Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
Bloomberg, news service known for providing business and economic news, has recently become a media focus because of its latest “Covid Resilience Ranking,” on which the US takes the top spot. Bloomberg’s list was taken by many as a reference for countries’ effectiveness in fighting the pandemic. Ridiculously, the US, with a cumulative number of more than 33.97 million cases and a death toll of over 608,000, both the highest in the world, has become the most “resilient” country in fighting the pandemic. The country with the most abundant medical and technological resources is still seeing a daily increase of over 38,000 confirmed cases and 390 deaths. People have the reason to ask: Who exactly put together this farcical list?
The US has become a negative example since the beginning of the global COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, the US has made three typical mistakes.
First, it puts partisan interests beyond national interests and allowed political calculations dominate anti-epidemic policymaking. In July 2020, the Vanity Fair published a long story addressing confusion about why the US didn’t carry out massive COVID-19 testing. According to the report, a team at the White House had come up with an aggressive and ambitious national testing plan, but the proposal was scrapped for a very clear and cold reason – “that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically.”
Second, the US has placed ideology above human health and life and rejects solutions that are not ideologically conducive to the West. US political scientist and author of The End of History Francis Fukuyama emphasized in interviews last year that China’s anti-epidemic model cannot be easily exported to other countries that don’t have China’s cultural traditions. Western countries led by the US in general have prioritized defending the correctness and legitimacy of Western ideologies. The reason is simple: COVID-19 pandemic is a test to governance capabilities and system. The poor responses by the US and other Western countries have exposed their institutional flaws and loopholes in system. This is what the US and the West cannot afford to bear. In order to safeguard Western capitalist system, the American and Western elites, including the media, have chosen to call black white. It seems to them that it doesn’t matter how many people have died, and will die.
Third, the US prioritizes the interests of Western camp over global health. It doesn’t allow anyone to question the “superiority” of the Western anti-pandemic model, and doesn’t care more people will die at all. From their advocate for “herd immunity” at the beginning of the outbreak, to their objection to quarantine measures and emphasis on “freedom,” to their refusal to recognize Russian and Chinese vaccines, all these indicate that people’s lives mean little to them as long as the West-dominated global order can be maintained. Western media outlets never call for the public to demand to hold relevant governmental officials accountable for their failed COVID-19 responses, instead, they have tried to dress up their countries’ failure into a “victory.”
If there is a ranking that takes COVID-19 death toll, the number of confirmed cases, partisan struggle, and failure to hold officials accountable as standards, the US will undoubtedly top the list. The Bloomberg’s ranking is like an absurd drama. It’s imperative for people to see beyond the negative impact of this misleading and erroneous list as soon as possible, which is of great importance to whether the world could defeat the pandemic as soon as possible. Bloomberg has played dirty tricks to help the US “win” the test of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the only consequence is that it would be nailed to the pillar of shame.
(Shen Yi, professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University. The views don't necessarily reflect those of these platform.)