ROME (AP) – The inability of the United States to stop the spread of coronavirus has surprised and alarmed Europe, as the world’s most powerful nation moves closer to the global record of 5 million infections. confirm.
Perhaps nowhere but in the United States, the United States’ viral response is viewed with more horror than in Italy, where there is no epidemic in Europe. The Italians were unprepared for the outbreak in February and the country remains one of the countries with the highest official death rate in the world at 35,000.
But after 10 weeks of stringent nationwide embargo, vigilance for new pockets and the general acceptance of masking missions and social alienation, Italy has become a role model for virus containment.
“Are they not concerned with their health?” Masked Patrizia Antonini asked about people in the United States as she walked with friends along the shores of Lake Bracciano, north of Rome. “They need to take our precautions … They need a real lock.”
Much of the skepticism in Europe stems from the fact that the United States benefits from the time, European experience and medical know-how to treat viruses that the continent itself did not have when patients with COVID-19 were early. First started in intensive care units. However, more than four months after the continuous outbreak, the United States is about to hit a staggering milestone with 5 million confirmed cases, easily the highest in the world. Health officials believe the actual number is close to 50 million, due to testing limitations and the fact that up to 40% of cases have no symptoms.
“We Italians have always seen the US as a model,” said Massimo Franco, columnist at Corriere della Sera. “But with this virus, we have discovered a very fragile country, with a bad infrastructure and a non-existent public health system.”
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza did not shy away from criticizing the US, formally condemning Washington’s “erroneous” decision to withhold funding from the World Health Organization and personally amazed at the viral response of President Donald Trump.
After Trump finally wore a protective mask last month, Speranza told TV channel La7: “I’m not surprised at Trump’s behavior now; I was really surprised at his behavior before. “
With the US topping the list of 160,000 deaths, political resistance to masks and top-ups growing, European nations have banned American and other visitors from other countries. Free travel cases to the block.
France and Germany are currently running on-arrival trials for visitors from “at-risk” countries, including the United States.
“I am very well aware that this affects personal liberty, but I believe this is a legitimate intervention,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said in a notice of the entrance tests. last week.
There are also mistakes in Europe, from delayed door locking to inadequate protection for the elderly in nursing homes and the severe lack of protective equipment and tests for medical personnel.
The virus is still raging in several Balkan countries, and thousands of unmasked protesters demanded an end to the virus restrictions in Berlin earlier this month. Spain, France, and Germany that have been hit hard have seen infections flare up again, with new cases rising to 1,000 a day, and Italian cases rising by more than 500 on Friday. The UK is still seeing around 3,700 new infections every day and some scientists say their favorite pubs may have to reopen if schools reopen. September without causing a new wave.
In the US, the number of new cases is about 54,000 a day – a figure that is much higher even taking into account its larger population. And while that number is down from a peak of more than 70,000 last month, cases are rising in nearly 20 states, and deaths are rising in most states.
By contrast, at least now Europe appears to have virus under control.
Scott Lucas, professor of international studies at the University of Birmingham, UK, said: “If medical professionals were allowed to operate in the US, then you would have been too late to grasp the problem. in March. “But of course, health and public health professionals are not allowed to go unregulated,” he said, referring to Trump’s frequent slashing of his own experts.
When the virus first appeared in the United States, Trump and his supporters were quick to dismiss it as a “hoax” or a virus that quickly faded away when warmer weather arrived. At one point, Trump proposed that UV irradiation or disinfectant injection would kill the virus. (He later said that he became difficult).
Trump’s frequent complaints about Dr. Anthony Fauci regularly appear in headlines in Europe, where the American infectious diseases specialist is a respected celebrity. Italy’s top COVID-19 hospital offered Fauci a job if Trump fired him.
Trump defended the US response, blamed China, where the virus was first discovered, on US problems, and said that the US numbers were so high for too many trials. Trump’s supporters and the Americans refused to wear the mask against all medical advice of that line.
Julia Ferjo, a mother of three in Alpine, Texas, said: “There is no reason to fear any illness out there, she said she is” fiercely “against wearing a mask. Ferjo, 35, teaches fitness classes in a large gym with open doors, where she doesn’t allow participants to wear masks.
“When you breathe like that, I will pass out,” she said. “I don’t want people to let go of themselves like flies.”
And health officials watched with alarm as thousands of cyclists gathered on Friday in the small town of Sturgis in South Dakota for a 10-day motorcycle rally. The state has no mandatory regulations on masks and many cyclists have defied measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Dr. David Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center, who is leading a team looking for the COVID-19 treatment, has criticized that behavior as well as how handle the country’s viruses.
“There is no national strategy, no national leadership and no urging the public to act unanimously and take measures,” he said. “That’s what it takes and we have completely abandoned that as a nation.”
When he joined Zoom calls with peers from all over the world, “People couldn’t believe what they were seeing in America and they couldn’t believe the words of the leader,” he said. he said.
Even the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, took the unusual step of criticizing the United States by urging Washington to reconsider its decision to sever ties with WHO. She also made discreet criticism of US efforts to buy stockpiles of any vaccines that could prove effective, pledging that the EU would work to provide access to everyone. “no matter where they live.”
Many Europeans take pride in their national healthcare system that not only tests but also offers free treatment for COVID-19, unlike the US system where the viral crisis only exacerbates Income and racial inequality in access to health care.
Italian author Massimo Gaggi has brutally wrote in his new book “Crack America” to strip off a nation’s gap that has slipped for years.
Gaggi said he started writing the book last year and thought the title would serve as a provocative warning. Then the virus attacked.
“By March, the headline is no longer a provocation,” he said. “It was clear.”
Pane reporting from Boise, Idaho. AP reporters from all over Europe contributed.