Just about everything in the USA government's response has been unfortunate.
1. Locking down the entire country provided little or no benefit to 95% of the country. Was a lockdown needed in NY/NJ/Conn? Yes. A few other large cities? Yes. The rest of the country simply got self inflicted harm (economic and health). I happened to be in the US when the lockdown went into effect (in essence got trapped in USA for several months). Where I was at, doctor's offices - dentist offices were all closed. Only the hospital was allowed to remain open and all "elective" surgeries were put on hold. And the number of hospital visits for things like strokes and heart attacks plummeted. Those are future deaths due to poor public policy.
Worse yet, the lockdown set up a huge public distrust. When your town/community has low number of infected people but very high number of people suffering economically you stop listening to what your "leaders" are telling you. And it lessens folks willingness to sacrifice in the future.
2. WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN TOLD IN THE BEGINNING TO WEAR MASKS. It should trouble all Americans that the CDC/FDA both told us to NOT wear masks for almost two months. NOW they say they only said that to prevent a run on medical masks. Huh? When the mandate for masks appeared most people made their own/bought cloth masks! Why would our public health agencies lie to us - they can't say make your own masks and don't try to purchase medical masks as they are needed in hospitals?
3. The CDC botched the test kits. They placed bureaucratic power games to set themselves up as the provider and controller of Covid testing. And the kits didn't work - and then they lied about it! How many people were fired? Zero.
Then the FDA enacted ADDITIONAL regulations that prevented private lab companies from producing their own test kits! Why??? Somehow South Korea took off the shackles of government regulations for their lab companies and they had several different tests available in less than TWO WEEKS! And in LARGE quantities. Yet, in the US - with more and larger lab companies we struggled all the way through the summer to have enough testing available to the general public. All due to government interference/control & frankly stupidity. Again how many people fired for this nonsense? Zero.
What the CDC should have done was to lead the effort to enlist all our lab companies to produce test kits and work to ensure they had the supplies available to expand their production. They totally failed the country.
4. The president has failed to lead. No, the virus isn't his fault. But failing to communicate the seriousness (and at the beginning the simple fact that we didn't know exactly how dangerous this would be but had potential to be very deadly) made it harder for the country to respond. And when the CDC/FDA told people to wear masks to cut down transmission to others he totally failed. He needed to hold a press conference and announce to all Americans that we need to wear masks. And then keep saying it and wearing a mask everywhere he'd be seen. Its called leadership by example - easy thing to do in regards to masks.
5. The press has failed. Gary is right in that there has been mass hysteria via the media. Bad news all the time. Death and destruction is at your door (don't dare to open it just keep watching us tell you about it!). They haven't held our public institutions to account. They have used this as a weapon against a president they revile (and he has made it very easy for them by botching his duty to the country).
The worst instance to me is how the press has been re-enforcing the idea that the work being done on a vaccine is somehow "Trump" and not to be trusted. Huh? It seems to me that the one area of government response that has been on the mark is the mobilization of our drug companies to fund/research/produce a vaccine. Its the one thing Trump's team has gotten right. And yet, all we hear is how somehow Trump will unleash a vaccine for political purposes. Then when people avoid getting a vaccine they will then blame Trump.
6. Our children were harmed by the mass closing of schools and continue to be harmed through the mass disruption of their education. This has the potential to be the longest lasting damage from the virus. And its been aided by those politically opposed to the president. Just as its ridiculous that the President refuses to wear a mask, its equally ridiculous for the teacher's unions/press/democratic governors to be proclaiming that "remote learning' is ok for our kids - that its something they are trained to provide - and that teacher's shouldn't be in the classroom with children due to "safety" concerns. Those that have conditions that would make Covid exposure a serious health risk should be allowed to take a year off. Everyone else should put on their masks and teach our kids.
Its been a total disaster for the USA. We've harmed ourselves economically, harmed our citizens' belief in their government, harmed our children's future, and didn't avoid much in the way of Covid infections. We've further damaged our standing in the world and lessened the world's ability/willingness to hold China accountable for their actions. Similar to Ebola, this virus should have been contained early on through simple transparency and action. If third world dictators can openly signal to the world a virus is loose a large country like China can/should do at least as much.
Gary, I hope you keep wearing your mask. Not because of anything the government says, but because its the best way to lessen your risk of infection and it reduces the likelihood of you infecting others if you got infected. In Southeast Asia when Covid news broke in late January the majority of people here started wearing masks. Not because their governments told them to.... but because of their complete mistrust of China's government. Poor uneducated people understood that a mask would help them to not get infected and took it upon themselves to protect themselves.
So view it as an act of individual action in the face of government repression!!!