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.