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OPINIONS

Medical Equipment in the Banana Republic of America

In the context of the generosity of spirit generated by the shocking days we live in, one can tolerate and accept many things.

For example, that the U.S. government was unaware of the coronavirus outbreak in China because the Chinese government had not informed it in a timely manner. That is to say, our country’s intelligence services were in a deep sleep.

That we need to apply the 6 foot ‘social distancing’ rule.

That there is a need to close schools.

That churches need to be closed to the public.

That we need to live in quarantine at home.

That travel restrictions are needed in the New York Metropolitan Area.

That there is a need to stop overseas flights – including into Greece.

That it is necessary for America’s economy to be shuttered.

That millions of people need to lose their jobs – 3,300,000 just last week – and for hundreds of thousands of businesses to close.

That nothing can be done about the thousands that are dying in America..

That… that…

But that the almighty America – the richest, most advanced country in the world, the land that inspired generations of people on Earth, the empire of science, the land of almost all major technological inventions that have changed the course of human history – that this country, does not have basic hospital equipment such as syringes, gloves, and respirators – this is hard to grasp.

It is difficult to imagine that in the absence of respirators, doctors are forced to decide who will be helped to breathe and who will not; who will live and who will die.

This is unthinkable. And yet, it is true.

On a daily basis, mayors and governors ask the President of the United States to provide them with these items.

However, the demand greatly exceeds the supply.

So, the President had to order GM plants to produce respirators.

But that takes time.

How critical the issue of hospital equipment has become was summed up in last Saturday’s issue of The New York Times by a six-column headline: Plea for Ventilators as Trump Signs Aid Bill.
If this were happening in countries in places like Latin America or Africa, we would expect it.

But to happen in America?

How did we get to this point?

The subject is complicated.

Basically, two things helped shape this situation:

First, the bureaucracy created (at least) over the past thirty years is a deterrent to the discovery of new drugs in the United States.

And, second, the ill-thought out globalization that led to the transfer of production of medicines and hospital equipment outside the United States, mainly to China.

And so, while China distributes masks throughout the world, making friends – among other countries, Greece – America looks like a paper tiger, incapable of helping not only others but its own citizens.

And then we wonder about the silent uprising of its population and the support for candidates who years ago would have had no chance of being elected.

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