U.S. practices threaten global health security
By Zhong Sheng
The fight against COVID-19 is a major test for mankind.
In the course of the world’s response to the pandemic, there are two completely different approaches. The first one is the choice for most of the countries in the world – unity and active control measures aimed at cutting the spread of the virus, while the second one is the American way – ignoring facts and science, neglecting domestic control, politicizing the pandemic, stigmatizing other countries, withdrawing from the WHO and undermining global COVID-19 cooperation.
What goes around comes around. The White House will surely shoulder the bad consequences for its disrespect for science and public health experts, as well as its spread of false information.
“The only way we will defeat this outbreak is for all countries to work together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Jan. 30 this year when declaring a public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak of novel coronavirus.
Unfortunately, the world is still not working as a whole today to fight against the virus, and the WHO has to always repeat the importance of “solidarity and cooperation.” “A pandemic is not a political football. Wishful thinking or deliberate diversion will not prevent transmissions or save lives. What will save lives is science, solutions and solidarity,” Tedros said recently.
As COVID-19 control gets severer in the world, it is alarming that some U.S. politicians are trying to make “political viruses” to seek private political gains. They violated the WHO Best Practices for the Naming of New Human Infectious Diseases, deliberately associating the novel coronavirus with specific countries and groups, which caused serious discrimination against the Chinese and even Asians. They fabricated rumors about the origin of the virus, and are addicted to blame game. The international society believes that the White House’s political viruses are far more damaging than the COVID-19 pandemic.
The global fight against COVID-19 calls for effective cooperation on multilateral platforms. However, the U.S. is still obsessed with unilateralism and hegemonic practices, acting as a destroyer and troublemaker, which has seriously threatened the global health security.
In May this year, the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly unanimously approved a resolution to combat the COVID-19 pandemic which made clear to recognize and support the WHO’s leading role. The resolution called member countries to prevent discriminative and stigmatizing practices, stop wrong and false information, enhance cooperation on developing test tools, therapeutic methods, and drugs and vaccines, and timely assess the WHO’s work on virus control. The resolution was co-drafted by over 140 countries including China. The U.S. didn’t join the drafting process, and made remarks with reservation on the approval of the resolution. It fully demonstrated its double standards on multilateral organizations and international consensus – using them when they serve its interests and abandoning them when they don’t.
In September this year, the 74th UN General Assembly adopted a resolution, voted for by an overwhelming majority of 169 countries, to urge member states to promote inclusion and unity, take strong action against racism, xenophobia, hate speech, violence and discrimination, and refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the UN Charter. It also called on member states to enable all countries to have unhindered, timely access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable diagnosis, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines, and essential health technologies and their components, as well as equipment, for the COVID-19 response. The U.S., as one of the only two that voted against the resolution, has revealed its intention to undermine international solidarity in COVID-19 response.
In fact, the practices of certain U.S. politicians to suppress the WHO well explain their lack of a sense of responsibility on issues concerning the common future of mankind, and their practices also drew wide criticism from the international community. For instance, Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, noted that the U.S. decision to defund WHO is simply this—a crime against humanity. The Guardian also commented that the U.S. politicians’ attack on WHO damages public health around the world, calling it “ugly, dishonest, bullying and cruel.”
Viruses are a common enemy of mankind, and solidarity and cooperation remain the most powerful weapon against the pandemic. To safeguard the health of the people around the world and protect global and regional public health security call for mutual assistance. Anyone that abbreviates solidarity and cooperation would reduce the power of the world to dealt with the virus; anyone that undermines global COVID-19 cooperation is a common enemy of the world.
The U.S. has learned a lesson from its undermining practices as it sees a total of 10 million confirmed cases and over 240,000 deaths. Some U.S. politicians shall have a moment of introspection and recognize the extreme harm of unilateralism and hegemonism. Only the right path leads to a bright future.