Editor’s Blog: Let’s stop acting like a failed state

I’ve done quite a bit of traveling, and when I tell people my opinion of the country that feels the most like the U.S., some are surprised, while others know exactly what I mean. It’s not Canada, which, outside the charming French sections, can feel oddly cinderblock and Soviet (the “modern” parts of Montreal). It’s not England, which seems like a fairytale; London looks like it was put together with toys and then made real. The country most like the U.S. is Australia. Despite some British touches like lamingtons and marketplaces named for queens, it has the vibrant commercial flavor of the U.S. The oceanfront pathways from Sydney’s Bondi to Bronte beaches look almost exactly like those in La Jolla, California. Even the temperament of the people feels familiar—unrestrained range of emotion, sort of messy.

Given this, it is nothing less than a tragic embarrassment when you compare COVID-19 statistics between the two nations, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. When we contrast our infection rates and death rates to South Korea (36,332 cases, 536 deaths) or Taiwan (686 cases, 7 deaths), people wave it away—But their culture is so different, so homogeneous; they have an ingrained habit of mask-wearing. But those excuses fail with Australia—they share our language, our movie stars, our café culture, our surf culture. And they’ve had just 27,949 cases—and 908 deaths. Australia has 25 million people, so if we adjust for population, to be on par with Oz, we’d have had roughly 12,000 deaths.

But we haven’t had 12,000 deaths. We’ve had over 276,000. And 14 million cases. Only 11 countries have fared worse in terms of per-capita deaths, several of them European countries that were hit early on, taken by surprise: Italy, Spain, Belgium, the U.K.

The U.S.—the world’s 12th hardest-hit country on a per-capita basis, with a quarter of the world’s deaths—falls between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Brazil. Because of our scattershot approach to leadership, mask-wearing and social gatherings, our tragic outcomes make us look like a failed state. While the news on the vaccine front is a godsend, the shot in the arm won’t come soon enough to avoid a gruesome winter. The medical community—the battered doctors and nurses and respiratory techs—are risking (in some cases, losing) their lives, begging you to stop the illness, stop the death.

Australia, a country that was founded as a British penal colony—an other-side-of-the-world place where one would expect that folks would resist authority—actually follows the science and sound advice from the experts. The numbers don’t lie. They take personal responsibility. Be like Australia. Do your part. Winter is coming.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.