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Name-calling will not help protect people from the virus: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2020-04-12 19:28
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A medical technologist tests a respiratory panel at Northwell Health Labs, where the same test will be used on the COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, after being authorized to begin semi-automated testing by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Lake Success, New York, US, March 11, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham's slam on China in his interview with the media on Saturday is just the latest example of how the strong side wind that is blowing in the country that is worst-hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic is distracting and deviating it from the right course of action.

Calling China a pandemic incubator and the World Health Organization a China apologizer, the chair of the appropriations subcommittee urged the federal government to bring US companies producing medical supplies back from China, which he said should be held accountable for the deaths and unemployment in the US.

It is a further tragedy for the US, where the pandemic is raging — the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the country surpassed that in Italy as of Sunday noon, 20,609 to be exact — that the public fund appropriator should choose to shy away from funding pandemic control efforts or helping the unemployed, preferring instead to continue his crusade against China.

Since no nation can hermetically seal its borders, every country is at risk from the outbreak of a contagious pathogen. The United States had the opportunity to learn from China's early battle with the virus. That it failed to do so has been a costly misjudgment.

Those US politicians asking who is responsible for the country's misfortune are the ones who know that it is on their shoulders the blame lies. They had the warnings and time to prepare; they failed to do so.

It is the sudden worsening of the situation in the US last month that has prompted the attempts to divert public anger in the US onto China.

The pathogen is a common threat and one that the world needs to control and learn the lessons from, since it will certainly not be the last threat from the wild that we face as a species.

Those US politicians who are speculating on prejudice against China as way to wash their hands of any culpability may find the American people — when they are shocked out of their complacent belief that they are somehow immune from the world's troubles — are not so easily hoodwinked as they think.

The pandemic situation worldwide has already made some reflect on and apologize for their previous stigmatizing of China, the British scientific journal Nature being a case in point. In an editorial it apologized for its earlier association of the virus with China, which it admitted was against guidelines made by the WHO for reporting on diseases and a practice that had led to racist attacks on Asians.

Those in the US still trying to portray the virus as one that has Chinese characteristics should realize it is time for practical measures to save lives not ideological mumbo jumbo.

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