OPINIONS Observer: Alarming COVID-19 deaths in 2021 expose flawed systems in US


Observer: Alarming COVID-19 deaths in 2021 expose flawed systems in US

By Ya Xin | People's Daily app

15:12, November 29, 2021

American readers who got used to seeing front page stories about their government’s flawed COVID-19 response during the Trump era may seldom see the same type of scenario today. However, the US is still riven by deadly COVID failures.

The country has recently surpassed another grim milestone in its fight against the pandemic. More Americans died from COVID-19 so far this year than in 2020, according to data from the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite a combination of factors such as the highly contagious Delta variant, the US government has a lot of explaining to do to its people on rising infections and deaths in 2021, especially when the roll-out of vaccinations starting in December was supposed to help.

The world’s most technologically advanced country has failed in its pandemic performance. The US government has no excuse for its ineptitude during the crisis. From a sluggish government response at the early stage to distrust of scientists and the continuing debate over mask and vaccine mandates, many US politicians showed more care for partisan interests than ordinary American lives. The world has witnessed the flawed systems and divided society of the US more clearly than ever during the pandemic.

The quick spread of the Omicron variant in southern African countries in the past few days is a stark reminder of vaccine inequality. The WHO has warned that nations with a low vaccination rate pose a risk of breeding variants. As one of the countries with the most ample supplies of vaccine, the US not only failed to protect American lives, but also hoarded and wasted vaccines, hindering developing countries’ anti-pandemic efforts. The US government has reportedly let some unused doses expire rather than share them with countries in desperate need.

Overcoming the pandemic is arduous for any country. China has battled re-emerging local outbreaks for two years. The Chinese government, putting people first, has taken swift and comprehensive action, including mass testing, quarantines and vaccinations, while the Chinese people have closely followed scientific guidelines on mask wearing and social distancing. The zero-COVID strategy, which is facing rising doubts as “costly” and “unsustainable” by some Western media and observers, has proven to be effective for public health in the country and has served the economy well.

In October 2019, weeks before the first COVID-19 cases were detected in China, the US was ranked first out of 195 countries in pandemic preparedness in the Global Health Security Index, a project by Johns Hopkins University and other organizations. Ironically, the past two years have revealed how ill-prepared the US was for the COVID-19 pandemic.

As today’s alarming spike in fatalities displayed the US’ anti-pandemic fiasco, the US government should take responsibility for people’s lives. It has no say over other countries’ COVID policies until it handles its own affairs properly. The country should learn the painful lesson from the losses that people’s lives matter.

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