Truth in the COVID-19 Era: The USA
Some of us watch the COVID-19 statistics with fascination try to work out which policies will stop the march of the virus. This has become all the more urgent as countries try to break the lockdown to restart their economies.
The US has overtaken Western Europe (29 countries) in the number of cases by about 20%, but has had about 40% less deaths. This may because the COVID virus attacked an older demographic in Europe before the social isolation measures were put in place. It is not just because the epidemic started later in the US; the curves are distinctly different at corresponding times on the worldometer graph. (This all assumes that the figures from each country are reliable, which is another question).
The US states that were more open to the world and more urbanised are principally Democratic. They had their cases earlier than the rural, less populated mainly Republican states that have fewer cases. Hence the drive to open up the country. As the US opens some of the media are noting the poor US response, but the President and Fox News are speaking in a parallel reality where the US has done very well. They have eyes principally on the November Election. Their adage would seem to be following Goebbels description of English propaganda, ‘When one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it.’ Most medical observers think that the US has done poorly, but if the President’s parallel reality is believed by enough people in the gerrymandered US electoral system the President and the Republicans will survive. The old adage that incumbent governments win when the economy is strong and lose when it is weak is likely to be the determining factor, however, and it is unlikely that all the bluster in the world will make US citizens believe that their economy is strong.
Reference: Matthew Knott, ‘Torn nation’s bleak milestone’. SMH 28/5/20