U.S. number one in COVID-19 resilience? What a joke

By Qing Ming (People's Daily Online) 16:24, July 14, 2021

It should have come as no surprise that the U.S. is always tussling for first place in any competition. After all, this is a nation of self-glorifying exceptionalism that has, in the past century, willingly got itself involved and dragged other nations into never-ending hot and cold wars, gratuitous races and consequential confrontations. But when it comes to Bloomberg’s bizarre story that places the U.S. at the top of its so-called “Covid Resilience Ranking”, the absurdity and ridiculousness are still beyond the understanding of any sane person and outside the scope of serious science.

Previously, America ranked first on the 2019 Global Health Security Index compiled by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, with its overall score topping the charts and “the rapid response to and mitigation of the spread of an epidemic” second only to the United Kingdom. We all know what happened the following year.

Screenshot of the 2019 Global Health Security Index compiled by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

As the whole world continues to be baffled by the mystery of how the U.S. could have encountered its Waterloo in battling the epidemic, its self-crowned field, Bloomberg has waged a comeback in claiming victory for America after the nation’s bitter, tragic and embarrassing failure in coping with COVID-19.

The “Covid Resilience Ranking” is made up of a continuously updated list, which Bloomberg claims “scores the largest 53 economies on their success at containing the virus with the least amount of social and economic disruption.” The latest edition, released on June 28, is a misleading and amateurish hotchpotch at best, and a meaningless and farcical piece of nonsense at worst. Not only has Bloomberg ’s “professional healthcare reporting team” separated its original criteria from the ranking list, e.g., “1-Month Cases Per 100K”, “1-Month Fatality Rate”, “Total Deaths Per 1M”, “Positive Test Rate”, many of which are now on the rise, to make the U.S. “look good” on the chart, they also view “lockdown severity” as a negative factor, in which they deem China has adopted “the most oppressive measures in the world” if cases resurge, and is therefore scored among one of the worst.

What’s even more hilarious is the description under Bloomberg’s ranking list. “Restaurants are packed, masks are no longer required…and people are going on vacation again… as the country is set for blistering economic growth.” Without knowing the context, one might think it is describing the situation in China since the second half of 2020. But wait…it’s actually the U.S. Ummm…

Bloomberg and other American media seem to be living in an alternate reality, in which they are convinced that China’s “stringent” epidemic response reveals the nation’s fragile side, whereas America’s last-minute resolution on mask-wearing (despite the fact many were reluctant or simply refused to wear them in the first place) earns its country a reputation for resilience.

Screenshot of Bloomberg’s latest edition of the Covid Resilience Ranking 

In reality, however, the U.S. was and still is far from successful in responding to and mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, and its reopening process has not been rapid, but on the contrary grueling and precarious.

In America’s drawn-out fight against the coronavirus outbreak, the human toll inflicted by the inaction and incompetence of the government has been heavy and unnecessary. Despite the all-out efforts by some American politicians and media to shirk responsibilities and divert attention, they can never ignore the cold reality that over 607,000 lives have been lost to the disease, nor can they erase the memories of the people who will never fully recover from the grief and agony of losing loved ones.

If resilient must be the word used to describe America’s current state of mind on COVID-19 recovery, it should be put into a context of irony instead of complacency. For example: America’s resilience lies in its selective memory regarding former president Trump’s calamitous “containing” of the virus in a much-divided nation, and the mismanagement and coverup of deaths in nursing homes in several states.

For the international audience, the alternative facts spread by some US media may be evidence of a wry sense of humor. But for millions of American people, the satire is too bitter to process, as they understand all too well that at the end of the day, all that matters is the reality, not the ranking. 

(Web editor: Meng Bin, Hongyu)


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