Alexa Shrake Headshot

Sports Editor Alexa Shrake writes the column "Up on the Hill" to discuss issues in government and politics.

We began to hear about the deadly spread of COVID-19 in late December 2019 and early January 2020, which originated from Wuhan, China. Not sure what it was at first, some assuming it was like a new, powerful version of the flu.

We were caught by surprise at the turn of events.

The United States experienced mass panic from toilet paper being whipped off the shelves of stores, cleaning supplies being sold one at a time to not trusting anyone who coughed.

But how did a virus become so political?

“Coronavirus, just as any topic in America, has become so political because of the fact that someone has to be right about the way that it goes,” senior Kiersten Nielsen said.

State governors and the Trump Administration are in control of what rules and regulations are set to keep citizens safe during a global pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control tried to assist but have experienced resistance from the Trump Administration. Many of the agencies have been victims of defunding and restraint for years.

The CDC has been experiencing cutbacks for years. With no funding and constantly being dismissed, they have been struggling to calm and help U.S. citizens. The CDC was created to help provide Americans with information and ways to keep them healthy during times of illness.

Pres. Trump claimed that the World Health Organization was under the control of China as the virus breaks out. The Trump administration made the move to pull out of the World Health Organization in July. The membership will end in July 2021.

American citizens have to rely on what Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, informs the Administration. During his career, Fauci has advised six presidents, since former Pres. Ronald Reagan and researched topics from HIV to tuberculosis, malaria, and more.

Currently, Fauci is advising the Trump Administration with their COVID-19 response as he’s known to be one of the main researches of the Emergency Plan for AIDS relief back in 2003, plus his extensive knowledge in respiratory infections.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s COVID-19 response has been quick but questioned by many Hoosiers. When the mask mandate went into effect, sheriffs from Sullivan, Morgan, Hamilton, Delaware, and Johnson, said they would not uphold the mandate. Because of inconsistent information from officials all over, Hoosiers felt uneasy.

“Because Americans feel like one party is better than the other one, everything has to be politized,” Nielsen said.

Back in March, businesses shut down and we were asked to stay home at all costs. We were told to wear a face mask around anybody, for safety and out of respect to the other person. We thought it would be three weeks maximum. Then three weeks turned into six months.

According to the Indiana COVID-19 Data Report, there have been over 100,000 positive cases since March 9, and 3,322 deaths as of Tuesday. The number of new cases and deaths has begun to plateau since Indiana hit a peak during the summer.

There are still new positive cases every day, however, they are beginning to decrease. Hoosiers are recognizing how to keep track of their health and what to do if they believed to be COVID-19 positive.

As health officials continue the development of a vaccine, whether is distributed to citizens is a decision made by our political leaders.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a statement on Sept. 16 saying the Trump Administration’s plans to release a COVID-19 vaccine once one is made. They will follow a specific strategy to keep the distribution safe and under control as fast as possible.

First, the vaccine has to go through trials and manufacturing before being approved by the FDA and CDC. Once that is completed the vaccine will be distributed to administration sites across the country.

There is hope our new lifestyle may change once again soon.

For many Americans, health care is too expensive. Many jobs don’t offer health care benefits or paid time off, leaving Americans to work through illness and pain.

We should be listening to our medical professionals and not politicians when it comes to our health.

We are near the general election, neither of the presidential candidates has their campaign focused on universal health care when we are in a global pandemic.

Are you prepared for Nov. 3?

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