The next pandemic: How would it be handled differently in the USA?

It was pretty clear, half a year ago, that this pandemic was going to be a lost cause in the USA and that it would go down in history as a balls-up on almost every possible level. So let’s put Covid in the rearview mirror and jump forward a few years.

Let’s say that a few years from now, a coronavirus similar to this one strikes again. (We can call it Covid-25.) Same contagiousness, same lethality, same form of transmission. Would a future U.S. government crack down far harder on anti-maskers and the “the Constitution trumps the virus” folks? Have stocked up on far more PPE, masks, etc. in advance? Coordinate much better?

IMHO it depends almost entirely on what kind of US government we have in place at the time. If Donald Trump makes a successful bid for re-election in 2024, for example, then I really can’t see his administration handling the response to a hypothetical 2025 pandemic any better than they handled the 2020 one.

I’m sure lots of posters can suggest many good ideas for ways in which the US should handle the next pandemic differently from this one. But there were lots of people in the administration and other government bodies suggesting lots of good ideas along those lines before Covid-19 struck, too. Doesn’t seem to have made much difference to the administration’s approach or to the opinions of its supporters.

And the other factor is how far ahead of time. A short period ahead the government will be very prepared. But the further ahead (so that the pandemic is in the distant past) people no longer think it will happen and lose interest in preparation. This is what happened after the 1919 pandemic.

When (not if) “Covid-25” arrives (or is of local origin), those infected will be much more likely to get a bed in intensive care and much less likely to die there, but the infection rate undiminished.

If a quarter of a million dead doesn’t learn youse, then the Civil War could be forgotten within two election cycles.

Unfortunate comparison, as the Civil War is always going to be far, far more present and vital in the minds of a fairly substantial section of the US electorate than the preventable deaths of a quarter-million-odd Americans who aren’t them.

Unfortunate, yes.
Accurate, maybe.

If you have a population segment large enough to elect POTUS who don’t accept the basic premise that the infection and means of transmission even exist, then how (within those of that mindset) are the deaths preventable?

We’ll probably over react to the next few viruses and waste a lot of money. Then when the next pandemic hits we’ll be under prepared. It’s just how humans are.

And some humans are more than others

Now that the process has been streamlined, the next time around, the looting of the public purse will be much more efficient.

Regardless of who is running the state/federal governments at the time of the next pandemic, I suspect we will see minimal changes in action on the individual scale. Figure 20% will mask up and take reasonable precautions because it’s a good idea, 60% will do it if it’s required and/or to not be shamed, and 20% will do it only if forced (and if such force is enforced if you get my drift) whether for political, religious or age based reasons.
What I suspect we will see a change about is a much, much faster response from the corporate world. Corporations and businesses will slam down common-sense requirements much faster about masking, distancing, etc, because they don’t want to be liable for sick employees or customers, and the fact that they are will be one the reasons that you get the 60% I mentioned above to cooperate most of the time.
Other businesses and corporations will absolutely be prepared to cash in with treatments and equipment, including horrible and ineffective knockoffs, but probably more likely to engage in profiteering, as it was so successful this time, with minimal consequences (yes, there were a few who got caught, shamed, or horded at the wrong time but they’ll be better prepared now).

As for changes at the national level, I see zero signs that the US is going to be less partisan in the next few decades. It’s been getting worse, not better, and I see no upcoming trends or changes to reverse said trend. So even if parts of the government make an effort to provide direction or relief, it’s going to be crippled by infighting in terms of who gets credit for what and likely be too little, too late.
Sadly, I honestly expect in some ways for it to be worse. Because if we have a repeat that is so similar per the OP, people will look back and say, “Oh, it’s no worse than 2020, and we all got through that with minimal losses.” which will be accurate from the POV of those people who didn’t loose jobs, friends or family members and insanely callous to those who did. And because it’s no worse they’ll repeat the same risky behavior they did before, or worse because nothing went wrong for them previously.

Thing is, the Trump admin put out a pretty decent, if slightly aggressive, reopening plan. The states all basically ignored it. Yes, there are a bunch of things the feds should have done better but the real decisions were at the state level. Politicians of all stripes fucked it up there.

If the government is following, what seems to largely be, the ‘Will of The People’,
1: No PPE, “It doesn’t work and even if it did I’m not wearing it!”
2: More body bags, refrigerated cadaver trailers, cardboard remains containers, and heavy machines to dig mass graves because of 1.

The biggest difference is we won’t have an initial phase where most people were following the shut downs without complaining too much. I remember back in April and May the freeways were virtually empty at rush hour. Most businesses were closed. The supermarkets had only limited hours during the day. People willingly stayed home. That phase won’t happen. Instead we’ll jump right to how things were heading into the 4th of July weekend.