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Fact check: Is US emergency response system up to par?

(People's Daily Online)    17:11, February 18, 2020

Ever since the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, some US media outlets and politicians have taken advantage of the epidemic to slander the Chinese government and attack China’s political system.

Does the US really have a good record in dealing with a similar situation? Let us turn the clock back to 2009, when the H1N1 flu from the US spread to 214 regions and countries.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 60.8 million Americans contracted the H1N1 virus. From April 12, 2009, to April 10, 2010, the virus led to more than 12,000 deaths in a population of 300 million, a number that is hardly on par with the medical standards of a developed nation.

Additionally, CDC estimates that 151,700-575,400 people worldwide died from the H1N1 virus infection during the first year the virus circulated.

Well, at least they declared it a public health emergency. However, the US government clearly failed to take enough measures to control it.

It is confusing that the US seems to have learnt nothing from the epidemic a decade ago. So far, the influenza virus has infected 19 million Americans across the country and killed at least 10,000 people this season alone.

Natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005 and left the city in a desperate state, also demonstrated a “classic failure” or incapacity of the Uncle Sam’s emergency response system.

On the contrary, China has taken massive efforts to keep the coronavirus under control. Wuhan, a city with a population of over 10 million, and where the coronavirus was initially discovered, is locked down. All citizens in China have been advised to wear masks and many have been encouraged to stay home to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

The country is mobilizing medical resources nationwide to aid Wuhan and control the epidemic. As of Feb. 14, a total of 217 medical teams and 25,633 medical professionals were sent to Hubei province, and thousands of military medical experts were deployed to the virus-stricken areas.

Till now, China has contained more than 99 percent of the confirmed cases within its borders, which means less than one percent 1% of confirmed cases worldwide are outside China.

Just like WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said in his speech: “There is a window of opportunity because of the strong measures China is taking at the epicenter, at the source.”

Facts and numbers have clearly displayed the truth: China’s speed, scale, and efficiency all demonstrate the strengths of its system.

US politicians should stop pointing figures at others, especially if the US government is unable to act in times of public emergency. At the very least, they can shut their mouths if they cannot provide actual help to the world.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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