The United States has had the worst response to COVID-19 among any country in the world. We are approaching nearly 200K deaths and more than 6 million known infections. The US government’s response to the pandemic from early on was a mixture of denial and incompetence. This includes a failure to set up an effective testing infrastructure to let the nation identity who was infected and who was not; downplaying the seriousness of the infection like comparing it with the flu when everyone knew it was far more deadly; the large campaign of misinformation through platforms like Facebook and much of the misinformation being augmented by our federal political leaders has led to a dramatically uneven response across the nation. As we look towards the fall and winter, despite progress on therapeutics and vaccines on the horizon, we will need a coordinated and effective federal response if we are to avoid hundreds of thousands of people dying from this disease.
1. To understand the role of the US federal government in testing and other disease containment strategies
2. To understand how US federalism led to a diversity of responses and outcomes in this pandemic