PANDEMIC WINNERS AND LOSERS: COMPARING THE COVID-19 SITUATION IN THE US TO SWITZERLAND

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 12 OCTOBER 2020

Contact: Darcy Alexandra, Zurich Co-Chair, zurich@democrats.ch +41 78 920 79 98

While Switzerland reopens schools and the return of cool weather has many concerned about further spread of the virus, the situation here including commerce is mostly under control. Meanwhile the U.S. remains a country in chaos, with persistent high unemployment, infection rates still higher than the worst days this past spring and fatality numbers remaining among the worst in the world.

U.S. citizens living overseas are often asked – why is it so bad? What is it that has made the U.S. response to Covid-19 so disastrous? Could the high number of deaths (over 200,000¹) been avoidable?

On the face of it, Switzerland and the U.S. share many common attributes. Both are wealthy countries, home to strong financial institutions, have structural confederations but with an aversion to federally-mandated policies and a preference for local government. However, this is where similarities end. The starkest difference between the two could explain in part why the U.S. situation is so bleak: the presence or absence of a strong welfare system. Without universal healthcare, unemployment benefits, government-issued stays on firings and evictions, those living in the U.S. have no safety net in times of crisis.

Additionally high costs of education, which is just one factor for generally high levels of individual debt in the U.S., mean that many US Americans barely have one month of expenses in savings, if any. More than 38 million people in the U.S. live in poverty², with 1.5 million surviving on no more than $2 a day³. Those figures, disturbing even in normal times, are devastating in the midst of a global pandemic and economic crisis.

While factors behind each country’s response to Covid will undoubtedly receive attention from researchers for years to come, one takeaway implies immediate action: VOTE. US Americans living overseas have an opportunity this fall to express support for the most progressive platform in Democratic history, a political party wish list which could help construct a safety net that would keep such a crisis from devastating the country in the future.

Scientists have repeatedly warned this kind of pandemic is not such a unique event. It is always a question of when, not if, the next crisis will strike. Everyone who is able to vote in the U.S. election this fall has a responsibility to support the Biden-Harris campaign, to avoid such catastrophic death tolls in the future.

For more information about this story, or to speak with our dedicated volunteers in Switzerland, please contact zurich@democrats.ch. More information about Democrats Abroad Switzerland as well as information about our work at: https://www.democratsabroad.org/ch. We can also be found on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) at @swissdemocrats.

DACH Aktivmitglied Miriam Victory Spiegel steht Ihnen als Ansprechpartnerin auf Deutsch/Schweizerdeutsch gerne zur Verfügung. Frau Spiegel kann unter +41 79 215 74 27 oder mvictory@bluewin.ch erreicht werden.

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¹ https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html
² As of 2018 https://povertyusa.org/facts
³ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/09/11/what-its-like-to-live-on-2-a-day-in-the-united-states/

 

INFORMATION SHEET
QUICKVIEW STATS and FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • Over 19,000 U.S. citizens live in Switzerland; of those, about 15,000 are of voting age.
  • DA Switzerland membership has grown by 27.3% since February 2020.
  • DA Switzerland has chapters in Zurich, Basel, and Geneva, which are hubs for expats.
  • Democrats Abroad is the state Democratic party for overseas Americans.
  • We represent the 6.5 million eligible voters overseas (out of 9 million total). That’s a larger population than all but 11 US states.
  • We have approximately 200k members in over 190 countries around the world, and 45 active country committees.
  • We provide members with tools to help them stand up for democracy in America, through voter registration training, regularly published actions, events and marches, and a friendly community of like minded American citizens living abroad.
  • During election years, our focus is to get out the vote and advocate for overseas American issues, through our own members, outreach volunteers, and resources like votefromabroad.org which helps every American overseas request and receive their ballot. 

FAQs

How large is the organization Democrats Abroad?
Democrats Abroad is the largest organization of civilian Americans outside the US. We are 100% volunteer-led, with active chapters across six continents and members who vote in every U.S. state and congressional district.

We represent the 6.5 million eligible voters overseas (out of 9 million abroad, total), with almost 200,000 activists and voters members in over 190 countries around the world. Our extensive reach goes far beyond our 45 country committees through engaged, active online communities of Americans around the world.

How is DA financially supported? Do you get donations from abroad?
We are supported by generous donations from our US citizen members as well as Americans living in the US who value our work and see us as a natural, critical resource to tap into a huge number of potential voters.

We also, from time to time, receive small grants from the DNC to help support specific projects.

Special note: We never accept donations from corporations or foreign citizens. 

How long has Democrats Abroad been active?
There have been patriotic Americans abroad virtually since the country’s inception! But as an organization, Democrats Abroad has been continuously active since chapters were first established in Paris and London in 1964.