Scott Morrison and Donald Trump at the opening of Pratt Paper Plant in Wapakoneta, Ohio (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Before we had the Ruby Princess, Australia had the United States. The governmental dysfunction and chaotic health care of our favourite ally has not just made it the world leader in COVID-19 cases, it’s made it the key contributor to shifting the disease in Australia from challenge to emergency.

The COVID-19 data on the high level of overseas infections --particularly through US flight arrivals into Sydney -- show that Australia is paying a large price for our social and political integration with North America. Particularly now, in the age of Trump.

The epidemic in the US has been marked with a profound systems failure -- a jackpot of denialism from the top, politicisation of policy and implementation and a profoundly irresponsible right-wing media.