Scholars urge U.S. and China to fight the pandemic hand-in-hand
Updated 06:49, 04-May-2020

More than 70 scholars in the public health studies implore leaders from the U.S. and China to work together in fighting COVID-19, instead of politicizing this pandemic.

In an open letter issued by scholars, they said COVID-19 should be treated as a political foe because the disease kills more than 240,000 people globally and devastates communities and economies. To protect countries and their people, government interventions and political actions are required. "The use of government authority, invoking the bully pulpit and the strong arm of local officials, is needed like never before."

However, they emphasized that leaders in Washington and Beijing and beyond must avoid utilizing any political tactics to serve their own partisan interests when responding to the COVID-19.

Since diseases know no borders, intergovernmental collaboration is much more important than ever before. We are living in a world where medical supply chains are internationally connected and we rely on data sharing to manage global crisis and deliver scientific innovation.

Scholars also warned political leaders of how reckless political messages could destroy their political capital. Relationships can take years to nurture and only moments to destroy, especially at a time when a tweet can circulate globally in an instant. They urged leaders to handle their important international relationships cautiously.  

There is no place today for politicians to use conspiracy theories or insulting language about virological origins to damage bilateral ties between China and the U.S.. Instead, rebuilding global public health alliances is a must, such as helping woefully underfunded World Health Organization. Respectful communication across borders is needed as well.

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