US smearing of China’s efforts against COVID-19 only hurts the entire world

A pedestrian walks past a COVID-19 vaccine inoculation billboard in New York, the United States, July 26, 2021. Photo: Xinhua

By John Ross

The COVID pandemic in the US is rapidly worsening again. This is in striking comparison to China. As this trend develops the dominant sections of the US media are becoming more strident in their attempts to conceal this situation. Looking at both the comparison of the COVID-19 situation in the US and China, and US media reactions to this, shows the threat to the US own people, other countries, and to China from US policy and propaganda.

Starting with the objective epidemic situation, the trend in the US is again rapidly deteriorating. The US daily average number of COVID-19 cases has risen to over 150,000 – a tenfold increase in six weeks. The average daily number of COVID-19 deaths is now 1,100.

The comparison of China and the US over the entire course of COVID-19 is graphic. There have been 38 million COVID-19 cases in the US compared to under 95,000 in the Chinese mainland. There have been 630,000 US COVID-19 deaths compared to under 4,700 in China.

In terms of US history, the scale of COVID-19 deaths is horrific. It is now larger than the amount of Americans who died in World War II— 420,000.

Looking in more detail at the situation since the emergence of the COVID-19 Delta variant, US deaths in the week ending Monday [23 August] totalled 7,225 – for comparison the number of deaths in China was zero. Numerous other facts about the US situation can be found in the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China report titled “America ranked first? The Truth about America’s fight against Covid-19.”

Turning to the treatment of this situation in US media, the stark contrast between the success of China in protecting its population against the COVID-19 Delta variant, and the failure in the US, has meant that even in the US a few relatively objective reports on China appeared – which is unusual given the normal tight control of the US media to maintain anti-China rhetoric. For example, a Monday Bloomberg report objectively noted, “It’s been just over a month, and China has once again squelched COVID-19, bringing its local cases down to zero…the leaders of the world’s most populous nation used the same playbook they followed to quell… previous flare-ups…”

“First there was one asymptomatic infection… in Nanjing… In less than three weeks, daily cases ballooned to more than 100… Then it ended, almost as quickly as it began. The number of infections dropped to single digits the next week amid tightening curbs, then zero… China eliminated the virus in about a month, roughly the same time it took to quell previous outbreaks.”

But the fact that the wall of silence about China’s success in fighting COVID-19 showed even small cracks, compared to the rapidly worsening US situation, merely led to a frenzy of attacks in most US media. For example, Fox News, one of the most powerful US news channels, launched the following attack on CNN, a reliable supporter of US foreign policy, for publishing even a part of the factual situation in China, “CNN is being dubbed the ‘China News Network’ for publishing a report that boasted of the country’s coronavirus vaccination rates…”

“A piece published on Friday raised eyebrows with the headline, ‘China’s about to administer its billionth coronavirus shot.” In short, simply this factual report allegedly made CNN the “China News Network.”

Simultaneously a renewed attack on China was launched by so called “non-governmental organizations”, but which in reality parallel US government propaganda. For example, the head of co-called “Human Rights Watch,” Kenneth Roth, has from early 2020 attacked China’s response to COVID-19. He upheld as a better alternative the West’s policies – a strange conception of human rights when less than 5,000 people have died in China from COVID-19 and more than four million have died outside China!

Human Rights Watch accompanied the outbreak of the Delta variant by issuing a report declaring that, “The Chinese government’s authoritarianism was on full display… as it grappled with the deadly coronavirus outbreak.” Once again, this is a very strange conception of human rights. China, which has successfully protected human lives, allegedly does not safeguard human rights. Yet the country in which large numbers of its citizens are dying claims to be a defender of human rights.

Paralleling this, there was an obviously centrally coordinated campaign launched via US social media. Faced with the huge US COVID-19 death toll, this contained feverish themes such as, “there are more important things than living and dying.” This referred not to issues around which a serious discussion of this could take place, such as a defensive war, but to the alleged right not to wear a face mask.

In summary, the again rapidly worsening situation in the US with COVID-19 was met not with an attempt to deal with the real dangers but with a clearly centrally organized campaign to attempt to disguise by every means possible the real situation from the US people—and above all to conceal China’s success.

But the US attempt to suppress the facts poses a great danger for its own people, for other countries, and for China.

While China pioneered the effective methods used to contain COVID-19 – lockdowns, quarantines and now combing these with vaccines – international experience shows these can be successfully copied by other countries. New Zealand, for example, explicitly said it based its strategy on China and has suffered only 26 deaths. In the summer of 2020, Britain pursued a successful lockdown strategy, reducing deaths to seven a day – before disastrously abandoning this in favour of the same COVID-19 response model as the US and since then suffering 90,000 deaths.

The terrible US COVID-19 death toll destroys its rhetoric that it stands for human rights. The most fundamental human right is to be alive. It is China which is shown to be defending human rights by keeping its population alive against the threat of COVID-19.

It is important for China to understand just how great the threat to its population would be from US policies. China’s population is more than four times the US. If there were the same number of cases per capita as in the US, there would be 165 million cases in China compared to the actual 95,000. If there had been the same number of deaths per capita as in the US, 2.7 million people would be dead in China instead of less than 5,000. By these numbers, China’s government policies have saved more than two and a half million Chinese people.

But equivalently, if the US in per capita terms had been as successful as China it would have suffered only 22,000 cases and less than 1,100 deaths. The US reality is almost 600 times as bad. It is vital for the US to hide this. This is why it is working to conceal it by every means possible.

John Ross in Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He was formerly Director of Economic and Business Policy for the Mayor of London.

The above article was originally published here by Global Times.