The concept of honor (or “face”) is important in US culture. Americans are proud of their superpower status, and of what they see as an unassailable lead in science and R&D. If the US is seen as losing face to a poor nation like China, it could significantly affect the regime’s legitimacy. Thus, the regime cast China as a scapegoat for its own failures. Chinese hackers were accused (without evidence, of course) of trying to steal US vaccine research – such as it was.
Orientalist tabloids such as the New York Times projected their guilt to China, frequently accusing it of silencing doctors like the US did (falsely claiming that Li Wenliang was a “whistleblower” who tried to “warn his country”; yet, Wuhan authorities already knew far more than he did, and he did not try to warn the public, but only a private chat group).
The 1800s were back. The “newspaper of record” openly sought to revive decades’ old Sinophobic yellow-peril stereotypes – openly blaming China for the pandemic and even calling it an “incubator” of disease.
And it worked. Hate crimes against Chinese people (or maybe they were Korean or Japanese or Vietnamese – few Americans know or care about the difference) started rising at an unprecedented rate. After all, racism is how many Americans cope with rising poverty and unemployment – you just blame The Other.
Meanwhile, thousands of Americans continued dropping dead like flies – sacrificed at the altar of the regime’s cover-ups and missteps. But not before the regime had asked Americans to try Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug with zero clinical benefits for treating COVID-19, or the more bonkers suggestion that they should inject themselves with disinfectant to kill the virus.
While the US government avoided science like the plague, deaths kept climbing. The crisis exposed the raw power struggles that often lie just beneath the regime’s surface. Experts and whistleblowers were silenced, with Trump even publicly disagreeing with his own epidemiologists and state governors. In true strongman fashion, he even threatened to withdraw aid from states whose governors criticized him too much.
The federal government – never entirely comfortable sharing power with its state counterparts – used the crisis as an opportunity to snub them further, even going to the extent of seizing medical equipment. Maryland even sent its own national guard to secure its COVID-19 tests from being seized by the Trump regime.