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Editorials

Trump fighting a losing battle

Playing out to domestic opinion in an election year, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly been calling coronavirus as the "Chinese virus" in an obvious attempt to shift the blame for his initial failure to recognise the seriousness of the contagion wh

Updated May 17 2020

Playing out to domestic opinion in an election year, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly been calling coronavirus as the "Chinese virus" in an obvious attempt to shift the blame for his initial failure to recognise the seriousness of the contagion which has claimed over 88,237 lives in the US. His administration has now issued an advisory accusing Chinese government-linked hackers of "attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property and public health data" on treating Covid-19. The advisory, though, does not offer any detail about what was being stolen. Beijing, of course, has reacted angrily saying "we are leading the world in Covid-19 treatment and vaccine research. It is immoral to target China with rumours and slanders in the absence of evidence."
The Trump administration though has had no qualms about trying to persuade a German firm CureVac, which is developing a possible vaccine for coronavirus with hopes of having an experimental vaccine by June or July, to relocate to the US. As expected, the German government reacted sharply to the move saying it is up to it to ensure not only security of its borders and food supply, but also " our medical products and our medicines". According to a report appearing in the German newspaper Die Welt last March, in his quest for a vaccine President Trump went as far as offering CureVac $ 1 billion bribe in exchange for exclusive access to the vaccine. If that was no bad enough, the paper also quoted a government source as saying that the US President had wanted the vaccination "only for the United States." Given his parochial worldview, it is no surprise that Trump does not care for the rest of humanity. There seems to be another purpose behind securing exclusive access to the vaccine: asserting US' hubris. But that is a lost cause. Aside from China and Germany, many other countries, including Britain and France, are working on a vaccine. Sooner or later they will find one. They have already said they would share a successful outcome with the rest of the world.
In pointing the accusatory finger at China, Trump also wants to damage that country's rising global standing. However, while he banned flights from Europe, China responded to the pandemic by helping Italy, initially worst hit by coronavirus, and other European nations as well as Pakistan with urgently needed medical supplies. That has ensured its emergence from this calamity as a major player. Also not to be ignored is something aptly articulated by German lawmaker and a professor of epidemiology Karl Lauterbach. Having vowed to prevent the exclusive sale of a possible vaccine to the US "by all means," he later said in Twitter post "capitalism has its limits." Those limits have already been challenged by Covid-19, awaking governments to socio-economic inequalities that have exacted a huge cost in terms of human suffering and stress on national and world economies. It is time for global cooperation to defeat the pandemic and prevent any future outbreaks rather than playing blame games.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020