Xinhua Commentary: America's pandemic tragedy, deadly hubris

Source: Xinhua| 2021-07-31 21:09:03|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhua) -- As the United States continues to see spikes in COVID-19 infections and deaths, the pandemic has indeed become, as the White House called, an American tragedy. How did it come to this?

Many factors explain America's abject failure to contain the pandemic. A good number of them can be traced back to the deadly hubris of Washington's politicians, as they care more about their own political interests rather than science and people's lives.

Domestically, those politicians released false information which fooled and misled its people on the outset of the pandemic.

Washington chose to turn a blind eye to warnings of the dangerous pathogen and deliberately downplayed its risks. Such absurd and irresponsible rhetoric as "the virus is going to disappear," or "injecting disinfectant" can kill the virus emerged one after another.

Respected experts were muted whenever they told the truth that offended those Washington's elites. For a long period of time, U.S. top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci had tried to clarify the truth to the public, but consequently, he was blocked from appearing in the media.

The Atlantic once commented on Washington's failure in an article published in last September: "Despite ample warning, the U.S. squandered every possible opportunity to control the coronavirus. And despite its considerable advantages -- immense resources, biomedical might, scientific expertise -- it floundered."

As for epidemic control and prevention, Washington lacked an effective national plan to coordinate actions across the states, which is another major reason why the United States has failed in containing the pandemic.

For instance, some states announced lockdown restrictions in late March in the year 2020, while some other states were hurrying lifting their lockdown measures in April and May, which ultimately led to the infections surge across the country. What is worse, lockdown measures cannot be fully implemented. Statistics show that only about 50 percent of areas in the United States had well implemented effective lockdown.

Some states were even bidding for medical supplies. States including the New York State, California, Illinois rushed to buy ventilators, causing constant price rising and endless finger-pointing.

Total chaos can best depict Washington's epidemic control and prevention inside the country. It has failed to protect its own people. While on the world stage, Washington's hubris is more devastating, largely disrupting the global pandemic fight.

Time and again, the United States is openly stigmatizing the epidemic, labeling the virus, and interfering with global response of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In last July, at a critical moment of the global pandemic fight, Washington announced its decision to defund the WHO, which was described by Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, as "a crime against humanity."

Moreover, the United States has been hoarding a vast number of vaccines that leads to severe waste. With about 4 percent of the world's population, the United States snapped up about 2.6 billion doses of vaccines, a quarter of the global total.

Such a hoarding action is hindering the effective pandemic control at a global scale, as rampant spread of the virus in some countries amid vaccine shortages could create conditions for nurturing even deadlier variants. It is also hurting the United States itself.

The contagious Delta variant is an example. A surge of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths has once again struck the United States, with the total confirmed cases of the pandemic nearing 35 million.

America's pandemic tragedy is a lesson for U.S. politicians. It exposes Washington's hubris that overrides science and people's lives. If Washington cannot face up to the facts and shoulder its responsibilities both at home and abroad, there will be more catastrophes. Enditem