It has been said that Americans do things a little differently than citizens in other countries. Most of the time we are proud to say that is the truth.

Unfortunately, we are not looking too good in our response to the latest health scare.  I’m referring of course to the COVID-19 virus, widely known as the coronavirus, which has people scrambling for ways to protect themselves from the deadly virus.

More than 83,000 people in 56 countries have been infected and more than 3000 have died from complications of the virus.

The virus, which first sickened people in China in December, is thought to have been passed from animals to humans.

Despite the claim from one Republican senator on Fox News that the virus may have come from a lab in China as a bioweapon, scientists who have studied the molecular makeup of the virus say it has too many similarities to the coronaviruses in animals to be man-made.

The 2019 coronavirus is part of a family of viruses that produce illnesses ranging from the common cold to more critical diseases such as SARS or MERS.  Most of the cases have been mild, but it has been deadly for some people.  The most severe cases can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and death.

Congress has begun its usual ‘throwing some money at it’ solution without a plan.

Democrats immediately blamed Trump for cutting funding for the Centers for Disease Control’s epidemic preparedness branch in the latest budget while Trump claims Democrats are using the virus as another “hoax” to ruin his chances for re-election.

When the administration requested $2.5 billion in funding from Congress to combat the virus outbreak, Democrats balked at the amount claiming it was “completely inadequate.”  There are usually calls to reduce any amount he requests.

As with every other story that involves the current administration, insults, finger-pointing and wacko claims are running rampant.

Trump called Nancy Pelosi “incompetent” and accused her of not thinking about the country.

Trump’s son, Don, Jr. claimed Democrats hope the virus kills millions so his father’s “winning streak” is ended.

And of course, the media is to blame.

Rush Limbaugh, Trump’s ally and best bud, accused the media of overhyping the coronavirus calling it the “common cold” and said the virus is being used as a weapon to attack President Trump.

Since these politicians care more about fighting each other than viruses, we will trust the experts and scientists.

The CDC says the virus causing coronavirus 2019 is not the same as the coronavirus that commonly circulates among humans and causes the common cold.

The director of the National Infectious Disease said the virus has adapted extremely well to the human species and appears to have a higher mortality rate than the flu. The United States flu related death rate is 0.1 per-cent while the current coronavirus mortality rate is 2 per cent.

On Sunday there were 70 known cases in the United States with two recorded deaths from the virus.

 There are now cases in California, Oregon, Washington state, Illinois, Florida and Rhode Island.

The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control have posted information on their websites about the spread of the virus.  It addresses false claims and provides facts.

Some information provided include the need for people to wash their hands as frequently as possible with alcohol-based hand rub or with soap and water.

There is no evidence that older people or younger people are more susceptible to the virus.

Antibiotics do not work against any virus and there is currently no vaccine to prevent the spreading of the virus.  Pneumonia and flu vaccines do not provide protection.

The CDC does not recommend people wear face masks unless a health care professional recommends it.

The United States House of Representatives could vote this week on a bill aimed at providing funding for the country’s coronavirus response.  The bill is seeking approval of between $6 and $8 billion dollars.  We have received no information on how they plan to use the money.

Money is helpful but we need information on the measures that will be taken to slow the spread of the disease and we need our leaders to stop politicizing the potential crisis we are facing.

Public health officials say allowing politics into disease prevention could make it harder to fight.

Pandemic or hoax?  Either way, it is serious enough that people are dying.  It’s always better to have a plan and not need it than need one and not have it.

The coronavirus does not discriminate between political parties.  People are getting sick and others are panicking.

America needs leaders who puts its citizens’ welfare ahead of their agendas.

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