Regretful response to rapid rollout

Why the vaccine rollout is critical to fixing our country’s pandemic-era mistakes

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As we settle into the new year, Covid-19 cases still continue to skyrocket in the United States, bringing to question the effectiveness of the Covid-19 response. As of January 24th, the U.S. surpassed 25 million cases which accounts for roughly 25 percent of the world’s total cases. The U.S.’s effort to flatten the curve has never been achieved with long term success. In fact, nearly a year after the initial explosion of the virus, the number of active cases is larger than ever before. However, a silver lining to a very dark cloud, effective vaccines from Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna have been tested and approved. Though we’re still very early in the process of vaccine rollout, it likely will prove to be the only hope for the U.S. to truly start mending our damaged populace and national dignity.

For context, China, despite repeatedly being blamed by the newly-removed Trump administration as being the root cause of the virus, has 1/200 the amount of cases and deaths as the U.S. After the outbreak was identified by Chinese officials, China initiated a widespread lockdown and a strict stay-at-home order. This response resulted in an immediate containment of the virus. To date, only 16 percent of China’s COVID-19 cases occurred outside the Chinese province of Hubei, where the outbreak originated.

Regardless of the success from the lockdown in China, the Trump administration’s refusal to identify the situation as a national security risk and lackluster effort to contain the virus has produced devastating results. When first questioned about his concern towards the novel coronavirus virus on Jan. 22 2020, two days after several confirmed cases in the U.S., Trump nonchalantly stated “No, not at all. It’s one person coming from China. We’re gonna be just fine.”

This laid back response to the risk resulted in the immediate and uncontainable spread of the virus throughout the country, one whose effects have only continued to worsen. Had the Trump administration and the American people upheld stricter regulations in the early days of the pandemic, the vaccine would not hold the crucial level of importance it does now.

“I felt that Trump’s response to the virus was very poor. He continually refused to take the advice of his peers and [regulate] when he realized it was an issue. He continued to refuse to follow his advisors and downplayed the risk and possible effects it may have on the U.S. He went as far as refusing to wear a mask in public,” said senior Rebecca Alvarado.

The U.S. now has the most COVID-19 cases and the most related deaths of any other country in the world. Although we are now conducting almost 500,000 COVID-19 tests daily, a research paper conducted by Harvard on Apr. 8 concluded that 1 to 10 million tests are needed daily in order to truly start taking control over the virus. Since all of America’s non-vaccine efforts at containment have proven to be disasters, ones that have made the U.S. an international laughing stock, the significance the vaccine now holds in correcting that error is paramount.

In either a last ditch effort to save face or an unprecedented volley of human compassion, the Trump administration actually made efforts to accelerate the vaccine rollout effort near the end of their time in office. According to CNN, “The new plan would also change guidelines to allow vaccinations immediately for anyone 65 and older and would help states set up mass vaccination sites should they request assistance… such as pharmacies.”

While this is a step in the right direction, vaccination efforts still have a ways to go. With the inauguration of President Joe Biden and his administration, this rollout plan will hopefully be even speedier and more effective. On January 26th, Biden proclaimed “We now have a national strategy to beat Covid-19. It’s comprehensive. It’s based on science, not politics. It’s based on truth, not denial, and it is detailed.” This plan entails the U.S. buying 200 million vaccines, half from Moderna and the other half from Pfizer/BioNTech. With this plan, the Biden administration plans on vaccinating over 300 million Americans by the end of the summer.

Ultimately, these are just words from a politician. However, the rhetoric we’re hearing now is far preferable to what we’ve been exposed to through most of 2020. Trump and his administration took a toll on countless American lives and helped stir an anti-science dialogue that has only further plagued America’s already shaky global standing. If we collectively agree to comply with the newly enacted rollout plan, not only can we help save hundreds of thousands more American lives but we can also help fix the growing internal division that’s been festering in our country. We can display to the rest of the world that we’re capable of putting compassion over comfort, choosing science over selfishness, and dealing with a crisis. Ultimately, now more than ever, we need uniformity. We need to all pitch into this effort, because the vaccine rollout doesn’t just embody America’s reaction to COVID-19; it embodies the national spirit that we’ve seen so greatly deteriorate.