December 2, 2021

U.S. can’t cure its underlying diseases by shifting blame

By Zhong Sheng, People’s Daily

The COVID-19 situation in the U.S. is entering a new stage of upsurge, with core indicators, including daily numbers of new confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths rebounding sharply, and the daily average tally of new confirmed cases during the past week exceeding 100,000.

Shockingly, the country’s politicians are still busy stigmatizing acts of other countries regarding the pandemic, attaching geographical labels to the virus, and politicizing COVID-19 origin tracing, repeatedly playing the old trick of buck-passing.

Such despicable deeds not only show U.S. politicians’ indifference to the lives the U.S. has tragically lost in the pandemic, but constitute blasphemy against facts, science, and justice.

On August 9, three Chinese think tanks jointly released a research report titled “‘America Ranked First’?! The Truth about America’s fight against COVID-19” to reveal the underlying causes of the failure of the U.S. in its pandemic control.

The curve of the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. has never flattened, but continued to rise. As of 6 p.m. EST on August 8, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. had reached 35,757,980, and death toll 616,816, suggested statistics from Johns Hopkins University.

According to the latest research result of University of Washington, as many as 60 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. went undetected as of March 7, 2021 due to major flaws in data sources, including biases in data capture and delayed reporting.

How could the U.S., which boasts the world’s most advanced medical technologies, most abundant medical resources, and the strongest medical care capacity, become the worst-hit country in the pandemic?

The reason for the surprising contrast is the serious “underlying diseases” of the U.S. society, where political polarization is intensifying, partisan disputes are heating up, federal system is plagued by excuse-making partisanship, and deep-seated institutional flaws are prominent.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic is identified, the two major political parties in the U.S. have been unable to bridge their political differences, which have seriously encumbered the country’s fight against the pandemic.

Amid endless partisan struggles, the U.S. wasted crucial weeks’ time for pandemic prevention and control, and was held back from the implementation of various epidemic prevention and control measures, including nucleic acid testing, masks wearing, social distancing, home quarantine, vaccinations, the distribution of strategic medical reserves, and emergency relief bills.

As the country is rife with disagreements between the two major parties at the federal, state, and local levels, and between executive, legislative and judicial branches, anti-epidemic policy became a bargaining chip in the political game between the two parties, and pandemic prevention and control has been mired in “politicized internal frictions”.

The federal government hadn’t formulated a unified national strategy to protect people’s health even six months after the first case identified in America, according to James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

“Chronic ills—a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years,” pointed out an article titled “We Are Living in a Failed State,” which was published in American magazine The Atlantic.

Apart from its failure to cope with the pandemic, the U.S. has also seriously disturbed and disrupted global anti-epidemic cooperation.

While other countries have been making joint efforts to fight against the pandemic, the U.S. has wantonly pursued unilateralism, “vaccine nationalism” and practiced “origin tracing terrorism”, becoming the widely criticized “country where the virus spread”, the “suspected source of the outbreak”, and the “country where the global response to the virus has been devastated”, said the recent research report of Chinese think tanks.

From November 2020 to January 2021, the average daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. exceeded 186,000. During the same period, the average daily number of U.S. citizens traveling abroad reached 87,000. The outbound travel rush during the peak period of the pandemic resulted in imported COVID-19 cases from the U.S. in many countries.

In addition, the U.S. has ignored the opposition of the international community and disregarded international morality by massively deporting illegal immigrants, causing the pandemic to intensify in some developing countries.

Moreover, the self-anointed “beacon of human rights” has disappointed the international community by hoarding COVID-19 vaccines, restricting export of raw materials for the production of vaccines, and artificially aggravating the immunity gap between countries.

As pointed out by the recent research report, many scientific issues, such as the anti-pandemic model, the origin tracing of the pandemic, and the effectiveness of the vaccine, have been politicized by the U.S. Besides, the country has also constantly fabricated and spread rumors regarding the pandemic to wantonly smear and attack other countries.

From maliciously calling the novel coronavirus the “China virus” to openly clamoring for so-called “accountability and compensation” from China, and from repeatedly hyping up the “lab leak theory” to the infamous act of involving intelligence agencies in the COVID-19 origin tracing, U.S. politicians have always fixed their eyes on their selfish interests and never pulled their minds out of the vicious circle of politicization.

Famous American scholar Graham Allison pointed out that the political elite in Washington will remain focused on China throughout the pandemic, thus avoiding shouldering their own responsibility for the failure to control the virus.

The U.S. has turned the dangerous virus into an international means of blackmail, said a critique published on the website of Russian television channel Tsargrad TV.

The U.S. shouldn’t have been the country that failed to contain the COVID-19. However, its serious “underlying diseases” have made it unable to focus on fighting the pandemic, which is the root cause of its failure to control the pandemic.

Placing politics above science, selfish interests above people’s lives and health, and American hegemony above global anti-epidemic cooperation will neither help the U.S. fight against the pandemic nor cure its “underlying diseases.”

As new COVID-19 infections surge in the U.S., it is about time the country realized its mistakes, returned to the right path, and made the right choice.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on China’s foreign policy and international affairs.)

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