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Coronavirus crisis underscores US health system is ‘international joke’: Scholar

Kevin Barrett

A huge percentage of Americans are unable to afford health care and have not been tested for the rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic, underscoring that the US health care system is an “international joke,” an American scholar says.

The US is “the only advanced country without universal health care and for that reason, the response here has been abysmal,” said Kevin Barrett, an author, journalist and radio host with a Ph.D.  in Islamic and Arabic Studies.

“There are no tests; Americans can't get tested,” Barrett told Press TV on Monday.

“So the US has been as bad as anyone probably worse in terms of its response but all we're getting from the media here is this war propaganda against China and Iran,” he added.

There are “many reasons to be suspicious that this might have been a biological warfare attack designed to cripple the Chinese economy, and to cripple the global economy to prevent the rise of China, and at the same time, with a particularly nasty variant sent into Iran to further punish Iran.”

The United States and Britain braced for one of their darkest weeks in living memory on Monday as the social and financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic deepened.

More than 9,600 people have died of the virus in the United States, and it leads the world in confirmed infections at more than 337,000.

The outlook was bleak in Britain, which reported more than 600 deaths Sunday, surpassing Italy’s daily increase for the second day in a row.

Worldwide, more than 1.2 million people have been confirmed infected and nearly 70,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. The true numbers are certainly much higher, due to limited testing, different ways nations count the dead and deliberate under-reporting by some governments.

The pandemic is likely killing people in the United States that are not counted in the nation’s growing death toll, according to a report by The Washington Post, citing public health experts and government officials involved in the tally.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) counts only deaths in which the presence of the coronavirus is confirmed in a laboratory test. “We know that it is an underestimation,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said.

A widespread lack of access to testing in the early weeks of the US outbreak means people with respiratory illnesses died without being counted, epidemiologists say. Even now, some people who die at home or in overburdened nursing homes are not being tested, according to funeral directors, medical examiners and nursing home representatives.

President Donald Trump has faced criticism for playing down the outbreak in its initial stages. He said early on that the virus was under control and repeatedly compared it to the seasonal flu.

“The US health system is an international joke. A huge percentage of Americans can't afford health care and have no health insurance,” Barrett said.

“It's the only advanced country without universal health care. And for that reason, the response here has been abysmal; there are no tests. Americans can't get tested,” he added.

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