Xinhua Commentary: Anti-science drive in U.S. seriously undermines recovery efforts

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 4, 2021
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BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Amid new spikes in COVID-19 deaths and infections in the United States, anti-science rhetoric and conspiracy theories are also gaining steam in the country, triggering concerns that the global anti-pandemic course could worsen further.

The latest episodes of such absurdity include Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson's assertion that it was Anthony Fauci, a top U.S. infectious disease expert, who had "helped to create COVID in the first place," and Congressman Clay Higgins's wild claim that the virus had been weaponized for biological attacks.

These ridiculous statements can not withstand any rational analysis and are nothing but a new epitome of the rising anti-science sentiments in the United States. With such sentiments, bigoted Washington elites are fueling an ideology-motivated disinformation campaign, through which they deliberately ignore facts and seek to mislead the public.

What is more worrying is that these delusional minds are bringing about real consequences: In the United States, scientists and health officials, while working overtime to study the novel coronavirus and address the pandemic, have to spare a massive amount of time and resources to bust rumors and refute opinions spread by conspiracy theorists.

Due in part to the anti-science push, the United States in overall has responded poorly to the pandemic and remains among the worst-hit countries in the world.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the U.S. government, instead of acknowledging the threat it posed and informing the public in a timely manner, repeatedly downplayed the severity and exaggerated the country's capabilities to handle the disease.

After the situation got worse, some U.S. officials quickly turned to conspiracy theories and anti-science positions in order to deflect attention and blame. The political tricks have gone as far as going after some of the country's leading scientists, including Fauci, who had received death threats for siding with science and evidence.

Since the current U.S. leadership took office early this year, the U.S. government has been accelerating vaccinations for its residents. Over the past few months, states and cities have moved to lift COVID-19 preventive measures. The White House announced last month that the country is "closer than ever" to declaring "independence" from the deadly virus.

However, the pandemic is rapidly rebounding in the United States, with new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations all on the rise. "We're going in the wrong direction," Fauci told CNN during an interview late last month.

The giant gap between the cruel reality and the narrative pushed by the U.S. government and media is eroding people's trust in their government and confidence that a recovery is on the horizon.

In addition, the current White House's political maneuver, including asking intelligence agencies to investigate the origin of COVID-19 with a presumption of guilt targeting China, is further fanning anti-science remarks and activities.

Matthew Kavanagh, director of the Global Health Policy & Politics Initiative at Georgetown University, pointed out that if the aim of the U.S. government was finding a scientific explanation of the COVID-19 origin, it would have tasked health institutes instead of intelligence agencies with the research.

"This tells us that this is a political and an intelligence story: not a story mostly about science," Kavanagh recently told U.S. magazine Rolling Stone. "We're in a place where politics is driving people's scientific understanding in a dangerous way."

As Kavanagh said, anti-science sentiments and rhetoric would be unhelpful in suppressing the still raging COVID-19 pandemic and tracing the origin of the disease, and could further impede global efforts to defeat the pathogen. As a result, the international community should stay alert to the anti-science drive in the United States. Enditem

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