Why Are Americans Being so Stupid?

As an American-Hongkonger living in Hong Kong, I am embarrassed being repeatedly asked why Americans are being so stupidly stubborn about face masks and social distancing. This includes conversations with Chinese-Americans and black and white American brothers and sisters in Hong Kong and America.

Bottom line, I feel safer living in Hong Kong with its newly introduced National Security Law — with less than 2,000 Covid-19 cases and only seven deaths — than I do in Covid infested America, with 2.5 million cases and more than 125,000 deaths, both representing around a quarter of the global totals!

Let’s not forget, America comprises little more than 4 per cent of the global population — yet has a quarter of the global total!

America loves being number one, but winning the Covid-19 title is not something America needs or should be proud of.

In the words of WHO Heffe Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over,” adding that “although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up.”

Thanks in no small part to America. California and Texas taking the top spots with Florida and Arizona fighting for the lead in daily spikes. Los Angeles has become the new epicenter and reported an “alarming” one day surge that put it over 100,000 cases. And this is still the first wave.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said cases were “surging” in southern parts of the country.

Tom Frieden, former  director of the Centers  for Disease Control and Prevention, told Fox News Sunday the virus “had the upper hand” and predicted deaths would lag behind new cases by about a month. “We’re moving too fast,” he said of states loosening restrictions. He said numbers were set to worsen in coming weeks, citing a rapid upswing in Arizona, Texas, Florida and South Carolina.

The fears of the second wave hitting in the fall is a more serious concern, not only in America, but globally in the absence of international cooperation and leadership. Not only a second wave, but future pandemics.

Although the Covid pandemic started in China, to his credit, President Xi Jinping, has done a good job getting it under control — after getting over denial — and has stressed on a number of occasions, solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons to fight the pandemic. Now if presidents Xi and Trump can just start practicing what they preach and lead the world’s anti pandemic efforts now, and not after the November elections, we might not only develop several vaccines, but prevent a second wave.

There is no mileage in Americans bashing China over the pandemic blame game.

Why has it taken so long for Americans to understand that face masks and social distancing saves lives? Lives of all colours.

Why is it only now, several months after Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic back in March — even though scientists warned it was a potential pandemic back in January — that Vice President Mike Pence wears a mask and avoids rallies, while President Trump still refuses to wear a mask, but is reluctantly starting to encourage Americans to wear masks and social distance? 

Mr. President, allow me to respectfully say, you are being stupid with your non-existing leadership in fighting Covid-19, leadership by example. WEAR A MASK! Your stupidity in handling Covid-19 may cost you Penn-1600 — the White House — come November.

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Illustration: Mark Caparosa