Coronavirus response: US flails while China goes from strength to strength
- The absence of consistency and common sense from the US stands in sharp contrast to the experience of other countries
- China’s success, through rapid response, mass testing, surveillance and use of big data, provides a blueprint for disaster management
The absence of leadership, common sense, consistency and enforcement from the White House and US federal government stands in sharp contrast to what has occurred elsewhere.
Beijing has been criticised for its failure to act swiftly and transparently at the outset of the virus, resulting in its rapid global spread. However, once the government decided to act, it did so with bravado and efficiency – a fact some in the Western media have failed to widely report and continue to deny Beijing credit for.
US President Donald Trump has said America tests more of its citizens than any other country, but it is dwarfed by the sheer scale of testing throughout China. All 10 million people in Wuhan were tested in May, and Beijing continues to engage in the mass testing of hundreds of millions; it said this month that it would test all 9 million people in Qingdao in just five days after an outbreak of a dozen new cases.
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In many parts of China, people no longer feel the need to wear a mask outside as they are confident that the situation is under control.
Such a draconian approach to managing the virus is highly effective. However, it will remain little more than a dream in most countries, which lack the resources or capability to implement such a scheme.
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The benefit of having a motivated, competent and resourceful government that can respond with precision to a national emergency is apparent for all to see.
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This pandemic will go down in history as a contrast in political ideologies as much as a battle between mankind and nature and the hopeful triumph of medical technology. It is putting to the test the political, economic, social and cultural diversity of the world’s nations as never before, and it has already shown how fragile our ecosystems are in the era of globalisation.
In laying bare the strengths and weaknesses of nations, it also challenges some conventional wisdom about what is the preferred method of governance. In this battle, the US is floundering badly while China is in a position to dust itself off and move forward.
Daniel Wagner is CEO of Country Risk Solutions and author of the new book The Chinese Vortex