This year, the election is happening in the midst of a worldwide health crisis. As the coronavirus pandemic has continued to spread, it has changed daily life for people around the globe. Millions of people have been infected with the deadly virus—and more of those cases have been in the U.S. than any other country. Millions of Americans stayed home for weeks this spring to stay safe and help contain the virus. But cases surged in many states this summer after businesses that closed to stop the spread of the virus started to reopen.
Health officials say that without strong plan to contain the coronavirus—and ultimately a vaccine for it—the virus will continue to spread. They stress how important it is for people to wear face masks, wash their hands frequently, and practice social distancing. Meanwhile, Americans want to hear what the candidates plan to do to help stop the virus and safely reopen businesses and schools.
Voters also want to know how candidates plan to prevent other dangerous diseases from spreading around the world in the future. Public health officials have concluded that the risk of a devastating pandemic has grown in recent decades. One big reason, they say, is that the world has become increasingly connected, especially by air travel. To prevent the next pandemic, many experts say, nations worldwide must devote more money and resources to their public health systems. Developing new vaccines should also be a top priority. More medical staff need to be trained. And more supplies need to be stockpiled so they don’t run out in a crisis. In the upcoming election, Americans will likely want to hear how the candidates will take on such challenges.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a devastating global health crisis. Midway through 2020, hundreds of thousands of people had died from the virus worldwide, and the U.S. continued to have more cases than any other nation. As Covid-19 infections continue to spread uncontrolled in most states across the U.S., the pandemic response has become one of the most important issues in this year’s presidential election. Voters want to know what candidates plan to do to finally end this health crisis—and prevent another one from happening in the future.
Containing the Coronavirus
As of late July, the coronavirus had infected more than 16 million people globally and killed more than 650,000 individuals. About a quarter of all known infections and deaths have been in the U.S.
Early in the U.S. outbreak, President Donald Trump restricted travel from countries where the virus was spreading quickly. Since then, he has focused on the fast development of a vaccine for the virus. Overall, however, he has largely left it up to individual states to oversee their responses to the coronavirus.
Many state leaders have requested assistance from the federal government. In some areas, medical workers have not had enough supplies to treat patients safely and hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients. Testing for the virus has been slow and inadequate, experts say.
At the same time, in an effort to boost the struggling economy, many states that had been temporarily shut down have moved to reopen quickly, something the president has encouraged. Health experts have continued to caution that reopening too early could lead to new outbreaks. Indeed, many states that reopened businesses have seen a dangerous spike in cases. Some states have had to pause their reopening plans as cases mounted.
Many health officials warn that without the development of a strong, coordinated federal plan to contain the coronavirus—as well as the development of a vaccine—the virus will continue to spread. They stress how important it is for people to wear face masks, wash their hands frequently, and practice social distancing. Meanwhile, Americans want to know what candidates will do to contain the virus once and for all—and safely reopen the economy.
Preventing Future Pandemics
Public health officials have concluded that the risk of a devastating pandemic has grown in recent decades, as the world has become increasingly connected. To prevent the next infectious-disease crisis, many experts say, the U.S. and other countries need to start treating pandemic preparedness with the same seriousness as threats such as war, which has historically not been the case.
They say nations must better fund and equip their public health systems. Developing new vaccines should be a top priority. More medical staff need to be trained to combat pandemics. And supplies must be stockpiled so they don’t run out in a crisis. It is also critical to develop and maintain systems worldwide that can rapidly detect and contain viruses, experts add.
According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, nearly 80 percent of Americans say the spread of infectious disease is a major threat to the U.S. In the leadup to the upcoming election, they will likely want to hear how candidates will confront the problem.