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First 2020 Presidential Debate Includes Covid-19, Drug Use & Addiction Claims
The most awaited first 2020 presidential debate took place on 29 Sept 2019, 2020 between President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden in Cleveland. The entire debate revolved around many topics like Covid-19, economy, violence in American cities, discussions on the Supreme Court, military power, and integrity of the election.
The focal point of discussion was however the Covid-19 pandemic, which is the first such outbreak in the last decade and depressions and addictions amongst people due to the lockdowns that were imposed across the globe.
Effects of Covid-19 Pandemic on the American Economy
The pandemic resulted in a state of public health crisis and economic crisis in the United States. It was amongst one of the worst-hit economies by the pandemic with a total of confirmed cases of around 6.5 million as on 15th Sept 2020 out of which around 2,00,000 people lost their lives.
The pandemic has left around ten million people without a paycheck to pay rent and bills. The job loss rate has reached the highest since the Great Depression. Young adults and adults employed in low-income groups have been hit the hardest.
Another important study revealed that the majority of the people who were laid off during the last few months were women. Experts believe that since industries like hospitality, education, leisure, which employ more women, have been the worst hit and, the percentage of women losing their jobs in on the higher side.
The contenders of the debate shared their views on how the lockdown has impacted the economy, the rising unemployment rates, and the best way forward.
When asked about why President Trump thinks America has a V shape recovery he said “We closed down the economy when needed and reopening now….. We had put back 10.4 million people into the workforce in a 4 months period…” He also said that by keeping the economy close, it is only hurting the people.
When asked about why Joe Biden thinks the USA is in a K shaped recovery, he said that millionaires and billionaires like Trump had done well even in a period of crisis like this. Trump has only focused on the stock market. While the focus should be on homes, small towns, and working-class towns, which reflect the actual recovery pattern.
Covid-19 Effects: Mental Health and Addictions
According to a JAMA Network study, the number of adults with mental health issues has tripled since the outbreak of the pandemic. More than one in four adults have reported symptoms of depression.
A survey by a leading telecommuting platform Flexjobs has reported rising levels of mental health issues among workers. Studies have also identified a direct correlation between socioeconomic status and depression. Individuals with lower social and economic resources have greater exposure to stressors.
In a recently concluded KFF Tracking Poll in mid-July, 53% of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus. This rate was 32% in March. There have also been rising reports of other health issues such as difficulty in sleeping, increase and alcohol consumption and substance abuse, and other worsening chronic conditions.
The worldwide lockdown has forced people to stay alone indoors. The fear of going out and contacting the virus also created a sense of panic amongst people. Researches have indicated that isolation and loneliness have severe impacts on mental health issues. The share of older adults reporting negative mental health impacts has also increased since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Trump briefly mentioned how the economic scenario during the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of people resulting in increased substance and alcohol abuse accusing Biden of having an intention to keep the country closed.
During the later part of the debate, the discussions about military members were brought up. President Trump quoted that Joe Biden’s son Hunter was thrown out of the military due to Cocaine use. To which Joe Biden replied that his son, like many others, has been a victim of drug abuse. But he has been successful in overcoming his drug issue.
About Lifting of Lockdowns
When asked about why Joe Biden is much more reluctant about reopening the economy and schools, he said that Trump does not have a plan for reopening. Before reopening there should be a plan and ability to give the businesses financial aids to reopen and provide the required hygiene standards as well as PPE kits to their workers.
While Trump pointed out that reopening is a good idea lest the whole country should be allowed to stay closed. He also said that as now the people have learned about the disease and how to stay safe, they would be more cautious while going out. Biden, on the other hand, believes that unless the Covid-19 crisis is fixed, reopening the economy is not a good idea as it will only make the situations worse.
The Plan Ahead for Dealing with Covid-19.
Trump said that drug prices would be coming down to 80-90% while Biden claimed Trump has only been making false promises since his election.
Biden said he would make sure that more and more poor people can access free healthcare. When asked about how to deal with Covid-19, Biden said he would ensure to provide adequate money to healthcare facilities to arrange for PPE kits, for businesses to recover, for schools to reopen, and for people to survive unemployment.
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