How’s the US Doing? We’re doing a little better than Mexico but worse than Iraq.

E. Rosalie
8 min readOct 25, 2020
Financial Times

Note: This is an informal blog post, not an academic endeavor, so there may be errors, colloquialisms, and informal language.

We’re doing a little better than Mexico but worse than Iraq, per capita — yes, it’s adjusted for our population. White House knows this too, given the 500-page report they haven’t shared with us.

You may read here:

Remember when the US was a 1st world country? Those were fun times.

Iraq outperformed us in 90 days and struggles with serious societal obstacles. It has done better than us. What’s the plan here? Show everyone we know what we’re doing becoming a failed state?

We learned this past week that countries following scientific recommendations (some same scientists advising the US advised other countries that listened and are doing well. That may be the most infuriating thing I’ve ever witnessed) controlled spread enough to protect economies.

No, they’re not shut down, and no one is recommending something so ridiculous and obviously harmful. Yes, the locations that controlled this will see cases rise again, but the difference is the degree of that outbreak, how easily they can control it, and the impact it has on society.

Financial Times

Their kids are in school, and their lives are functional. Ours aren’t and that’s our choice. Do you feel free? Do you feel you’re doing well? If we had stayed closed for 2–4 more weeks, we might be more like developed countries with a functional society.

Instead, we threw out everything so we could open up a few weeks earlier, knowing we’d end up far worse.

It’s like not paying your car payment and realizing you can’t get to work anymore because your car got repossessed. Several hundred dollars extra was nice at the time, just like ending measures early was nice. Guess what? Banks calling for the car and now we have no options. Now, we have to walk to work except half the country is mad at the bank.

People are not willing to do another one, and I don’t blame them. Look what leaders did last time. They failed to launch a sophisticated, strategic response, or anything remotely resembling the response the rest of the world expected of us. What’s worse is your leaders knew. Knowing the cost, they encouraged people to protest their frustration instead of supporting them and helping them get through this time with direct payments like everywhere else in the world. No, most of the relief money went to people who didn’t need it, so yes, people are hurting. US Senators and ambassadors got massive PPP loans by leaving loopholes, though, so I’m sure they don’t feel pressure to act.

They encouraged you to throw out our hard-won work, knowing full well the average person cannot afford a $400 surprise bill and needed us to control this.

If you stay open and ignore it, you look better off initially, but it’s a fool’s game. We have a serious problem with addiction to instant gratification. Good results don’t come from ignoring problems. They take hard work and America has forgotten what that looks like. We have forgotten what facing our problems looks like. We could at least perform better than countries facing significant obstacles like Iraq.

Some of this is because we have a country increasingly embracing anti-intellectualism. a nice word for people force the whole country to stay quiet about the obvious: If you haven’t studied or experienced working in a specific field, you probably don’t know more than people who spent decades on that single subject. That’s offensive now? Give me a break. I think letting 300,000 people die because no one wants to admit that is selfish.

We’re functioning worse or similarly to countries where not everyone can get an education, but we’re doing it intentionally. People in countries where not all children go to school would do anything to have that. Rather than gratitude, we spat on it. We don’t need education and we’re going to pretend we know about things we never studied and never experienced.

Right when we bend the curve, we give up and throw all our work away. Anything to be able to do whatever we want whenever we want. We’ve done it twice now.


If your graph looks like stairs, that means you are getting used to this much death and sickness. It no longer bothers you. I remember we still felt the grief of every individual death and appreciated that loss had forever changed the lives of a family. Now, it doesn’t register at all. Since we’ve adjusted, we decide it’s not a big deal. I’m sure there are people who are counting on it, namely those pushing a herd immunity theory full well knowing that it would be a massacre.

You will adjust to a great deal more because that is how humans work, but it does not mean this is any less tragic. People can get used to anything. That’s both our strength and our liability. We recorded over 81,000 cases this past Friday, October 23. We soared past the previous record surpassing the previous record set on July 17, just short of 77,000.

Our World in Data showing the 300,000 deaths in the US over the expected deaths for the year.

As a result of this start-and-quit pandemic strategy, Americans have little faith that these measures work. They are tired of them, and THEY SHOULD BE. Except for nations struggling without sanitation, we should not still be living like this.

Leaders asked much of us and instead of uniting us, they drove us apart. The politicization and division are so strong an effective response may be impossible without a major change.

I know two things:

  1. Leaders didn’t end it because science said so, and
  2. They didn’t do it because they thought we’d be better off.

They have been told everything they need to know, over and over in congressional testimony. Still, this is what we see.

Covid 19 symptoms reported mask-wearing in public, with political affiliation colored.

Even now they promise vaccines soon full well knowing that won’t change our situation much for a very long time.

Wanting to give the public the truth isn’t what’s motivating that. Instead, people are angry at the only people who have tried to help the public. There are over 60,000 Covid-related studies that required international cooperation, and they did it flawlessly because that is what the world needs.

Instead of listening though, we’re focused on the 50 retracted studies, pretending that failure rate justifies listening to people who have no idea how this differs from the flu. Are we serious? What do you think their failure rate would be in those 60,000 studies? If perfection isn’t on the table, then its absence justifies nothing. If you can do better or you know someone who can, I can tell you scientists would be the first ones to step down — this isn’t fun for anyone.

Lit Covid Data Visualization of scientific research during the pandemic.

Everyone has a right to be mad — I’m furious, but it’s not scientists who were wrong. Looking at the evidence doesn’t lead someone to that conclusion. If you’re not in science and you had that impression, ask yourself where it came from and why you are so certain. Who benefits from that? If that’s inconvenient or not what you’d like to hear, I understand that. We’re just hurting ourselves by dragging this out.

If you get it wrong, you have a duty to correct it.

Until we knew about asymptomatic transmission, we couldn’t justify advising the public to wear masks that would soon run out. When we knew changed, we had to change the conclusion. It’s not quite accurate to say anyone got this “wrong” because that’s a popular culture understanding of the recommendation. We don’t draw right or wrong conclusions; we weigh the evidence presented and draw the most likely explanation and accompany that with the level of certainty we have.

Not advising masks at first, was an assessment of the current evidence and given what we knew, the conclusion was correct. Until we had new information that changed the equation, one would not have concluded we should risk depriving our healthcare workers of protection. If we expect people to know the future, we’re living a fantasy.

Masks made sense considering additional information, and regardless of if it admitting that leads to personal embarrassment, admit it we must. Politicians who submitted themselves for election are also duty-bound to this. I hope the public will also consider recent evidence because refusing is to make personal growth and scientific progress impossible.

I don’t need your votes; I don’t need you to like me.

I need us to work together to get our lives back. We have a shared interest. Let’s work together. Let’s not be silly and pretend that people who need you to vote for them will give you the hard truths that might cost them your favor.

I hope you come around soon because we won’t be able to just snap back and live as a first world country. True decline will take place, not just a setback if we don’t get it together.

Infectious disease heavily suppresses developing countries' economic growth — think of any developing country. It’s tropical, isn’t it? They have much more infectious disease, less financial padding to deal with it, and they do not have the luxury of a winter that kills the mosquitos, ticks, flies, etc. When much of the country is sick and dying, it turns out it’s hard to generate GDP.

I know — it’s shocking, right? We don’t actually work harder; we just have less disease. Well, until now, I guess.

The dot with a black circle around it? That’s the US and our observed case-fatality ratio. | Source: JHU

We had the most cases ever on Friday, now 10 months into this pandemic. This is not almost over, in fact, what may someday be regarded as the darkest time in our country has only begun. It will be all the darker because having been told the shepherd would lead us to the butcher, we followed him anyway.

I hope you’ll reconsider and band together because I may know what we should do to reclaim our country, but I cannot do it alone. None of us can. We need each other.

#Covid19 #coronavirus #USA #stats #epitwitter #USA #Science #publichealth #facts #news #fakenews #coronavirusmemes #updates #health #parenting #America #virus #truth



E. Rosalie

Disasters & information (public health + nat sec) | Johns Hopkins alum | @COVID19Tracking alum | Mapping medical misinfo 💉 and information disorder