Honors College


Mary Giglio

Document Type

Honors Thesis


International Affairs, Political Science


Richard Powell

Committee Members

Mark Brewer, Lora Pitman, Asif Nawaz, Zachary Ludington

Graduation Year

May 2021

Publication Date

Spring 5-2021


This thesis discusses the failings of theUnited States response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it has been shaped by the nation’s intense political polarization and the widespread dissemination of misinformation. In this thesis, I critically examine the government’s initial response to the pandemic, including its lack of preparedness and the ineffectiveness of its eventual policies. I also attempt to explain the influence of political polarization on the states, resulting in congressional gridlock, as well as wildly varying policies regarding lockdowns and mask mandates. I connect the increasing prevalence of misinformation today to the historically recent rise of postmodernism, a philosophy and cultural mindset which declares that there is no such thing as objective fact, as well as to former President Trump and the questionable reliability of social media. Ultimately, I conclude that the United States pandemic response should stand as a cautionary tale to any developed nation looking to develop effective policy regarding international disease.