila Natarajan

Nikhila Natarajan

Nikhila Natarajan is Senior Programme Manager for Media and Digital Content with ORF America. Her work focuses on the future of jobs current research in ...

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