Based on figures from John Hopkins University, the U.S. recorded an all-time daily high of 40,000 Coronavirus infections on Thursday. Considering many other Western countries are seeing loosened restrictions following strict lockdowns and strong civilian participation in social distancing protocols, the U.S. is once again showing its true colors: a nation so vain and arrogant that it declared victory before the game was over. This comes as no surprise. With an egomaniacal individual acting as Commander and Chief and a plethora of state leaders who are not too dissimilar to incapable lapdogs, America is lacking true leadership.
In a time of crisis, nations require a cohesive response system. This includes a reliance on pertinent scientific data, the counsel of experts, consistent public ordinances, and of course an accountable central power. When such integral qualities are absent from the response system, then the general populace are left to fend for themselves; the dissemination of false information becomes widespread, and the assertion of the self over the community is only reinforced. A man who was ahead of the curve once said, “when the chips are down, these civilized people, they’ll eat each other.” In the case of the U.S., such a statement has never rung truer as we struggle to accept the bitter egotistical society that grows like a fungus all around us.
“What have the results been?” Governor DeSantis asked, sitting next to Trump back in late April. “Everyone in the media was saying Florida would be like New York or Italy and that has not happened. … We had a tailored and measured approach that not only helped our numbers be way below what anybody predicted, but also did less damage to our state going forward.” As CNN reported today, that initial position has now backed the governor into a corner. In a statement issued on Thursday, DeSantis said “We are where we are…I didn’t say we’re going to go on to the next phase.” Where we are, here in Florida, is a reported 9,000 new cases on Friday. On the other hand, states that saw dire conditions when the virus first hit the U.S. are now establishing quarantine measures on those who travel from states that are currently seeing dramatic case increases. New York, for example, which has all but eradicated the threat of widespread virus growth since enacting vigorous lockdown procedures, has adopted such quarantine protocols against other states. Governor Cuomo railed state leaders of Alabama, Florida, Texas, and others for their lack of honest leadership, stating “You played politics with this virus, and you lost,” as reported by CNBC.
According to Aljazeera, the number of new coronavirus cases per day in the U.S. is now hovering close to the peak reached in late April during some of the darkest and deadliest days of the crisis. Perhaps America misinterpreted the idea of flattening the curve. Instead of looking for level ground, we constructed a plateau with a small valley between its edges. It isn’t even a second wave, simply the continuation of a first wave that was never taken seriously.
But this is America. The land of the free where personal liberty and the fulfillment of personal desire are held higher than any other facet of life. What comes as a result of such naïve arrogance is a lack of care for the other. Wearing a mask to protect another becomes trivial, for what’s the incentive for the individual wearing a mask? Somehow such a simple task is a violation of one’s freedom, a reflection of an overreaching government who grows closer and closer to tyranny as they attempt to control our lives. The powerful rhetoric of “my body, my choice” is conflated with the petty desire to not wear a mask. Quarantine is imprisonment. The pandemic is planned.
All of this nonsense stems from the rebellious neoliberal ideology that is arguably a more dangerous virus than COVID-19. A philosophy that cares only for the individual and sees little value in community. It is the reason universal healthcare has yet to permeate legislation in the same manner in which it is employed in nearly every other developed country. It is the source of debate surrounding common sense gun reform. It is the sole reason that America has stalled out in progress, leaning closer and closer to a tumble backwards.
People simply cannot imagine life outside of their own body, information outside of their own eyes, opinions other than those from their own mouth. We walk around ears covered, mouth sealed, and eyes squeezed shut. Ignorant. Though, no mask obviously.