The only other issue that the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries have consistently shared the media headlines with is the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus’s potential health and economic devastation to America are being demonstrated in Asia and Europe, but for America aside from the possible health and economic devastation, the coronavirus pandemic also reveals 3 new facts of American life.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals and it is common for the coronavirus disease in the animals to jump and infect humans. This new current coronavirus is named Covid-19. It started in Wuhan China at a seafood market where wild animals such as marmots, birds, rabbits, bats, and snakes are traded illegally. The Wuhan Institute for Virology released a research paper, it found that the genetic makeup of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is 96% identical to a coronavirus found in bats. Since coronaviruses can jump from animals to humans, it’s assumed that one or more of the workers at the Wuhan market caught the virus from their interaction with the animals.
The coronavirus infection that started at a Chinese seafood market grew to a coronavirus epidemic that infected China, which then grew to the coronavirus pandemic that has infected most of the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the symptoms of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic are: a dry cough, a fever, tiredness, and shortness of breath in the more severe cases. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people can become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell but can still infect others with the coronavirus pandemic.
Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who get the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic will become seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness and die from the coronavirus pandemic. So far the coronavirus pandemic has infected over 100,000 people worldwide and of those infected over 5,000 people have died from it.
The last time the world experienced something that approached but fortunately did not reach the high rate of death and disruption to normal life like the coronavirus pandemic, was the outbreak of the SARS coronavirus in 2002. SARS like the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic started in China and its origins trace back to bats as well. Fortunately, the world was able to limit SARS to an epidemic and prevent it from becoming the pandemic that the Covid-19 coronavirus has become. Even though the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic just literally landed in America 2 months ago on January 15th, it has already revealed the following 3 new facts of American life:
1) America Cannot Isolate Itself
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best in his famous Letter from the Birmingham Jail “ We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Or Margin Gaye who sang it best “ ain’t no mountain high enough, no valley low enough, no river wide enough “, and in this case, no Donald Trump wall is tall enough to protect or prevent America from being affected by what ails the rest of the world.
President Trump’s America First doctrine of addressing problems that only affect America or only occur on American soil is unrealistic. We now live in a world whose 195 countries’ economies and environments have been globalized and interconnected in large part due to American capitalism. As we have seen with the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic since so much of the world’s economic activity revolves around America, there is no way a disease that starts in one country will stay in that country and out of America if preemptive measures are not taken. The America First doctrine also encourages irrational actions.
For instance, the main reason the coronavirus pandemic has spread so quickly in America is due to the lack of kits to test Americans for the coronavirus, instead of accepting shipments of newly developed WHO-approved test kits and begin immediate testing, America’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) under the delusion of national pride opted to reject the foreign developed test and develop an American test instead, this created the current delay in mass testing of Americans for the coronavirus. The delay in testing Americans has caused the rapid spread of the coronavirus by people who don’t realize they are infected.
2) National Security Means More Than Preventing Military Attacks and Terrorism
Both World War 1 and 2 taught the United States that it was in its national security interest to be the superior military power in the world. The religious conflicts of the Middle East have taught the United States that participating in the fight there preserves peace and security here in America. The devastation of the 2014 Ebola epidemic taught the United States that allowing disease outbreaks to become epidemics or pandemics, is the equivalent national security threat to American life of allowing a country to launch a military attack against the U.S., or allowing international or domestic zealots to commit terrorist acts in the U.S.
After the Ebola epidemic, former President Barack Obama established the Directorate for Global Health Security and Bio-Defense in 2016 as part of the National Security Council. According to Beth Cameron, the first person appointed to lead the directorate, the mission was to focus the vast powers and resources of the U.S. government in preparation for the next disease outbreak, preventing it from becoming an epidemic or pandemic. Preventing a disease outbreak from becoming an epidemic or pandemic means avoiding the economic devastation of the virus shutting down one’s employment, a store, a restaurant, sporting events, or the disruption to American life brought on by not being able to attend work, schools, churches, or any other large gatherings where people are present.
Unfortunately in May of 2018, the Trump administration decided to shut down the Global Health and Bio-Defense Directorate, had it still been functioning it would have: coordinated the efforts of multiple federal agencies to make sure the government backstopped testing capacity and had an adequate supply of coronavirus test kits, devised approaches to manufacture and avoid shortages of personal protective equipment for medical personnel, strengthened U.S. lab capacity to process Covid-19 tests, and ensured the U.S. was prepared to expand the health-care workforce if needed.
In other words, if the Global Health Directorate was still part of the National Security Council, all the infrastructure would have been in place to stop the coronavirus from growing from a coronavirus outbreak when it landed on American shores 2 months ago, to now being a coronavirus pandemic threatening to wreak economic hell on America.
3) The Era of Big Government Can Never End
In his 1996 State of the Union speech former President Bill Clinton, responding to the forced government shutdowns of 1995 and 1996 by big government hating Republicans, declared “the era of big government is over,” he continued, “but we cannot go back to the time when our citizens were left to fend for themselves. We must go forward as one America, one nation working together, to meet the challenges we face together. Self-reliance and teamwork are not opposing virtues — we must have both.”
One thing the coronavirus pandemic makes clear is that regardless of how much money or political influence a person or a corporation might have, no one and no company can fend for itself against the devastation of a health pandemic.
Only big government has the power to prevent people from socializing with each other to stop the spread of the coronavirus, only big government has the resources to say to employees if you don’t go to work you will still be paid, only big government has the resources to say to the entire travel industry of airline, hotel, restaurant, and car rental companies don’t worry about the 100% loss of cash paying customers your businesses will get bailed out, and only an instrument of big government like the Federal Reserve can decide as it has to lend money to banks at 0% interest rates, encouraging them to turn-around and lend low-interest money to families and businesses.
Europe and Asia’s battle with the coronavirus pandemic has also demonstrated that only big government has the legal and economic resources to collect the data, organize the logistics, and force the execution of a plan that would provide a test to millions of people for the coronavirus as well as treatment for those who tested positive.
The safety net to preserve democracy and free-market capitalism in times of war or severe economic crisis can only be provided by big government. Without the safety net, democracy and free-market capitalism would degenerate into disorder, looting, and violence.
The American citizens who think the U.S. government has too much control over their life, and all the Republicans who think the U.S. government should only exist to fight wars or to give tax breaks to big business and the wealthy, are now forced by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic to face these 3 new realities of American life. Failure to do so means America will cease to exist as the global superpower in a 21 st-century world.
Originally published at https://isaacnewtonfarris.com on March 18, 2020.