Dr. Sanjay Gupta:
You know, I’ll tell you, I’ll start by telling you, Judy, that before the pandemic, the United States was listed, according to these indices, as the most prepared country in the world, a rich country with many resources.
And we all know how it turned out. There were times when we had the largest number of cases of the disease, of course, per capita, but in the whole world.
I think there were some very specific mistakes, then more philosophical mistakes. I think one thing was just testing. To truly diagnose a problem in medicine, be it an individual patient or a social pandemic, you need to understand what you are dealing with.
And I think with this particular pandemic, for a lot of different reasons, we just haven’t tested. We didn’t test early enough, and even when the tests were deployed, due in part to flaws and also for some other reasons, we just didn’t have enough extensive testing.
And honestly, Judy, it’s still a problem. In the fall of 2021, many months after the start of the pandemic, it is still very difficult to get a clear idea of how widespread the problem is. If I were to ask a simple question, how many people have contracted COVID in the United States, you will get different answers from different experts. This is a big problem.
I think the second big question was if you looked at the data coming in from Wuhan at the time they were saying, “Hey listen, we think it’s not that bad, it doesn’t – doesn’t seem to apply on people. people, at the same time they closed the city with a population of 11 million people.
And that had to be a really important sign that not only was it spreading, but it seemed to be spreading asymptomatically, that is, people didn’t even have symptoms, they didn’t know they were sick, and yet they were still spreading. And that should have been a clear sign that masks would be needed.
So we didn’t start using masks in the United States until spring, while other countries, including China, including South Korea, many countries in this part of the world made masks much earlier. These were specific things.
But from a philosophical point of view, as you mentioned, when you live in a rich country, I think often you have this kind of belief that we can wait for a home run hit, we can run for a knockout punch, we don’t have to do these simple things, we can just do big things when they come up. And the most important thing was the vaccine.
But as a result of such a long wait, I think we missed a lot of opportunities, unfortunately, Judy, unfortunately, prevented many deaths, and I mean hundreds of thousands of potentially averted deaths. And I don’t think I’m exaggerating.