Has America has finally met her match?
Is it true that the hyper-individualist, freedom-loving American people, have failed to take the virus seriously, and are now suffering the consequences?
That is the narrative that has been dominant in both social, and mainstream media.
In early July of this Year the New York Times published an article entitled How Badly is America Doing? in which David Leonhardt tried to make the case that much of the world had the virus under control with the exception of the United States.
The Economist released an op-ed video in April that asked the question, Why is America’s Death Toll So High? The answer it gave (controlling for population wasn’t considered) was America’s want for socialized medicine, it’s federalized rather than nationalized response, and politically motivated resistance to precautions.
Perspective often comes with the passage of time, and the most recent numbers reveal a different picture. According to Statistica.com, the United States has so far performed comparably to other western industrialized nations, (if not slightly better in some cases) in the total number of deaths per million since the pandemic began. The total for the US stands at 868 as of this writing. This is lower than Belgium (1524), Italy (1015), Spain (990), and the UK (926). It is only slightly greater than France (830). All of the above nations depended heavily on national lockdowns as their primary containment strategy. The US, which has used a combination of lockdown, and more voluntaristic approaches, doesn’t seem to have been at a disadvantage as a result.
Another popular talking point for moralizing crusaders is that Americans, due to their selfish individualism, are an outlier in their lack of compliance with precautionary measures, especially mask wearing. “Wear a Damn Mask!” is a common cry seen on Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram. Yet it would seem that these posts are preaching to the choir. According to the New York Times, Americans have been one of the most compliant mask wearers in the Western world. They rank just behind Germany, and well-behind several Asian countries, but above the UK, France, and Canada, to name only a few.