The first reports of coronavirus made its way over blue oceans to the United States in January, or perhaps even earlier.

As March reached its midpoint, it became clear that COVID-19 cases were starting to pick up and that the United States had already ventured past the point of no return. It was during this time that various rules and regulations were put in place to encourage social distancing and to “flatten the curve.”

Up to this day, government rules are being heightened for the United States makes it as top 1 on the most number of positive cases. This is alarming, and indeed it is something that people must realise, that the coronavirus is not just any ordinary flu.

Today, let us find out how the US government is responding to the pandemic and how it is helping its citizens in various states in the country.

A Bewildering response

For European onlookers, the absence of a clear and focused response from the White House is bewildering. By the time President Trump declared a national emergency, several state emergencies had already been called, universities shifted to online learning, and churches began to close.

But America has never shared Europe’s conviction that the state must lead. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading national public health institute and US federal agency have attempted to set a benchmark for assessing the crisis and advising the nation, but in this instance, its response has been slowed due to faults in the initial tests it attempted to rollout. The Federal Reserve has moved early to cut interest rates and cut them again even further this week.

Need for public oversight

In the absence of greater coordination and leadership from the centre, the US response will pale in comparison to China’s dramatic moves to halt the spread. The chaos across America’s airports shows the need for public oversight. As New York State Governor Cuomo pleaded for federal government support to build new hospitals, he said: ‘I can’t do it. You can’t leave it to the states’.

When it comes to global pandemics, we may be discovering that authoritarian states can have a short-term advantage, but already Iran’s response demonstrates that this is not universally the case. Over time, the record across authoritarian states as they tackle the coronavirus will become more apparent and it is likely to be mixed.

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