The United States’ testing fiasco, how COVID-19 could devastate poor countries, and the privilege of social distancing. Crikey has brought together some of the best writing about the coronavirus crisis.

The testing fiasco was the original sin of America’s pandemic failure, the single flaw that undermined every other countermeasure. If the country could have accurately tracked the spread of the virus, hospitals could have executed their pandemic plans, girding themselves by allocating treatment rooms, ordering extra supplies, tagging in personnel, or assigning specific facilities to deal with COVID-19 cases. None of that happened. 

How the Pandemic Will End The Atlantic

Social distancing is practically impossible if you live in a crowded slum. Hand-washing is hard if you have no running water. Governments may tell people not to go out to work, but if that means their families will not eat, they will go out anyway. If prevented, they may riot.

Covid-19 could devastate poor countries The Economist

‘I was born in the north, Ravenna … Up north, people are good at masking their anguish. But in Sicily, everything is always more theatrical, more epic. They feel sorrow more deeply, more philosophically, because their worldview is a couple of centuries behind. In Sicily, I realized, I’d see more of a visual sense of this tragedy.’

The Eye of the Storm Vanity Fair

Sending in the army to enforce the lockdown could be disastrous for South Africa. It could act with impunity on the very people who need the government’s help right now. Many South Africans have a deep mistrust of the government over the neglect of its post-apartheid promise to improve their lives.

Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown — a death trap of another kind for the poor DW

In spite of a puzzling unwillingness to roll out widespread testing, it had become clear that the virus was beginning to spread out of India’s hyper-globalized enclaves, and one state government after another had begun to impose curfews and lock-downs. By the time Modi spoke on TV, almost every Indian state had put major restrictions in place.

PM Modi’s 21-Day Lockdown Will Change India Forever NDTV

It’s hard to smile and sound stoic when you feel like the world around you is falling to pieces. We wonder how distance learning works for vulnerable students or those with no technology. We wonder how we photocopy work to post if we are supposed to be staying at home. Flicking over to “distance learning” isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Teachers aren’t front-line responders — we’re collateral damage The Age

National borders were arbitrarily drawn during the colonial era and, for many communities living along these boundaries, they exist only in theory … As we saw in the West Africa Ebola outbreak — where the first case was recorded in Guinea before spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone — and the cholera outbreaks that began in Zimbabwe before spreading to South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique, diseases can easily spread across these essentially imaginary lines that nation-states carve out.

In Africa, social distancing is a privilege few can afford Al Jazeera

The main reason for the quick spread through Spain may be completely mundane. It has been an unusually mild, sunny spring. In late February and early March, with temperatures above 20C (68F), Madrid’s pavement cafes and bars were heaving with happy folk, doing what Madrileños like best — being sociable. That means hugging, kissing and animated chatter just a few inches from someone else’s face.

How did Spain get its coronavirus response so wrong? The Guardian

Amazon workers at Shakopee, many of them immigrants from East Africa, are some of the most organized and militant workers in the Amazon empire. They have staged strikes and protests in recent months, demanding more humane working conditions and better safety protections. The virus has placed those concerns in sharp relief. 

‘I Have to Feed My Family’ Dissent