COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the second severe acute respiratory syndrome virus since 2002, is now officially a pandemic. As of late March, whole cities are sheltered in place and, one by one, hospitals are lighting up in medical gridlock brought about by surges in patients.
China, its initial outbreak in contraction, presently breathes easier.1 South Korea and Singapore as well. Europe, especially Italy and Spain, but increasingly other countries, already bends under the weight of deaths still early in the outbreak. Latin America and Africa are only now beginning to accumulate cases, some countries preparing better than others. In the United States, a bellwether if only as the richest country in the history of the world, the near future looks bleak. The outbreak is not slated to peak stateside until May and already health care workers and hospital visitors are fist fighting over access to the dwindling supply of personal protection equipment.2 Nurses, to whom the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) has appallingly recommended using bandanas and scarves as masks, have already declared that “the system is doomed.”3
The U.S. administration meanwhile continues to outbid individual states for basic medical equipment that it refused to purchase for them in the first place. It has also announced a border crackdown as a public health intervention while the virus rages on ill-addressed inside the country.4
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