Trump and the U.S. Are 'Refusing to Face up to the Reality' of Coronavirus, China State Media Says

Chinese state media lambasted President Donald Trump's administration for its lackluster response to the growing coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., claiming that the president and his allies are prioritizing politics over public health.

Beijing-backed newspapers Global Times and China Daily published editorials on Thursday and Friday suggesting that the administration has misled the American public and consistently failed to take meaningful steps to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Trump administration has been accused of downplaying the U.S. outbreak, politicizing the response, and failing to adequately test possible infectees. As of Thursday, the U.S. was testing at a rate of 26 per million people — far below other nations despite Trump's claim to have overseen one of the most comprehensive responses worldwide.

Global Times — often used to voice the more nationalistic and bellicose sentiments within the authoritarian regime — said the Trump administration is "refusing to face up to the reality" and acting "almost foolishly." The editorial added that the president appears more concerned about the economy than human lives.

Testing, the article noted, "has been far from enough to meet the demand, leading to a cover-up of the true state of the epidemic." Instead, the White House has tried to shift blame to China, it added.

"The U.S. should have used the time to step up epidemic prevention, but it apparently wasted that time, and some U.S. politicians even used it to laugh at China," Global Times said.

It also branded Trump's flight restrictions "misguided" when the administration should have been focused on community transmission.

"The focus on the election led the administration to try to sugarcoat the fact, saying that the risk to the American people from the virus was low and there was no need to panic," the newspaper claimed.

China Daily — owned by the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda department — said the U.S. "will continue to fling dirt at China" by casting coronavirus as a Chinese disease. On Wednesday, Trump described the strain as a "foreign virus" and claimed it has been spread in the U.S. by European travelers.

Donald Trump, China, US, coronavirus, response, COVID-19
A man wears a protective mask as he sits in Times Square on March 12, 2020 in New York City. Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images/Getty

"That U.S. politicians feel no qualms about putting their political schemes above global public health has served to expose how deeply they have fallen into the abyss of inhumanity," the China Daily editorial read.

Newsweek has contacted the White House to request comment.

The Chinese government was initially criticized for its own slow response to coronavirus, suppressing early whistle blowers and being accused of underreporting the number and severity of cases in the country. But the World Health Organization has since praised Beijing for its aggressive strategy, having quarantined millions of people and imposed drastic restrictions on citizens.

China announced Thursday that its outbreak had peaked, with the number of new daily cases decreasing. But cases are still rising in other parts of the world, with more than 128,000 confirmed cases across the globe, as shown by the below Statista infographic. Some 64,000 people have recovered according to Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus cases world map March 13, 2020
A chart showing the areas affected by COVID-19 across the world as of March 13 at 6 a.m.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.