Photo By |Flickr – Holger Matthes
By Shanae Harte
Since the emergence of Covid-19 in the USA, there is no doubt that all released information and publicized plans have been politicized by the Republican and Democratic parties. As the vaccines arrive in America, the likelihood that politics will continue to be the sovereign focus is high.
Anyone looking at the current events of the USA could see that when it comes to the virus, politics always somehow crept its way to the forefront of the conversation. But, according to Shaniyat Chowdhury, former Congressional candidate for NY-5, this is not a surprise.
“Any moment of American history where people of the country are being affected of this magnitude, it will always be politicized,” said Chowdhury.
As the cases grew immensely, both parties aimed to receive credit for any positive occurrence related to the virus. Additionally, whenever there was a negative occurrence, the ‘blame-game’ was played. This ploy for glory was intense as the 2020 presidential election was close by and this will only continue as a vaccine for the virus has now become available.
New York, one of the most populous states in the country, has now seen 781,000 cases with a total of over 35,000 deaths and is now experiencing its second case of the virus. The need for some sort of relief in this state is dire, but, as politicization continues to be the main factor in this situation, Donald Trump based the distribution of vaccines to this state on his political relationship with New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo and wanted to withhold the vaccine from the state.
In one of his press conferences from the White House Rose Garden, Trump said the governor would have to tell him when he was ready for the vaccine because, “We can’t be delivering it to a state that won’t be giving it to its people immediately.”
Cuomo, not giving into political shenanigans, set up a vaccine distribution plan for the state which specifies that front line workers and the elderly in nursing homes will receive the first sets of vaccines. Yes, it is commendable that the governor was able to make a plan that would, seemingly, benefit New Yorkers but with the egregious distrust in the vaccine by civilians, it almost seems as if this vaccine is being force-fed to us with no other options being presented. Is this just a case of “good parenting” or are we looking at the assembly of another politician’s portfolio?
Chowdhury believes the situation to be varied.
“We know before the pandemic hit, there were elected officials who knew about the virus and banked out at Wall Street,” said Chowdhury. “There are others who are concerned about bailing out corporations because those are their donors and the few that have the best interest at hearts for the American people have been pushing for more stimulus packages that will relieve people from being rent-burdened, unemployed, and keep people at home to curve the COVID rates.”
Trump’s plan to keep the vaccine from New York failed and the first vaccine to be administered in America was given to an ICU nurse, Sandra Lindsay, in Queens. Despite the fact that the vaccine is ready to be administered, there is great distrust in the vaccine among Americans, especially black Americans. In a clinical trial of delivering the vaccine, a few members in the experimental group developed Bell’s palsy. Though the CDC believes there is no correlation between the vaccine and face paralysis, the fact that more than one case occurred has increased the distrust in the vaccine.
To add to the already great distrust, on December 14, Donald Trump tweeted that he preferred for the staff from the White House, including himself, to not be among those receiving the vaccine now. The very person that sang praises of the vaccine, rushed for it to be given to Americans, and tried to take credit for its completion, is now denying taking it himself. The only politicization card that needs to be played by government officials currently is easing the fear Americans have for the vaccine, but that ease will not be given by the current president.
The hope is that President-elect Joe Biden will do a better job at not only separating politics and the coronavirus vaccine but doing something that will decrease the number of cases seen in the country. Earlier in November, Cuomo called on Biden to take over Trump’s Covid-19 vaccine plans as he believes Trump has been mismanaging this situation.
Chowdhury also has confidence that Biden taking over the vaccine plan would be a good decision for the country.
“I do believe Joe Biden will handle this slightly better than Trump,” said Chowdhury. “Any of the Democratic candidates would have,”
To combat the virus, and the rising cases, Biden has proposed a 100-day plan that will include civilians wearing masks for the first 100 days of his presidency, as well as the continuation of administering vaccines to Americans. It is unclear whether Biden’s plan will be effective, but with Trump’s vendetta against Biden, and his hope to run again in 2024, there is no doubt that politics will continue to be a major factor while vaccines are being administered.
“Everyone will evaluate how the government handles a crisis of this magnitude,” said Chowdhury.“It will be brought up in the media and debate stages because their decisions will have consequences.”
The world will be watching to see how Biden’s plan will affect the country’s well-being. That is why it is imperative that once Biden steps into power, he assumes his role effectively and does what is best for Americans. The world will be watching.