OPINION / VIEWPOINT
Driven by politics, the US is the very place that breeds virus variants
Published: Aug 08, 2021 08:18 PM
US national flags representing the 200,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States are placed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Sep 22, 2020. US COVID-19 deaths surpassed 200,000 on Tuesday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.Photo:Xinhua

US national flags representing the 200,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States are placed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Sep 22, 2020. US COVID-19 deaths surpassed 200,000 on Tuesday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.Photo:Xinhua



For many Americans, they seem to embrace living with the novel coronavirus. Parties are a necessity for them. 

Hundreds packed into a celebration party of former president Barack Obama's 60th birthday in Martha's Vineyard on Saturday, despite rising concerns about the fast-spreading Delta variant. Only a few were spotted wearing face masks.

And, even more people are expected to attend the 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota starting Friday. Many did not wear masks, as there is no mask mandate from the authorities there.

All these took place against the backdrop of a spike in US COVID-19 cases over the last three weeks. The COVID-19 outbreak crossed the 100,000 newly confirmed daily infections on Saturday. This is a milestone that is even higher than last winter's surge. Chief White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday the country could see up to 200,000 daily cases in coming months.

The core defect of the US' virus fight is that it is driven by politics, not science.

At the international level, the US views the pandemic through the lens of major power competition rather than global governance and the health of the mankind. 

Domestically, it is all about partisan politics and political future of politicians rather than public health. 

The utter failure of the US in fighting the pandemic and the recent surge of cases are an inevitable result of individualism and liberalism that are endorsed by the entire US society going to extremes.

For the US, its primary goal is to maintain its hegemony on the world stage. This is why it will not admit its mistakes in fighting the pandemic. For US politicians, they only care about how many votes they will get in the next round of election. 

Even before the latest spread of the more contagious Delta variant, with the best cards in hand (the world's first-class medical resources and technology), the US became one of the most awful anti-virus players. 

In a sense, this reflects the governance failure of the US government. To put it more broadly, it mirrors the failure of the governance model of 21st-century American neo-liberalism.    

Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told the Global Times on Sunday that the logic behind the anti-virus performance of the US government and the reaction of its public is clear, simply because the politicians in Washington don't care about the health crisis. No one wants to sacrifice their own interests for public good. Before the politicians are willing to undertake due political costs, there will not be any actual improvement in the US in fighting the pandemic. 

The US could be breeding virus variants. A large number of people will be exposed to the threat of the coronavirus, making the virus mutate without limits. What the US can do about it? Just gamble and nothing else. 

The previous Trump administration betted the virus would just "disappear." Some European countries have adopted herd immunity, betting that a sufficient percentage of a population would become immune to the virus. The Biden administration has pinned its hope on vaccinations. 

But a considerable chunk of Americans still refuse to take shots in the arm.  

After losing more than 610,000 lives, the US saw the most human deaths among nations, largely thanks to Trump administration's failed measures in terms of combating COVID-19. However, Bloomberg's pandemic resilience ranking published in middle July favored the US. This allegedly "comprehensive index" measured some 50 countries, but is largely a farce. Lockdown measures, which are effective in containing the virus spread, should be considered as a positive element that gives extra points. However, they were instead considered negative in the ranking. 

In a more recent ranking done in late July, the US still managed to stay in fifth place. Such "resilience" came at the cost of hundreds of thousands of human lives. Isn't it ironic?  

The virus cares nothing about politics. The ones who pay for it are the ones who neglect it. This is the bitterest experience the world has learnt since the outbreak. Unfortunately, the US did not call to its mind. It instead has bred tragedies one after another - and continues to do so.

The author is an editor with the Global Times. wangwenwen@globaltimes.com.cn
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