U.S. Response Outperforming ‘Model’ Universal Healthcare [OPINION]
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have had an up-close look at the statistics of how individual nations are dealing with the novel coronavirus and some surprising revelations have been found.
How does the center of capitalism, the United States, compare to the world's top socialist universal healthcare programs?
I used the World Health Organization's latest statistics for reported cases and the United Nations' Worldometer for population count.
As of Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 10 a.m. EST, here are the COVID-19 confirmed cases statistics:
The United States of America: Population of 330,473,065. Confirmed COVID-19 case reports: 26,039 with 326 deaths attributed to the disease. In the U.S., it is a fatality rate of 1.2 percent. The cases per citizen are 1 in 12,711.
How does this compare to the best of nations with all or mostly government-funded universal healthcare for every citizen, irrespective of wealth, age or social status?
France: Population of 65,234,004. Confirmed COVID-19 case reports: 14,559 with 526 deaths attributed to this disease. The fatality rate in France is 3.5 percent. The cases per citizen are 1 in 4,481.
Germany: Population of 83,711,068. Confirmed COVID-19 case reports: 23,921 with 92 deaths. The fatality rate in Germany is 0.3 percent. The cases per citizen are 1 in 3,499.
Sweden: Population of 10,082,076. Confirmed COVID-19 case reports: 1,770 with 20 deaths. The fatality rate in Sweden is 1.1 percent. The cases per citizen are 1 in 5,696.
Netherlands: Population of 17,124,571. Confirmed COVID-19 case reports: 4,204 with 179 deaths. The fatality rate in the Netherlands is 4.2 percent. The cases per citizen are 1 in 4,073.
Hong Kong: Although a city and not a nation unto itself, it has a population of 7,480,345. Confirmed COVID-19 case reports: 317 with four deaths. The fatality rate in Hong Kong is 1.2 percent. The cases per citizen are 1 in 23,597.
Switzerland: Population of 8,637,327. Confirmed COVID-19 case reports: 7,104 with 80 deaths. The fatality rate is 1.1 percent. The cases per citizen are 1 in 1,215.
Luxembourg: Population of 623,167. Confirmed COVID-19 case reports: 670 with 8 deaths. The fatality rate is 1.2 percent. the cases per citizen are 1 in 930.
Given the results of the comparison, it is very difficult to condemn the response to confront this pandemic by the American government. It has statistically stood up to almost any nation on Earth despite the undocumented immigrant population not being counted and the much higher international traffic in and out of the USA compared to any other nation in this article.
In fact, the early calls made by the Trump Administration to cease all flights from China and to close the border were condemned by his political rivals in the Democratic Party and in particular by their front-running nominee Joe Biden, who called Trump's measure "hysterical xenophobia."
While the president will (and should) be quoted in the months ahead for putting a bright picture on a more realistic, bleaker reality while describing the nation's prognosis of COVID-19 early on, it is what a president does for his nation or what a governor or a mayor does for their constituents.
President Trump would better serve his political future by not taking to the podium as prominently as he has been for the coronavirus updates.
He clearly should be leaving this to more measured speakers such as Vice President Mike Pence, who is his point man on this crisis, and to experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist who serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and as a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
That said, the actual measures and actions taken by this president have saved lives and some of the proof is in the math above.
It is true that in the first three years, the Trump Administration did not properly prepare the country for a scenario such as this. There should be no denying that. But also, no administration has seen this kind of bio-threat since 1918 when Woodrow Wilson was president.
It should also be pointed out that the prior administration of Barack Obama did not prepare the country for this even while presiding during a massive N1H1 "swine flu" pandemic in 2009.
Even though the source of the pandemic was determined to be from a farm in Mexico in March of 2009, President Obama refused to secure the border and failed to declare a national emergency until October 24, 2009. He did declare a health emergency and requested $1.5 billion from Congress to prepare the nation for antiviral meds and other such necessities.
Incredibly, the mainstream media today and the established but highly fallible fact-checking sites show some troubling double standards about this. Let's go to the horse's mouth though: the Obama White House archives.
Donald Trump took 52 days from the first U.S. confirmed case on January 21 to March 13, when he declared a national emergency, freeing up $50 billion for the government to respond and when declaring a health emergency on February 24, also asked for an additional $2.5 billion to combat the spread. Even then Democrats called the request lethargic and not enough; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) demanded $8.5 billion instead.
President Obama took not 52 days but 190 days from the first U.S. confirmed case on April 17, 2009, to October 24, when he declared a national emergency. On April 29, after declaring a health emergency, President Obama also requested $1.5 billion to combat the spread. No one in Congress or the media demanded more. No one accused him of responding too late or asking him if had any responsibility for it.
One of the measures the media uses to grade the Obama Administration's response to the 2009 N1H1 pandemic is to point to the Obama Administration's grade. The Health and Human Services Department, part of the Executive Office, decided for itself how good or bad the response was and the media cowers from neutral reporting here.
Even here, when they specified the things they believe were done right, the end result is laughable.
According to a March 13, 2020, USA Today report, the HHS report showed that the Obama Administration should be praised for "communication about where the virus was found."
As I said, the HHS was within the Obama Administration. It would be like a college fraternity grading mid-term papers for the frat members and the school's newspaper seeing no contradictions in it.
Secondly, the one area of praise to which I point to was an epic fail. Okay, so they found where the virus originated. Congratulations on that. It is important to find the place of origin for researchers to find a cure. However, Obama did nothing to stop the illegal traffic of immigrants coming into America from the very same place, Mexico.
So stop letting the media unfairly grade this response to COVID-19. Otherwise, you may find Joe Biden responding to it next time.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at ken.pittman@