The Coronavirus has already presented a number of unique societal quandaries, upsetting daily life for people across the globe and halting major events in unprecedented numbers, from major movie premieres to March Madness. With the economy in lurch and the future uncertain for millions of working people, this pandemic has proven to be the Black Swan type situation that unfolds unexpectedly and has the potential to totally change a country.
Something that’s already changing as a result of Coronavirus is the Democratic primary, which before COVID-19 was the hot media item to discuss. Suddenly, thanks to the mass hysteria generated by a national emergency-inducing global pandemic, the elections are being increasingly ignored. Something will have to be done about the primaries taking place on May 17 (Florida, Ohio, Illinois & Arizona)–amid a public health emergency, can the voting really be expected to still take place? If the situation worsens, all the upcoming primaries will have to reconsider their options going forward, as some already have begun to do, like Louisiana, which has officially postponed its elections.
This Sunday’s debate has also been impacted by the Coronavirus. Now, instead of a traditional debate or town hall with a live audience, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will discuss their ideas for America together in a closed set–similar to the televised debates between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960. This minimalist format will be a breath of fresh air after months of watching an overly-crowded field of longshots duke it out over the same issues time and time again with more talking points than actual substance. Hopefully, Biden and Sanders are able to discuss their disagreements at length and in depth, and with as little intervention from moderators as possible. It’s a conversation that the American people deserve to hear, especially as paranoia and anxiety grip a nation that is woefully underprepared for an emergency health situation.
The President also seems to be panicking over this situation, not because of the imminent suffering of so many, but because of how he’s worked overtime in the past years to tie his popularity directly to the economy and stock market. Unfortunately for him, the markets are incredibly volatile, and have recently nosedived, taking the biggest hit since 1987 due to the widespread panic over COVID-19. Similarly to how Hurricane Katrina tested George W. Bush’s competence in the face of a weather emergency, and ultimately exposed his incompetence, the Coronavirus is threatening to bring down Trump’s house of cards entirely–revealing to his voters and the world how woefully inept and unprepared his administration really is. For the sake of America, let’s hope he has a plan and is consulting the experts, because so far the lack of preparation and due diligence has been absolutely embarrassing in comparison to the diligent responses from other developed countries like Taiwan and South Korea.
Despite Trump’s attempts to obfuscate and shake off any blame for the situation, saying at yesterday’s press conference that “We were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations and specifications from a different time”, this pandemic has exposed the stupidity and a lack of readiness from our inept government in many ways already, but none more glaring and frightening than our dependence on China for medical supplies, medicine and basic manufacturing which have been slowly but surely outsourced for benefit of multinational corpoations. A study from the Department of Commerce discovered that 97% of all antibiotics in the United States come from China–a reality seldom considered but that could be quickly leveraged against us by the increasingly authoritarian superpower.
The Coronavirus has tested the world’s strength in dealing with a mass health emergency, and hopefully it serves as a wake-up call to leaders and governments around the world. Similarly to how WWII increased our domestic production capabilities in a massive way, helping America become the superpower it is today, COVID-19’s spread should trigger a major restructuring of our economy and our reliance on outsourced labor and manufacturing in the developing world. Not only is it cruel and hypocritical that we rely on borderline slave labor from Asia to produce our goods, but it’s also proving to be a major liability in times of worldwide panic and strife.