Lessons from the USA Delayed Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Joseph A. Balogun

Abstract

At 65 years of age and two-time cancer survival, I am among the high-risk group for COVID-19. Hence, I have a nostalgic sense of duty to write this ―Call to Action Commentary. The impact of COVID-19 is closer home to me. A Church member, an alumnus of my university, and a nurse who works for me has COVID-19. The views expressed in this Commentary highlight some of the flaws that the USA government made in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. And I hope that African leaders and policymakers will not repeat the same blunder. There is a sense of false protection in Africa that they are ―immune‖ to the disease because of the high tropical temperature and reported low number of cases on the continent. The low incidence, in my view, is due to the limited number of people tested. Moreover, no empirical evidence exists on the thesis that the COVID-19 virus is attenuated at a typical tropical climate. COVID-19 has no respect for national boundaries. It was reported first in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and has spread to 180 countries and territories. Within three months, Americans knew about a new virus in China, which quickly changed to ―stay home‖ and ―avoid groups larger than ten people‖ order. As a new disease, the knowledge about the mode of transmission, clinical presentation, and epidemiology of COVID-19 is unraveling. For example, it was once widely accepted that COVID-19 is only fatal among the elderly, particularly those with heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes, compromised immune systems, and those receiving radiation and chemotherapy for cancer. But recent studies revealed children and adults.

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