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People's Daily Online

U.S. "has hamstrung itself" in response to COVID-19 pandemic: media

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:53, June 23, 2020

WASHINGTON, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The United States "has hamstrung itself" by "piecemeal, politicized approach" in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. media reported Monday, citing public heath experts.

"The collective recovery of the European nations -- punctuated by Italy's apparent turnaround -- stands in stark contrast to the muddle facing many parts of America, where the death toll has now topped 120,000," said a report of U.S. news outlet Politico.

After initial surges in COVID-19 cases, European Union members' tally of daily new cases is about one-eighth that of the United States -- despite having roughly the same population, it said.

"America's piecemeal, politicized approach to fighting coronavirus has left the United States ever-further behind the Western European nations that were similarly threatened by the virus but moved more judiciously to fend it off," said the report, citing public health experts, the report said:

The experts pointed out multiple reasons why the fortunes of the United States have differed from that of Western Europe, such as "the intense politicization that worked against a disciplined response," and "the federal government's decision to let individual states take the lead in reopening."

"The decisions of some states to end their lockdowns as early as possible ... appear to have consigned the United States to a far longer battle with the virus," the report said.

The cohesive role of a federal government to centralize priorities and goods as well as policies like when to test for coronavirus has been lacking in the country, said the report, citing Alexandra Phelan, a member of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University.

According to the report, several public health experts, including Phelan, said that "they'd already begun incorporating the U.S. response into their classes as a lesson on public health failures."

"I know for my course, this is pretty much going to be all we'll talk about," said Phelan, who teaches national and global health law at Georgetown.

Jennifer Kates, senior vice president and director of Global Health and HIV Policy at the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation, told Politico that the United States "has in the past, and could in the future, shown tremendous leadership in health crises ... The fact that we couldn't do it in this case -- it is depressing, as a global health person."

Ashish Jha, head of Harvard University's Global Health Institute, was quoted as saying that "We may end up being the worst of any country in the world in terms of our response."



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