opinions

U.S. failure to contain COVID-19 hurts the world

As of Nov. 17, U.S. COVID-19 infections surpassed 147,000 cases in a single day, according to Johns Hopkins University. According to the New York Times, COVID-19 case numbers in all states in the U.S. are currently on the rise. In the past week, the U.S. saw an average of 155,442 new cases every day.

(cartoon by Lu Lingxing)

However, this record-breaking performance doesn’t seem to be concerning Washington too much. Recently, U.S. leaders once again called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” on social media. At the same time, the latest study by the National Cancer Institute of Milan shows that the new coronavirus began to spread in the country as early as in September last year. There have been reports of new times and locations of COVID-19 outbreaks in the world, which further proves that virus traceability is a continuing process. Politicizing the virus cannot save lives in the U.S., and also threatens global health security.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the White House has done everything to hinder global anti-pandemic cooperation, including banning the exports of anti-pandemic materials, defunding the World Health Organization and fanning “vaccine nationalism”. It is standing in opposition to the entire human race with its hegemonic practices in every vital stage of the global fight against the virus. On Sept. 11, the 74th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) adopted an “omnibus” resolution aimed at encouraging international cooperation in response to COVID-19. The U.S. was one of two countries to object to this resolution, which was adopted by 169 to 2.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government has failed to take timely and forceful measures, and even started playing the blame game as infections rose, attacking other countries and the WTO and turning them into scapegoats for its own inability to respond to the pandemic.

On April 14, the White House decided to halt funding to the WHO, saying the organization had failed to adequately obtain, vet, and share information in a timely and transparent fashion. The decision just turned the U.S. into a deadbeat, as the country still owes the WHO a large part of its 2019 dues, on top of those for 2020.

As its domestic pandemic situation becomes increasingly chaotic, the White House continues throwing accusations against the WHO. On July 6, it announced its withdrawal from the organization starting from July 2021. Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, denounced the U.S. decision, accusing its government of committing a “crime against humanity”.

Vaccines are key to ending the global spread of the virus, and countries around the world have reached a consensus to carry out joint development and equal distribution of vaccines. However, in its worship of the “America first” strategy, the U.S. has been addicted to “vaccine nationalism” since the pandemic started.

According to statistics released by the WHO, 172 countries and regions have taken part in the COVID-19 vaccine Global Access Facility, the “largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio” coordinated by the organization, which aims to provide at least 2 billion doses of effective COVID-19 vaccines before the end of 2021. However, the U.S. does not have the slightest interest in this initiative. Although the WHO has called on the international community to do everything to avoid the dangers brought by vaccine nationalism, the U.S. continues to go in the opposite direction.

Furthermore, when the COVID-19 pandemic severely threatened the public health security of Iran and Venezuela, the U.S. maintained its unilateral sanctions against them. Iranian students wrote a letter to the UN saying that such inhuman policies blocked COVID-19 patients from receiving medicines. Without a doubt, this has exacerbated the humanitarian disaster in these countries.

In fact, since the virus began spreading, the U.S., home to the most advanced medical facilities in the world, has become the worst one in terms of handling the disease. The international community is disappointed with its mishandling, believing the country has failed to showcase its leadership in the largest global crisis since World War II.

On Oct. 22, New York Times published an article titled “America and the Coronavirus: ‘A Colossal Failure of Leadership'”. The article, citing a point made by Devi Sridhar, a professor of global health at the University of Edinburgh, said it’s really sad to see the U.S. presidency fall from being the champion of global health to being the laughing stock of the world.

What’s even more pathetic is that facing a humanitarian disaster that has already cost over 200,000 lives, the U.S. is ignoring criticism from the world and continues to act arbitrarily. We hope the U.S. can wake up as soon as possible.

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