A Blame Game That Costs Lives

05-05

The Covid-19 death toll keeps surging every day. As of April 26, the coronavirus casualty has surpassed 50,000 in the United States. When there is a disaster and our beloved ones might suffer or lose life, we look up to someone competent and strong to plan, execute and lead us out of the darkness. But instead we see rivalries and blame games - pointing fingers with ridiculous reasons.

And we saw it on TV. On March 26, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was confronted by CNN anchor Brianna Keilar over the Trump administration’s lack of preparedness for the coronavirus pandemic. Navarro is a member of the White House coronavirus task force in charge of the supply chain. He replied by blaming the Obama administration and finally China for “having dealt the country a bad hand”. The anchor explicitly told him that he was wasting everyone’s time.

Navarro, among other politicians who are still playing political games in a time of pandemic, wasted not only everyone’s time but public resources that people rely on to get information and assurance by being informed. Before the CNN interview, Navarro has been delivering messages not only useless but hurtful and ridiculous. As a radical China hawk, Navarro tends to bash China and see every one of its successes comes at US expense.

In quite a lot of interviews, Navarro’s comments support the conspiracy theory that coronavirus was created in a laboratory in Wuhan. Besides, he also claimed that China used WHO to hide the virus from the world. These ideas, from the famed conspiracy to WHO being complicit in the lie of China, are supported by no evidence and disturbingly useless at this moment.

It is the job and expertise of scientists to find out the origin of the virus. To politicalize the science only covers the truth not unveiling it. On February 19, the general medical journal The Lancet released a joint statement by medical experts around the world to to condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin. The statement said, "Scientists from multiple countries have published and analyzed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated from wildlife as have so many other emerging pathogens. This is further supported by a letter from the presidents of the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine and by the scientific communities they represent."

In terms of hiding the information on the outburst of the virus, we have heard from the news on early cases through WHO in early January. But the Trump administration did basically nothing to respond. And that’s what really matters: didn’t get the warning and learn from good experience. But it seems that our politicians only care about deflecting blame and fail to fix the underlying problem that created the disaster. And the stubborn hostility toward China is also very dangerous. A mature and constructive perspective of something must be comprehensive. It is never naive name calling. Navarro and all the China-bashers should stop ignoring the lessons and aspects of the Chinese way to combat the virus that really worked.

Ian Johnson, a Beijing-based writer who has lived in China for more than 20 years, wrote in an op-ed for New York Times that the West squandered the precious time that bought by China for them. “More than anything, though, I think that outsiders, especially in the West, fixate on China’s authoritarian political system, and that makes them discount the possible value and relevance of its decisions to them.”

It is sad to see time being wasted and it is outrageous to see time being squandered by people who should protect us from the pandemic. No more blame games. It is the tiny but powerful voice of ordinary people against rumors and endless name callings. And it saves lives.


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