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Predicted virus numbers in US reflect its predictable governance: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-09-06 20:48
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A nurse wearing an N95 mask adjusts IV equipment hanging outside a COVID-19 patient's door in a Stamford Hospital intensive care unit (ICU) in Stamford, Connecticut,  on April 24, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

When US President Donald Trump said at a news conference on Friday that, in his opinion, China and many other countries have underreported the number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus and their death tolls are higher than the United States, he was once again trying to deflect blame for his mishandling of the crisis.

There are more than 40,000 new infections in the country every day, and the country had reported 192,000 deaths caused by the virus, one-fifth of the world's total, as of Sunday. In comparison, China has seen no local infections for more than 20 days, and it has reported 4,735 deaths due to the virus. Yet according to the US president, this is simply the result of the Chinese government cheating the numbers.

While he is persisting with his blame-and-shame stigmatizing of China in an attempt to pass the buck, the fact is China has no need to manipulate the figures, since the success it has had so far in containing the virus can be clearly seen and is in stark contrast to the chaos in the US.

While Trump praised himself for saving lives by stopping Chinese entering the country, which — along with his insistence on calling it the "Chinese virus" — is a point he keeps coming back to, since this is the only action he took in response to what was clearly even then a global health emergency, China mobilized nearly 50,000 medical workers along with all the resources the country could provide to support the worst-hit city Wuhan, and the rest of the Hubei province, effectively preventing the virus from running rampant nationwide as it has in the US.

This is in stark contrast to the US government's response to the outbreak in New York, which if taken out of the picture as Trump insisted would indeed make the situation in the US less grim. But while he blasted the Democratic governor for not controlling the outbreak, there was no mention of what the federal government has done to help the city.

Apart from seeking to erase New York's numbers from the nation's toll of infections and deaths, the US leader's other "if" scenario serves to show how desperate he has become to shrug off his responsibilities for being the leader who has made "America first" for the number of deaths and infections.

Saying that if there were no tests, there would be no infections and no deaths, Trump has gone to the limit of sophistry. There is also a dangerous presumption in this disingenuous claim, since it implies that the administration is only in charge of providing tests, not for making the tough decisions.

Regretfully, except for gilding its own "success", or framing other countries and international organizations, the administration has seldom demonstrated the promptness, decisiveness and resoluteness, which, as the experience of many other countries shows, are essential to saving lives.

It is a sad irony that the more Washington smears China, its largest supplier of medical goods and life necessities, the more meaningful China's assistance becomes.

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