美媒:美国为何抗疫失败?无能、阶级暴力、欺骗和谎言

来源:观察者网

2022-07-24 16:27

【观察者网 讯】

美国是全球新冠疫情最严重的国家,累计确诊病例和死亡病例数长期高居全球之首。全球医疗技术领先、医疗资源丰富的美国,为何会沦为最大抗疫失败国?

7月18日,美国《每月评论》发表美籍记者和编辑黛博拉·韦内齐亚尔的文章《美国为何抗疫失败:无能、阶级暴力、欺骗和谎言》(Why the U.S. failed to control COVID-19: incompetence, class violence, deception, and lies),作者指出,新冠对美国社会的实际损害被大大低估了,资本找到了卑鄙但合法的方式来“抛弃”这些剩余人口,疾病大流行是其中的方式之一。而中国的社会主义仁政、科学管理和从这次流行病中学习的能力、以及中国人民的纪律和牺牲精神,在保护人民的生命和为未来做准备方面显示了令人难以置信的结果。

值得注意的是,这篇文章6月29日首发在观察者网,引起极大的关注,被全网转载。很多网友感叹这位记者是个真正了解中国的外籍人士,并希望这样客观、一针见血的文章能够让更多的西方人所看到;还对文中众多表述的英文颇为感兴趣,如社会主义仁政等等。

观察者网刊发英文全文,以飨读者,中英文版本略有不同。

《每月评论(Monthly Review)》 截图

The United States (together with its Western allies) always tries to tell China what to do in managing COVID-19 outbreaks, and since the whole city of Shanghai was under lockdown, the U.S. media seems to have even more reasons to criticize China’s anti-virus policy. But here’s the irony: If China had done as “well” as the United States, 380 million Chinese would have been infected and 4.46 million would have died.1 In fact, only 5,226 people died from COVID on the Chinese mainland.2 This is an amazing achievement given that China is a developing country with far fewer medical resources per capita than the United States.3

If China followed the current advice of the Financial Times and the West, and abandoned the dynamic zero-COVID policy, millions of Chinese would die. To be sure, estimates of the likely number of deaths can vary by as much as 70% between models,4 because the models on which these estimates are based make many assumptions. Even the lowest published projected number of deaths (which includes many unconfirmed assumptions in the model) is over 1.6 million 5 and the model does not account for deaths from new COVID variants.

China takes human life seriously. Despite having a per capita income of only 17.3% of that of the United States,6 the average Chinese life expectancy is 77.9 years.7 Preliminary studies find that life expectancy in the United States is 76.6 years.8 American life expectancy declined by 2.26 years between 2020 and 2021. The U.S. media is advocating for China to abandon its dynamic zero-COVID strategy, which is basically advocating mass racist killings. Perhaps it is not surprising that the most violent state on earth is making such noises.

Let’s be objective: the United States is one of the worst countries in the world at controlling COVID-19, which has not only claimed more than one million American lives but has also caused and continues to cause enormous social and economic devastation in the country. This article examines the impact of U.S. anti-COVID policy and what the Western media has to say about it. Three main conclusions can be drawn.

First, the actual damage of COVID-19 to U.S. society has been greatly underestimated. Historically, pandemics have allowed pre-existing structural fractures in capitalist society to be exposed and magnified. The coronavirus has killed over a million people and infection rates remain high; the long-term post-COVID symptoms continue to damage people’s health, with minorities and the poor suffering disproportionately. The functioning of U.S. society has been severely disrupted, with working-class families bearing the heaviest costs. An already decaying healthcare system has been hit hard, with overextended facilities incapable of housing the large number of patients or treating them due to the lack of proper medical and personal protective equipment. Sixty-five percent of nurses across the United States have been verbally or physically assaulted in the past year, and one in three has claimed that they will resign by the end of the year.9

Meanwhile, billionaires and large corporations are reaping huge financial benefits during the pandemic. Selfishness, individualism, and racial hatred is spread throughout American society. In short, the callosity of the U.S. elite class reveals the pathological class violence against the working class in the United States. Marx scientifically points out that the process of capitalist accumulation itself constantly creates a disposable “surplus” population. In the United States, capital has found despicable yet legal ways to “dispose” of this surplus population, and pandemics are one of these ways.

Second, China’s socialist benevolent policy, scientific management, and ability to learn from this pandemic, as well as the discipline and sacrifice of its people, have shown incredible results in protecting people’s lives and preparing for the future. China, as a middle-income country, has the resources to take complex steps to protect the lives of its people. But to the embarrassment of the G7 developed countries, when China developed vaccines, it immediately made most of its production available to the world’s poorest people. This is internationalism. In sharp contrast, the United States, and its private pharmaceutical manufacturers, under its protection, refused to make the therapeutic drug Paxlovid and the vaccines available quickly and cheaply to other countries.

Third, the pandemic has forced the U.S. elite to wage their ideological war in an increasingly intense and virulent manner. They have used their hegemony in the media and other ideological spheres to hide the reality of their own failure to fight COVID, and to exaggerate the distortions and lies about China’s policy and effectiveness in fighting the virus.

The incompetence of the U.S. government has led to millions of deaths

When COVID-19 had not yet spread to the United States, its media and politicians called it a “plague”. Two years later, when COVID had infected more than 84 million people and killed more than 1 million in the United States, they changed their story and said that COVID-19 was–at least after several mutations–equivalent to seasonal influenza, and therefore promoted the policy of “coexistence with COVID-19”. Globally, COVID-19 has a case reported mortality rate of about 1.61%, 1.2% in the United States.10 In the U.S. there were an estimated 460,00 deaths from COVID in 2021 versus 20,342 11 deaths attributed to flu in 2019 (even less in 2021).

Based on global data, Case Fatality Rates (CFR) averaged one percent for Lassa hemorrhagic fever, mumps encephalitis, all less than Covid.12 “Coexistence with mumps” or “coexistence with smallpox” is unimaginable in developed industrial countries, where children with mumps-induced encephalitis are quarantined and smallpox has been eradicated since 1977. Yet the U.S. media and politicians are urging people to coexist with the coronavirus, which has a much higher death rate.

There is a conscious or unconscious belief that infectious diseases will become progressively less lethal as they mutate, eventually becoming a mild and common disease. Although infectious diseases usually evolve in a mild direction in the long term, it may not necessarily be the case in the short term.13 Immunologists tell us that the evolutionary trajectory of the virus depends on the complex interplay of several factors that shape the response of our immune system to the evolution of the virus. In a scenario where the virus has multiple hosts, such predictions become even more difficult.14

The Alpha variant is 40% more lethal than the original virus. Delta is twice as likely to cause severe cases than the Alpha variant, and the statistically relatively low mortality rate is likely the effect of widespread vaccination rather than a reduction in viral lethality. The Omicron variant is slightly less lethal (0.9%) but more infectious and has caused more deaths than the Delta variant in the United States.15 There is no guarantee that the next COVID variant will be less lethal, and it could still kill tens or hundreds of thousands of people. Leading German virologist Christian Drosten recently admitted his own optimistic estimates in the first year of the pandemic were wrong. He also distanced himself from a government committee convened to battle the disease.16 Betting that the virulence of the SARS-Cov-2 virus will reduce with time, cannot be a responsible public health measure.

The Financial Times has reluctantly acknowledged 17 that Europe is now facing a surge in new hospital admissions from the Omicron BA.5 variant. They have further acknowledged that lack of testing, abandonment of outbreak control, and high rates of reinfection in people who have already been vaccinated three times may lead to higher mortality rates in the future.

The effectiveness of herd immunization remains to be seen. When Trump was the U.S. President, he supported White House senior medical advisor Scott Atlas who said that if enough people were vaccinated (or infected with COVID), the virus would have nowhere to spread and die out naturally.18 For the same reason, Biden also focuses on vaccination, arguing that if vaccination rates reach 70% or more, masks can be fully abandoned and social activities resumed.19 But historically, effective herd immunization (e.g., measles) has three necessary conditions: a stable, non-mutating virus, a very effective vaccine, and high vaccination rates. And none of these three conditions existed at the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

In more than two years, COVID-19 has mutated into at least six major variants; vaccines effective against the Delta variant have become limited against Omicron;20 and vaccine efficacy decreases by 20 to 30 percentage points after about six months.21 There is also no evidence that patients infected with COVID-19 are automatically immune (like smallpox or mumps), and the number of reinfections with coronavirus has been rising sharply since the Omicron variant was discovered.22 From the beginning, Chinese central health officials have maintained the right scientific attitude and insisted that no compromise be made until there is sufficient evidence.

Although the cause remains unclear, substantial evidence shows that even after cure, COVID-19 can cause a variety of long-term symptoms, including extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, reduced memory and attention, and joint pain.23 Thirty percent of patients who had been hospitalized for COVID-19 still suffer from long-term symptoms after six months,24 and some patients have had symptoms for more than two years. About one in five patients infected with COVID have developed long-term symptoms, nearly 17 million people across the United States.

British scholar Ravi Veriah Jacques, who recovered from COVID 14 months ago, still has to be bedridden for 13-16 hours a day due to chronic symptoms.25 Catie Barber, a registered dietitian and a 29-year-old long-distance runner in the United States, is still unable to walk and is confined to a wheelchair due to chronic symptoms five months after recovering, and she nearly lost her life to COVID-induced heart disease.26 Vaccination prior to infection provides only partial protection during the acute phase of the disease and has limited impact on long-term symptoms.27 For working class people who have to live on wages, these long-term symptoms can further impair their ability to work and their income levels.

All these facts raise the question of why the world’s most powerful and resource-rich country responded to the catastrophic outbreak of an infectious disease in such a way that its people have suffered so deeply? Around New Year’s Day 2020, officials from the Chinese Center for Disease Control called Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to warn him of the dangers of the COVID virus 28– a new virus that Chinese doctors had just identified a few days earlier. Incredibly, U.S. media claimed that China was withholding information. It was U.S. officials who withheld information from other agencies within the U.S. government, and from the American people. Their incompetence and withholding of information allowed the United States to waste valuable time in developing a response plan.

Class inequality in the pandemic

Trump’s trade advisor, Peter Navarro, predicted on January 29, 2020, that the COVID epidemic would cause 500,000 deaths and trillions of dollars in economic damage. Yet the U.S. government continued to let the virus run its course, and one important reason is that the ruling class that controls the country has suffered very little from the epidemic. Among the 12 U.S. billionaires who have died over the past two years, none of them died from COVID-19. The wealthy U.S. bourgeoisie has a larger per capita living area and better community infrastructure, does not need to clock in and out of crowded factories or offices, and enjoys expensive and superior medical care. As a result, in the two phases that caused large numbers of deaths (late 2020 to early 2021 and August to November 2021), residents in high-income counties in the United States were less than 20% as likely to die from COVID as those in low-income counties.29 When affluent Americans say that no one around them has died from COVID, the odds are that it’s true.

The rich even benefit from the pandemic. In March 2020, the Federal Reserve launched uncapped quantitative easing, expanding its balance sheet by $5.2 trillion by the end of the year. Trump and Biden signed economic bailouts of $2.2 trillion and $1.9 trillion, respectively. These additional monetary issuances quickly brought the U.S. stock market back to all-time highs, thus making ultra-rich stockholders even wealthier. By October 2021, the total wealth of U.S. billionaires reached $5 trillion, a 70% increase compared to March 2021, with the wealth of the top five billionaires (Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Larry Page) increasing by 118%.30 So, it’s no surprise that Musk tweeted “Give people back their godamned freedom” as the epidemic was causing its first spike in deaths at the end of April 2020. After all, every day that workers were quarantined at home meant that his accumulation of wealth was slowed down a little bit. Musk’s wealth, during the epidemic, grew sevenfold, making him the richest man in the world.

Contrary to common perception, the working class has benefited very little from U.S. economic growth over the past few decades. Since 1980, the richest 10% of the U.S. population has grabbed more than half of all economic growth, while the working class, whose incomes are lower than the median, have received only 10% of economic growth. In each of the three periods of economic growth over the past three decades, the top 10% of income earners received about half of all income growth.31 Households with incomes below the median have seen almost no income growth over the two decades from 2000 to 2020.32 The working class are a silent group in the U.S. political environment, and while Trump (with his chief strategist Stephen Bannon) liked to boast about the support of the “white working class”, it was actually the racist far-right lower middle class that was mobilized by his fascist policy. They are mostly white, mostly from small towns or rural areas, running small businesses or doing professional jobs, and they make up about a quarter of the country’s population; they are better off than the working class (though also on the decline), and are often employers of the working class.

After a short period of containment, the U.S. government relaxed controls of the epidemic, guided by a policy of “herd immunity” that had not proven effective for the current phase of COVID. Business owners strongly demanded that all control measures be lifted because they needed their employees back at work to resume production and operations, at the expense of the working class. Working class individuals are four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people of higher social and economic status,33 but debt pressure and a lack of savings forced them to return to work. Of households earning less than $35,000 a year, 57.3% experienced job loss or income decline during the pandemic, and 60% of households struggled to cover daily expenses; 47% fell behind on housing payments, and 7 million feared eviction or foreclosure within two months; 25% (nearly 11 million people) experienced food hardship.34 In order to make ends meet, the working class has to return to work at the risk of dying from COVID or suffering from chronic symptoms, which Musk calls “freedom”.

While most effective means of preventing and controlling the epidemic were abandoned in the name of “individual freedom” and “restoring society to normalcy,” in reality the bourgeois elite was only concerned with keeping their money-making businesses up and running. In fact, despite the reluctance of the U.S. government to implement lockdown measures, social activity has been severely disrupted, and after more than two years there is still no sign of pre-COVID normality. In the education sector, for example, by the end of 2020, 24 million elementary school students had already lost an average of 54 days of instructional time.35 By the end of November 2021, U.S. elementary and middle schools had experienced a total of 71 weeks of complete or partial suspension (compared to 27 weeks in China).36 In August 2021, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Return to School Roadmap to support school reopening.37 As a result, only days after classes resumed, 120,000 children were infected across the United States and many schools had to close again.38

The long-term inability to resume regular schooling has shown clear negative effects, with students suffering learning losses observed in several states, such as in Texas, where two-thirds of 3rd grade children tested below grade level in math in 2021, an increase of more than 30% from previous years.39 Meanwhile, children from lower-income working-class families who have less access to good IT facilities and distance learning environments, are more severely impacted by school closures. According to estimates from consulting firm McKinsey, children from low-income families lose an average of 12.4 months of learning time (national average 6.8 months) and are expected to lose 4% of their total life earnings (national average 2.2%).40

The U.S. media can’t wait to announce that the U.S. economy has returned to normal after dropping COVID controls; according to CNN’s “Back-to-Normal Index”, the current U.S. economy is back to 93% of its pre-pandemic (March 2020) level.41 The Dow Jones and S&P 500 hit record highs in late 2021, but then fell sharply. From January to April 2022, the S&P 500 fell more than 13%, its worst four-month performance since 1939.42 More importantly, the stock market does not truly reflect the economy, even with the massive stimulus package, real U.S. GDP only grew by a combined 2.11% between 2020 and 2021,43 accompanied by severe inflation and rising prices. The “normality” that the media is so fond of touting, has not materialized for the working class. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Pulse Survey, taken between April 27 and May 9, 2022, indicates that nearly 138M people had difficulty paying their household expenses; more than 31M people had lost employment or received no wages; and almost 74M people had, either sometimes or often, not enough to eat.44 In June 2022, there was an 8.6% year-over-year increase in CPI, the highest rate of inflation in 40 years.45

More significantly, while GDP, to a degree, can indicate the health of an economy, it is a pathological way of thinking to worship GDP growth as the ultimate goal of the country. When adverse events (e.g., widespread natural disasters, wars, pandemics, etc.) occur, commodity prices rise abnormally and this is also counted as GDP growth. Under the GDP Supremacy mindset, it is not optimal to reduce social activities for a short period of time to control the spread of the epidemic; rather, it is optimal to let the virus spread and go on with business and life as usual. The spread of the virus will instead increase medical and pharmaceutical consumption, thus increasing GDP. This is key to why the U.S. government chose to “coexist with the virus,” and the pharmaceutical and testing companies received huge subsidies thanks to the long-lasting epidemic.

The average price of a PCR test in America is $130 ($185 without health insurance),46 which has allowed hundreds of billions of dollars to flow to the companies involved, while at the same time being an argument for the infeasibility of mass testing and a zero-COVID strategy. In comparison, China has reduced the price of a PCR test to RMB3.5 (about $0.52), and the country spent RMB21.6 billion in April 2022 for normalized mass PCR testing, about 0.2% of GDP. This spending will be significantly reduced again after outbreaks are contained. This is a choice made to put people’s lives over short-term economic interests.

One hundred million Americans are currently in debt due to healthcare costs; one in seven people say that they have been denied access to a hospital or other medical facilities because of unpaid bills; and two in three people have stopped treatment because of the cost.47 The complete dominance of capitalist private property rights and the constant curtailment of public goods in the U.S. political system have given Big Pharma a staggering $10 billion increase in revenues, profits, and assets. Pfizer is on track to become a juggernaut with a $100 billion market cap by 2022, with sales of $53.9 billion just for its two major COVID-related drugs,48 and profit margins likely to reach more than 27%.49

The hypocrisy and degradation of the U.S. ruling class

U.S. politicians used outright lies to deceive their citizens, persuading workers that COVID-19 was not dangerous and they could return to work (and make money for the capitalists), when scientific facts relentlessly shattered the illusion of “coexistence with the virus” and the death toll remained high, proving that herd immunity was unachievable, at least in the short term. In March 2020, Trump claimed that warm weather and sunshine would kill the virus. And in April, the United States experienced its first rise in COVID mortality, with more than 2,000 deaths per day and nearly 100,000 deaths in two months. After receiving the best possible hospital care after being infected with COVID in October 2020, Trump made a full recovery and immediately tweeted “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life.” In December, the United States saw a second spike in deaths from the pandemic, with over 240,000 deaths in three months.50 In May 2021, Biden called on those who had been vaccinated not to wear masks because “vaccination protects you from COVID”. During the Omicron outbreak in January 2022, the country’s daily death toll rose to 2,258, breaking the previous record set in February 2021.51 In late April, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical advisor, said that America was already out of the COVID pandemic phase, when the country’s death toll had exceeded 1 million. Less than two months later, he was diagnosed with COVID.

The anti-vaccine and anti-mask movements in the United States have been driven by the depraved lies of government leaders (first Trump and then Biden) concerning COVID. The “rugged individualism” that has been pushed by the U.S. ruling class since the founding of the country is one of the ideological foundations upon which these movements are built. The myth of “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps” which hides capitalist exploitation, is part of the foundation of the illusory “American Dream”. This narrative portrays evil capitalist slavery and the genocide of Native Americans by “brave pioneers” as the epitome of this “rugged individualism”, one of the pillars of the American Supremacy and Exceptionalism ideas, rather than despicable acts of greed and selfishness. Therefore, it is not surprising that a sizable proportion of the U.S. population objects to the idea of wearing masks or receiving vaccinations to prevent the spread of deadly viruses.

Today, U.S. capitalism, despite its enormous wealth, pollutes the air, poisons the water, murders black people, enforces religious homogenization in schools, burns books, commits mass murder of schoolchildren, and invades and dominates other countries, all under the guise of “freedom”. A customer at a grocery store in an LA suburb threw down her shopping basket and hurled insults at the staff who advised her to wear a mask. At a bagel shop in New York City, a woman walked up to another customer and deliberately coughed in the latter’s face. At a large department store in Flint, Michigan, a security guard was shot dead, just because he told a customer that her child needed to wear a mask inside the store. And who can forget Senator Rand Paul (a Republican from Kentucky) who wandered the Senate chamber and Senators’ gym without a mask the whole time he was waiting for his COVID test result, which turned out to be positive.

In August 2021, while 26,000 children in Florida were infected with COVID-19 in a single week, the state government issued an executive order banning schools from enforcing a student mask mandate. Arizona, Utah, Texas, and eight other states with Republican governors have also banned the mandatory wearing of masks in schools. Some states have even banned mandatory mask wearing in state-run organizations, and even in some private industries. Fourteen states have banned vaccination mandates. In other words, the rights of the individuals far outweigh those of the collective or the society.

The COVID pandemic has clearly demonstrated the moral decay of the U.S. ruling class who, unfortunately, has won the support of a sizable portion of the lower, middle, and working classes. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick once said,52 “No one reached out to me and said, as a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren? And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in”. Of course, Patrick is not the average working-class senior citizen who must ultimately pay with his life. Since the lieutenant governor has access to the best medical care due to his U.S.$25 million in cash holdings, Patrick recovered from his COVID infection after only a week of minor ailments. What type of society would be willing to sacrifice its senior citizens for wealth and power? A society whose time has come and should be long gone.

U.S. politicians and media outlets always criticize other countries for violating “human rights”. The most fundamental human right, however, is the right to live. The most compelling evidence for the fact that the U.S. government has no respect for human rights is the more than one million people living in the United States who have died of COVID-19. They are simply promoting false human rights–such as having a particular form of government, or access to Facebook–instead of the fundamental rights that humans require, like survival, food, healthcare, and education. As Dr. Paul Farmer, a public health expert who passed away in Rwanda in February, once argued, “Medicine should be viewed as social justice work in a world that is so sick and so riven by inequalities”. The extreme morbidity and inequalities in the United States are reflected in the cruel reality inflicted by the COVID pandemic in the country.

Socialist benevolent policy in China

In stark contrast to the situation in the United States, China has a tried-and-true “dynamic zero-COVID” policy to fight the disease. There is no perfect solution to an emerging pandemic, and each approach has its strengths and weaknesses. A pandemic prevention strategy must first be evaluated by whom it serves. COVID-19 has caused only 4 deaths per million in China (compared to 3,108 in the United States) as of June 27, 2022 53 notably proving that its policy prioritizes the lives of its citizens, especially the poor.

It takes a high level of scientific understanding of the rules governing virus transmission, a thorough comprehension of the limitations of predictive models, advanced statistical knowledge, the awareness of national conditions, the ability to assess prevention experiences, and to modify plans in real time to achieve such amazing results in the fight against complex mutated viruses. Mao Zedong eloquently described the dialectical relationship between the “great benevolent policy” and the “small benevolent policy”: the great benevolent policy must not be hindered by the concern for the small benevolent policy.54 Given that SARS-type viruses (COVID-19 and MERS are on this spectrum) can cause a significant number of fatalities, the dynamic zero-COVID policy can be described as a great benevolent policy.

A dynamic zero-COVID policy can only be successful if the people understand and respect science, give up individualistic thinking, and are prepared to make short-term sacrifices for the long-term benefit of themselves and others. It requires the people to have faith in their leaders and to use deliberate self-criticism as a way to grow and succeed. According to data from several research institutions, more than 90% of the Chinese people trust their government.5556 The fact that the Chinese people are far-sighted, have the capacity to sympathize with others in their pains and difficulties, and can take unselfish action, is the sign of an advanced civilization.

Science plays quite different roles under capitalist and socialist systems. The United States has proven to the rest of the world that, in a capitalist society, science is used to maximize profits, develop inconceivable levels and types of offensive nuclear and other military weapons, and spy on the communications and social media of most of the world’s population. For example, information from every Brazilian’s email and social media account is stored in enormous data centers in locations like Bluffdale, Utah, among other places.57 However, science is not being used to address the medical needs of poor patients or to help develop effective pandemic prevention strategies at the grassroots level.

Large monopolies purposefully impede the advancement of science as a defense mechanism to maintain their monopoly. Science is vilified and people are told lies, such as “global warming is fiction,” when the truth stands in the way of profits. To this day, 30% of Americans continue to reject the idea that human activity is the primary cause of global warming.58

In socialist China, science is respected, fostered, and most importantly, recognized as a servant in promoting the demands of the people and society, something that is reflected in the pandemic in many ways. One small illustration of how science serves the people is the establishment of a dynamic, nationwide network of digital health code platforms and the placement of small, mobile PCR testing kiosks in major cities, outfitted to protect medical personnel and make testing more convenient and faster.

Foreigners often fail to understand the details of how China completes these challenging duties. They regularly receive disinformation about the so-called  “authoritarian government of China” from the Western media. They overlook the fact that President Xi’s reaffirmation of the mass line has revitalized 4 million grassroots Party organizations over the past ten years. These grassroots party organizations operate at the bottom of society, in every residential community. The Communist Party of China (CPC) has always attached great importance to improving the ideological and organizational capabilities of its cadres, increasing the connection between cadres and the masses, and creating effective communication channels. One of the greatest organizational feats of humankind is the system for organically managing and organizing food supply, quarantining and transporting the infected to hospitals, and regularly visiting the elderly on a scale of hundreds of millions of people.

The Western media has made a major claim that China’s dynamic zero-COVID policy has failed economically compared to the U.S. policy. However, economist John Ross noted that for the nine quarters between October 2019 and March 2022, China’s GDP increased by 11.5%, while U.S. GDP grew by only 2.8%, according to the global economic indicators’ website Trading Economics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. China’s economic growth was over four times faster than the U.S. during the pandemic. This comparison includes China’s worst quarter (Q1 2020, -10.5% GDP growth), and places like Wuhan and Shanghai who were most affected by the pandemic.

There are numerous factors that influence GDP growth. Not all areas of China experienced the same effects in the second quarter. Even though China’s overall growth rate may be lower in the second quarter of 2022, it will not have a significant impact on the full ten-quarter period that covers the Pandemic. Goldman Sachs analysts predict that China’s GDP growth will remain above 4% in 2022 and rise to 5.3% in 2023, despite the impact of the outbreaks in the second quarter. China’s GDP growth is estimated to reach 4.2 percent in 2022 by other investment banks like Citi, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley.59 By Western logic, it must be concluded that the U.S. policy of extreme tolerance for high mortality rates is the real destroyer of GDP growth.

Only nine new confirmed indigenous COVID cases were detected in the Chinese mainland as of June 20, 2022.60 This figure once again highlights the remarkable achievements of the CPC, the Chinese government, and the Chinese people in fighting against the pandemic.

Why is China smeared for its dynamic zero-COVID policy?

On April 12, Reuters reported that according to the Japanese investment bank Nomura, “as many as 45 cities in China are now implementing either full or partial lockdowns, making up 26.4% of the country’s population”.61 The original source of this data from Nomura could not be found. Then the Financial Times did a simple multiplication and claimed that “45 cities and 373mn people in China were under … lockdown”.62 First of all, this is an absurd number, not only because it has no source, but because, even if you add up the 45 most populous cities in China (the vast majority of which have not had any outbreaks so far this year), the total population is only 293 million.63 The Western media just made up the number of “373 million” based on unknown sources.

Moreover, the method of adding up the total population of cities that had some form of lockdown and claiming that all of them were under total lockdown is a clever and sinister manipulation of data. In most cities where outbreaks have occurred, the number of people actually under lockdown has been a small fraction of the total population and the duration of the lockdown has been relatively short. In Sichuan Province’s Guang’an City, which suffered an Omicron spillover from the outbreaks in Shanghai, for example, a lockdown took place in Linshui County, which only accounts for 21.7% of the city’s population, and lasted just 14 days. Data purportedly released by Nomura imply that the entire populations of these cities were under lockdown in the second quarter of 2022, clearly a huge deviation from the facts.

In fact, the Chinese government continues to learn and adjust its approaches when carrying out the zero-COVID policy. Even when a mega-city, like Beijing, was subjected to another round of strict control because of some pub’s non-compliance with the regulations, the outbreak was contained in less than 10 days, with only about 170 locations (most of which were single buildings) actually locked down. It was estimated that the total number of people under lockdown was no more than 200,000 (less than 1% of Beijing’s resident population). Most people throughout Beijing were still able to carry on with their work and life as normal. For a few weeks, gyms and restaurants were closed in some areas, but supermarkets and takeaway restaurants still secured food supplies. People are able to walk outdoors wearing masks. The Western media misrepresented all of this as “authoritarian lockdowns”.

Despite the obvious falsification and exaggeration of such figures, the Western media have accepted them with great satisfaction. Bloomberg,64 CNN,65 and Kyodo 66 all scrambled to quote the “373 million” figure, and it became “nearly 400 million” in the New York Times.67 When Quartz commented on China’s economy in May, their statement that “nearly 400 million people are under COVID lockdown in China” was used as if it was a fact that required no discussion.68 What followed was “People’s freedom of movement is being restricted in China” (even though American schoolchildren have lost almost three times as many class hours as in China); “China’s economy will be destroyed by lockdowns” (even though China’s economy has grown four times faster than the U.S. economy since 2020, and several U.S. investment banks predict that China’s economy will still grow faster than the U.S. economy), and a host of other lies.

This is a premeditated propaganda war against China’s dynamic zero-COVID policy, designed to discredit China’s socialist achievements in public health. These lies have been widely disseminated in the English-language media and social networks to make billions of people forget that America is so bad at controlling COVID-19 and think that the dynamic zero-COVID policy is wrong. This is cultural hegemony in Antonio Gramsci’s sense: through the manipulation of perceptions and interpretations, the U.S. ruling elite intends to perpetuate its dominance over the world.

Socialist alternatives for public health

The SARS pandemic of 2003 revealed a new trend in public health: as globalization deepens, the global pandemics of infectious diseases are bound to occur more and more frequently. The U.S. performance in the COVID pandemic has proven that a capitalist system that only cares about short-term economic interests and disregards people’s lives and health cannot cope with such a disaster as the outbreak of a pandemic. It sacrifices lives and loses economic development, and only a small group of the bourgeois elite benefit from it. The socialist system represented by China, on the other hand, points to a viable path for how humanity can respond to public health disasters in the future. Nearly-free, normalized universal testing, combined with the dynamic zero-COVID policy of early detection, reporting, isolation, and treatment, is not only effective for the prevention and control of COVID-19, but also provides a solution for the prevention and control of any new dangerous viruses that could emerge in the future.

Both the effective control of new pandemics at home and the rapid delivery of low-cost vaccines to the world’s poorest countries, has proven that Chinese socialism is advancing humanity’s ability to protect itself from future disasters. Over one million more lives lost in the United States thus far from COVID than in China, despite a U.S. population only a quarter the size of China’s, and a mortality rate hundreds-of-times greater in the former as compared with the latter, provide a graphic and sharp contrast, directly challenging the big lie of the “superiority of the capitalist system”. For Washington, which relies on the capitalist system to reap monstrous global rewards, this is a challenge that shakes its very foundations. Therefore, it launched a public opinion war against China’s anti-COVID policy, hiding the reality of its domestic failure to fight the virus, hoping to deceive the Chinese about the global anti-COVID situation, and even spark a “color revolution” in China against the government’s policy.

Although not all countries are able to implement an effective dynamic zero-COVID policy like China due to various objective constraints, China’s experience has shown the world that, in the face of a pandemic, especially when the virus is not fully understood in early stages, “herd immunity” or “coexistence with the virus” can neither be the best nor the only option. Developing countries can also do better than Western developed countries, such as the United States, as long as the people’s basic rights are prioritized over the short-term interests of capital.

Notes:

1.↩ www.worldometers.info

2.↩ ourworldindata.org

3.↩ www.forbes.com

4.↩ www.thelancet.com

5.↩ www.bloomberg.com

6.↩ statisticstimes.com

7.↩ www.china.org.cn

8.↩ www.medrxiv.org

9.↩ www.healthcaredive.com

10.↩ ourworldindata.org

11.↩ www.cdc.gov

12.↩ Lassa fever:  https://www.who.int. Mumps encephalitis: Heymann DL, ed. (2008). Control of Communicable Diseases Manual (19th ed.). p431. Washington, D.C.: American Public Health Association. ISBN 978-0-87553-189-2. Smallpox, Variola minor: USAMRIID (2011). USAMRIID’s Medical Management of Biological Casualties Handbook (7th ed.). p87-88. U.S. Government Printing Office. ISBN 9780160900150. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-09. Retrieved 2012-08-01.

13.↩ www.npr.org

14.↩ www.smithsonianmag.com

15.↩ www.webmd.com

16.↩ www.spiegel.de

17.↩ www.ft.com

18.↩ www.washingtonpost.com

19.↩ abcnews.go.com

20.↩ www.nejm.org

21.↩ www.thelancet.com

22.↩ www.nature.com

23.↩ www.bbc.com

24.↩ www.cdc.gov

25.↩ www.youtube.com

26.↩ people.com

27.↩ www.nature.com

28.↩ www.nytimes.com

29.↩ www.poorpeoplescampaign.org

30.↩ inequality.org

31.↩ equitablegrowth.org

32.↩ www.advisorperspectives.com

33.↩ hwww.seattletimes.com

34.↩ www.census.gov

35.↩ jamanetwork.com

36.↩ en.unesco.org

37.↩  www.ed.gov

38.↩ www.forbes.com

39.↩ www.unicef.org

40.↩ www.mckinsey.com

41.↩ edition.cnn.com

42.↩ edition.cnn.com

43.↩ www.imf.org

44.↩ www.census.gov

45.↩ www.theguardian.com

46.↩ www.consumerreports.org

47.↩ www.commondreams.org

48.↩ www.fiercepharma.com

49.↩ finance.yahoo.com

50.↩ covidtracking.com

51.↩ edition.cnn.com

52.↩ www.washingtonpost.com

53.↩ www.worldometers.info

54.↩ www.marxists.org

55.↩ news.harvard.edu

56.↩ www.edelman.com

57.↩ www.theguardian.com

58.↩ www.tucsonsentinel.com

59.↩ www.cnbc.com

60.↩ www.chinadaily.com.cn

61.↩ www.reuters.com

62.↩ www.ft.com

63.↩worldpopulationreview.com

64.↩ www.bloomberg.com

65.↩ edition.cnn.com

66.↩ english.kyodonews.net

67.↩ www.nytimes.com

68.↩ qz.com

附:中文版

【文/观察者网专栏作者 黛博拉·韦内齐亚尔】

美国和它的西方盟友总想指导中国应该如何管控新冠疫情,在上海全城封控后美国媒体似乎更有了批评中国抗疫政策的理由。然而这是件很讽刺的事:假如中国的抗疫工作做得像美国那么“好”,本应有3.8亿中国人感染、446万人死亡。实际上中国大陆地区只有5226人死于新冠。考虑到中国是一个发展中国家,人均医疗资源远不如美国,这一抗疫成绩是令人惊叹的。美国每10万人ICU床位数为34.7,而中国仅为3.6,相差几乎十倍。

如果中国听从《金融时报》和西方国家目前的建议,放弃动态清零策略,那将造成数百万中国人死亡——对于可能死亡人数的估计,不同的模型相差70%之多,这是因为这些估计所基于的模型都包含许多假设。即使是公布的最低预测死亡数字(该模型中包含了大量未经证实的假设)也超过160万人,并且该模型没有考虑未来新冠变体造成的死亡。

中国严肃对待人的生命。尽管人均收入只有美国的17.3%,但据一份尚未正式发布的研究数据显示,美国人的预期寿命在2020至2021年间下降了2.26年,中国人的平均寿命预期(77.9年)已经超过了美国(76.6年)。美国媒体鼓吹中国放弃动态清零的抗疫策略,这等于是在鼓吹大规模种族主义谋杀。也许地球上最暴力的国家发出这样的声音并不令人惊讶。

让我们客观一点:美国是全世界控制疫情做得最差的国家之一。新冠不仅夺走了超过100万美国人的生命,而且已经并仍在继续给美国社会和经济造成巨大的破坏。

当地时间5月4日,美国新冠死亡病例突破100万例,美媒比约翰斯·霍普金斯大学更早公布了这一数字

本文全面研究了美国抗疫政策的影响以及西方媒体对其的评价。可以得出三个主要结论。

首先,新冠对美国社会的实际损害被大大低估了。从历史上看,大流行病使资本主义社会预先存在的结构性断裂被呈现并放大。疫情已经造成了超过一百万人死亡,而且感染率仍然居高不下,新冠治愈后的长期症状持续损害人民健康,少数族裔和穷人受害尤为严重。社会运作被严重破坏,劳工阶级家庭承担了最沉重的代价。本已衰败的卫生系统因设施的过度紧张而受到严重打击。全美国65%的护士在过去一年中曾受到口头或身体上的攻击,1/3的护士声称将在今年年底前辞职。与此同时,亿万富翁和大企业却在疫情期间获得巨大的经济利益。自私自利、个人主义、种族仇恨在美国社会蔓延。

总之,美国精英阶层的无情行为揭示了美国对工人阶级的病态阶级暴力。马克思科学地指出,资本主义积累过程本身不断创造出可抛弃的“多余”人口。在美国,资本找到了卑鄙但合法的方式来“抛弃”这些剩余人口,疾病大流行是其中的方式之一。

第二,中国的社会主义仁政、科学管理和从这次流行病中学习的能力、以及中国人民的纪律和牺牲精神,在保护人民的生命和为未来做准备方面显示了令人难以置信的结果。中国作为一个中等收入国家,拥有的资源使其能够采取复杂的步骤来保护人民的生命。但令G7发达国家尴尬的是,中国刚刚研发出疫苗,就迅速将其生产的大部分疫苗提供给世界上最贫穷的人。这是一种国际主义行为。与之形成明显对比的,美国及其保护下的私营制药商却拒绝将治疗药物帕克斯洛维德(Paxlovid)和疫苗迅速廉价地提供给其他国家。

第三,疫情迫使美国精英以愈发激烈且恶毒的方式开展意识形态斗争。他们借助在媒体等意识形态领域的霸权地位,掩盖自己抗疫失败的现实,并极力渲染对中国抗疫政策和成效的歪曲和谎言。

美国政府的无能导致百万人死亡

当新冠疫情还未蔓延到美国时,美国媒体和政客称它是“瘟疫”。两年后,当新冠已经在美国感染超过8400万人、死亡超过100万人,他们改口称新冠的危害——至少是经过若干次变异之后——跟季节性流感相当,并因此鼓吹“与新冠共存”的策略。新冠在全球的病例致死率约1.61%,在美国致死率为1.2%。在美国,2021年约46万人死于新冠,而2019年死于流感的人数仅有2万多,2021年更少。

从全球数据来看,新冠的致死率比拉沙出血热(约1%)、腮腺炎脑炎(约1%)或是小天花(variola minor)(约1%)还高。“与腮腺炎共存”或者“与小天花共存”在发达工业国家是不可想象的,因腮腺炎导致脑发炎的儿童会被隔离治疗,小天花则早在1977年已被根除。然而美国的媒体和政客却在劝说人民与致死率更高的新冠共存。

有一种有意或无意的信念,认为传染病总会随着变异逐渐降低致死性,最终变成温和的常见疾病。尽管长期来说,传染病通常朝着温和的方向演化,但这未必会在短期内体现。免疫学家告诉我们,病毒的进化轨迹取决于若干因素的复杂相互作用,这些因素形成了我们的免疫系统对病毒进化的反应。在病毒有多个宿主的情况下,这种预测变得更加困难。

阿尔法(Alpha)变体的致死性比原始病毒高40%。德尔塔(Delta)引发重症的几率比阿尔法变体高了一倍,统计上相对较低的死亡率很可能是大面积疫苗接种的效果,而非病毒致死性下降。奥密克戎(Omicron)变体虽然致死性略低(0.9%),但传染性更强,在美国造成的死亡人数已超过Delta变体。谁也无法保证新冠的下一个变体就会迅速降低致死性——而那可能导致数万、数十万人丧生。德国著名病毒学家克里斯蒂安·德罗斯顿(Christian Drosten)最近承认,他自己在大流行第一年的乐观估计是错误的。他还与一个为抗疫而组成的政府委员会保持距离。赌2019年新型冠状病毒(SARS-Cov-2)的毒性会随着时间的推移而降低,这不是一个负责任的公共卫生措施。

《金融时报》被迫承认,欧洲现在面临着奥密克戎BA.5变体带来的新入院人数激增。他们进一步承认,缺乏检测、放弃控制疫情、已经三次接种疫苗的人再感染率高,这些因素可能导致未来更高的死亡率。

群体免疫的效果仍有待观察。特朗普担任总统时支持白宫高级医学顾问斯科特·阿特拉斯的观点,认为只要足够多的人接种疫苗(或感染新冠),病毒就会无处可传播而自然消亡。出于同样的原因,拜登也重点关注疫苗接种,认为只要疫苗接种率达到70%以上,就能全面放弃口罩并开放各种社会活动。但历史上有效的群体免疫(例如麻疹)有三个必要条件:稳定不变异的病毒,非常有效的疫苗,以及高接种率。而这三点在新冠疫情初期都无法确认。

在两年多时间里,新冠已经变异出了至少6种主要变体,对德尔塔变体有效的疫苗对奥密克戎的效果变得有限,且疫苗的效力在大约半年后会降低20~30个百分点。也没有任何证据表明感染过的病人能自动免疫(像天花或腮腺炎那样),自奥密克戎变体被发现以来,再次感染冠状病毒的人数一直在急剧上升。从一开始,中国中央卫生官员就保持了正确的科学态度,坚持在没有充分的证据之前绝不轻易妥协。

尽管原因尚不明确,但已有大量证据显示,即便在治愈后,新冠仍会造成各种长期的症状,包括极度疲倦、呼吸急促、胸痛或胸闷、记忆力和注意力降低、关节疼痛等。曾因新冠住院的患者中,30%在6个月后仍受困于长期症状,一些患者的症状长达两年以上。所有感染的患者中,大约1/5出现了长期症状——全美国接近1700万人。

英国学者夏仁巍(Ravi Veriah Jacques)在痊愈后14个月,仍因为长期症状每天不得不卧床13-16个小时。美国一位注册营养师、29岁的长跑爱好者卡蒂·巴伯(Catie Barber)在痊愈后5个月因长期症状仍无法行走,只能坐在轮椅上,并差点被新冠引发的心脏疾病夺去生命。在感染前接种疫苗只能在疾病的急性期提供部分保护,对长期症状的影响很有限。对于需要依赖工资谋生的劳工阶级而言,这些长期症状会进一步损害他们的劳动能力和收入水平。

1/5的成年新冠患者出现了长期症状

所有这些事实提出了一个问题:为什么全世界最强大、资源最丰富的国家以这种方式应对一场灾难性的传染病大暴发,使其国家的公民遭受如此深重的苦难?2020年元旦前后,中国疾病控制中心的官员致电美国疾病预防控制中心主任罗伯特·雷德菲尔德博士,警告他新冠病毒的危险性——几天前中国医生刚刚识别出这种新型病毒。令人难以置信的是,美国媒体却声称中国隐瞒信息。实际上,是美国政府官员向美国政府内部的其他机构、向美国人民隐瞒了信息。他们的无能和对信息的隐瞒使美国浪费了制定应对计划的宝贵时间。

夏仁巍通过新闻和社交媒体呼吁重视“新冠长期症状”的危害

新冠疫情中的阶级不平等

特朗普的贸易顾问彼得·纳瓦罗在2020年1月29日预测新冠大流行会造成50万人死亡和数万亿美元经济损失。然而美国政府仍然放任疫情发展,一个重要的原因是,掌控这个国家的精英群体在疫情中遭受的损失很少。

过去两年中,有12个美国的亿万富翁过世,其中没有一个死于新冠。富裕的美国资产阶级拥有更大的人均居住面积和更良好的社区基础设施,不需要在人员密集的工厂或办公室打卡上班,并且享受昂贵而优越的医疗服务。其结果是在疫情造成大量死亡的两个阶段(2020年底至2021年初,2021年8月至11月),居住在高收入郡县的居民因新冠致死的几率还不到低收入郡县的20%。当富裕的美国人说他们身边没有谁因为新冠丧生,那大概率是真的。

富人甚至能从疫情大流行中获益。2020年3月,美联储启动了无上限量化宽松政策,截至年底其资产负债表规模扩张了5.2万亿美元。特朗普和拜登分别签署了2.2万亿和1.9万亿美元的经济救助计划。这些增发的货币很快让美国股市回到了历史高点,从而让拥有股票的富人变得更富有。到2021年10月,美国亿万富翁的财富总量达到了5万亿美元,相比2021年3月增长了70%,其中排名前五的富豪(伊隆·马斯克、杰夫·贝索斯、比尔·盖茨、拉里·艾利森、拉里·佩奇)的财富增长了118%。所以2020年4月底疫情正在造成第一个死亡高峰时马斯克在推特上高喊“把人们的自由还给他们”也就不足为奇,毕竟工人在家封控的每一天都意味着他累积财富的速度被减慢了一点点——马斯克在疫情期间财富增长了7倍,成为世界首富。

亿万富翁的财富总量在疫情期间大幅增长

与常见的印象不同,过去几十年来,劳工阶级从美国的经济增长中获益甚少。自1980年以来,美国最富有的10%人口占据了所有经济增长的一半以上,而收入低于中位数的劳工阶级只获得了经济增长的10%。在过去三十年的三次经济增长期中,收入前10%的人每次都获得了所有收入增长的一半左右。在2000年到2020年的二十年间,收入低于中位数的家庭收入几乎没有增长。

劳工阶级在美国的政治生态中是沉默的群体,虽然特朗普(和他的首席战略师斯蒂芬·班农)喜欢自吹“白人工人阶级”对他的支持,实际上被他的法西斯政策动员起来的是种族主义情绪严重的极右翼下中产阶级——大多是白人,大多来自小城市或农村,从事小生意或专业工作,约占全国人口1/4。他们的经济状况优于劳工阶级(虽然也有下滑的趋势),而且经常是劳工阶级的雇主。

收入低于中位数的50%家庭收入三十年来几乎没有增长

在未经证明对当前阶段新冠有效的“群体免疫”政策指导下,美国在短时间封控之后很快放松了对疫情的管控。企业主强烈要求解除一切管控措施,因为他们需要员工回到工作岗位恢复生产和经营,代价则由劳工阶级承担。相比社会和经济地位较高的人群,劳工阶级因新冠致死的几率高出4倍,但由于缺乏积蓄和债务压力,他们不得不回到工作岗位。

在年收入低于3.5万美元的家庭中,57.3%在疫情期间遭遇了失业或收入下降,60%家庭难以支付日常开支;47%的人拖欠了住房付款,700万人担心在两个月内被驱逐或取消抵押贷款;25%的人(近1100万人)遭遇食物困难。为了维持基本生活,劳工阶级不得不冒着感染新冠致死或遭受长期症状折磨的风险复工,这就是马斯克所谓的“自由”。

美国低收入家庭为生存基本需求挣扎

尽管以“个人自由”“恢复社会正常运转”的名义放弃了绝大多数有效的疫情防控手段,实际上资产阶级精英们关心的只是让给他们赚钱的生意运转起来。事实上,尽管美国政府不愿执行封控措施,社会活动仍然遭受了严重破坏,在长达两年多之后仍然没有回到疫情前状态的迹象。

美国媒体迫不及待地宣布,在放弃对新冠病毒的控制之后,美国经济已经回到了正常——据CNN的“回到正常指数”称,当前美国经济已经恢复到疫情前(2020年3月)93%的水平。道琼斯指数和标普500指数在2021年底创下历史新高,不过随后即大幅下跌。2022年1月至4月,标普500指数下跌超过13%,是1939年以来最差的年初4个月表现。而且股市并不能真实反映经济状况,即便有超大规模的经济刺激计划,2020和2021两年间,美国真实GDP合计增长仅2.11%,伴随着严重的通货膨胀和物价上涨。

媒体鼓吹的“正常状态”对工人阶级来说并没有实现。美国人口普查局在2022年4月27日至5月9日期间进行的调查表明,近1.38亿人难以支付家庭开支,超过3100万人失去工作或没有收到工资,近7400万人有时或经常吃不饱。2022年6月公布的CPI指数同比上涨8.6%,是40年来物价上涨的最高速度。

以2019年第四季度为基准的真实GDP曲线,可见疫情后美国真实GDP增长缓慢


以2019年12月为基准的CPI曲线,可见疫情后美国物价上涨明显

更重要的是,尽管GDP能一定程度上反映经济运转的健康程度,但将GDP的增长作为国家的终极目标来膜拜,这是一种病态的思维方式。在不利事件(例如大范围自然灾害、战争、全球疫情等)发生时,商品价格会异常上涨,而这也会被统计为GDP增长。在GDP至上的思维模式指导下,短时间减少社会活动控制疫情传播不是最优选择,放任病毒传播、照常进行生产生活才是最优选择——病毒的传播反而会增加医疗和药品消费,从而增加GDP。这是美国政府选择“与病毒共存”的重要原因,制药公司和检测公司因为疫情的长期持续获得了巨额补贴。

在美国做一次核酸(PCR)检测的平均价格是130美元(没有医疗保险的情况下是185美元),这让上千亿美元流入了相关企业,同时也成为大范围检测并清零策略不可行的论据。作为对比,中国已经将核酸检测价格降至人民币3.5元(约合0.52美元),2022年4月全国因大范围、常态化核酸检测支出人民币216亿元——约占GDP的0.2%,而且在疫情得到控制后这笔开支还会大幅降低。这是将人民的生命放在短期经济利益之上做出的选择。

目前有一亿美国人因医疗费用而负债累累,其中1/7的人说他们曾因为未支付账单而被拒绝进入医院或其他医疗机构,2/3的人因为费用而放弃了治疗。在美国的政治制度中,资本主义私有产权占据完全支配地位,公共品被不断削减,给大型制药公司的收入、利润和资产带来了百亿级的惊人增长。辉瑞公司有望在2022年成为市值千亿美元的巨无霸,仅其两种主要的新冠相关药物的销售额就达539亿美元,利润率可能达到27%以上。

美国统治阶级的虚伪与堕落

当科学事实无情地打破“与病毒共存”的幻想,死亡人数始终居高不下,证明群体免疫至少在短时间内难以实现,美国的政客们就用赤裸裸的谎言来欺骗自己的国民,让工人们相信新冠其实并不危险、可以回到工作岗位(为资本家们赚钱)。

2020年3月,特朗普说温暖的天气和阳光将杀死病毒,4月美国迎来了第一个因疫情死亡的高峰,每日死亡人数超过2000,两个月内死亡近10万人。2020年10月,特朗普感染,经入院接受最顶级的治疗后康复,随即在推特发文号召“不要害怕新冠,不要让它支配你的生活”,12月美国迎来了第二个因疫情死亡的高峰,三个月内死亡超过24万人。2021年5月,拜登号召接种过疫苗的人不佩戴口罩,因为“接种疫苗可以保护你免受新冠的侵害”,随后在2022年1月的奥密克戎流行中,全国每天死亡人数达到2258人,突破自2021年2月以来的最高水平。2022年4月,拜登的首席医疗顾问安东尼·福奇博士称美国脱离了新冠大流行阶段,此时全美死亡人数已超过100万。

政府领导人(首先是特朗普,然后是拜登)关于新冠的堕落谎言,对美国反疫苗和反口罩运动推波助澜。而这些运动赖以生存的意识形态基础之一,是美国统治阶级自建国以来一直推崇的“粗犷的个人主义”理念。虚假的“美国梦”建立在掩盖资本主义剥削的“自强不息”神话之上。在这套叙事之下,罪恶的资本主义奴隶制度、以及“勇敢的拓荒者”对美洲原住民的种族灭绝,不再是贪婪和自私的卑鄙行为,而是这种“粗犷的个人主义”的缩影,是美国至上、美国特殊思想的支柱之一。因此,美国很大一部分人反感以戴口罩或接种疫苗的方式阻止致命病毒的传播,这一点也不奇怪。

如今,美国社会打着“自由”的旗号污染空气、在水中投毒、谋杀黑人、在学校中强制推行宗教同质化、焚烧书籍、对学童实施大规模谋杀、入侵并统治其他国家。

新冠大流行清楚地暴露了美国统治阶级的道德堕落,不幸的是,他们得到了美国数量不小的中下阶层和工人阶级的支持。得克萨斯州副州长丹·帕特里克曾说:“没人问我,作为一个老年公民,我是否愿意用自己的生命为代价,换取为子孙后代保留美国人所热爱的美国?如果要我做选择,我的答案将是,我完全愿意。”当然,帕特里克并不是那个真的需要付出生命代价的普通劳工阶级老年公民。尽管帕特里克也感染了新冠,他只经历了一周轻症就痊愈了,毕竟手握2500万美元现金资产的副州长能获得最好的医疗待遇。什么样的社会愿意牺牲他们的老年公民来换取金钱和权力?这样的社会,早就应该消亡。

美国的政客和媒体总是拿“人权”为由攻击其他国家。然而生存权是最基本的人权。超过100万因新冠死亡的美国公民,是最鲜明的证据,表明美国政府并不尊重人权。他们只是在宣扬虚假的人权——例如拥有某种特定形式的政府、或是能访问脸书——而不是人类真正需要的基本权利,例如生存、温饱、医疗和教育。正如今年2月在卢旺达去世的公共卫生专家保罗·法默尔医生(Dr. Paul Farmer)曾说过的:“在这个病态且充斥不平等的世界里,医学应当被视为社会公正的工作”(Medicine should be viewed as social justice work in a world that is so sick and so riven by inequities.)。

新冠疫情在美国造成的残酷现实,恰好映照出这个国家极度的病态与不平等。

中国的社会主义仁政

与美国的现实形成鲜明对比的,是中国行之有效的“动态清零”抗疫政策。在一种新出现的流行病面前,没有十全十美的应对措施,每种策略都有其优点和缺点。评价一种抗疫策略,首先要看它是为谁服务的。新冠在中国造成的每百万人死亡人数仅为4人(美国则是3103人),这清楚地表明其政策将其公民、尤其是贫穷者的生命放在首位。

在与复杂的变异病毒的斗争中取得如此惊人的成绩,需要对病毒传播规律有高度的科学认识,对预测模型的局限性有深刻的理解,需要有先进的统计学知识,了解各国的国情,拥有分析预防经验的高超技术,并实时调整计划。毛泽东曾精辟地阐述“大仁政”与“小仁政”的辩证关系:不可以因为照顾了小仁政妨碍了大仁政。鉴于非典类型病毒(新冠和中东呼吸综合征都在此谱系上)可能涉及大量的生命损失,动态清零政策可以说是大仁政。

动态清零政策的成功还需要人民理解和尊重科学,放弃个人主义思想,并愿意为自己和他人的长期利益做出个人的短期牺牲。它要求人民相信其领导人会通过深思熟虑的自我批评来学习并改进、最终赢得胜利。多家研究机构的数据显示,90%以上中国人信任其政府。中国人民有更长远的眼光,能对别人的痛苦和困难感同身受,并无私地采取行动,这是先进文明的标志。

科学在资本主义和社会主义制度下扮演着截然不同的角色。美国向世界证明,在资本的统治下,科学被用来为利润最大化服务,被用来发展荒唐的进攻性核武器和军事武器,被用来监视世界上大多数人的通信和社交媒体——每个巴西人的电子邮件和社交媒体账户的数据都被储存在犹他州布拉夫代尔(Bluffdale)等地的大规模数据中心。但由于没有足够高的利润率,科学没有被用来解决贫困患者的医疗需求,也没有被用来帮助基层开发安全的抗疫措施。

大型垄断企业有意限制科学进步的扩展,作为保护其垄断地位的防御机制。当事实阻碍了利润,科学就会被妖魔化,人们就会被灌输谎言,比如“气候变暖是虚构的”。直到今天,30%的美国人仍然不相信全球变暖主要是由人类活动造成的。

在社会主义中国,科学得到尊重和发展,最重要的是被视为推动人民和社会需求的仆人——这一点在疫情中得到了多方面的体现。例如在全国实施动态的数字健康码平台联网,在主要城市都部署了可移动的小型核酸检测亭,其中配备了保护医疗工作者的设备,使检测更加便利快捷,这只是科学为人民服务的一个小例子。

外国人常常无法理解中国如何解决这些困难任务的细节。西方媒体每天给他们灌输所谓“中国威权政府”的虚假信息。他们没有看到,在过去的十年里,随着中方领导人习近平对群众路线的重申,400万个基层党组织得到了重振。这些基层党组织在社会的最底层——每一个居民社区——开展活动。中国共产党一直非常重视发展干部的思想和组织能力,加强干部与群众的联系,构建有效的沟通渠道。在数亿人的规模上有机地管理和组织食品供应、隔离并护送感染者去医院、定期探访老人的系统,这是人类最伟大的组织成就之一。

西方媒体大肆宣称:与美国的抗疫政策相比,中国的动态清零政策在经济上失败了。但根据全球经济指标(Trading Economics)网站和美国经济分析局的数据,经济学家罗思义指出:从2019年10月到2022年3月的9个季度,中国的GDP增长了11.5%,而美国只增长了2.8%。在疫情期间,中国经济的增长速度是美国的四倍多。这一时期的比较包括中国最糟糕的一个季度(2020年第一季度,GDP增长-10.5%),武汉和上海等地区受疫情的影响也包括在内。

影响GDP增长率的因素有很多。并非中国所有地区在第二季度都受到同样的影响。即便中国2022年第二季度整体增长率可能降低,其影响放在整个疫情期间来看并不显著。高盛的分析师预测,尽管第二季度受疫情影响,中国2022年的GDP增长将保持在4%以上,2023年将增加到5.3%。其他投资银行,如花旗银行、摩根大通和摩根士丹利预测中国2022年的GDP增长将超过4.2%。使用西方的逻辑,人们必须得出结论:美国对高死亡率的极端容忍政策才是真正的GDP增长破坏者。

就在本文截稿之前,2022年6月20日,中国大陆地区仅发现9例本土新增新冠确诊病例。这个数字再一次彰显了中国共产党、中国政府和中国人民抗击疫情取得的非凡成就。

为何抹黑中国“动态清零”抗疫策略?

4月12日,据路透社报道,日本投行野村国际称“中国45个城市实施了完全或部分封锁,占全国人口26.4%”——笔者未能找到野村国际这项数据的原始出处。随后《金融时报》做了一个简单的乘法计算,声称“45个城市中的3.73亿人被封锁”。首先,这是一个荒谬的数字,不仅因为它没有任何出处,而且即使把全中国人口最多的45个城市(其中绝大部分今年完全没有疫情发生)加在一起,人口总数也只有2.93亿。西方媒体只是基于未知的消息源凭空捏造了“3.73亿”这个数字。

而且,将曾实施过某种形式封控的城市总人口相加、宣称这些人都被封锁,这种方法是巧妙而险恶的数据操弄。在大部分发生疫情的城市,实际遭遇封锁的人数只是总人口的一小部分,封控时间也相对较短。以受上海疫情外溢影响暴发奥密克戎疫情的四川省广安市为例,实施封控的邻水县人口只占全市人口21.7%,封控时间仅为14天。而据称由野村国际发布的数据却暗示这些城市的所有人口在2022年第二季度的疫情中都被封锁,显而易见这与事实偏离极大。

实际上,中国政府在“动态清零”的过程中不断学习并调整其策略。即使北京这样的超级大城市因为一家酒吧的违规营业造成又一轮严控,但在不到10天时间内疫情即得到控制,实际被封锁的只有大约170个地点(其中大部分是单一楼栋),估计被封锁的总人数不超过20万人(不到北京常住人口1%)。整个北京市大部分人的生产生活仍能正常进行。有几个星期,部分区域的健身房和餐馆都关闭了,但超市和外卖仍然保障了食品供应。人们可以戴着口罩在户外行走。西方媒体将这些都错误地描述为“专制的封锁”。

尽管是这样明显虚假夸大的数字,西方媒体仍然如获至宝。彭博社、CNN、日本共同社争先恐后地引用“3.73亿”这个数字,同样的数字到《纽约时报》那里就成了“接近4亿”。美国的石英财经网(Quartz)在5月评论中国经济时,“近4亿中国人因新冠被封锁”就像是无需讨论的事实一样被使用。随之而来的就是“中国人的行动自由被限制”(尽管美国学童损失的课时几乎是中国的3倍)、“中国经济将被封控摧毁”(尽管自2020年以来中国经济增速是美国的4倍,且美国的多家投行预测中国经济增速仍将高于美国)等一系列谎言。

这是一场有预谋的针对中国“动态清零”抗疫策略的宣传战,其目的就是要抹杀中国社会主义在公共卫生领域取得的成就。这些谎言在英文媒体和社交网络里被广泛传播,让数十亿人忘记了美国对疫情的防控是如此糟糕、以为“动态清零”是错误的策略。这正是安东尼奥·葛兰西意义上的文化霸权:通过对认知和解释的操纵,美国统治精英意在延续其对全世界的支配。

公共卫生的社会主义方案

2003年的非典大流行揭示了公共卫生领域一个新的趋势:随着全球化进程的深入,传染病的全球性大流行也必定越来越频繁地发生。美国在新冠疫情中的表现已经证明,只顾短期经济利益、不顾人民生命健康的资本主义制度无法应对像流行病大暴发这样的灾难——它既牺牲了生命,又损失了经济发展,只有少数资产阶级精英从中获益。而以中国为代表的社会主义制度为人类未来如何应对公共卫生灾难指出了一条可行的路径。几乎免费的常态化全民检测,结合早发现、早报告、早隔离、早治疗的动态清零策略,不仅对于防疫有效,而且给防控任何未来出现的新型危险病毒提供了方案。

无论是在国内有效控制新的大流行病,还是迅速向世界上最贫穷的国家提供低成本的疫苗,都证明中国的社会主义正在推进人类保护自己免受未来灾难的能力。上百万条生命、相差数百倍的致死率,如此直观而强烈的对比会直接挑战“资本主义制度优越性”的弥天大谎。对于依赖资本主义制度收割全球的美国而言,这是动摇根本的挑战。因此他们发起针对中国抗疫政策的舆论战,掩盖其国内抗疫失败的现实,并寄望欺骗中国人对全球抗疫形势的认知、甚至在中国引发反对政府抗疫政策的“颜色革命”。

尽管由于各种客观条件的约束,并非所有国家都能像中国这样实施有效的“动态清零”政策,但中国的经验向世界证明:面对传染病大流行,尤其在对于病毒了解并不充分的疫情早期阶段,“群体免疫”“与病毒共存”既不是最佳选择、也不是唯一选择。只要将人民的基本权利而非资本的短期利益放在第一位,发展中国家也完全可以做得比美国等西方发达国家更好。

(黛博拉·韦内齐亚尔是美国籍的记者和编辑,三大洲社会研究所的研究员。本文的英文版将于近期在国外媒体发表。)

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