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COVID-19: Let Not America Lose Its Confidence – OpEd

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COVID-19 has turned the world upside down in just three months. While the world community remains shell shocked and governments are grappling with the problems, the particular reason for severely upsetting the  confidence among the world community to this extent is the widespread infection, large number of deaths and consequent distress that has resulted in United States of America.

Question among world community

Whatever may be the plus and minus of America, the world has recognized America as the most scientifically and technologically advanced country in the world. With the extent of present COVID-19 crisis scenario in USA, many wonder what would be the fate of world, if even the USA is unable to manage this crisis. This is the question uppermost in the mind of people around the world.

The fact is that not only the citizens and government in the USA, but all the world governments and world community are equally concerned and everyone is looking for a day when the USA could recover from the present grim scenario and bring the COVID-19 under control and give a lead to the world.   

The world community is concerned that if the USA would go down to an unacceptable level  due to COVID-19, the day would not be far off when the entire world would go down in a similar way.

China’s “claim” not boosting  confidence

While China, from where which the coronavirus originated, claims that it has overcome the COVID-19 crisis and is almost free from the virus. Nevertheless, this claim of China’s has not created confidence in the world, since the country’s credibility is not high. With the dictatorial regime and freedom of speech and media freedom severely curtailed and critics and dissenters ruthlessly eliminated, there is a world view that any claim of China has to be taken with a pinch of salt or even with suspicion. This is so, since communication is only available from the Chinese government, which cannot be verified from alternate sources.

US administration seems to lack clarity

The President of the USA and his advisers obviously are not clear about the strategies to be adopted to overcome the crisis. When President Trump claimed that hydroxychloroquine could be the appropriate drug for COVID-19, he was immediately contradicted by a section of medical experts in the USA. This has created confusion in the mindset of Americans as to what is the appropriate drug and why there is no unanimous view.

America stands humbled

It is a fact that America stands humbled today and is suffering from crisis of confidence, which is indicated by the fact that President Trump has no hesitation in accepting medical equipment from its Cold War era enemy Russia and accepting plane loads of safety masks from China, against which President Trump recently launched a trade war. In spite of the fact that India is still a developing country with the size of its economy nowhere near that of the USA, President Trump has appealed to Indian Prime Minister Modi to  supply hydroxychloroquine tablets to the USA. In  the pre-COVID-19 period, we could not have seen such scenario, where USA thought that it needs support desperately from other countries to sustain itself.

Notwithstanding the present crisis in the USA and crisis of confidence that Americans face today, America seems to have no alternative at present time, other than hoping  that this crisis will pass away like every other good or bad event in the world. Americans hope that this will pass away sooner than later.

Crisis not due to lack of scientific expertise

In the case of drug discovery, America’s position in the world is unrivaled.

In the area of medical treatment procedures, America has been the pioneer in several directions.

Therefore, the present crisis faced by the USA is not due to lack of scientific expertise, but in spite of it.

Is the criticism against President Trump justified?

The critics say that President Trump has not reacted to the COVID-19 scenario in January/ February 2020 when the virus entered the USA and preventive steps were not taken then. It is reported  that around 0.45 million Chinese travellers were allowed to enter the USA in January/ February and they were not checked for infection. This appears to be the right criticism to some extent, though made now and not earlier.

However, it should be noted that Presidents of the USA take decisions after receiving inputs, guidance and advice from experts in different fields on various matters. It is also seen that some of the same advisers have worked under different Presidents in the past.

Obviously, President Trump could have treated the matter lightly in February/ March , since it could have been “scientifically” explained to US President by his advisers that the USA would not be impacted by COVID-19 to this extent.

It is always easy to be wise after the event. It appears that President Trump is not being given the benefit of doubt by the critics.

Let not America lose it’s confidence

All said and done, Americans should remain brave and retain confidence in the present adverse situation.

The USA has a lot of basic and fundamental strengths and it has done enormous good for the world in the field of education, by achievements in the field of science and technology, etc.

The present crisis should not be allowed to erode the confidence of the USA, gained due to its spectacular achievements in the past and its future capabilities.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

One thought on “COVID-19: Let Not America Lose Its Confidence – OpEd

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    April 7, 2020 at 8:16 am
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    America will indeed overcome it because most of the Governors are doing a remarkable job .. The states of Washington and California have already registered significant progress in terms of flattening the curve. New York is on its way too though the challenge is considerable.. All this is being done in spite of Trump whose incompetence and arrogance is to be seen from the ringside to be believed .. Make no mistake, the only monumental challenge America needs to overcome now is Trump . But that’s a separate story which would call for a very detailed explanation and tonnes of paper for the outsider to understand and gain the right perspective of what exactly goes on in the United States right now

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