The Disunited States of America are united once more. After a brutal election that exacerbated bitter partisan divisions and left the country feeling as though it had been torn in two, it has at last been thrown back together.
For all the wrong reasons.
The great leveler is coronavirus. Covid-19 is rampaging across the US as though it were on a personal mission to unify the splintered nation in an unfolding catastrophe. Of the 50 states of the Union, all but one – isolated Hawaii – is seeing alarming spikes in new cases. The virus is on the rise so uniformly across the vast landmass of the US, that records are being shattered daily.
Almost 12m cases have been recorded. In just one day the US notched up 184,000 new cases – six times the total number of infections in South Korea since the pandemic began.
Almost 80,000 Americans are currently in hospital fighting for their lives, and the death rate is soaring inexorably towards 2,000 a day – close to the peak reached in April.
This week the country passed the grimmest landmark so far: 250,000 dead Americans. And already the total has gone up significantly beyond that tragic milestone.
As Michael Osterholm, a member of the coronavirus advisory team assembled by Joe Biden, put it: “We are in the most dangerous public health period since 1918.”
The result of this terrifying march of untrammeled disease is that panic has begun to set in at state level.…