In December 2019, the first case of COVID-19 was identified in Wuhan, China, and spread worldwide within months, leading to the current pandemic that the US and other countries are dealing with.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of January 14, the US has 22,645,757 cases and 377,446 deaths, the highest in both categories in the world.
Their response to COVID was up to the state governments, and not from Washington DC.
According to the British Medical Journal, most of the powers to control the virus was given to the states, and the federal government would be a back-up plan.
Focusing on the state, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer put the state under a State of Emergency since March 2020 and implemented executive orders.
According to michigan.gov, there is a mask mandate, restaurant closures, and limited capacities for essential vendors.
RHS alumnus Lillian Settles is a cashier at Meijer in Southgate, is an essential worker, and has worked since the first cases of COVID hit in Michigan.
“I think they attempt to seem like they make a safe environment, as far as spraying down carts and everyone must wear a mask, but I have people coming through all the time that don’t wear a mask; and then if you say something to them they just get angrier and angrier,” Settles said.
The risk of having some customers not wear a mask puts Settles at risk.
“I walked up to them, touched every grocery that they touched, put it in the bag, and was face to face with them at some point, and may have touched money that they touched and most likely licked their fingers to get apart,” Settles said.
While this is an annoyance for Settles, it is because some believe the virus is made up by the government or not as dangerous as officials say.
“It’s crazy that in the United States, the virus has become a political thing because it’s not. It’s a public health situation and any other country is believed by everyone and taken seriously by everyone,” Settles said.
In addition, there is also the addition of the B.1.1.7 strain of COVID-19 to deal with in the US, as there are cases being reported in Los Angeles, California.
According to WebMD, the new strain is a “super strain,” and has a change in protein to make it 50% more contagious than COVID-19.
This is one of the new strains that are recorded, and the most common mutation compared to other strains.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is no evidence that the vaccine is ineffective, nor does it increase the chances of severe illness or death.
With the US having a slower containment of the virus, other countries have had different responses. New Zealand is a country that has everything open, thanks to how they attacked the virus.
According to The Regulatory Review, New Zealand had its first cases of COVID in late February, and rather than doing traditional mitigation, or slowing down strategies, the country took an aggressive approach and completely shut down the country.
This lockdown occurred in the middle of their summer, and activities such as swimming on the beach or hunting were strictly prohibited and deemed non-essential by the country, along with shutting down travel going into and out of the country.
As a result of the lockdown, it only showed good news for New Zealand.
According to WorldOMeter.info, as of January 14, New Zealand’s had 2,228 cases and 25 deaths from COVID-19.
However, these results can be different because of New Zealand’s size, as the US has about 66 times of their population, and is smaller than the US, so then there is China.
China is the country where COVID-19 originated from, specifically in Wuhan, and according to WHO, as of January 14, there have been 98,113 cases and 4,803 deaths from the virus, lower than in the US.
A primary reason why China has fewer cases than the US is because of how fast their response was when the first cases happened.
According to The Lancet, when the first cases in Wuhan happened, the Chinese government put Wuhan under lockdown for at least 76 days, put in 14,000 health checkpoints across the country, made an effective contact tracing system, and put off any social gatherings, indoor or outdoor.
Citizens in China would also be warned by drones in the local areas to stay safe and follow their protocols.
While China may have been the first country to have the virus, they do not have as many cases or deaths as the US.
With the US at the top, the next country that has many cases and deaths is India.
According to WHO, India has 10,495,147 cases and 151,529 deaths, which is the second-most in the world.
A primary reason for that was because the country had a failing lockdown, as cases kept rising.
According to Brookings Institute, India had four variants of lockdowns, starting in March, and went into an unlock status in June when lower class citizens had issues keeping their families and had to reopen their economy to help the lower class. Since the unlock, cases have not gone down.
While all responses are different, the WHO constantly updates their websites to keep everyone aware of the situations that are going on in the country, including situation reports, travel advice, and advice in general, and they recommend looking at updates from local or national public authorities.