In Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage, he reports on interviews he did in February and March with U.S. President Donald Trump about the coronavirus. Trump admitted that the virus was virulent, but he decided to underplay its danger. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump said, “because I don’t want to create a panic.” Despite months of warnings from the Chinese authorities, Trump and his health secretary Alex Azar completely failed to prepare for the global pandemic.
The United States continues to have the largest total number of cases of COVID-19. The government continues to flounder as the number of cases escalates. Not one state in the country seems immune to the spread of the disease.
Meanwhile, in China, ever since the virus was crushed in Wuhan, the government merely has had to contain small-scale localized outbreaks; in the last month, China has had zero domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases. Martin Wolf wrote in The Financial Times on March 31 that China was successful in “bringing the disease under control in Hubei and halting its spread across China.” There was never a pan-China outbreak. It is more accurate to call it a Hubei outbreak.
Measuring People’s Lives
While Trump lied to his own citizens about the disease, China’s president Xi Jinping said that his government would be “putting people first.” China hastily subordinated its economic priorities to the task of saving lives.
As a consequence of a science-based approach, China’s government broke the chain of infection very quickly. By early September, this country of 1.4 billion had 85,194 COVID-19 cases and 4,634 deaths (India, with a comparable population, had 4.8 million cases and 80,026 deaths; India is losing more lives each week than the total deaths in China).
The United States, meanwhile, as at Monday has suffered from 194,411 deaths and 6,550,629 million cases. In absolute numbers, the U.S. deaths are about 43 times China’s and the case number is about 79 times higher.
The U.S. government, unlike the government in China, hesitated to properly craft a lockdown and test the population. That is why, in per capita terms, U.S. deaths are about 186 times higher than those in China and the cases are about 343 times higher.
Trump’s racist attempt to pin the blame on China is pure diversion. China contained the virus. The U.S. has totally failed to do so. The enormous number of U.S. deaths were ‘Made in Washington,’ not ‘Made in China.’