The Lancet, a leading British medical journal, recently published two simultaneous editorials evaluating the policy measures and effectiveness of China’s and the United States’ responses to the Covid-19 epidemic, arguing that policymakers’ decisions are critical to effectively combat the epidemic and that “China’s experience will be closely watched as other countries begin to consider and, in some cases, implement their own ‘unlocking’ strategies”.
In an editorial titled “China continues to control and prevent spread of pandemic caused by corona virus coronary pneumonia epidemic”, the Lancet wrote that on April 8, China lifted its 76-day blockade of Wuhan, resuming trains and flights and reopening highways. From April 27, many schools in Shanghai have also reopened. Given that the majority of current infected cases in China are from abroad, China is gradually and cautiously reopening businesses and schools.
The editorial said the rapid controlling actions of the new coronary pneumonia outbreak in China was impressive and set an encouraging example for other countries. What can the world learn from China? Proactive public health interventions, such as early detection of cases, contact tracing and public behaviour change, have contributed significantly to curb this epidemic.
The editorial says the implementation of a science-based blockade exit strategy is critical to contain the new coronary pneumonia epidemic. China’s experience will be closely watched as other countries begin to consider and, in some cases, implement their own “unlocking” strategies.
In the United States, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw funding from the WHO (about 22% of its budget), putting the United States at odds with the international community and with strategic efforts to fight the epidemic globally. The editorial argues that it is the American people who are really in trouble, fearful of this deadly, little known to mankind, and often contradicted by the various pieces of protective information available. Along with fears of falling into a financial crisis, they have to deal with a national strategy that lacks cohesion and fickle, incompetent leadership. As it stands now, the U.S. battle with the new coronary pneumonia epidemic will continue, and enhancing the availability and equitable distribution of essential medical supplies should be a current priority for federal agencies.
The editorial concludes that the United States has lost ground in the fight against the epidemic and has repeatedly missed opportunities that are directly related to the decisions of the current administration. By intending to make decisions that benefit economic interests rather than be guided by science and protect health, policymakers are effectively putting money above life and death.
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