Spotlight: What Washington has done proves to be an obstacle in global COVID-19 fight
BEIJING, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Facing severe challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has been making joint efforts to battle against the disease over the past months, while the United States has been crippling global endeavors to cope with the crisis.
INCOMPETENCE IN COPING WITH PANDEMIC
The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States exceeded 1.46 million with over 88,000 deaths as of Sunday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, making the country the hardest-hit place around the world.
Tardy response, ignorance of science and poor nationwide coordination have been the problematic performance of the U.S. administration on anti-epidemic efforts.
On Dec. 31, 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on its website that Chinese health officials had reported a cluster of cases of acute respiratory illness in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in central China. Since then, Washington has received more and more information on the disease, but did not attach enough importance.
On Jan. 22, U.S. President Donald Trump told CNBC one day after the CDC confirmed the first COVID-19 case in the country that the United States has the situation "totally under control," and "It's going to be just fine."
Although the U.S. government declared a U.S. public health emergency to respond to COVID-19 at the end of January, the Democratic and Republican caucuses were still held in the U.S. state of Iowa in February. The following presidential primaries in many states led to multiple mass gatherings.
At the White House press briefing on Feb. 28, Trump said that some U.S. media are "doing everything they can to instill fear in people and I think it's ridiculous and I think they're very disreputable."
It was not until March 16 that the White House reversed its previously dismissive stance and announced anti-epidemic guidelines.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that had the guidelines been implemented earlier, a crucial period in the exponential spread of the virus would have been mitigated and American lives saved.
SHIFTING BLAMES & SHIRKING RESPONSIBILITIES
While China appeals for international cooperation in the fight against COVID-19, Washington is busy slandering Beijing to divert attention on its own poor response to the pandemic, said a former Serbian diplomat.
On March 16, Trump tweeted to stigmatize China with malicious accusation, which caused controversy and criticism in the United States. Other Washington politicians also questioned transparency and accused China of violating human rights for taking necessary quarantine measures, and beefed up racist talks.
On May 10, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agitated for "significant evidence" on the virus' origin from Wuhan. However, he did not specify what the evidence is nor deliver any concrete proof to validate his claims.
Trump also accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of "severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus" in April.
"Your power should be focused on caring for others and marshaling resources for disease prevention -- not on deflecting blame, shoring up approval ratings, settling scores or demonizing people because of ethnicity or nationality," read a signed letter published by The New York Times by more than 70 scholars on public health from the United States and China.
DISRUPTION TO NATIONAL & GLOBAL FIGHT
Instead of coordinating efforts against the common enemy, the U.S. administration has stuck to its own ways against the spread of COVID-19.
At the national level, there is no effort "that has mustered anything like the funding, coordination, or real resources that experts across the political spectrum say is needed to safely reopen the country," said an article published by The Atlantic.
At the international level, Trump announced on April 14 that his administration would halt funding to the WHO. The announcement was then met with strong backlash and criticism across the world.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the WHO regretted the U.S. decision, calling on all nations to be united in the common struggle against the common enemy.
"President Trump's decision to defund WHO is simply this -- a crime against humanity," tweeted Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, adding that "every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against this appalling betrayal of global solidarity."
"How shortsighted when global coop needed more now than ever," tweeted Lawrence Gostin, director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, referring to the White House's decision. And Washington has "entirely abandoned" U.S. global health leadership.
What the U.S. administration has done has severely harmed international cooperation the world needs to defuse the health crisis.