Source:Global Times – Graphic: Global Times
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday exceeded 10 million worldwide and this may be the tip of the iceberg of actual infections. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that cases in the US may be 10 times higher than reported. If we extrapolate from this figure, then the actual number of people infected with the disease may be around 100 million worldwide.
China may be the country with the strongest ability to track and eliminate COVID-19 cases. After China controlled the first wave of the pandemic, people are highly alert to new outbreaks across the country. All Chinese people agree on the need to eliminate these outbreaks and bringing the number of new domestic infections down to zero.
Constrained by their actual mobilization ability, most countries strengthen social quarantine measures when the pandemic situation is tense and restart the economy when the situation is eased. China’s measures have effectively protected people’s lives but China has also paid a high economic price for it.
With the COVID-19 fight becoming a routine, all countries face the task of controlling the pandemic and economic recovery, and to what extent control measures are put in place is essentially a humanitarian issue.
China has done much better than the West, especially the US. After the US failed in the initial stages of the COVID-19 fight, it almost abandoned the mission of humanitarianism and let the virus take more than 125,000 Americans’ lives.
Economic recovery is urgent for people’s livelihoods and affects long-term strength building for all countries. The global competition of national strength did not stop during the pandemic, so countries that are less affected in terms of their economy will form a comparative advantage.
China has brought the number of COVID-19 cases down to zero many times, yet the costs are huge. The US regards economic recovery as the axis of social policy, but the serious spread of the disease has harmed the economy. Which country will suffer fewer losses? Judging from China and the US’ first quarter economic data and estimation of the second and the third quarter data, the US’ economic decline is likely to be higher than that of China, but it will take longer to draw a definitive conclusion.
China has the ability to control outbreaks of COVID-19, and this is our advantage. But we should not crow about this advantage. In the US and Europe, there is a new trend of ethics that accepts more COVID-19 deaths. US and European societies are collectively indifferent to the serious consequences of the epidemic. Their advantage in soft power will spread such a trend to the world and affect the world’s attitude toward the pandemic in the future.
Once such a situation is formed, the relationship between different prevention and control strategies adopted by China and the West and national competitiveness may change. How will the US deal with China? What new challenges will China’s opening-up face? It is hard to predict today.
To sustain its advantages, China must commit itself to epidemic prevention and control and strengthening economic vitality. China must reduce economic losses caused by the fight against the pandemic and make its anti-virus work more accurate. China has to ensure that its economic recovery rate is higher than that of other major countries such as the US. China must regard this as a goal as important as clearing new infections.
China also needs to speed up research, development and application of the vaccine more than any other country. That there are now fewer infections in the Chinese society means the vaccine is of more importance to us. Psychologically, Chinese people have less tolerance toward the disease than Americans and Europeans. A vaccine will provide confidence for Chinese society in the future.
China has won the first battle against the epidemic, and this is worthy of pride. But to maintain victories, we must also look at what is going on in the world. It is a global fight, and situations in other battlefields will affect the Chinese battlefield.