Why we should increase the regulation of social distancing in the United States

Opinion

On Dec. 31, 2019, the first case of coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China. With no information on the disease including its mortality rate, whether it was contagious, and who was most at risk, the rest of the world wasn’t too concerned about an outbreak occurring anywhere else. It wasn’t until the pandemic spread to Italy, from Chinese tourists, that the world began to take precautions. With new advances on the disease’s effects, countries around the world began closing borders, quarantining, and testing citizens. 

While many countries began to take extra steps to secure their borders and keep the disease from spreading, the United States was stubborn and ill-prepared. Donald Trump’s arrogance was the sole reason the United States’ cases rose so drastically in a matter of weeks. I believe that Trump should look to Australia’s methods of controlling COVID-19 as a guide to prepare and slow the damage that has occurred in America since early March.

Being neighbors with China, it is no surprise that Australia encountered its first case of coronavirus 25 days, (Jan. 25, 2019), after its original report in China. Unlike the United States, Australia’s population is only a mere 25 million compared to 328 million. This is why some argue it has been easier for Australia to control the disease. Although one can make a case for this and also state that Australia’s population density is more spread out, they can’t deny the fact that Australia has better enforced the rules and regulations concerning coronavirus. 

Like the United States, Australia began social distancing regulations in late March but also declared that non-residents were now forbidden to enter the country. This meant that only persons of residency or citizenship of Australia were allowed to enter the country. On entry, they were to be quarantined for two weeks, tested, and then retested, similarly but not identical to the United States. 

The major difference that I believe Trump should take into consideration is the way Australia handles and enforces their two week quarantine. Their residents or citizens are located in a hotel upon arrival, where they are guarded by police personnel to ensure that quarantine is not broken or laxed on their terms.

Since the United States and Australia have both begun social distancing regulations as of late March, coronavirus cases in both countries have spiked. From March 21 to March 28, both countries saw more than a 50 percent rise in new cases a day; the United States went from 6,271 new cases to 20,093 new cases a day in a week, while Australia went from 196 new cases to 460 new cases a day. This is understandable since symptoms of the disease take an estimated two weeks to appear, there is not a surplus of coronavirus tests, and they are known to be faulty. 

After the two weeks of the initial social distancing regulations is when these countries began to see a difference from each other. From March 21 to April 4, the United States had as many as 33,725 new cases per day, while Australia had decreased to 194. In the weeks preceding April 4, the United States had a relatively consistent amount of new cases per day, but Australia managed to steadily decrease their new cases per day. As of April 22 to May 22, the numbers ranged from two to 30 per day.

I believe Donald Trump would have been able to see and can still possibly see the same results Australia has, if he tightens regulations surrounding social distancing and does not make any more ridiculous comments or tweets surrounding the topic of coronavirus. This includes his comment of injecting oneself with bleach as a treatment for coronavirus. “I’m not a doctor,” he said. “But I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what.”