By Wang Yiwei
The Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus has caused a surge in infections in the United States, with the country reporting more than 1 million new cases daily of late. It is surprising that the US, with less than 5 percent of global population, accounts for more than one-fifth of the total cases worldwide and 15 percent of the deaths.
How come the world leader in medical science and treatment, as well as science and technology has such an ignoble COVID-19 record?
Despite being battered by the pandemic for more than one and a half years, the US chose not to respond to the Omicron variant threat and instead let it run wild, putting not only the American people but also people in the rest of the world in danger.
The US, in a way, has fueled social Darwinism, for 75 percent of those who have died in the country of COVID-19 were aged 65 or above. The pandemic has also exposed the chronic disease of racial discrimination in the form of unfair vaccination and high rates of infections and deaths among ethnic minority groups.
Washington has sabotaged the global fight against the pandemic in more ways than one and threatened global health security by not fulfilling its responsibilities as a superpower despite being a global leader in science and technology and having the best medical facilities in the world.
While previous US president Donald Trump withdrew the US from the World Health Organization and declined to shoulder his responsibility as a global leader, greatly harming global cooperation in the fight against the virus, incumbent President Joe Biden, despite changing some of Trump's policies, continues to follow his predecessor when it comes to encouraging virus-related disinformation against China, contaminating global public opinion.
Besides, the US has disrupted global supply chains by promoting decoupling of the Chinese and US economies. For example, US officials intercepted 200,000 made-in-China masks destined for Germany at Bangkok airport in Thailand, and redirected them to the US when the pandemic broke out in early 2020. In essence, it was piracy.
The US has not only helped cause an immunity gap worldwide but also wasted a lot of resources out of selfishness. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US wasted at least 15.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from March to September, and reportedly has let more vaccines expire than what many developing countries have received.
The US has also aggravated inflation worldwide by resorting to unlimited quantitative easing measures, creating in the process fertile ground for the next global financial crisis, and US pharmaceutical giants, together with some political players, have unleashed the capital virus and political virus worldwide.
Moreover, the US has imposed or strengthened sanctions on various countries including Iran amid the pandemic, making it even more difficult for them to contain the virus. In particular, Iran could not get assistance from the international society and purchase the needed anti-pandemic medical equipment and vaccines due to US sanctions.
As for the high number of COVID-19 deaths in the US, they can be attributed to bipartisan politics, which has infiltrated the federal, state and local bureaus, and administrative, legislative and judicial departments, as well as the media. In contrast, China has largely contained the pandemic at home notwithstanding occasional infections in some parts of the country.
While many Western countries promote social Darwinism and hope to develop herd immunity in order to defeat the virus, China emphasizes taking scientific measures to contain the pandemic and restore the balance between humans and nature. And while many in the West believe in absolute freedom and therefore refuse to be inoculated, wear face masks or maintain social distancing, the Chinese people believe life should be cherished and respected, and follow pandemic protocols.
Even though some in the West envy China's anti-pandemic achievements, they condemn the measures it has taken to make those achievements. Many Western media outlets have accused China of hiding facts about the virus, and cannot digest the fact that China has not only largely contained the pandemic but also achieved relatively fast economic recovery.
And the US accused China of practicing "vaccine diplomacy", because it cannot see the Communist Party of China leading the country to one success after another on different fronts. The US-led West says China is being irresponsible if it doesn't help other countries overcome a crisis and claims it is seeking to replace the US as global leader when it does so. In the West's narrative, China can never be right.
That the US has stigmatized China in the fight against the pandemic and named itself the leader of the global fight against the virus shows it still lives in the West-created myth of yore. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. It's time the US behaved and acted as a great power, because the world is not ready to foot the bill for the US' failure to contain the pandemic.
The author is vice-president of the Academy of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and a professor of international studies at Renmin University of China.
The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.