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Situation in the United States is mess of its own making: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-11-02 20:36
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FILE PHOTO: A health worker takes a swab sample from a man to test for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Borough Park area of Brooklyn, New York, US, September 25, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Highlighting his contempt for the advice of medical experts and his determination to deflect any criticism, the US president told supporters at a rally in Florida on Sunday that he would fire Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases expert, if he was re-elected.

His comment came after Fauci, in an interview with The Washington Post on Friday, warned that the situation in the country was not good and that it was "in for a whole lot of hurt" over the winter.

Despite the country registering a new daily record for infections with 99,000-plus newly confirmed cases on Friday — Fauci's objective assessment of the situation earned him blistering criticism from White House spokesperson Judd Deere, who said, "It's unacceptable and breaking with all norms" for Fauci "to choose three days before an election to play politics".

The rebuke naturally raises the questions of what behavior is acceptable and what are the norms for someone who serves as the top epidemic control expert. It only serves to highlight that it is the US administration that has been "playing politics" with the pandemic — and since the outbreak of the virus, it has been playing politics as it knew from the start how grave a threat the virus was, but it played it down to prevent panic in the market.

Speaking at his campaign rally in Opa-locka on Sunday, Trump expressed frustration that the virus that has killed 230,000 in the country so far remains prominent in the news, prompting chants of "Fire Fauci" from his supporters, to which the president responded by saying he appreciated their advice. He asked for their patience "until a little bit after the election".

It is pathetic that even as the epidemic control experts, medical workers, community workers and others who are struggling to save lives pin their hopes on the federal government taking concrete actions to control the spread of the virus, the US administration seek to avoid its responsibilities by passing the buck in this way, even resorting to portraying the virus as a malignancy inflicted on the country by China.

In other words, the US administration has waved the white flag of defeat in the battle to control the virus. Fauci was simply stating the truth when he said the country could "not possibly be positioned more poorly" with the administration unwilling to make the tough choices necessary.

The experiences of countries that have got a firm grip on the virus have proved that early detection, early tracing and early quarantine are crucial to cut the transmission chains and save lives. The US administration should explain how trying to point a finger of blame at China puts people's well-being first.

The handful of US politicians that have had the responsibility of leadership during this crisis cannot deceive the world by smearing China. The facts betray their lies. It is their ineptness that is responsible for the mess in the US.

Whoever wins the presidential election will have to deal with it. And simply casting aspersions on China is not going to be of any benefit in doing that.

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