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COVID-19 stress test: democracies seem better at fighting coronavirus

COVID-19 stress test: democracies seem better at fighting coronavirus

Nowadays, the coronavirus-driven crisis is testing not only the economies but also the political systems of the countries. The so-called vertical power state structures with the top-down power distribution have already proven to be ineffective when tackling the coronavirus outbreak. Now, it is time for the states with developed democracies, where the horizontal structure of power prevails, to face the challenge. So far, China and Russia, both with autocratic centralized power, failed to respond promptly to the coronavirus outbreak. In China, the local Wuhan authorities were simply afraid to report the outbreak to the government and had been covering up the real figures for some time. Later, Beijing adopted the same strategy of not revealing true facts in international communication. As for Russia, Moscow has simply stepped aside and shifted all the responsibility to the local governors who are not used to such autonomy. Unlike these two countries, the United States has a different approach. In the US, the responsibility for dealing with the pandemic is not limited to Washington only. Actually, it is not possible since, under the US Constitution, the federal government has certain and rather limited executive, legislative, and judicial powers. The actual power in the states belongs to the governors who can make key decisions independently without long-awaited approval from the White House. For instance, Maryland governor Larry Hogan decided to purchase 500,000 coronavirus test kits from South Korea when his state was facing the shortage of testing equipment. Although his actions caused a dispute with Trump’s administration, this is how the real democratic system should actually be working. 


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