OPINIONS By politicizing COVID-19, US turns itself into weakness in global fight


By politicizing COVID-19, US turns itself into weakness in global fight


22:32, July 30, 2021

File photo: CFP

BEIJING, July 30 (Xinhua) -- While the United States has lagged behind much of the world in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, it stands out as the driving force in politicizing the once-in-a-century global health crisis that could only be solved by science.

As political elites in Washington continue playing tug-of-war in domestics as well as world politics, they are risking thousands of lives and have turned America into one of the weakest links in the global fight against the deadly pathogen.

Though the U.S. new daily cases in June temporarily dropped to its lowest level in more than a year, its seven-day rolling average for daily new infections jumped to more than 71,000 on Thursday, up from less than 12,000 at the end of June.

In a stern warning to the U.S. public, former Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tom Frieden said early this week that the country could see 200,000 new COVID-19 cases a day in four to six weeks.

Facing the bleak prospects as COVID-19 surges, Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical advisor also warned on Sunday that the country was heading "in the wrong direction."

Though Fauci was referring to the U.S. public's resistance against COVID-19 vaccines, it is U.S. politicians' proclivity for politicizing a science issue for their self interests from the very beginning of the pandemic, that dragged the country and the world at large into a volatile quagmire.

Though the United States is hoarding enough COVID-19 vaccines for the U.S. public, it has one of the highest rates of vaccine hesitance or refusal, as recently reported by The New York Times, noting that misinformation "emanates from all parts of the cultural spectrum."

In a recent interview with "Full Court Press" news show, Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson also called it "disappointing" that politics played a role in whether people decided to get the vaccine.

From stigmatizing China to score cheap political gains at the very beginning of the pandemic, to later scapegoating the Asian country for their own ineptitude in fighting COVID-19, U.S. politicians have relentlessly sought to politicize the pandemic both at home and abroad.

Unfortunately, their political manoeuvering backfired as the country is suffering from dangers of "partisan tribalism" that threatens to further divide the nation amid the ravaging pandemic and nullify any anti-virus efforts.

Since the pandemic broke out, the Democratic and Republican parties and their supporters have disagreed on critical issues including wearing masks, quarantine measures, the danger of the virus, and now the acceptance of vaccination.

Mired in a bizarre yet harmful quagmire of opposition for opposition's sake, political elites from both parties have jointly created the political paralysis in Washington where simple scientific decisions such as wearing a mask during a pandemic of highly infectious disease were reduced to munition for the two parties to attack each other.

The politicization of the pandemic has "added a new and dangerous layer to things," Jerome Adams, former U.S. surgeon general during the Trump administration, told The Washington Post, criticizing what he called a "bipartisan problem."

"And in this 24-hour news and political cycle, there's no letup. We're already seeing jockeying for 2022 and even 2024," said Adams.

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