Learn English – Why is America’s Covid policy not like other countries?

If you follow the news in other countries, it is obvious that America does things differently.  This includes our country’s Covid policy.  One reason has to do with the type of government we have.


Hey, there! America seems to be handling the pandemic differently, in a different way from other countries. Why is that? Let’s talk.

(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories.)

What’s up with America? Why doesn’t America announce one single COVID response or policy that everybody in the country follows, just like other countries seem to do. The answer to that is complicated. Complicated means there’s not just one single answer, it’s complex.

But today I want to talk about what I think is the main reason why America seems to have a different response to COVID. And that has to do with the kind of government we have. We have a republic, a federal republic, a representative democracy. Those are lots of different words. And I want to break them down, explain what they mean simply, and then use this form of government to show you why our policy about COVID is different.

All right, federal means that there is a union between small units, which are our 50 states and a central authority, a central body, a central unit that has some powers. The powers in our country are split. Some are for the federal government and some, the rest, are for the 50 states. In other countries most of the power resides in the central government. They can say: “This is what our country’s going to do”.

But in America, only some powers go to the central government and the rest go to the 50 states. Which powers go to the central government? That is all written out in our constitution, a document that was agreed on when our country was founded in the 18th century,

Since we have 50 states and 50 leaders, called governors, that means that each state makes their own policies. For example, I live in Alabama.  Our governor, Kay Ivey, decides what is best for us. She has set the COVID policies for people in Alabama. I’ll come back to that.

I said that we are a republic. We have a representative kind of government. That means that I, and my husband and other citizens, we vote for representatives that go and work with the central government. The representatives work out the laws. And they have certain powers to make the laws happen, to enact the laws, but only for the limited power that the government, the central government, has. 

We also choose, elect, representatives for Alabama, for each state. And the representatives work with the governor to set policies.

Other countries, as I mentioned, have a more central government. For example, let’s talk about Vietnam. I go to a nail salon once a month, and everybody who works there, the nail technicians, are Vietnamese.  Henry and I talk a lot. And during COVID we’ve discussed COVID policies and COVID facts. 

His country of Vietnam, they have no COVID cases right now. Do you know why? Because their central government, which has more power than our central government, their central government has made a policy. Anybody that comes into the country has to stay in quarantine for two weeks, 14 days, and then be tested. If they are negative, they can go wherever they want to go in Vietnam. 

That doesn’t work in our country because we have 50 states with 50 different leaders. I think that’s good, that we have 50 states with 50 different leaders because the conditions here in Alabama are different from the conditions in the state of Washington, where my mother-in -law lives. Here in Alabama, we have to wear masks. But I can still go to the gym. I go to my nail salon. I volunteer at a pregnancy resource center. I can go to stores. I can eat at restaurants. I can go to somebody’s house. We get to decide what we feel comfortable with. 

Is that good? Is that bad? That…. I don’t know. I’m glad to live in the state of Alabama, though. I’m glad to have the freedom to make those decisions. One of my friends has a very large family and they had most of their kids, a lot who were grown up, home for Thanksgiving. And it was up to them to make that decision.

Some states here in America, they have very strict governors who said, “No, no mixing households. No going to somebody’s house. No more than six people in a family and a house.” I think that’s severe.

So, which is the correct policy, which is the best policy? I’m not going to tell you that. That’s for you to decide and you live somewhere else. Either you live in a different state in America or a different country. But I want you to know why, just one reason why, America’s policy, why America’s COVID response has been different than most of the world. 

Well, tell me, leave me a comment below this video. What’s it like where you live and do you think that is good,  what your government, whether a United State government in America or a different country (‘is doing’ was left out))? Tell me your thoughts. 

And remember if you would like the written words, the transcript to this episode, go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com. Well, this is Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you next time.

(Outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments, here’s my email.)


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