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

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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