Coronavirus and the Abandonment of America’s Own

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“Price gouging” is a word describing the action of a seller or producer increasing the price of goods much higher than what is considered to be regular, especially during a state of emergency, to acquire more profit. Although considered illegal in 34 states, and federally, our hypocritical federal government has managed to break their own rules once again.

The “Novel Coronavirus,” or recently labeled, “2019-nCoV,” by the CDC, has officially hit 20,000 confirmed cases, and over 400 deaths thus far. The virus has ignited a frenzy in Wuhan, China, its starting location: Wuhan’s subway is no longer running, personally owned vehicles are prohibited, and businesses are taking extreme measures against the outbreak.

From the American government’s point of view, one would expect we would be flying Americans and their families out of Wuhan, if not all of China, back to America. However, the Americans amidst the epidemic did not get that treatment. Instead, the government charged $1,000 for plane seats not taken up by American government representatives. Of course, people were angered by this- their own government literally committing a crime: price gouging. The plane our government flew landed back in California, and a round trip from American Airlines from the same locations is close to $517. What’s worse is the officials only offered seats to American citizens- meaning if they were married to a Chinese citizen, they would have to leave without their spouse. Not only should the government be taking our citizens and their families back for free, but if they were going to charge a price at all, they shouldn’t be charging double what is normal. There is an estimate of 1000 Americans, along with their families, left behind by their own country.

Would it be right to leave soldiers on the battleground, or charge them $1,000 for a ride back to their own country? Although seemingly different scenarios, both would depict abandonment by one’s own government, and price gouging; that, ironically, is illegal in the eyes of the federal government. If we can afford to send a plane and save our government officials, we can afford to save our own citizens and their families. Letting the government decide what is best for its citizens has never been a good idea, and that doesn’t change now.