United States and China’s Responses to Coronavirus

By: Dean Kaire

COVID-19, also referred to as the Coronavirus, is an infectious disease that originated in China and has since spread around the world creating a global pandemic. As more and more countries continue to get infected and see their death toll rise, countries have taken action, some more than others, in an effort to combat the spread of this deadly disease. This blog will analyze the United States and China, specifically the actions taken by these countries respective governments to combat the virus. With people continuing to get sick, death tolls rising, and global economics rapidly falling off, this infectious disease is having a global impact that has never been seen before.

The United States first infection was  on January 19, 2020 in Washington.[1] Since then, United States numbers are now over 42,000 confirmed cases with a death toll of over 500.[2] Much of the criticism on the United States has been the country’s inability to test individuals and lack of medical supplies and hospital beds.[3] However, testing is slowly becoming more readily available in the country.[4] Meanwhile, President Trump has signed the Defense Production Act, but has been hesitant to use the powers said act grants him.[5] The Defense Production Act allows the President to mandate private companies to produce medical equipment necessary to help aid in the pandemic.[6] Additionally, with the economy seeing rapid declines in all major markets since the outbreak of virus, in addition to the impact being felt by businesses nationwide, a stimulus bill has been created by the Republicans on a $1 trillion package.[7] The stimulus package would include “checks to individuals, help for small businesses, and bailout for big corporations.”[8]

It is uncertain when China experienced its first case, but the virus was first recognized in early January by Chinese officials.[9] The virus originated in the Wuhan region of China.[10] Since then, China has had over 81,000 confirmed cases with a death toll of over 3,000.[11] China effectively shut down the city of Wuhan requiring a lock-down order that has been in place since the outbreak.[12] Furthermore, China banned all intra-city public transport, entertainment, and public gatherings, and has since, seen it’s infection numbers decline steadily.[13]

However, it would be difficult for countries like the United States to be able to replicate the effectiveness of China in slowing down the virus.[14] The United States has a system of checks and balances to consider in addition to state rights which make it difficult to implement the same rigid guidelines that China undertook. For now, the United States must hope that individuals continue to practice social distancing to help counteract the spread of the virus while the government continues their efforts aid in the process.

[1] Michelle Holshue, First Case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the United States, The New England Journal of Medicine ((March 5, 2020), https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2001191.

[2] Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Situation Report 63, World Health Organization (March 23, 2020), https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200323-sitrep-63-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=d97cb6dd_2.

[3] See Dakin Andone, The Number of US Coronavirus cases has topped 13,000 as testing becomes more available, CNN (March 20, 2020) https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/19/health/us-coronavirus-case-updates-thursday/index.html.

[4] Id.

[5] Kaitlin Collins, Trump privately says he’s facing pressure over refusal to use Defense Production Act, CNN (March 23, 2020) https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/23/politics/trump-defense-production-act-pressure/index.html.

[6] See Id.

[7] Allan Smith, Hayley Talbot, Julie Tsirkin, and Josh Lederman, Coronavirus stimulus bill fails to move forward; McConnel cites ‘obstruction,’ NBC News (March 22, 2020) https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/top-democrats-say-they-re-not-yet-ready-sign-coronavirus-n1166021.

[8] Id.

[9] Timeline: How the new coronavirus spread, Al Jazeera (March 23, 2020), https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/timeline-china-coronavirus-spread-200126061554884.html.

10 Id.

[11] Supra Note 2.

[12] Soo Kim, Over 100,000 People Have Recovered From Coronavirus Around the World, Newsweek (March 23, 2020), https://www.newsweek.com/coronavirus-recoveries-recovered-covid-19-china-italy-us-death-toll-johns-hopkins-1493723.

[13] Yanzhong Huang, China’s approach to containing coronavirus cannot be replicated, Al Jazeera (March 23, 2020), https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/china-approach-coronavirus-replicated-200323080154581.html.

[14] Id.

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