The past few months have been a whirlwind. Since COVID-19 hit in January, life has felt like a nonstop rollercoaster, for me at least.
Not only is America currently in the midst of a social revolution, we are also 3 months into a global pandemic. The recent social revolution that has emerged due to the systemic racism in America has distracted us from the ongoing pandemic. The outbreak spread so quickly across the world causing most aspects of normal life to halt immediately. Countries were shut down. Schools were closed. Stores were full of empty shelves. Curfews were put in place. The global shutdown, turned pandemic is something no one has ever experienced before. At the time, there was so much uncertainty and ambiguity. No one knew what the outcome of this pandemic would be or when it would end.
Less than 3 months after this global pandemic started, it’s clear that everyone has let their guard down, leaving the world vulnerable to another outbreak. COVID is still active despite the world resuming. Most countries have reopened, allowing citizens to move freely. The United States has also begun the process of reopening, allowing each state to reopen in phases. The United States began the stages of reopening on April 14th, after experiencing a decrease in COVID-19 related deaths and new cases. Today, the United States is still reporting new cases and hospitalizations at record rates. 38,115 new cases, “the highest single day caseload” in the U.S since the pandemic started, were reported yesterday. Although the number of new cases is still climbing, the death rate has remained low. According to health professionals the surge of new cases and hospitalizations is due to the initial rush to reopen the economy without proper safety measures and guidelines.
Let’s take a look at the U.S COVID-19 journey.
1/20: 1st case of COVID-19 found in Washington State
1/31: President Trump announces a travel ban from China
2/26: President Trump appoints Vice President Mike Pence to lead the government’s response to COVID-19
2/29: Trump administration announces travel ban from Iran by foreign nationals.
2/29: Trump administration issues “Do not travel” warnings for areas in Italy and South Korea
3/3: The CDC lifts restrictions for testing the coronavirus
3/12: White House cancels tours for the foreseeable future.
3/12: The Supreme Court announces it will remain closed to the public.
3/12: Congress announces the U.S Capitol will be closed through March.
3/12: Senate and House facilities close to the public
3/13: President Trump declares Covid-19 a national emergency under the Stafford Act
3/16 : President Trump introduces social distancing guidelines.
3/17: U.S and Canada agree to close borders for ‘non essential traffic’
3/18 President Trump signs Coronavirus Relief Bill into law
3/20 U.S and Mexico agree to close borders for ‘non essential traffic’
3/22: President Trump announces FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will fund the activation of the national guard in California, New York and Washington.
3/22: President Trump declares California a natural disaster.
3/24: FEMA announces official use of the Defense Protection Act to obtain 60,000 coronavirus testing kits.
3/25: President Trump declares major disasters in Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, New York and Texas.
3/26: President Trump declares major disasters in Maryland and New Jersey.
3/27: President Trump signs the third coronavirus relief bill.
3/28: President Trump declares Colorado a major disaster.
3/29: President Trump announces social distancing guidelines will stay in effect through April.
4/1: The Bureau of Prisons announces a 14-day lockdown on all prison inmates
4/3 The Supreme Court postpones oral arguments for its April sitting
4/4: President Trump deploys 1,000 military medical personnel to New York City to assist with treating patients
4/8: The U.S Department of Health and Human Services announces a $500 million contract with General Motors to produce 30,000 ventilators
4/10: President Trump announces new council to discuss reopening the economy
4/13: President Trump reveals the members of his council to reopen America
4/13: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announces the House will not reconvene until ‘ at least’ May 4th
4/14: Trump suspends funding to WHO until a review of the group’s response to coronavirus is completed
4/16: The White House releases the guidelines for “Opening Up America Again” detailing a three phase plan that state and local officials should follow to reopen their economies
4/20: Acting Homeland Secretary of Security announces the extension of travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico for another 30 days
4/21: A panel from the National Institutes of Health announces their conclusion that there is ‘not enough data’ on several drugs including hydroxychloroquine to allow them for clinical trials
4/24 Trump signs the $484 billion aid package. Second round of funding for the Paycheck protection program
4/24 Georgia begins its partial reopening
4/24:Texas starts reopening with retail stores
5/5: Vice President announces the White House is considering winding down the coronavirus task force in May or June
5/15: The CDC issues guidelines for reopening businesses and workplaces
5/15: President Trump introduces Operation Warp Speed, an administrative task force, geared towards developing a coronavirus vaccine
5/19: Canadian and Mexican travel restrictions extended another 30 days.
5/26: White House announces travel ban on travelers from Brazil entering the U.S.
5/27: The Department of Defense releases guidelines to phase out global travel restrictions on military and civilian personnel
6/2: United States Secretary of Energy announced that the Department of Energy plans to enter the first phase of reopening on June 8th.
6/8: The Department of Defense lifts travel restrictions on cities in 38 states and 5 countries.
6/16: Acting Secretary of Homeland Security extends travel ban on nonessential travel to and from Mexico and Canada through July 21st.
6/19: The Department of Health and Human services stops federal support for 13 testing centers, giving states the responsibility.
January - Present
Although we’re almost 3 months past the first discovery of COVID-19, the virus has not gone away. The WHO has continued to report surges in new cases and deaths.
Currently there are 8.6 million cases worldwide, with the United States and Brazil being the hardest counties hit, as reported by John Hopkins University. The number of new cases hit a global one day record with 150,000 new cases reported last Thursday. More than half of the new cases are from Americans. Brazilians recorded the rest with 54,000 new cases. This is no surprise as the United States has continued to reopen parts of its economy at a fast rate, despite warnings from health professionals. Texas, one of the first states to reopen, has delayed the next phase of their reopening because of a surge in new cases. Texas health officials are struggling to contain the spread of new infections and hospitalization with intensive care units being at 100% capacity. This comes as President Trump has begun to take measures to win down Coronavirus assistance and testing.
At a recent campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, President Trump attributes the spike in new cases to, too much testing.
Quote from President Trump at Tulsa rally:
"When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases. So I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please.'
Federal support has been pulled from 13 testing sites, 7 of which are in Texas.
Now is not the time to ease up. Use your better judgment.
With most states and parts of the world now reopen, it's natural to feel a bit stir crazy, an urge to go outside and explore. That’s completely fine, acceptable, as long as you're being careful and practicing social distancing. Use the same level of urgency and seriousness now as you maneuver, as you did when the pandemic first started. Continue to practice the social distance guidelines and other health guidelines that were put in place to stop the spread. Continue to wash your hands. Try to limit the amount of times you touch your face. Most importantly, mask up.