It is with a degree of disappointment that I read the article, “ Why an American mother rushed her daughters back to Shanghai during the Covid-19 outbreak ”, by June Shih (May 3). To compare the response to Covid-19 of one country with that of another is the equivalent of comparing how your partner treated you on Valentine’s Day with how your best friend’s partner did him or her. The outcomes differ based on circumstances, resources, timing, legal limitations, cultural attitudes, and so on. China’s response to Covid-19, while remarkable, is driven by its own system, attitudes of its citizens, cultural norms and the power of the state. The United States has a strong rule of law, a well-respected and challenged constitution, a bill of rights, fair trials and a recognition of the rights of individuals. In such a scenario, it is impossible to implement the same controls that a one-party state without a bill of rights and with an opaque justice system can enforce. Real-time evidence of this are the protests in the US against lockdown measures. US states must and will operate within the rule of law, under which acts such as putting a sensor on the door or monitoring how often it is opened may be considered by many to be a breach of their constitutional rights. Furthermore, June Shih clearly had the means (time, money, etc) to take her children to another country. How would her fellow Americans – millions of whom do not have such a choice – feel? Mahesh Hettiaratchi, Sydney A state-centric response is the American way With reference to the letter titled “ Toxic Trump presidency adding to WHO’s pandemic challenge ” (May 3), it’s obvious what Gauri Venkitaraman’s politics are. Yes, funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) should be restored. Other than that, top US federal health officials have done a good job of managing the coronavirus crisis, in spite of the failure to stop flights from Europe, which brought mass infection to the US. Venkitaraman implies the Trump administration is “incompetent” because of a “fragmented, chaotic and state-centric response”. What other way is there in our federal system of government? Each of the 50 state governors has different priorities and demands. Jim Robinson, New York Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.