Apple News Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Thursday, Mar 12, 2020

Two powers, two systems, and two responses in coronavirus battle

By  Curtis Stone (People's Daily Online)    15:27, March 12, 2020

Xinhua Photo

Two major powers with two different systems on two sides of the Pacific Ocean have seen very different results in their efforts to prevent and control the coronavirus outbreak.

It did not take long for China to get the outbreak under control. Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, reported eight new confirmed cases on Mar. 12, dropping into the single digits for the first time. As the World Health Organization pointed out, 70 percent of the more than 80,000 confirmed cases in China have recovered and been discharged from the hospital, and the outbreak in China may be ending.

However, as the number of cases of coronavirus in China continues to drop, the number of cases in the United States continues to rise. As of Mar. 11, at least 1,240 people in 42 states and Washington, DC, have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a New York Times database, and at least 37 patients with the virus have died. In addition, states are struggling to contain the virus and multiple states have declared a state of emergency.

As one of the most developed countries in the world, the situation in the United States should not be like this. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 20 announced the United States’ first confirmed case of coronavirus in Washington State, but the US government until recently was dragging its feet.

The US government had ample time to prepare, but the response has been downright embarrassing. Trump and senior officials held a White House press conference on US preparedness on February 26, 2019, reassuring the public that “the threat to America is low.” No one at the conference seemed to know that the virus was spreading in the United States. At that time, the global spread of the virus was also accelerating and as of Feb. 27, the virus had spread to 46 countries outside of China, infecting more than 82,200 people globally, according to the WHO. Two days after the conference, the WHO raised the global risk level to its highest level.

Obviously, the US government has been slow to respond to the outbreak and this has wasted precious time. Dr. Kurt Campbell, the former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, bluntly stated at a Hudson Institute event, “We were given some time by the unbelievably draconian steps that the Chinese have taken,” and then added, “I’m not sure we used that time effectively.”

In addition to missing the golden period for epidemic prevention, the US government is unprepared to deal with an outbreak of any significant size. Dr. Matt McCarthy, an infectious disease physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, one of the busiest hospitals in the United States, complained on television that he did not have access to rapid diagnostic test kits and even pleaded with the health department to test people for coronavirus. At the same time, Democrats and Republicans are politicizing the outbreak to smear China and blame the other political party for the crisis.

The Chinese government put the lives and health of people first as it sought to prevent and control the outbreak, and being able to bring the whole system together for this purpose is an advantage of the Chinese system. Different countries have different systems and how to respond to an epidemic will be different for each country, but putting ideology or agenda above the lives and health of people is irresponsible.

As the number of coronavirus cases around the world continues to rise, more people might wonder, “How did China stop the virus? What should we do?” According to Dr. Bruce Aylward, the WHO assistant director-general, other countries can replicate China’s counterattack, but it will require speed, money, imagination, and political courage. The different results on the two sides of the Pacific Ocean might also make them wonder why China can pull together the imagination and courage needed to deliver a blow to the virus while the United States struggles to handle the outbreak.

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

Add your comment

We Recommend

Most Read

Key Words