As the Republicans stage the national convention, the US president boasted about the country’s pandemic response and again used the description of “Chinese virus”, contradicting his earlier call to stop “politicizing” the virus.
The backdrop to this year's US presidential election cannot be ignored: an unprecedented global public health crisis. There are more than 5 million cases in the US and more than 170,000 deaths in the country--more than any other nation. The US stands alone as the only affluent nation to have suffered a severe, sustained outbreak for more than four months.
The US response to the epidemic inevitably became a key topic when two parties trade blame for lost lives and stalled economy. Obviously, the White House is racking their brains to peddle lies all over the world to maliciously attack and slander China to defend its stumbled response to the pandemic.
US officials labeled the virus “Chinese” or befouled China to hide the truth. They insisted the term is accurate because the Chinese city Wuhan reported the first cases while the US CDC has confirmed the strains that prevailed in New York, the former US coronavirus epicenter, came from European hot spots, not China.
Why such a failed response? Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said that it seems the White House never had a science-based plan or strategy to control the novel coronavirus.
The White House frequently departed from expert advice and at the beginning of the epidemic, said the virus was not serious, predicted it would disappear, spent weeks questioning the need for masks, encouraged states to reopen even with large and growing caseloads, and promoted medical disinformation. Even new cases were spiking in various states, the officials claimed the pandemic is “receding.”
When facing challenges questioning the anti-pandemic strategy, buck-passing, particularly, scapegoating China, becomes the "standard answer" for some US politicians and officials to shift the blame.
The US politicians’ goals of schools resuming classes safely, solving economic and unemployment problems and making America great are all predicated on effectively halting the spread of the epidemic. Disdain for science and stigmatization of China by the US will not solve the crisis caused by the epidemic.
Although the China scapegoat strategy may deceive some voters, the Trump administration will eventually hurt itself. Smearing China won’t make the pandemic disappear. If the Trump administration continues to focus on stigmatizing China for re-election rather than saving lives, it would not only damage the global economy, but also its own economic recovery.