As the death toll from Covid-19 in our country approaches 200,000 of our fellow Americans, it is becoming more and more clear every day just how badly our national effort to counter the effects of the coronavirus continues to be.
Consider these numbers — these FACTS:
The U.S. has four percent of the world’s population, but we’ve consistently had about 21 percent of the deaths from the disease (plus the unknown but large number of our citizens who have suffered long-term health damage).
In August alone, 30,000 Americans died from Covid-19. By contrast, only 4,000 people died in the entire European Union, which has a larger population.
But here’s a statistic that absolutely is mind-boggling: Vietnam, a nation of about 100 million people, about one-third that of the United States, has had just 35 (that’s right, three-five) total deaths from Covid-19.
So despite its long border with China (and the millions of Chinese visitors it receives each year) and despite the fact that Vietnam is a low-middle income country with a much less-advanced healthcare system than ours (it has only eight doctors for every 10,000 of population, while the U.S has 27 doctors per 10,000 of population), Vietnam has shone the path to how to fight Covid-19.
After a lockdown of the economy in February, as well as mandatory mask-wearing and meticulous contact-tracing measures, Vietnam’s economy, including its schools and businesses, is largely open and its citizens have been spared the brunt of the corona plague.
The United States, on the other hand, is expected to have 400,000 deaths from the coronavirus by the end of this year — and that figure could be optimistic. We still have no national plan or direction to end the misery and our economy continues to be ravaged.
If we had been as aggressive and as smart in countering Covid-19 as the Vietnamese have been, the death toll in our country would have been only a fraction of what it is today.
Instead, our national tragedy continues inexorably onward — day after day after day after day — with no end in sight.