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Bloomberg ignores China's COVID success

By Seymur Mammadov | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-07-15 12:12

Health workers administer COVID-19 vaccines to people at an inoculation site in Guangyi International E-Commerce Industrial Park in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province. Vaccinations of people older than 60 started on July 1. [Photo by Zheng Erqi/chinadaily.com.cn]

US media outlet Bloomberg has unveiled a new COVID Resilience Ranking. These ratings always come with questions, but this time it was a complete surprise as the United States was ranked at first place in terms of resistance to coronavirus. At the same time, China, whose successes in combating the pandemic are an example for the whole world, only made it to eighth place.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, commenting on this surprising ranking, called it a childish stunt, as Bloomberg removed criteria such as the number of confirmed cases and the death toll, which should be considered the most important factors. The authors of the rating also previously viewed isolation and quarantine management policies at entry and exit as negative factors.

Let's examine exactly why this ranking is so absurd. First, let's compare the statistics for July 13. They are widely available, and should not have been hard to find.

In the PRC —population 1,439,324,000 — from the beginning of the pandemic to July 13, 2021, 92,095 (0.0%) cases of COVID-19 infection were recorded, of which 4,636 (5.0%) died and 86,967 recovered (94.5%). Currently, 492 (0.5%) residents of the country are ill, and three are in critical condition.

In the US — population about 330 million — in the same period 34,766,404 cases of coronavirus infection were recorded, 29,274,349 people recovered, 623,029 died and 4,869,026 people are currently infected, 4,457 of which are in critical condition.

Comparing the numbers, it's hard not to notice China, which has four times the population of the United States, has coped with the virus much more successfully. 90 thousand cases of infection out of roughly one and a half billion people is a great accomplishment.

Moreover, it was achieved by tremendous effort and the mobilization of almost all the forces of the country. In China, people do not waste time peddling conspiracy theories, but instead take action as soon as a crisis arises. Everyone remembers how quickly and drastically the virus was contained in China last year. While other countries invented myths and horror stories, the Chinese got down to business and closed down all the cities that were centers of infection. The Chinese government's actions impressed the WHO mission so much that in a March 2020 report, the World Health Organization noted: "China's bold approach to containing the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly growing and deadly epidemic." If arrogant Westerners followed China's example instead of finger-pointing, countries might not have to shut down today.

Although today the COVID-19 situation in China is quite favorable, the authorities continue to closely monitor any encroachments of the virus and take decisive measures if something goes wrong. A few days ago, authorities in Yunnan province imposed tough quarantine measures in the city of Ruili on the border with Myanmar, due to the rapid increase in domestic cases of coronavirus infection. In the understanding of the other part of the world, "rapid growth" means hundreds of new cases per day. But the Chinese consider any new cases to be dangerous. In the opinion of the Chinese authorities, if yesterday there were 6 patients registered, and today 15, this is already a serious increase that requires immediate response. These 15 new cases have led to the closure of all businesses and government agencies, with the exception of hospitals, pharmacies and essential stores. To leave the province, residents must present a negative test and justify the trip.

Tough? Yes. But effective. Thanks to such measures, the country continues to minimize infections.

In parallel, China's vaccination campaign is progressing well. According to the latest data, over 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the PRC. According to the Ministry of Health, the number of vaccine doses administered in the country increased by 100 million to 1 billion in just 5 days. China is accelerating the pace of free vaccination of the population. It took China 25 days to increase the number of injected vaccine doses from 100 million to 200 million, and 16 days to go from 200 to 300 million. Increasing inoculations from 800 to 900 million took only six.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the vaccination process has stalled. Despite the country's large stock of vaccines and an active advertising campaign in support of inoculation, the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country is growing slowly. President Joe Biden had set a goal to achieve 70 percent of vaccinated Americans by Independence Day, July 4. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by that date, only about 58 percent of eligible United States residents are considered fully vaccinated, and 67 percent have received one dose.

The Chinese government has assumed full responsibility for the fight against the pandemic, based on the principle people must always come first. From the very beginning of the pandemic, the Chinese authorities have been on the side of the people. The fight against the virus lasted 76 days in Wuhan, and only after complete victory was the quarantine lifted. Perhaps only the Chinese people are capable of such conscious discipline, which is the main tool for managing the situation.

Western countries do not have this resource, so the waves of the pandemic there follow one after another. As soon as quarantines are canceled, a new wave rolls in, and you have to close down again. The steps that China is taking, which Western conspiracy theorists call "human rights violations," are in fact the only way to restore normalcy. And life in China was restored many months ago. The country, which experienced the first blow of the pandemic, began to recover its economy faster than the United States, which very much alarmed Washington. Recent successes of the Chinese space program, which is continuing at a time when the advanced powers are feverishly counting their finances, are yet another example of China's post-pandemic rebound.

Despite their achievements, the Chinese people remain vigilant. Every day they prove China is more resistant to a pandemic than other countries in the world — whether Bloomberg notices it or not.

Seymur Mammadov is the director of the international expert club EurAsiaAz and editor-in-chief of Azerbaijan's news agency Vzglyad.az.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.

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