Political analysis of the policy decision on COVID-19 management



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Question 1

In the US, close to 14 percent of the calories produced in the country are consumed by the citizens. Besides, agriculture plays an important role as far as the US economy is concerned. Crops, livestock, and seafood in the US contribute close to $ 300 billion to the economy annually, excluding foodservice and other agriculture-related factories. If all these are included, then the US government gets close to $750 billion, which adds to its gross domestic product. On the other hand, agriculture and fisheries highly rely on the climate. In other words, an increase in the temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) can increase crop yields in some parts of the world. However, for this to be achieved, then nutrients levels, solid moisture, and water availability together with other conditions must be met. There is no doubt that changes in the frequency and severity of droughts and floods could be detrimental and could pose challenges for farmers, thus threatening food safety.

Furthermore, warmer water temperatures could cause habitat ranges of many fish, thus making some species of fish, such as shellfish to shift in so doing, messing up the ecosystem. Generally, climate change could make it difficult for crops to grow, raise animals, and catch fish in the same places and manners we have always done in the past. For instance, the world had a rice shortage in 2008. The drought was indeed severe that many parts of the world held food riots. Some of the countries that were affected mainly include, for instance, Egypt and Syria. The drought was so acute in Syria that it helped cause its civil war. The effects of climate change have been considered together with other evolving factors that have been able to affect agricultural production, for instance, farming practices and technology. Due to the climate change witnessed, the US, for example, had to genetically modify its rice because, with the climate change, there was the problem of rice shortage. The use of technology in US farms has come with some advantages as well as disadvantages. For instance, currently, most American farmers are experiencing the problem of herbicide-tolerant 17-foot-tall ragweed. It came about as a result of the excess use of herbicides by farmers. Too much use of it made it resistant to herbicides. The weed is so dangerous to our crops since it shelters our maize, making it difficult for them to produce as required. As a result, many farmers in the US are forced to use defoliants.

One of the most used kinds of defoliant is the agent orange. Apart from the herbicide-tolerant 17-foot-tall ragweed, another problem faced by US farmers is rust (a fungal disease).  Rust is known for wiping out wheat crops. Correspondingly, bees are also dying in large numbers, thus affecting crop yields.  The nutrition and taste of food have also dropped dramatically, and this is attributable to the technology introduced in agriculture, such as genetically modification of food products. Improvement of crops helps produce large yields. The production of larger yields has resulted in the creation of bad eating habits, fast foods, and the cheapest foods.

These cheapest and fast food are the reasons behind the obesity of American citizens. It is true that in the US, we overproduce, waste, and create bad eating habits. Obesity is a medical condition whereby a surplus amount of body fat puts an individual at risk for many health issues. An individual is viewed as obese if his body mass index is 30 or more. In the US, obesity has reached epidemic proportions since its effects on US citizens have been devastating. For instance, according to the center for disease control and prevention, close to two-thirds of American adults and a sixth of the children in the US are obese. Obese does not only harm an individual physically. However, it may also impair an individual’s quality of life as a whole. Correspondingly, the emitted greenhouse gases threaten endangered species in so doing destroying biodiversity. We genetically interfere with food to increase yields and appearance at the expense of taste and nutrition. The US agriculture policy ruins our health, the environment and destabilizes governments.

In monoculture farming, it encourages planting one plant or agriculture of a single animal species at a time. As a result, monoculture farming allows farmers to increase their yields efficiently. However, this practice comes with many challenges. One such challenge is the issue of soil nutrients with time. Correspondingly, it does not end there. It also results in reduced nutrient content in food such that we end up taking foods that are low in nutrients. The use of chemicals in crops has been there to help address the lack of nutrients for plants. However, it has also been criticized because when it is used in excess, it contaminates drinking water in the adjacent communities farther downstream, results in dead zones and toxic algae bloom that is capable of resulting in more health risks.

On the other hand, given that monoculture is more vulnerable to weeds and insects, farmers have mainly used pesticides to increase crop yields in the US. One of the most used herbicides globally is the Roundup. Roundup has an active ingredient known as Glyphosate. The chemical is unproved as a biocide, in other words, life-killer. This is because the component is rumored to be linked to cancer and hormonal disruption. Besides, it is also believed that it can damage the beneficial microbes in soil and the digestive systems of human beings and animals.

Apart from pesticides, antibiotics have also been criticized for their side effects. For instance, in CAFOs, animals are kept in large numbers and closely. The keeping of many animals together in large quarters comes with some disadvantages. For example, it makes it easier for diseases to spread with much ease if one animal is sick.  To help address this problem, many farmers in the US usually administer antibiotics to healthy animals in masse. The practice of administering antibiotics to healthy animals in mass has been linked to antibiotic resistance.  This has become one of the biggest threats to global health and food security.


Question 3

COVID- 19 is a sweeping pandemic affecting the entire globe. Although there is a test vaccine that serves as an antibody, the world is yet to slow the infection and narrow down the death curve.  COVID- 19 is a whole-blown epidemic, and the WHO is researching to find a lasting solution. Meanwhile, countries embrace lockdown and social distance policies to stop the spread of the virus.  There has been a severe disjoint in COVID- 19 response in the US. On 9th August, the US recorded the highest cases and death globally, passing the five million mark of COVID-19 cases. Unfortunately, the surge occurred due to the fundamental policy decision of Donald Trump. This paper seeks to discuss the political analysis of the US political policy decision on COVID-19 management. Correspondingly, the paper will highlight the role of the US federal government, the governor, the attorney general, and the mayor on the COVID- 19 mitigation decision. The paper will discuss the peoples’ response to lockdown strategies and the impact of a new lockdown. Lastly, the paper will examine the competency of the federal, state, and local authorities in managing the coronavirus in the US.

Political analysis of the policy decision on COVID-19 management

Coronavirus demonstrates ramifying public health, economic and political crisis across the globe. The virus gives a new look into the political decisions of the US government. For a year, the coronavirus crawls across the US. The virus affects both the people and the fundamental aspect of human culture. The policymakers and the public sector face the most significant challenge ever as lives hang in a fetal balance. The US faces a health crisis, economic collapse, and social and political disruption. Unfortunately, the US government’s response to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 was unsatisfactory.

The day that nearly all the US states qualified as coronavirus hot spots,  Sturgis, a  small town in South Dakota, prepared to welcome 250000 bikers to its annual biker rally. The biker rally was one of the largest public gatherings globally in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Regrettably, nobody seemed to care about WHO directives on coronavirus mitigation rule: neither were the bikers observing social distancing nor wearing face masks. On the contrary, 40 million Californians were under the state’s mandatory mask order.

The patchwork responses of coronavirus pandemic caused a sharp division on the partisan lines. The government bodies read from different scripts. Coming from the worst epidemic, the New York state announced school reopening after deploying strict public health measures to lower the infection rates. While in Georgia, the Democratic mayor of Atlanta’s desire to deploy stringent standards faced opposition from the Republican governor.  Besides, similar tension was displayed in Texas and Florida, where the virus cases were surging daily.  The political policy on Covid management was lamentable. Considering the famously fragmented healthcare system of the US, the federal government would have done better.  I do not dispute the fact that the pandemic comes without warning. The fact that China managed to control the situation was enough reason for the US to record a remarkable performance. However, the US  recorded an alarming COVID- 19 related deaths.

The failed policy and leadership of the US are to blame for the disappointing response to COVID-19 management. Donald rendered the federal government powerless during the pandemic. In April 2020, President Donald announced the state as the overall controller of the virus containment activities. A move that deprived the federal government of its primary responsibilities of containing the virus. Decentralizing authority and responsibility amidst a national crisis was a tragic political decision ever made by the state. The political shift created a vacuum in the federal response to the virus, and the ramifications were complex. The US has 3141 counties. Some large and independent implement public health measures while others are so rural that they even lack a health department. The disparity requires a central federal response to combat the pandemic.

On 31st January, WHO issued a Global Health Emergency on the COVID-19 pandemic. The human-to-human transmission was quickly spreading, and the United States recorded some cases of coronavirus infection. One week later, twenty-one people out of forty-six tested aboard a cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19. Come 13th March; President Trump declared coronavirus a national emergency. Research estimates that about 83% of the US death could have been preserved if the US entered lockdown on 1st March. States had different lockdown times. California and New York states got into lockdown on 19th March and 22nd March, respectively. However, states like Georgia only implemented the lockdown measures on 3rd April.  I believe that Trump’s administration downplayed the risk of the virus, although there was information about the outbreak in February and early March.

When a second lockdown loomed in the US, the country did not show the political and economic power to sustain it. Nonetheless, the lockdown was necessary because, during the July pick, the national rolling average COVID-19 cases were more than 40000 daily which was higher than the cases recorded during the first lockdown. The indifference to the second lockdown was not only among the citizens. The governors, the administrators, and the Congress also showed no interest in the second lockdown. They preferred alternative measures like encouraging mask-wearing, social distancing, and public health actions to curb the spread of the virus.

Nevertheless, California Governor issued new restrictions to slow the rate of the virus spread. Some schools continued to hold classes while the Los Angeles Unified School District closed the partially opened campuses. Moreover, San Francisco issued a playground closure notice. The US responded to the coronavirus pandemic at all levels of government.  The state enacted legislation by relying on its agencies to respond to the pandemic. The federal executed respond to the pandemic by temporary rules because the COVID- 19 is a public health pandemic. The government responses to COVID-19 included activities like local police power and mask mandate. The police officers are mandated to ensure the public wears masks and observes social distancing. Therefore, despite the challenges from the non-compliant citizens, I believe the federal government and the local authority were competent at their work.

Although the vaccine finally here, the pandemic still claims lives every day. The cost-benefit of a second lockdown in the US is a hard tackle. The long term economic solvency is a concern. Lockdown means businesses remain closed except for essential services. There are financial implications that may affect the food and drug supply chains. The family’s financial hardship is another effect of a lockdown. Conversely, the federal government needs to consider the number of possible death on lifting the lockdown to reclaim the economy. Although the lockdown impedes economic growth, it significantly slows the spread of COVID- 19 infection.









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