40% Of America’s COVID-19 Deaths Were Avoidable, Study Finds
A new study has found that up to 40% of COVID-19 deaths in the US were avoidable.
So far, 27 million people in the US have been infected with coronavirus and more than 470,000 have died; both figures are the highest of any country in the world.
Now, a study published in The Lancet aimed at examining Trump’s health care policy record, found 40% of coronavirus deaths could have been avoided. The study noted there were multiple factors in the death toll, and weighted the average death rate in the other G7 countries and compared it to the US death rate.
While Trump has been criticised for his slow and badly-managed response to the pandemic, the study found the US’s public health infrastructure was partly to blame. Between 2002 and 2019, public health spending in the country fell from 3.21% to 2.45%, around half the spending of Canada and the UK.
Dr Mary T Bassett, a member of the study and director of Harvard University’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, told The Guardian:
The US has fared so badly with this pandemic, but the bungling can’t be attributed only to Mr Trump, it also has to do with these societal failures… That’s not going to be solved by a vaccine.
The study noted how the declining health service infrastructure over the last twenty years meant there were systematic issues that led to unnecessary deaths.
When cross-examining the findings of the study with Trump’s leadership, Basset said:
[Trump] was sort of a crowning achievement of a certain period but he’s not the only architect, and so we decided it’s important to put him in context, not to minimize how destructive his policy agenda has been and his personal fanning the flames of white supremacy, but to put it in context.
The study didn’t merely look at healthcare as a reason behind unneeded death, but also investigated ‘inequities and injustices’ that lead to sickness. Due to this perspective, many of Trump’s regulatory rollbacks have also been attributed to the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
Going forward, President Biden is enforcing greater measures to reduce the spread of the virus. However, this study suggests the issues in the US extend beyond figureheads and are closely connected to lawmakers, regulation and a history of cutting medical funding.
Dr Adam Gaffney, a commission member and Harvard Medical School assistant professor, added: ‘To only focus on medical care would neglect the many other inequities and injustices that produce health and sickness… I hope this report pushes those with power to pursue the necessary policies to make this a healthier and happier nation.’
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