OPINIONKevin Kavanagh, Opinion contributor Published 7:00 a.m. ET Jan. 9, 2021 The United States needs to rise to the occasion and confront this pandemic. Let us not place political expediency above public safety.The news media is filled with articles regarding the new United Kingdom coronavirus mutation, which modeling has shown to be 56% more infectious. This mutation appears to be widespread in the United States, possibly emerging as early as October and now is spreading in multiple states. Similar to the original virus, this one has spread undetected because of inadequate testing. The United States is not leading but is 43rd in the world for genetic sequencing to detect new strains of the virus. Too few of us comprehend that the devastation a virus inflicts on society is dependent upon both the virus’ infectivity along with its case fatality rate. Some epidemiologists theorize viruses with high case fatality rates may even do less damage to society because the virus’ ability to spread tends to decrease. Thus, the increase in the ability of this virus to spread is of utmost concern and testing is of paramount importance.    Unfortunately, during a time when vaccines are needed the most, the United States has again fumbled the implementation of an effective public health strategy.

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