COVID-19

The lack of leadership is infuriating

Here in Indiana, lockdown worked while it lasted, but now that it’s over daily cases are up to near their previous peak, which was in late April.

You’ll hear people say that this is because we’re doing so much more testing than before. But notice how testing is actually down by almost a third in the last couple weeks, correlating with the increase in cases. It does take a week or more to get test results back, so if testing were a part of an increase in cases you’d see that lag between these two indicators. But testing fell off after that peak and cases are still increasing.

At least deaths are way, way down since their peak in late April — by as much as two thirds. Perhaps hospitals are doing a better job of managing and treating the disease.

I got all of these graphs from the Indiana State Department of Health coronavirus dashboard here.

A few states are doing better than Indiana, with fewer new cases over time. Several states are doing far worse than Indiana, with new cases spiking.

I’m deeply disheartened by it all. It didn’t have to be this way. We are here because of failed leadership at the state and national level. States have reopened too aggressively, and there has been no strong and consistent message from our leaders about what we should be doing to protect ourselves and our neighbors.

We have two ways of checking this virus’s spread: first, wearking masks when we are in public; and second, avoiding gatherings with people we don’t live with where we are in close proximity for more than several minutes, especially when inside. If state and national leaders would only get on the same page about this, and hit this message hard whenever they communicate with us, I believe it would have dramatic positive effect. I believe Americans would comply in large numbers. The group that believes these restrictions are fascism or a terrible infringement on our personal liberties would likely shut up, and maybe even go along.

At no time in my life have I experienced such a failure of American leadership. We are on our own here, and it’s infuriating. I fear that this nation will have to go through mass infection to achieve herd immunity — with all of the deaths and, probably, lingering serious health issues that implies.

I fear a couple things. First, that our lack of national unity in this response makes us highly vulnerable to countries that wish us harm. Second, that when we come through this time of COVID, whenever that is, that the balance of world power will have shifted, and our status in the world will be irretrievably reduced.

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