There have been two different voices in the US in terms of the COVID-19. The first voice is from political figures, including the Trump administration and US senators. They advocate fully restoring the economy. Another voice is from scientists. For example, infectious diseases experts like Anthony Fauci have warned that there may be “little spikes that might turn into outbreaks” in the US if it prematurely opens up.
Those who advocate holding China accountable are politicians as well. Almost no US scientist has endorsed such an accusation. US CDC Director Robert Redfield said Tuesday that his agency “had very good interactions” with its Chinese counterpart as early as January 2.
The COVID-19 fight should have been a people’s war dominated by science. But science has been undermined in the US, and politics has been made prominent and dominant. US President Donald Trump, other high-ranking US officials and senior senators have made statements that go against basic scientific knowledge. They have stressed resumption of work and encouraged people not to believe everything that experts say. They refuse to reflect on themselves and refuse to establish a national tracking and analysis system. They pass the buck to China, trying to achieve a so-called COVID-19 political balance.
The New York Times published an article on May 5 in which the author said that the US has lost “cognitive immunity.” But the article was obviously targeted at the Republican Party and it seems that the media was choosing a side before the US presidential election. The deep involvement in politics has greatly undermined the US mainstream media’s role of revising social cognition.
The epidemic fight must be a people’s war, but the Americans have not been fully mobilized to fight the coronavirus with science. It has taken a long and bumpy road for Americans to wear masks despite being such a simple thing. Only very recently were White House staffers ordered to wear masks. However, Washington’s attempt to politically mobilize the society hasn’t stopped for a moment. It’s working every minute to make supporting forced resumption of work a political correctness. The US government keeps telling its people not to be afraid of the epidemic, to go back to work and smear China.
How can such a US defeat the virus? The number of deaths in the country has exceeded 82,000, and will soon surpass the iconic mark of 100,000. But the US hasn’t formed a unified fight against the epidemic within the country, nor is there a consistent strategy. The last round of social distancing measures only alleviated the epidemic. The US rushed to resume work and production without establishing a strong capability to track the infected.
Constrained by the federal system, the US is weak in coordinating actions nationwide. The deformed party politics has further hindered the formation of a united epidemic fight. The US epidemic response has failed to match its scientific strength and superior public health conditions. It is fighting a chaotic battle, costing a lot while gaining little and ordinary people have become the biggest victims. Unfortunately, the most prevalent thing within the US now is to shirk responsibility and pass the buck to China.
The world’s sole superpower is degenerating. The only way to “Make America Great Again” is to rebuild the spirit of science, which should start with subduing the novel coronavirus with science itself. What will defeat the virus is scientific prevention and control. The virus knows no borders; it will launch fatal attacks against countries with weaker defenses.
The US has the largest numbers of infections and deaths, which show it has the weakest prevention and control system against the virus in the world. Washington needs to, first of all, reflect on its deficiencies, and put science above politics.