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The Politics of COVID-19

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With an increasingly divided America every issue is being politicized, but the COVID-19 pandemic has unified America to an extent. No American citizen or politician wants to see others get infected or suffer from the disease.

On both ends of the political spectrum, it is agreed that the economy will be severely hurt by the pandemic due to closings and social distancing orders. By late March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (better known for the stimulus checks) passed nearly unanimously in both the House and the Senate. More relief acts are currently being discussed in Congress.

A major dispute over the economic impact of COVID-19 has to do with when to reopen the US economy. President Trump has moved his economy opening goal from Easter to May. This dispute can be seen within the Trump Administration as his medical advisors want to extend social distancing for safety reasons, while his economic advisors want to reopen as quickly as possible to prevent long term economic damages.

Thirdly, President Trump has been advocating for the usage of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, to treat the coronavirus. Dr. Fauci, one of Trump’s advisors and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has opposed this view due to a lack of clinical trials. Some people have mistakingly ingested fish tank water, which contains chloroquine phosphate, to treat coronavirus.

There is also the controversy of the name of the virus. Some argue that referring the virus as the Wuhan or China Virus is offensive and does not help with the growing anti-Asian sentiment. Others argue that the name is merely an acknowledgement of the virus’ first recorded infection.

President Trump has mobilized the US automobile industry to assist in the production of medical equipment by invoking the Defense Production Act of 1950. With this act, General Motors and Ford plan to build thousands of ventilators and hundreds of thousands of face covers.

COVID-19 has also affected the US military. The US Army Corps of Engineers has assisted in the building of field hospitals and hospital beds. The US navy had relived a captain of duty for raising an alarm for the virus on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. However, several people in the ship’s crew did get the virus, and many ships are seeing similar outbreaks.

On a much more local scale, Governor Cuomo has enacted several executive orders keeping ‘nonessential’ workers home, making face covering mandatory, and plans on reopening by May 15.