US epidemic on brink of being out of control: Chinese experts
People's Daily


A protester kneels and holds up a fist on a giant "Black Lives Matter" banner near the White House during a demonstration against racism and police brutality, in Washington, DC on Saturday. (Photo: AFP)

The COVID-19 epidemic exacerbated by anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd and cold-blooded handling of the crisis by American authorities is pushing the US to the brink of being out of control, Chinese observers warned on Sunday. 

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of press time, the number of deaths in the US caused by the epidemic has reached 109,802 and confirmed cases totaled 1,920,552. 

States such as California, Washington and Texas have experienced a growing number of confirmed cases over the last 14 days, the New York Times reported Sunday. 

The risk of the epidemic getting out of control is escalating in the US where deaths from the novel coronavirus will likely continue to grow amid nationwide protests where jostling crowds set aside social distancing, analysts said. 

"The US is getting into a vicious circle which will see a worsening epidemic, surging protests against racism and a recession featuring unemployment as the country nears the presidential election," Li Haidong, an expert at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing told the Global Times.

"But the US president fails to deal with any of the problems efficiently that trouble the American public, but instead focuses only on his own election."

In the blink of an eye, COVID-19 headlines in the US media were replaced by nationwide demonstrations and violence, generating a delusion that COVID-19 was gone, observers believed.  

Some US governors and experts have said the turmoil will exacerbate the epidemic and trigger a second wave, with Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, saying the protests were "the perfect setup for the spread of the virus in the sense of creating some blips which might turn into some surges... There certainly is a risk."

Chen Xi, an associate professor of public health at Yale University, said there were very concerning signals that at least one-third of states in the US have shown clear epidemic rebounds recently, especially those in the eastern US such as Maryland and Pennsylvania. 

The protests are flaring up the epidemic in the US, Chen said. 

In Pennsylvania some medical staff even participated in the protests, he said, raising the risks of the virus spreading when medical resources in the city are at their limits. Chen told the Global Times that participants of the protest, "mostly young people," may not be fatally at risk from the virus, but they could transmit the virus to their family members, the elderly or children.

After factoring in the current growth rate of deaths and weather changes that may slow the epidemic, deaths in the US could reach 150,000 in two months, an immunity expert based in Beijing told the Global Times on condition of anonymity. 

The chances of another wave of the virus are pretty high, Chen said, citing the lesson from the history of the Philadelphia Liberty Loans Parade in 1918, which led to one of the largest and deadliest outbreaks of the flu.  

Instead of taking tangible measures to stem the virus spread and solve the racism issues deep-rooted in American society, the Trump administration busied itself trying to convince the American public that it was blameless for a combination of economic recession, nationwide unrests and continued epidemic, Chinese experts said.

"Trump sets one-day personal record with staggering 200 Twitter posts," or once every seven minutes and 12 seconds, according to US news aggregator Mediaite.  

It was sad for the US to have such an irresponsible government which instead of putting the people and the state at the center of governing, put the electoral and economic interests at the center, Li said.