US must stop stigmatizing China and work together against virus: expert

By Sun Haoran Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/18 13:27:46

US citizens queue up to buy daily necessities at a supermarket in San Francisco, the US on March 16. Photo: CNS photo

Many Chinese people living in the US said they were confused by the US government's measures to deal with the spread of the COVID-19, with an expert noting that only when the US stops stigmatizing China and abandons competitive thinking against major countries can China and the US achieve a win-win in tackling the coronavirus.

Since the first infected case of the COVID-19 was identified in Washington State on January 21, the number of coronavirus cases has now topped 6,500 in the US, claiming about 115 lives, data showed Wednesday. 

The virus has expanded so fast that the number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 199,000 with about 8,000 deaths.

 "People are worried now because we don't know the route of transmission and the testing standards are confusing. For example, at first only people coming back from abroad were asked to get tested, but later authorities said that one needs a doctor's recommendation to do the testing," said a Chinese resident named Patrick Wang, who works at an international organization based in Washington DC, to the Global Times.

Because the treatment of the coronavirus in the US is not free and not cheap, some patients are reluctant to get medical treatment and some don't even report their cases, said Wang.

US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he might ask the military to help build temporary hospitals to tackle the worsening coronavirus outbreak, and stated that the coronavirus pandemic that has killed thousands and brought life in countries across the world grinding to a halt could end by July in the US, AFP News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Wang noted that the outbreak in the US would definitely affect its economy. "Now the nightclubs in DC are closed. Although most restaurants are still open, you can't sit at the bar counter or less than six feet [1.8 meters] away from other customers to have your meal," he noted, adding that there can be no more than six people at each table.

According to the Daily Mail on Monday, Trump told reporters that the US may be in a recession - as he predicted the coronavirus outbreak might run through the summer. By the time the president's press conference was over on Monday afternoon, Wall Street had experienced its worst day since Black Friday in 1987, with the Dow tanking by 3,000 points.

CNN said on Monday that The White House advised all Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 and urged senior citizens to stay at home in a set of new guidelines designed to fight a spreading coronavirus outbreak.

"It is still rare to see people wearing masks on the streets or even at the grocery stores," a Chinese PhD student surnamed Wang, who lives in Maryland State, told the Global Times on Wednesday. "I don't see panic among people here." 

Wang said she was told by her school authority that the spring break will be extended by at least a week.

"Many people are confused over whether the situation at the moment is serious or not, as the US government said the coronavirus was no more than a flu at first, but suddenly started to carry out harsh measures to deal with the pandemic," she noted.

Trump has declared a national emergency to free up $50 billion in federal resources to combat coronavirus even as he refused to take personal responsibility for administration failures early in the outbreak, said CNN. 

Trump earlier compared the coronavirus with flu in a tweet, over which Al Jazeera reported that the president "has been accused of attempting to downplay the seriousness of the disease…"

"The COVID-19 outbreak domestically and the confusion among American people about the virus show that the US government wasn't well-prepared for or taking seriously of the virus," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The Trump administration lacked transparency and accuracy when dealing with the virus. For example, CDC [US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] Director Robert Redfield said some COVID-19 deaths have been diagnosed as flu-related in the US, Li stressed.

"The pandemic together with the plunge of the US stock market have been the biggest challenges for Trump's 2020 presidential election," said Li. 

The coronavirus is the common enemy of all mankind. China has always been willing to work with other countries in the fight against the pandemic. However, the key to China-US cooperation in the field lies with the US, he noted. 

"Only when the US stops stigmatizing China and abandons its competitive thinking against major countries can China and the US achieve a win-win in tackling the coronavirus, reduce losses caused by the pandemic and restore the world economy as soon as possible," he added.


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