By Suresh Kumar
An outbreak becomes an epidemic or pandemic for one reason: unavailability of medicine, vaccines, and procedures to treat or prevent the disease. Containing outbreaks until a treatment or prevention is found requires educating and securing compliance to appropriate social and cultural behavior and hygiene practices. Doing so requires leaders to set an example that influences and inspires the public. The U.S. falls short on each of these needs. That’s why the country accounts for 25 percent of the world’s infections and 22 percent of the worldwide COVID-19 fatalities. Its disappointing trajectory today contributes 38 percent of the world’s active cases and 27 percent of its serious cases.