A lot has happened since my last post in February. There have been protests in the streets across the US. Even worse, COVID-19 has become a world-wide pandemic. The COVID-19 Dashboard at Johns Hopkins University shows that as of this writing, the US has the most cases at over four and a half million cases and over 150,000 deaths. Just under a million and a half people have recovered from COVID-19. Some hospitals have run out of ICU beds.
Now is the time for all Americans to come together and cooperate with epidemic control measures so that we can “flatten the curve”and bring COVID-19 under control so that we can make it a non-issue when a vaccine has been developed and most Americans have taken the vaccine. However, it seems that some Americans are fighting back against epidemic control measures. Masks are an example. Surgeons have used face masks for a long time. People in some other countries have worn face masks since the SARS epidemic of 2003 if not even further back. Here in the US, people have been spit on for asking someone to wear a mask: Fort Worth 7-Eleven, gas station store in Colorado, Pennsylvania Walmart, Michigan store, New Jersey mall, etc. Other people have been coughed on for asking someone to wear a mask. In other cases, it was physical or verbal assaults: New York Trader Joe’s, Washington DC area restaurants, many McDonald’s, etc. In San Francisco, bus passengers assaulted the driver with a bat. In Fullerton, California, a customer reportedly set a restaurant on fire due to the mask policy. Considering that it has been found people infected with COVID-19 do not always show symptoms, if Americans do not wear masks, how else do we mitigate or prevent the spread of the virus?
Meanwhile, the country practically ran out of cleaning supplies early in the pandemic. Even toilet paper and paper towels were sold out in stores. Toilet paper and paper towels seem to be returning to store shelves now. However, it seems like other cleaning supplies, such as, but not limited to, disinfectant wipes, disinfectant sprays, Windex, 409, etc., are still practically sold out. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is also in short supply, even for medical professionals. The US seems to lack manufacturing capacity. We can’t make cleaning supplies or PPE fast enough to meet the demand by Americans. We’re relying on other countries. For example, do a Google search for “Taiwan mask donations.” You will get millions of search results. Taiwan has donated several million surgical face masks to American medical professionals, US military, US veterans, etc. since March, and they continue to donate more almost every week. In July, Taiwan donated 400,000 to Los Angeles County, 3,000 masks to Native Americans in Washington state, 92,000 to South Carolina, 50,000 to Queens, New York, 220,000 to Florida, 250,000 to the American Legion, 10,000 N95 masks to Arkansas, 2,000 face shields to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida, 300,000 surgical face masks to the US Dept of Veterans Affairs, 114,000 masks to Iowa, 25,000 to a medical center in North Dakota, etc. Business Wire says Taiwan has donated over 51 million masks to countries around the world and they make 20 million surgical face masks per day. By the way, did you know that it was a Taiwanese-American that invented the N95 respirator mask? So if we are the world’s superpower, how come we’re on the receiving end of donated PPE and not the giving end? Based on Google search results, Taiwan is a fifth of the size of Florida with slightly more population. Yet Taiwan has a total of fewer than 480 cases and there has only been seven deaths. That’s fewer cases and deaths than any one state in the US. And Taiwan did not do a general lockdown like many states in the US did.
In conclusion, I hope you are doing well during the pandemic and that you stay well for the rest of the pandemic and hopefully it will be over before the end of the year. If at all possible, don’t forget to do the epidemic control measures: wear a mask whenever you’re away from home and less than six feet from others, social distance by staying at least six feet from others, wash your hands often, etc.