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Leadership always important

To the Journal editor:

The United States’ population of 331 million people represents 4% of the world’s population of about 8 billion. As of July 16, the U.S. coronavirus (COVID) infection rate was 3,615,711 and the world’s COVID infection rate was 13, 681,062 (per Worldometer and Johns Hopkins University COVID resource center). The U.S. infection rate represents 26.4% of the word’s infection rate. Similarly, the U.S. COVID death rate of 140,100 accounts for 24% of the world’s death rate of 586,127.

The top 4 countries for infections are the U.S., Brazil, India, and Russia. These countries are evidencing dramatically rising infection and death rates. This troubling pattern is occurring in our country despite a wealth of resources.

Countries such as South Korea, Germany, China and Canada have shown marked reductions in both of these measures. Many European countries are thoughtfully re-opening.

What might contribute to the disproportionate number of U.S. COVID infection and death rates and the patterns of infections and deaths shown across those top four countries? Seems to me that leadership style is a central factor.

Each of these countries has authoritative leaders. They have demonstrated pandemic management approaches marked by denial, dismissiveness, minimization, mixed messaging, and contempt for science which have resulted in tremendous suffering.

Social mitigation efforts are the responsibility of each of us (i.e., distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, shelter in place, restricted travel) to help limit and prevent the spread and negative impacts of the pandemic.

Leadership matters. Elections matter.

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