Four sins in US anti-epidemic struggle: Global Times editorial
Published: Aug 02, 2021 08:16 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The US registered over 100,000 daily COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest since early February this year. The death toll also saw a surge. In May, US President Joe Biden touted the anti- epidemic achievement in the country and endorsed the CDC guidance that fully vaccinated Americans no longer had to wear masks in most settings. On July 27, the US CDC changed its mind and urged vaccinated people in certain areas of the US to resume wearing masks indoors in public areas. It has met with outrage from many Republicans. The fight against the pandemic is a mess, as always.

Biden tweeted on Sunday, "What is happening in America right now is a pandemic of the unvaccinated." On one hand, this aims to scare those who refuse to get vaccinated. On the other, he was looking for an excuse for his government's inability to fight the pandemic - he implied that his government has done a good job, and the resurgence of the pandemic can be attributed to the unvaccinated.

It must be pointed out that the US holds major responsibility for the global spread of the pandemic. Every aspect of what the US has done in terms of epidemic prevention is disappointing. The previous US administration behaved like a fatuous villain, while the current one only plays hypocrisy and pays lip service. To put it more precisely, it committed four sins and deserves to be scolded.

First, the most number of COVID-19 cases and deaths occurred in the US. The US not only tramples on humanitarianism, but also becomes the largest spreader of the pandemic. Despite being equipped with vaccine, it is again ranked the top in terms of daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases. This is the US' collective destruction against human beings' fight on the pandemic. If there was a global government, Biden's team would be held to account.

Second, the US, the world's most technologically advanced country with the strongest comprehensive strength, has contributed little to the global fight against the virus. The external material support it has received so far heavily outweighs the assistance it has provided to other countries in fighting COVID-19. The US' only contribution was participating in developing vaccines. But up to now, the country has merely exported a small number of vaccines. At the initial stage of the pandemic, the US failed to provide much-needed supplies, such as masks and ventilators, nor did it make progress in developing specific medicines. The US government as well as the US' elite forces have not assumed responsibility as a superpower at the critical moment of a global crisis.

Third, with a strongest Western-style democratic system, the US' performance in the face of the pandemic has a strong demonstrative effect for the West and many other countries. The US has done little in the overall organization of dealing with the virus. The country often ignores science, and its battle against the virus is chaotic. Urging the public to wear masks has become a difficult task for the country to promote. The US is divided in terms of their attitude toward vaccines. Its practice of putting capital first in the fight against the epidemic set a bad example for the rest of the world. The US is the chief culprit of the current confusion toward how to deal with COVID-19.

Fourth, by making China a scapegoat, the US has politicized the origins tracing of the virus. Such politicization has seriously undermined world solidarity against the epidemic, distracted the attention of the international community, and constantly interfered with the fight against the epidemic. The global fight against the pandemic is so intertwined with geopolitics that countries simply cannot coordinate their actions and strategies in a unified way.

The repeated rise in US COVID-19 cases is not about the US itself. If the duration of an outbreak in a region and the number of cases grow as well, the virus is more likely to spread outward, and the chance of new mutations of the virus becomes greater. There has been a wave of mutations in the UK, and the Delta variant of the virus, now the most widespread one, has emerged in India. That is because the density of COVID-19 cases is so great in those two countries that it provide perfect conditions for the virus to mutate. It is entirely possible that the epidemic in the US will cause a new mutation of the virus.

Washington is unqualified to gloat over the "achievements" of its epidemic control and prevention, let alone criticize Beijing's role throughout the pandemic. The US ruling team must seriously reflect on its own failure and its encumbering to the global response to the pandemic. Washington must eliminate the repeated attacks and interference of US domestic political factors in the global fight against the pandemic. It should do less harm to mankind and play a more positive role that is commensurate with its national strength.