COVID-19 fight will prove whether Biden is different from Trump

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By Mu Lu Source: Global Times

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US president-elect Joe Biden reportedly will announce a 12-member task force to deal with COVID-19 to show that resurgent coronavirus is his immediate priority. The news comes at a poignant moment in the plague’s trajectory with 10 million Americans infected—more than any other country.

The US is deep in the mud puddle of the virus fight due to the Trump administration’s ineptitude against the pandemic. If the curve in the US still cannot be flattened soon, the consequences will be beyond thinkable.

The presidential election results have mirrored over 75 million Americans’ discontent toward the Trump administration’s inability in battling the coronavirus. Biden is aware that Trump’s failure in fighting the virus is a big factor that contributed to his victory. Now he has to prove that he is capable of putting the pandemic under control and pull the country out of the mud. Otherwise, his situation might not be much different than that of the Trump’s.

The virus fight has been a proverbial trump card during Biden’s election campaign. So he will undoubtedly strive to fulfill his promise in this regard. How he will specifically fight the plague scientifically at home and work with international cooperation will be the first topics to be addressed. Without progress in pandemic prevention and control, Biden’s other promises, such as economic recovery and bringing the US back to center of global stage, will be out of reach.

Li Haidong, a professor of American studies at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Monday that the biggest challenge to Biden with pandemic prevention and control is “ending legacies” left by Trump. It will be challenging for the Biden administration to bring the distorted pandemic prevention campaign back on track, particularly when there are at least 70 million Americans who still favor Trump’s ideas. “If Biden cannot change how these people think and act, and make them wear face masks and keep social distancing, the raging disease will not be relieved,” Li noted.

Biden said he would, “mandate mask wearing in all federal buildings and all interstate transportation hubs because masks save lives.” If so, this will be no more than a start. It can be anticipated that the pandemic in the US will not be able to be put under control within a short term. To Biden, he has no other options but to advance massive scientific pandemic control measures domestically while seeking constructive cooperation worldwide with such partners as China and the World Health Organization.

Trump has dumped responsibilities onto China, scapegoating the Asian country for the US’ own failures in fighting the virus.  But this trick will no longer work for the Biden administration. Nor can it totally blame Trump for a continuing bad situation anymore after it takes power and gets to work.

No matter the abundance of US resources, there are limits. If the US still fails in the fight against the coronavirus after it gradually begins to take proper prevention measures, the long told myth of the US will come to an official end. This will not be good news to all Americans, and for those who have undergone a rough time due to the US’ ineptitude toward COVID-19.

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