"'America Ranked First'?! The Truth about America's fight against COVID-19" released on Aug. 9, 2021. (Photo provided to GMW.cn)
Facing severe pandemic throughout the world, some US media made a fuss about the evaluation of the epidemic performance in various countries, openly ranking the United States “No.1 in the world” for its response to COVID-19. It is contrary to basic human ethics and facts. And it will not help future generations to look at the current world history realistically and objectively. "America Ranked First?!The Truth about America's fight against COVID-19” was jointly released by Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, Taihe Institute and Intellisia Institute. It has restored the truth about COVID-19, revealing the most failed country in fighting the pandemic.
Fighting against the pandemic is a test for the governance systems and capabilities of various countries, but the US, which was originally regarded as a "top student", has performed poorly in this test. The US is said to be the world's No.1 power, with adequate medical resources, a well-trained public health workforce and complete emergency response management system. However, the response of the US to the pandemic has been disappointing.
In spite of advantageous basic conditions, its achievements in fighting the pandemic have been the worst in the world. According to the WHO, by the end of August 7, the US had reported a total of 3,530,951 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 613,658 deaths, both of which ranked first in the world and greatly exceeded those of other countries. During the first week of August, the average daily number of confirmed cases in the US had exceeded 100,000,which has been the second time in six months exceeding that number. Globally, the death toll in the US has increased by 89% over the past two weeks, despite a slight decline in global deaths.
Missing the "Golden window" for prevention and control due to partisan divide
Behind the numbers is domestic political struggle, especially the partisan divide that has highly politicized the pandemic, which deprived the lives of American who didn't have to die. The US elite manipulated politics and created confrontation. Both parties are doing everything just for political interest in pandemic prevention. This is the indifference of the US government, which “prioritizes human rights”, towards people's wellbeing --for partisan divide, not for life.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, partisan divisions have existed at the US federal, state and local levels, among the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and among conservative and liberal media, from nucleic acid test, mask-wearing, social distancing, home quarantine, vaccination to medical allocation and CARES ACT.
As a result of partisan divide, the US anti-pandemic policy has been used for political games. The US has repeatedly missed “Golden windows” for pandemic prevention. During the initial stage of the pandemic, Republican states weren’t under great pressure. Promoting economy and employment contributed to stabilizing the Republican base. Therefore, the Trump administration had repeatedly ignored warnings and tried to understate the risks of the pandemic. The Democrats, on the other hand, spent more energy on words than on actual action against the pandemic. Ignoring the interests and health of the American people, the two parties competed to write terms that were favorable to them to the bailout plans. It delayed the time of passing the bailout plan, taking anti-pandemic measures and allocating anti-pandemic resources.
The “divided America” pattern in the response to the pandemic due to partisan divide
The federal system featuring partisan wrangling has resulted in mutual restriction and buck-passing, showing the pattern of a “divided America” in its fight against the pandemic. The fact that all 50 states found themselves in a state of major disaster due to the pandemic highlighted the need for the US to integrate all public health resources and mobilize them for an effective response to the pandemic. But the reality is far from satisfactory.
On one hand, struggles between the federal and state governments are frequent. The federal government has no right to intervene in state issues and break the chain of transmission unless the states are willing to concede the power. Since Joe Biden took office, the Democrats have been pushing for "mask mandate" and vaccination. However, some Republican states have been against these measures, so the progress is slow. Some Republican senators have even claimed that the Biden administration will confiscate people's guns and Bible in the future if they pursue vaccination now. On the other hand, the state and local governments conducted different directives for pandemic prevention.
In conclusion, behind the pandemic, which has gone out of control, both parties show "opposition for opposition". Institutional defects such as the public interest of society being subordinate to the interests of capital are caused by the restrictions in the bipartisan political structure, the federal system ,and the separation of three powers, as well as policy-making power held by political and economic titans. They also led to the inconsistency of US government policies in the fight against the pandemic, and very serious consequences.
Partisan divide destroying the foundation of the separation of three powers
The life and health rights of the American people cannot be equally protected against the pandemic. To a great extent, the social and ethical crisis and humanitarian disaster have severely disrupted people's sense of security and contentment. The bonds that maintain social cohesion in the US have been torn apart by the disparity between the rich and the poor, social division, class solidification, racial conflicts, regional conflicts, and the conflicts between generations, which have intensified people's sense of anxiety and incapability. According to the report on coronavirus predicament released by US Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, despite being better than December 2020, the pandemic still has an impact on Americans in the first half of 2021, with the households of 20 million adults still without enough food and 11.4 million unable to pay their rent on time thus at risk of being put out from their homes. According to US Census Bureau, 22 percent of families with underage youths had at least one person without income by July 5.
The failure of the US-style response to the pandemic can be seen from information to decision and implementation through two administrations across all aspects. Partisan divide is destroying the foundation of the separation of three powers. The pandemic in the US has so far failed to be effectively controlled under the double hit of the virus and the man-made catastrophe. The US parties and elites are still hyping up antagonism in society, either to gain voter support or to solidify the structure of the political and economic interests.
At present, the pandemic is still raging all over the world, while the US government is still doing nothing and acting indiscriminately, resulting in immeasurable global crisis and human disaster. The signs are that the US has been worthy of the title as the most failed country in fighting the pandemic. The fact that the US media rated its response to the pandemic as the “No.1” has become the laughingstock of the world.
Contributed by Liu Dian, associate researcher of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China; Special Researcher of Beijing Research Center of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era
Translated by Wu You