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Toll of shame and political dysfunction: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2022-05-15 20:10
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Lila Blanks holds the casket of her husband, Gregory Blanks, 50, who died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), ahead of his funeral in San Felipe, Texas, US, Jan 26, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

The Washington National Cathedral rang its mourning bell 1,000 times on Monday last week, once for every 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States. That is the highest number of deaths in the world, while the total number of infections in the country exceeds 80 million, which is also the highest number worldwide. These stark and sad statistics shame the US, as it boasts the strongest medical resources in the world, as well as the most advanced technology in medical science.

With its medical resources and ample supplies of other resources, the US response to the pandemic should have been much better. Even after its failure to realize the severity of the threat, the US government had more than one opportunity to adjust its anti-COVID policies, which could have reduced the death toll by a large margin.

As early as April 2020, 2,500 daily deaths were reported and the surge of the Delta variant caused more than 100,000 deaths in September and October 2021. The number of deaths could have been reduced had the US government adjusted its prevention and control policies at these junctures.

The pandemic in the US has been handled by two administrations, a Republican one under Donald Trump and the current Democratic one under Joe Biden. Both administrations have been too preoccupied with the political struggle between the two parties to lend enough thought to the fight against the pandemic.

The bipartisan strife in Washington has obviously prevented either administration from taking effective action to combat the virus. Even the allocation of the money needed to respond to the virus has not been approved by Congress because of the partisan wrangling.

Instead of regarding the virus as the common enemy of humanity, which requires the concerted efforts of all countries in winning the battle against it, Washington has politicized the virus.

As a result, the public in the US has been misled.

President Joe Biden officially announced that the US had reached the "tragic milestone" of 1 million deaths on Thursday, and the same day he co-hosted the second Global COVID-19 Summit with the leaders of Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal. With the summit, Washington sought to portray itself as a leader in the global fight against the pandemic, but that is belied by its failed response to the pandemic. Washington has also failed to act as a world leader for the global fight against the virus, which has resulted in the resurgences of the pandemic in various parts of the world.

It is not just people in the US, but people around the world who are paying the price for degeneracy of the US' political system. The dysfunctional US system means that political point scoring comes before people's well-being.

The doleful milestone of 1 million deaths from the pandemic should give the American people food for thought about the state of the US political system.

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