Opinion: Lives of over 150,000 Americans matter

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Buildings in the Lower Manhattan skyline are seen from Green-Wood Cemetery during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, May 14, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

When leaders fail, people suffer. Only if Washington starts to put people’s lives and health front and center can Americans see a light of hope.

by Xinhua writer Guo Yage

BEIJING, July 30 (Xinhua) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has so far claimed more than 150,000 lives across the United States, easily surpassing the death toll of around 103,000 service members in 27 wars and conflicts overseas over the past 70 years.

It seems that America, despite boasting of the world’s most advanced medical facilities and technologies, has been caught up in an ever deadlier cycle in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those who follow U.S. media will find that the long-suspended White House coronavirus press briefings have come back to life; they might notice that the White House has adopted a more serious and scientific tone, calling the wearing of masks «patriotic.»

Yet, they will soon find themselves perplexed, as those same politicians have quickly returned to painting a rosy picture where the virus will be contained «very soon,» promoting unproven and misleading COVID-19 therapies, and urging states to reopen amid surging cases.

Do these twists and turns sound familiar?

A U.S. national flag and flowers are seen at a cemetery in New York, the United States, July 29, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

In the early days of the outbreak in the United States, the White House tried hard to downplay the threat of the virus. When the pandemic turned too rampant to cover up, the administration had to take action. However, senior administration officials later took time to spread misinformation, deliver despicable accusations, and push governors and mayors to lift control measures despite repeated scientific warnings.

Though Washington’s official rhetoric has swung back and forth over the months, its real attitude toward the pathogen and the way in which it seeks to handle the contagion have remained unchanged. Its arrogance, contempt for science, and lack of responsibility are persistently denying the United States a victory over the disease.

Seeking to get re-elected in the upcoming November elections, the incumbent U.S. administration doesn’t want tough pandemic control measures to drag down the country’s economic performance, damaging their odds to win.

That is why those policymakers in the White House are taking no more than half-hearted moves, hyping up the fabricated hope that the virus will somehow fade away magically, and prodding states and cities into reopening schools and businesses.

Photo taken on May 24, 2020 shows the front page of the day’s New York Times, which features the names of people who have died of COVID-19 in the United States, at the Times Square in New York, the United States. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

In the meantime, being fully aware of the anger and anguish of the American public, those White House politicians have chosen to scapegoat China, the World Health Organization and their domestic political rivals, and divert the public’s attention on their failed pandemic response to the so-called «China threat» they have invented.

And while those self-dealing Washington politicians are busy taking care of their own political interests, they seem to feel fine sacrificing the common interests of those struggling to survive inside the United States and beyond.

«That’s the great advantage of the truly amoral: They’re liberated from any tug of conscience, so there’s no suspicious hesitancy in their words, no revelatory panic in their eyes. Damn the verities and full steam ahead,» read a New York Times opinion piece published Saturday.

A medical worker transfers the body of a victim who died of COVID-19 at a hospital in New York, the United States, April 6, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

Fortunately, such deplorable intrigues can fool nobody easily. According to a new poll co-conducted by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago, the current U.S. administration’s approval rating for epidemic response sank to a record low of 32 percent, while a striking majority of 80 percent said the country «is heading in the wrong direction.»

When leaders fail, people suffer. Only if Washington starts to put people’s lives and health front and center can Americans see a light of hope. Otherwise, this deadly coronavirus will continue to spin and claim even more souls. ■