COVID-19 Outbreak Impacting U.S., China Relations

The Guardian: Republicans face backlash over racist labeling of coronavirus
“Senior Republican figures are facing backlash over an apparent effort to label Covid-19 as ‘Chinese coronavirus’ — as China accused some U.S. politicians of ‘disrespecting science’ in order to ‘stigmatize’ the country. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, are among those to add a geographical marker to the coronavirus in recent days. Pompeo called the virus the ‘Wuhan coronavirus’ on Friday, referring to the Chinese city where the outbreak started, and McCarthy used the term ‘Chinese coronavirus’ on Monday, when he tweeted out a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency that has led the U.S. effort to fight the virus…” (Gabbatt, 3/10).

New York Times: Politicians’ Use of ‘Wuhan Virus’ Starts a Debate Health Experts Wanted to Avoid
“…The debate over racism, the coronavirus and partisan politics has grown uglier by the hour, and it is precisely the type of geopolitical back-and-forth that health officials have tried to avoid since releasing more stringent guidelines for naming viruses in 2015. … Attempts to assign blame to a certain place or people in the face of a global health scare have occurred throughout modern history, and it is a phenomenon that public health officials have tried to guard against in recent years. … The concern now is that despite the official name, history — complete with name-calling, rumors, and misinformation spreading — may be repeating itself in a fractured political and media environment…” (Rogers/Jakes, 3/10).

Washington Post: Trump and Xi both hunt for coronavirus victories
“The global crisis sparked by the spread of the coronavirus is fraying the already strained ties between the United States and China. In Washington, a coterie of top Republican officials and right-wing media pundits keep qualifying the epidemic as a ‘Chinese’ or ‘Wuhan’ virus. Not surprisingly, Beijing officials have reacted angrily to U.S. attempts to ‘stigmatize’ their country. … The major disruptions to trade already wrought by the virus may make it impossible for China to meet its commitments under the first phase of a trade deal it clinched with the United States less than two months ago. Sensing opportunity, some U.S. politicians are banging the drum for more-aggressive moves toward ‘decoupling’ the world’s two biggest economies…” (Tharoor, 3/11).

Additional coverage of U.S.-China relations during the coronavirus outbreak is available from The Atlantic, CNBC, The Hill, Newsweek, POLITICO, and Washington Post.