When the pandemic first started in the month of January, not many people expected that it would infect more than 11 million Americans by the end of the year. However, the pandemic has caused more than and 250000 deaths across the country during this year.
Even when the covid-19 cases continue to surge at a rapid pace across the country, the republicans and democrats remain in stark disagreement over managing the situation.
Public Health experts and political scientists across the country are surprised that even a pandemic of this scale is not able to bridge the gap between political parties. Most of them expected that the political parties would unite to fight against the covid-19 pandemic.
Experts thought that politicians would give up their partisan ties and come to terms with the ground reality. But the situation did not turn out in that way, and the country is still divided on the way the pandemic has to be handled. It has surprised many countries in the world that the US has still not passed a mask mandate across the country. Even smaller countries that do not have enough infrastructure to handle the pandemic have passed such mandates and imposed strict restrictions to control the situation.
It is common for people to support their parties when it comes to political events. However, when it comes to dealing with the health crisis that has affected every person in some way or the other, most people believed that the partisan gap would go away. The political leaders would take this situation in a serious way. As both parties have seen a lot of damage due to the coronavirus in their own states and communities, scientists thought that this would lead to a change in stance.
Experts who have explored the political differences from the beginning of the pandemic say that the republicans and democrats have significantly different views right from the beginning. It was surprising to see that politicians were louder than the health experts when it came to dealing with the pandemic. People could see more statements coming from political leaders with regards to the pandemic than from the concerned public Health Care authorities. The republicans always tried to downplay the virus and continued to support the reopening of businesses and schools across the country. On the other hand, the Democrats saw the pandemic as a serious threat that could derail the economy and the country for a very long duration.
There are different interpretations of what is the primary problem of the country at the moment. While most people believe that the covid-19 pandemic is a primary Public Health issue, others believe that the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic is the real issue.
During the initial days of the pandemic, the urban areas were more affected as they were more liberal in terms of reopening businesses and moving around in public places. However, even as the coronavirus started moving into the rural areas, the republicans did not show much change in their attitude. This has surprised many analysts who thought that political identity would take a back seat during a crisis situation.
It is also observed that people would like to read or listen to that kind of news that confirms their behaviour and belief system. This came true during the pandemic as many people did not take the guidelines of the CDC in a serious way and decided not to wear masks in public places.
There is some hope for the US now as a change in administration is seen in the next few weeks. The new government is likely to impose a nationwide mask mandate that will go a long way in preventing many infections in the next few months. But experts feel that the new government may need the support of republican allies with regards to enforcing regulations across the country.
There is some positive development with regards to the development of vaccines from many corners. The divide continues even with regards to using vaccines to prevent the infections in future. Nearly half of the people may not use vaccination even if it is available in the market. Given this situation, most scientists expect that herd immunity is the ultimate solution to control the pandemic in the long run.