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Global Times

China to embrace all possible ways of epidemic-related cooperation with US, analysts say after Biden vows to make epidemic control a top priority

Global Times

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/8 12:26:31

Mask-wearing could considerably cut new cases by 80%: researcher

While US president-elect Joe Biden vowed to heal and unite the US, a process that will begin with naming a group of scientists and experts as transition advisers on Monday to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese analysts said that China would embrace all possible ways to cooperate with the US to combat the virus, including vaccine research and development, if the US is willing.

Given that the total number of infections in the US is about to climb to 10 million, Chinese analysts said any ambitious plan may start from requiring each and every American to wear masks and China can offer a hand to realize Biden's vision relating to the epidemic.

In a contrary gesture to outgoing US President Donald Trump who has been pinning his hopes of curbing the epidemic on vaccines and recklessly disregarding scientific prevention measures, Biden has pledged to build a COVID-19 task force plan on "bedrock science, and be constructed out of compassion, empathy, and concern."

"I will spare no effort, none, or any commitment to turn around this pandemic," Biden said as he declared victory Saturday night in a speech at a rally in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

"On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to help take the Biden-Harris plan and convert it into an actual blueprint that will start on January 20, 2021," the president-elect said at the rally.

His plan ranges from expanding US coronavirus testing capabilities, reducing surprising medical billings, considering a nationwide masks mandate and tailoring lockdowns at communities based on their levels of transmission, as well as hiring more contact tracers and rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO), according to Business Insider.

Biden's election win provides a broader opportunity for China-US cooperation on the pandemic, which has so far been confined to relatively small interactions between scientists due to the hostile attitude that the Trump administration holds, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

To reach his great vision relating to the pandemic, Biden is clear that China can offer a hand, such as prompting an effective communication mechanism between the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and launching a thorough plan on epidemic control under the framework of the WHO, Li said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter on Sunday that the WHO is looking forward to working with Biden and his team, noting that crises like the COVID-19 pandemic show the importance of global solidarity in protecting lives and livelihoods.A Beijing-based immunologist who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Sunday that under the Biden presidency, he believes, China and the US could also collaborate more on vaccine research and development. "China mainly develops inactivated vaccines, a variety that the US is not that optimistic about, but the two countries still have opportunity for cooperation in other varieties, such as nucleic acid vaccines."

Current China-US vaccine cooperation comes under a framework established by German Biotech company BioNTech, with participation from Chinese pharmaceutical company Fosun Pharma and the US company Pfizer. The project has entered late-stage clinical trials, media reports said.

Liang Manchun, an associate research fellow at the Institute for Public Safety Research of Tsinghua University, who has been closely following the pandemic, saidthe most important and fundamental mission for the US to combat the novel coronavirus is to seek "scientific common ground" between the government and Americans.

"Let's name the most basic common ground - wearing masks," he said. "If everyone in the US wears masks, it will reduce the growth rate of new COVID-19 cases in the US by over 80 percent," Liang told the Global Times on Sunday. He cited the figure based on his own research.

However, Liang noted, reaching consensus would be difficult despite Biden assuming office. Wearing masks, a very basic preventive measure that has been proven to be effective, cannot totally be accepted among Americans. The stubborn beliefs of anti-maskers are not easy to change, Liang said.

The US reported 36,086 news cases on Saturday and 126,480 new coronavirus cases on Friday, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The total number of infections in the country has reached to more than 9.8 million and more than 237,000 have died as 10 pm Sunday.

Liang expects to see more days with a daily surge of new infections recorded in the US. "Models showed this growth momentum will not end until the end of November."

"The China model of anti-epidemic control is open for the US to adopt and China would embrace any possible cooperation with the US, if the US is willing. It is a decision for the US to make," Liang told the Global Times.

In Biden's Saturday speech, the US president-elect also said he wanted to provide "some comfort and solace" to the families of the 230,000 Americans who had died from COVID-19. In his speech, Biden also thanked local elected officials and volunteers who worked the polls in the middle of the pandemic.

Biden vowed to "restore the soul of America" and "rebuild the backbone" of the US. "Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now," Biden said.

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