The Coronavirus does not have a cure. There is no vaccine. It does not discriminate. It kills liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans; it doesn’t care!
Along with our bout with this coronavirus induced “life interrupted,” there has been a radical shift in public attitudes. Our confidence in political figures, public institutions, health care, medical science and each other have all been altered. We now realize that there are limitations to how our existing medical system is able to respond to this health crisis. Most of the public has come to terms that there are no easy fixes here and have resolved that we will be living with a new set of rules for quite a while, if not forever. As our society transitions to this “new normal’ let us peek in on the American psyche to see “the new mindset.”
The Pew Research Center for Politics and Policy is one of the most unbiased institutions of its kind in the nation. They have been very active conducting polls on the rapidly changing opinions this Coronavirus pandemic is creating. These are opinions given by Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, who are experiencing this ordeal together.
Let me preface these statistics by saying that all Americans are assessing our leaders’ performances on reacting to this pandemic in hindsight. No one has ever assumed office by running on an “I’m the best candidate to handle a worldwide health crisis that will claim hundreds of thousands lives” platform. Elected officials from city and county commissioners, Mayors, state representatives, governors, members of Congress to the President were caught flatfooted. Even though there were reports on simulated pandemic scenarios generated after the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak, no one had any real experience about organizing a government response to a highly contagious plague.
Even the experts were surprised by the rapid spread of Coronavirus. On February 25th the World Health Organization told the BBC that the number of new cases in Iran, Italy and South Korea was “deeply concerning” but added, “for the moment we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus and we are not witnessing large scale severe disease or deaths.” The world media was told, “does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has. Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet.” The World Health Organization started calling the Coronavirus a “public health emergency of international concern in January but waited until March 11th to upgrade its status to a pandemic.
One Pew Research poll tells us 65% of Americans believe President Donald Trump acted too slowly in directing a federal effort to combat the coronavirus; 35% say he was quick to respond. Trump originally tried to downplay the potential effect that this pandemic would have on our society, even at one time referring to the Coronavirus as “a simple flu” and a “Democratic hoax.” Now, apparently accepting that the virus is not a political attempt to discredit him, Trump is trying to strike an optimistic note saying that the crisis has peaked, due to reductions in the numbers of ER cases and hospital admissions. Those positive vibes are not being shared by the public. The same Pew survey shows 73% of Americans feel the worse part of this crisis is yet to come, only 26% believe the worst is behind us.