（Illustration by Qianli）
Bloomberg recently published its latest COVID Resilience Ranking, jumping to a hilariously irrational conclusion that the US outcompetes all other countries and ranks No.1.
The ranking immediately raised the question whether it was done to rank the US, a country with the most infections and deaths, No 1. Is there anything more ridiculous? Now the US is the global role model for pandemic control, while China only ranks eighth, despite its widely recognized achievements in COVID-19 responses.
Global responses to such ranking came as no surprise – the Bloomberg ranking is now the laughing stock of the world.
The pandemic has infected more than 100 million people and taken away millions of lives globally. Life and health should’ve come first in any metric that measures a country’s response to this once-in-a-century pandemic. Despite being a leading power with the world’s most advanced medical technologies, the US has reported more than 35 million infections with fatalities exceeding 620,000, or 20% of the global total, though having only 5% of the world’s population. Then how did the US come on top of the ranking?
As Bloomberg released the ranking, the Delta variant was spreading rapidly in the US, causing a record single-day number of confirmed cases since mid-May. As of the week of July 18, the US had an average 32,300 daily confirmed cases and 258 daily deaths. In the July 18 week alone, confirmed cases increased by 70%, hospitalization increased by 36%, and deaths increased by 26%, overwhelming American hospitals nationwide – the US is obviously in a much worse situation than many countries.
Here comes the question again, how has the US topped the Bloomberg COVID Resilience Ranking?
Now let’s take a look at economy. US economy has plunged into deep recession since the pandemic started. In 2020, unlike China, the US economy showed negative growth. Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao previously reported that despite the current decline of unemployment rate in the US, its labor market has lost 7.6 million jobs compared to the days before the pandemic. The US Market Observer reported on July 20 that although US economic recession caused by the epidemic has ended for more than a year, it’s far from coming out of the quagmire. There still are 9.3 million Americans registered as unemployed, and about 4 million Americans have been unemployed for 27 weeks. Experts warn of a bumpy road towards recovery, and the recession is far from over.
Given such poor performance, how did the US come on top of the ranking?
Access to medical supplies and vaccines are very important to the global fight against COVID-19. As the leading power of the planet with the most advanced technologies, the US should assume its responsibilities and act like a leading power. Let’s not forget how the US has intercepted medical supplies from other countries in the early days, which is truly unscrupulous! Today, the country has hoarded vaccine doses far exceeding its population. According to a recent report from The Washington Post, the US is hoarding a large number of surplus vaccines. Millions of these doses are about to expire and will eventually be thrown away like garbage. Since the start of vaccination in December 2020, Georgia alone has destroyed 110,000 doses of unused vaccines.
Today, when the United Nations continues to call for fair global distribution of vaccines, the selfish act of the US completely ignores the threats faced by developing countries and deprives them of access to vaccines. The Bloomberg conclusion of “rapid and extensive vaccine program in the United States” is likely based on the selfish hoarding of vaccines in the US.
Here again comes the question – how did the US top the ranking?
Founder and president of The Schiller Institute Helga Zepp-LaRouche drew a vivid analogy, “this Bloomberg ranking is akin to a schoolyard bully who takes all the lunch bags from the other pupils and gorges them all up, and then accuse the other pupils of being skinny”.
Bloomberg has clearly made a ridiculous decision by putting the US No. 1 on the global ranking.
It has constantly adjusted the metrics of the COVID Resilience Ranking over the past half a year. To push the US all the way to the very top, Bloomberg ignores the most important parameters of confirmed infections and deaths – on the contrary, it has tailor-made a new parameter called “reopening process”, covering 4 sub-parameters of “people covered by vaccines”, “lockdown severity”, “flight capacity” and “vaccinated travel routes”.
Currently the vaccination rate of the US stands at below 70%, and the efficacy rate is far behind the 90% level previously claimed. After the whole nation is vaccinated with US-produced doses, the pandemic is taking yet another swipe recently in Israel. Official studies of the Israeli authorities found that the efficacy rate of American vaccines stands only at 64%, far below the 90% it claims. The rebounds in the US and other countries taking American-produced vaccines attests to the fact that the parameters selected by Bloomberg are one-sided and misleading.
The ranking puts lockdown measures and entry/exit control policies as negative factor, showing no respect for basic facts, science and human lives.
The truth is it’s precisely because the US failed in practicing lockdowns and some anti-intellectuals challenged lockdown rules with stupid acts that the US is leading in infections and deaths.
And it’s precisely because of the “openness” of the country that the US is now the No. 1 source of infection in this global pandemic.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, the US reported a total of 23.195 million outbound travels via land and air routes. Between November 2020 and January 2021, when the US was hit the hardest with an average 186,000 daily infections, the country was registering an average of 87,000 daily outbound travels, reaching also the peak level, and the two curves coincide with each other in a striking manner.
Seventy percent of the infections in Israel have their virus strains imported from the US. Among South Korea’s 7,000 imported cases, 30% were from the US. Between February 2020 and early January 2021, the US exported 182 infections to New Zealand, second only to the UK. According to statistics released by the Australian Government Department of Health in May 2020, 14% of its over 6,000 cases were imported from the US.
The massive repatriation of illegal immigrants by the US has worsened the COVID-19 situation of Latin American countries. Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico and Haiti have all reported a large number of cases among US repatriates. Disregarding local COVID-19 rules, American soldiers stationed in Japan and South Korea also spread the disease to a larger population. This type of “openness” is fueling the spread of the disease. It’s a disgraceful act that undermines global public health. Bloomberg is lying blatantly to the whole world by putting the US on top of its COVID Resilience Ranking.
A ranking that goes completely against facts and public perception could be introduced by a Western media outlet self-claiming to be fair and objective, this is in violation the professional ethics and moral fiber of the industry. Western communication scholars believe that the media should serve as “gatekeepers” and “watchdogs” of the society. But Bloomberg’s “COVID Resilience Ranking” is apparently ruining the reputation of Western media among readers.
While releasing the rankings, Bloomberg also published an article entitled “The Best and Worst Places to Be as The World Finally Reopens”, concluding that the US would be the safest place to go after the pandemic. This is unscrupulous, if not ridiculous. It’s precisely because the US attempts to reopen and go back to normal that the Delta variant is spreading so broadly in the country. Now more than half of the newly infected are carrying the Delta variant, in some states it’s even as high as 97%. The situation is so severe that 20 US states have suspended their daily COVID-19 updates.
Experts worry that the lack of monitoring data will cause blind spots and lead to a false sense of security. Bloomberg’s ranking brings a false sense of security to Americans while serving the vanity of American politicians.
It’s not just Bloomberg that is going against the professional ethics and moral fiber of the industry. American and Western media take a fair share of the politicization of the pandemic, putting false labels and pouring dirty water to China and scapegoating China for the origin of the virus. They also discredit China’s achievements in epidemic control and cover the issues of Hong Kong and Xinjiang through a “dark filter”. They create conspiracy theories out of nowhere and quote people out of context...
So now it seems obvious that Bloomberg is not afraid of losing its readers after all, otherwise it wouldn’t publish such “fair” and “objective” ranking.
“I would say it’s not the fairest”, said US epidemiologist Eric Ding. “The ranking gives extra weight to countries that have minimal restrictions, as opposed to countries that have most successfully contained the virus and most successfully allowed people to live their lives after they’ve contained the virus, and that’s the problem of the index”. But there is a much bigger problem than the ranking itself.
Think about it, how could this problematic ranking with constantly changing metrics be introduced to mainstream American society without even feeling the slightest shame?
Maybe a Gallup poll in June can help explain a bit. According to the poll, most Americans now believe the “most severe problem” in the country is its “government”, rather than the “pandemic”.
Problems in the American society keep popping up – a severe pandemic, failed COVID responses, rampant gun violence and racial discrimination... to name but a few. Some scholars use the phrase “political decline” to describe the US today. The term was first proposed by American scholar Samuel Huntington to explain the chaos and disorder of some emerging countries, but it is used today by his student Francis Fukuyama to describe the US.
Accompanying the political decline is the resurgence of anti-intellectualism in the US, and the two are reinforcing each other. Conspiracy theories and anti-scientific notions are affecting more and more people in the US. People with ulterior motives are fueling anti-intellectualism in the pretense of spreading “knowledge”, and they are fanning the flame while making sizable personal gains.
In contrast to the political decline and anti-intellectualism, some in the US are obsessed with “leading the world”. Barack Obama used to say that the US would lead the world for another 100 years. Under Donald Trump’s “America First”, the US withdrew from multilateral mechanisms and nullified international agreements. President Joe Biden went on record saying “China will not surpass the US as global leader on my watch”.
Missing the “No.1" position seems an unbearable loss for the US, maybe that’s why it has vigorously suppressed China and Russia, and engaged in a series of actions that deviate from the trend of world peace and development. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that Bloomberg came up with such a hilarious ranking.
After all, people’s well-being matters more than what position a country gets from a ranking. China’s rapid and effective response and lockdowns have brought the epidemic under control within a few months after its breakout. Confirmed cases and deaths are far lower than those in the US; Thanks to normalization of economic activities, China was the only major economy that saw positive growth in 2020. During the May 1 holiday this year, the country registered a total of 230 million domestic travels, up by 119.7% against the same period last year, and on a comparable basis, it recovered to 103.2% of the same period before the epidemic, making China the envy of the world. On July 15, China released its semi-annual report on economic performance. In the first half of 2021, China’s GDP grew by 12.7% year-on-year, continuing the steady and sound growth momentum. Even the Bloomberg’s forecast shows that China’s GDP will grow by 8.5% in 2021, far exceeding the US (6.6%) and other countries.
What’s also worth comparing is the international responsibility demonstrated by big powers. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has provided medical supplies to more than 160 countries and international organizations. To date, China has provided 500 million vaccine doses to more than 100 countries, regions and international organizations. On July 14, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) announced that Chinese pharmaceutical companies, Sinopharm and Sinovac, will provide 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines immediately to participants of the COVAX project – marking yet another substantial contribution to the global fight against the pandemic.
When Bloomberg put the US No. 1 on its ranking, it probably forgot what former president Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time and some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
Bloomberg can rest assured that this hilarious ranking will go down in history!
Contributed by Quangequanjie from the Official Wechat account of Poquanle.
Translated by Jiaming Liu.