The US Blame-Game Against China Increasing the Invaluable Costs of COVID-19 - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The US Blame-Game Against China Increasing the Invaluable Costs of COVID-19

The global community is still struggling in the battle against the overwhelming impacts of the COVID-19 in every sphere of human endeavours. While the devastating effects left in its trails continue to increase by the day, COVID-19 has exposed the need for increased responsiveness from leadership in every sector of the society in order to overcome humanity’s common challenges like this. More importantly is the need for a robust global governance in the area of public health. In an attempt to deflect from domestic backlash due to inadequate preparation and mishandling of the deadly impact of the new coronavirus at home, the incumbent administration in the US have chosen to pass the bucks by making allegations against China claiming the country is to be held responsible for the devastating effect of the COVID-19 in the US. Sequel to these wrong claims and counter claims by the US alleging that China not only manufactured the new coronavirus, but is culpable in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and must pay compensation to the United States, several questions needed to be answered to determine the culpability or otherwise of China in the handling of this global pandemic. Allegations of man-made virus, cover up, mishandling of outbreak from the onset and deliberate hoarding of medical supplies and many others have been raised by the US, albeit baselessly, yet the allegations have resonated globally and triggered replication of such in some places. Was the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) manufactured by China and was China engaged in a cover-up or was there any mishandling of the COVID-19 that has led to a global pandemic and deaths which China must pay for now?

The US has alleged that there were cover-ups and lies by China about the severity of the virus which necessitated the need to demand for compensation by the US, an action typical of a treasure hunt, which a few individuals and groups have been hoodwinked into erroneously toeing the line because the US took the lead. The claim that China lied about the severity of the new coronavirus which in turn did not allow the US and other countries to prepare ahead for the arrival and impact of the virus is false and it was made in bad faith.  On a closer look, the SARS-CoV-2 is a new coronavirus, which is still being studied even up till date, how come the US expected China to know everything about this virus at the early stage when it was still mutating? The claim is same as saying that China has some superior scientific knowledge that the US does not have to know more about a new virus earlier than expected. It is on record how China at every stage of the development of the virus kept updating the relevant organizations like the World Health Organization and relevant global infectious diseases laboratories, including those in the US. However, the US would rather ignore the efforts of these global independent bodies and choose to replace them in dealing with China directly because it never trusted anything coming from China. Accusing China of covering up on the details about a virus that is still being studied, is a total assault on science and common sense and it reflects an attitude of blaming for blaming sake.

Apart from the allegation that China engaged in cover-up and lies, the US officials, especially the controversial duo of the president and the secretary of state, relying on baseless conspiracy theories instead of evidence-based scientific findings, equally alleged that the virus was made by China and released deliberately or accidentally in Wuhan from a biological lab in the city of Wuhan. This conspiracy theory had argued that China’s intention was to use this as a springboard to become a global superpower. As illogical as this may sound, it is quite laughable to imagine that China manufactured the virus and released it to the world to kill other people so China can become the global super power. The erroneous claim signaled two things: either the US under the current administration lost sight of China and its foreign policy agenda or it is simply being mischievous, because China has never pursued a global hegemonic agenda as being practiced by some countries like the US. Someone once said that China built the Great Wall to protect itself and keep the "barbarians' away, not to invade the world. That is not the strategy of a country looking to become a global hegemon. Also, unleashing virus on the world doesn't sound to be a logical way of becoming a super power, because where will the superpower be exercised when the people of the world have been decimated by the virus released? It is important that politicians should not usurp the position of independent global experts in the field of infectious diseases who are trained to determine the origin of viruses like this. Scientific research published in respected medical journals showed that 27 out of the 41 patients admitted in Wuhan hospital between December 16 2019 and January2 2020 were exposed to the seafood market while the remaining 14 had not been there. The index case showed symptom on December 1 2019 had no link with the seafood market, none of his family members developed fever or any respiratory symptoms and there was no epidemiological connection between him and cases after him.

Secondly, while scientific evidences from researches conducted by respected global scientists, including those in the US, has proved that this strain of virus has natural roots from animals and not man made, a careful consideration of the location and timing of this virus outbreak  showed how it is totally impossible for China to manufacture and release the virus in Wuhan and at that time of the year when the virus was detected, why? Wuhan is a major transportation hub in China which serves as a connecting point for most travelers from and to different parts of China. The time the virus was detected was when most people in China are travelling home for the Chinese new year celebration, which will make them transit through Wuhan before getting to their final destination. For a virus to be manufactured and released in Wuhan at this crucial time means majority of travelers will contract the virus in Wuhan and take it to their respective destinations, thereby getting the whole country infected simultaneously. Talk about a grand plan to cheaply exterminate a whole nation through a virus attack! Which country in the world, no matter how wicked or dumb the leadership is, will do that to itself? If we are to follow the thinking of the conspiracy theorists, we can begin to look at the possibility of a foreign country who detests China as being the brain behind such a dastardly grand plan to attack China and make fortune selling antidotes to the most populous country in the world. That makes a lot of strategy and business sense.

China has made a huge contribution to global public healthcare by detecting the new coronavirus first. The claim that the virus originated from China is unfounded as this still remains a subject of scientific investigation with news reports from countries like Italy, France and even the US itself pointing to the strong possibility of the existence of the virus prior to its detection in Wuhan. That a virus was detected in a location does not translate to the virus originating from the location it was detected. Prior to its detection, the illness caused by the virus has been treated as pneumonia of unknown origin. Looking at the fact that carriers of this virus can be asymptomatic for long periods, thereby unknowingly infecting others in the process, it was possible for the virus to be in circulation long before it was detected in China. Instead of acknowledging the work done by China not only in detecting the virus, but also sequencing and sharing the requisite details of the virus with international laboratories worldwide to enable early work on vaccine and cure, those who see no good in anything China does would rather accuse China of manufacturing the virus, engaging in cover ups and many other baseless claims just to cast aspersions on China. Even when the promoters of these untruths know their tactics are not working, they kept on devising new ones and the more of these they put together, the more alarmed the world is about their insincerity and the more innocent lives are avoidably lost. Apart from paying a huge price for detecting the virus and now being labeled as the manufacturer or source of the virus, China equally paid a huge price through the unprecedented self-lockdown measure it adopted. The lockdown of an entire nation of over 1billion people gave at least one month of clear warning and bought for the rest of the world enough time to prepare ahead. China has no such privilege of early warning and window of opportunity to prepare.
The use of misinformation and outright lies to shy away from one's responsibility is not only irresponsible but completely dangerous when considered against the background of the trajectory of the coronavirus’ spread. More disturbing were statements of the US Secretary of States, Mike Pompeo, who continued to sing the blame China song when confronted with the truth that evidences from scientists and intelligence communities all pointed to the fact that the virus was not man made from any laboratory. The Secretary of State in self- contradiction confirmed he agreed with the findings of the scientists and intelligence communities, but China must be blamed without providing any tangible evidence to that effect. One may not be surprised by his action considering his self-confessed assertion that lying is the “glory of the American experiment”. However, it is obvious that the years of seeing telling lies as "glorious" in a nation's experience has become obsolete in view of the devastating effect COVID-19 has brought on national health care systems worldwide, especially in the US which prides itself as the most advanced country in the world in every sphere. Instead of continuing on the path of lying, it is high time to tell the people the truth and bring succor to the suffering population. 

The US has been known to be a global leader in mobilizing global collaborations against public health emergencies like this in the past as seen in the global support rallied against the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa where the US, China and other countries all worked together to bring the outbreak to an end on time. However, the current administration in the US has abdicated the leadership role of the country in global affairs pursuing instead myopic and self-centered agenda which has adversely affected the country’s response to this pandemic. It is on record that the immediate administration in the US, after the successful global collaboration against Ebola, in foresight, recommended the setting up of a global structure to detect, isolate and manage future public emergencies like this SARS-CoV-2, but the recommendations were not only unheeded by the current administration, existing structures put in place were critically handicapped by the incumbent administration, which significantly hampered the country’s readiness to respond to a public health emergency of this nature. The US president and his allies would rather continue to pursue the baseless agitation for compensation, waste more precious time and resources while people continue to be infected and die in droves. They would rather pursue illicit economic gains from the pandemic rather than agitate for and engage in collaborations that will end the pandemic on time so humanity can be resuscitated once again. The real costs of the pandemic is in the precious lives lost because all other things can still be revived. The biggest blunder of all was seeing this virus from the beginning as a China virus, a Chinese problem that must be solved by China. This wrong perspective was responsible for the earlier waste of time witnessed in most countries that are now overwhelmed by the virus because they failed to prepare ahead to handle and overcome this humanity's common enemy. 
While not dismissing the need for a thorough investigation into the origin of the new coronavirus, the emphasis should be on a thorough and fair international scientific investigation led by the global health body (WHO) rather than a single country or regional organization. China has made it clear that such investigation should be extended to countries with earlier confirmed cases than the previously known index case, especially in the US which have significant numbers of this on record particularly those diagnosed with flu in the previous winter, there is the need to determine how many of those flu diagnosis were coronavirus infections. The thorough investigation will not only help in curbing this pandemic and bring the global economy back to life, but also help in preparedness for future outbreaks of this nature. Politicizing the pandemic and lying to cover up mistakes will not help the US, it will only increase the invaluable and irreparable costs of the pandemic.
In conclusion, it is the expectation of many in the world that there will be a global unity in the face of this common threat to humanity as seen in the COVID-19; but instead of playing the leadership role in rallying global unity, the US under the incumbent administration, has disappointingly engaged in  petty finger-pointing and baseless conspiracy theories. In no time is the world in need of leadership that truly knows what to do than now when the very embers of our humanity is being attacked by an inhumane virus inadvertently being helped in its destructive works by the actions and inactions of national and opinion leaders in the incumbent administration in the US. Instead of combating the scourge of the viruses which has no respect for nationalities, propaganda and misinformation has filled every available space as a result of failure of leadership to take responsibility. China has consistently maintained in statements and actions that dominance of any kind is out of its foreign policy. It calls to question therefore why the US continues, without reason, to desperately want to contain Chinese growing influence. However, it is very clear to many that the real reason the US is doing this may not be unconnected with the increasing positive inspiration of a peaceful and mutually connected world  which China has come to represent in its foreign relations with other countries and one that is making the hegemon US uncomfortable as the global community prefers to embrace peaceful co-existence rather than endless wars and crisis. It is not the Chinese tradition to pursue aggression, and the pursuit of power hegemony has not and will not be a choice in  China's foreign policy. China has consistently pursued an independent foreign policy that conducts exchanges and friendly relations with other countries on an equal footing. We are yet to have the first case against the US for complicity in the 2008 global economic recession due to American corporate greed, yet the same US who offered no apology to the world, let alone a compensation for  failure to curb corporate greed within its control, is asking China to pay for the costs of damages by a viral epidemic beyond China’s control.

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