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The Top 11 Government Failures during the COVID-19 Pandemic

While places like New Zealand, Iceland, and the UK have reopened most businesses and ended lockdown, most states in the US still have extensive restrictions. American colleges and universities are bound to Zoom teaching and many adults are funded by unemployment benefits. Why has the US failed to conquer this virus, unlike so many other nations? Here’s my countdown of the top 11 reasons why we’re still in quarantine.

Disbanding the National Security Council Pandemic 

In 2018, the Trump administration disbanded the National Security Council Pandemic. This elimination of a major security structure led the US to be unprepared for the current pandemic.

Eliminating a CDC job

Several months before the COVID-19 outbreak, the administration eliminated a CDC job that was dedicated to detecting outbreaks in China.

Mixed Signals

Trump majorly downplayed the “China Virus,” then later sent mixed signals about the lethality of COVID.

Limited Covid Tests

Virtually no COVID tests were performed in March 2020, when the bulk of the infections occurred.

FDA Guidelines

FDA guidelines on the virus prevented many universities from performing tests and research on the virus.

Personal Protective Equipment 

Personal protective equipment (PPE) was nearly diminished by April 2020, leaving many healthcare workers risking their lives to protect the US population.

Early Reopening 

Perhaps a fault of the federal government’s lack of guidance, state governors, regardless of political party, reopened states far too early

World Health Organization 

The US announced its withdrawal from the World Health Organization in July 2020 despite the 750 experts who stated that “withdrawal will likely cost lives, American and Foreign.”

Herd Immunity

Until December, Trump supported the herd immunity strategy, not by high vaccination, but by letting COVID “burn through” the population.

Wasted Vaccines

States sticking too tightly to CDC vaccination guidelines led some doses to be wasted because of low demand from high-priority groups. The federal government could have addressed these issues but chose not to.

Low Funding 

The vaccine rollout has been hindered by the federal government’s failure to provide funding to local healthcare workers who are pouring hours into vaccinating Americans.

The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled major failures of the American government. Not only was Trump and his administration at fault for downplaying the virus, but individual states also failed their citizens by disregarding CDC guidance and reopening states just to shut down a few weeks later. Now, a year after the beginning of the pandemic, I’m still 2,500 miles away from my college, spending 7 hours a day on Zoom, and trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not sure if my government has already turned that light off.

I’m sure it will all be okay, but it doesn’t deter my anger over the fact that it could already be okay if our government had shown concern for American citizens in March of 2020. We’ll get out of this pandemic, but only after paying the cost of over 350,000 lives. 

Yours truly, signing off: stay positive, mask up, and eat the rich.

Kyrie Woodard

Columbia Barnard '23

is originally a Washingtonian turned New Yorker. Her hobbies include talking about her cats, Bobby and Greg, and drawing macroeconomic graphs.