OPINIONS Observer: People's safety should be US government's first concern amid epidemic

OPINIONS

Observer: People's safety should be US government's first concern amid epidemic

By Bai Yuanqi | People's Daily app

17:58, September 09, 2020

The US House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis recently released reports, saying what the government officials told the public contradicted reports they privately issued to states. The cover-up led to the death of over 58,000 additional Americans and left millions of American lives at risk.

The reports sparked new accusations of the US government’s botched response to control the disease and safeguard its people, a sharp contrast with China’s successful fight against the pandemic. Warnings went up again for the US government to put people’s safety as the biggest priority.

At the early stages of the outbreak, few confirmed cases were reported in the US when China suspended outbound traffic from Wuhan to prevent the virus from spreading. China's suspension of traffic sent an early warning to the world. Then, American airlines suspended direct flights between the US and China, and closed borders to all Chinese citizens.

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However within just a few months, the infections and death toll skyrocketed in America, with more than 6 million people confirmed as of this week. How can a country, with sufficient time to prepare, one of the most advanced medical systems globally, perform so poorly amid the pandemic?

Firstly, the Trump administration prioritizes political interests over people's lives. They used unscrupulous divisive tactics to prepare for reelection. When the pandemic deteriorated, some US politicians smeared China’s anti-virus efforts and interfered in China’s internal affairs to deflect blame from its poor control of the virus.

Secondly, the Trump administration also shows contempt for science. Staff members at the White House were not ordered to wear masks until the epidemic had raged on for months. Trump ridiculously floated the idea of injecting disinfectant to fight COVID-19.

Meanwhile, rather than saved lives, some US politicians used the pandemic as a weapon to attack political opponents, and viewed it as an opportunity to seize power and partisan interests.

Their advocacy of “human rights” and “democracy” speaks much louder than any real action for US citizens’ security and basic needs. What they should learn from China is that “human life is the biggest human right”, said Chinese top respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan. Zhong was one of the four role models commended in a national meeting in Beijing on Monday for their hard work in the anti-virus fight.

Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, echoed the view, saying that China’s success is attributable to the “huge partnership between communities, scientific institutions, public health institutions in the government”, and “a lot of cooperation, very sustained commitment to getting the job done”.

As the pandemic still rages globally, the US administration and some politicians should stop stigmatizing and smearing China. Only by dropping prejudice, strengthening anti-virus measures, coordinating multiple parities and tilting more policies towards the vulnerable groups and minorities, can America, which is struggling with mounting infection numbers, help its people ride the difficult times.

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