U.S., UK first ignored corona; now they are failing to contain it

April 11, 2020 - 19:22

TEHRAN — The United States – the richest country in the world – and its close ally the United Kingdom have spectacularly failed to contain the coronavirus outbreak, climbing their way up to the top of the list of countries hardest hit by the deadly virus.

In New York City, images have emerged of coffins being buried in a mass grave, with workers in hazmat outfits seen stacking wooden coffins in deep trenches in Hart Island.

According to the BBC, officials have said burials are being ramped up at site, which has long been used for people with no next-of-kin or families who cannot afford a funeral.

It is worth noting that the New York State now has more coronavirus cases than any single country on the planet. 

But this is only the tip of the iceberg in the United States. Many observers have long warned that the country would experience the worst coronavirus catastrophe in the world.

While the first known case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on January 20, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration as well as the Republican media outlets downplayed and mocked the coronavirus pandemic for over a month.

On February 27, Trump claimed that the outbreak would be temporary. “It’s going to disappear,” he said. “One day it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.”

On March 17, he said, “I’ve always known this is a real—this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic … I’ve always viewed it as very serious.”

On March 26, he claimed this kind of pandemic “was something nobody thought could happen,” while many experts had predicted a devastating global pandemic sooner or later.

Trump then went back to downplaying the outbreak, claiming that if the economic shutdown continues, deaths by suicide “definitely would be in far greater numbers than the numbers that we’re talking about” for COVID-19 deaths. 

Earlier this month, renowned American scholar Noam Chomsky said the coronavirus crisis could have been prevented because there was enough information available to the world.

Speaking from his office in self-isolation to Croatian philosopher and author Srecko Horvat, the celebrated 91-year-old U.S. linguist offered a stark perspective on how the pandemic has been managed by different countries.

Worst coronavirus response was from the U.S.: Chomsky

“China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore began to do something, and they have sort of pretty much seemed to have contained at least the first surge of the crisis,” he said, Al Jazeera reported.

“In Europe, to some extent, it’s happened. Germany ... did have spare diagnostic capacity and was able to act in a highly selfish fashion, not helping others but for itself at least, to evident reasonable containment.”

“Other countries just ignored it. The worst was the United Kingdom and the worst of all was the United States.”

“One day [Trump] says, ‘There is no crisis, it’s just like flu.’ The next day, ‘It’s a terrible crisis and I knew it all along.’ The next day, ‘We have to go back to the business, because I have to win the election’. The idea that the world is in these hands is shocking.”

UK death toll underreported: The Guardian

In the meantime, The Guardian reported on Thursday that hundreds of people were dying in Britain in care homes from confirmed or suspected coronavirus without yet being officially counted, providing evidence that the death toll could be much higher than what was reported by the government.

More than 120 residents of the UK’s largest charitable provider of care homes are thought to have died from the virus in the last three weeks, while another network of care homes is reported to have recorded 88 deaths, according to The Guardian.

The report added that Care England, the industry body, estimated that the death toll is likely to be close to 1,000, despite the only available official figure for care home fatalities being dramatically lower. The Office for National Statistics said this week that 20 people died in care homes across the whole of England and Wales in the week to March 27.

The gulf in the figures has prompted warnings that ministers are underestimating the impact of Covid-19 on society’s most frail, and are failing to sufficiently help besieged care homes and workers.

Britain’s care industry leaders and the Alzheimer’s Society have said they believe the virus is now active in around half of care settings, which look after about 400,000 people in the UK. This is far higher than the estimate given by Prof Chris Whitty, the UK government’s chief medical officer, who said on Tuesday that just over 9% of care homes had cases of Covid-19.

“We are seeing underreporting of the number of deaths,” said Prof Martin Green, the chief executive of Care UK, which represents the largest care providers. “Deaths might not be in the thousands yet, but it is coming up to that level. We need a proper analysis of death rates occurring across care homes, and the government should be collecting this data.”

Around 70% of residents in one Yorkshire care home for people with dementia, operated by MHA, the UK’s largest charitable provider of care homes, are suspected of being infected. Thirteen people have died in another of MHA’s Yorkshire homes and 11 have died in a home in Northamptonshire. The provider also believes half of its care homes have cases of infection.

U.S., Britain host anti-Iran channels

Despite the two countries’ abject failure to adequately deal with the disease, the United States and the UK are home to a countless number of anti-Iran news channels and outlets which on numerous occasions published false reports on the coronavirus outbreak in Iran.

The BBC Persian’s website ran a piece on February 25 on why many Iranian politicians have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

The article, by Hossein Bastani, argued that the Islamic Republic authorities were lying about the number of people infected with the virus. Of course, Bastani’s article was published before many politicians in the West – including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – tested positive for coronavirus.

Another BBC Persian journalist, Rana Rahimpour, was interviewed on Radio 4 Today on the same day about the coronavirus outbreak in Iran.

During the interview, Rahimpour slammed the Iranian authorities for refusing a lockdown, blaming religious beliefs as an obstacle in the path of containing the outbreak.

“We can see a clear conflict between religious fundamentalists in Iran and science. And unfortunately, the authorities are refusing scientific facts,” she said.

It is important to note the turn of events in other countries, especially in the UK, to fully grasp how ideologically biased the BBC Persian’s journalists are and how they manipulate public opinion both in Iran and abroad in times of crisis.

It is also important to note – as mentioned earlier – that the BBC Persian is not alone in this propaganda war waged on Iran and its people.

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