Wed, 25 Nov 2020

A person wearing a face mask stands in Domino Park during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York, the United States, Sept. 13, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

- The latest grim milestone of 40 million infections confirms again that it is impossible to cover up or beat the outbreak with lies and shifting blame.

- The worst is yet to come unless scientific guidance can have an upper hand in the fight against the pandemic.

by Xinhua writer Zhang Xin

BEIJING, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- In merely a month the global COVID-19 caseload spiked from 30 million to 40 million, blaring a siren that the worst hours of the pandemic are yet to come.

The latest grim milestone of 40 million infections is a blow to the foolish expectation that the virus can somehow retreat by itself. Although some parts of the globe have done a better job containing the virus and the infection curves in some countries have seen plateaus, it remains too early for the world to let its guard down against the deadly and cunning pathogen.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has admitted that the next few months will be challenging "simply because all of us in Austria and Europe are already tired of corona, but it will take months before we can really achieve a breakthrough with a vaccine."

A woman wearing a face mask walks past a restaurant in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Aug. 31, 2020. (Photo by Bai Xue/Xinhua)

What the past ten months or so have taught us is that while restriction measures are not popular, they are undeniably necessary and effective against the highly contagious virus.

That is why some countries in Europe, where the latest surge in confirmed cases has become a major concern, have once again tightened restrictions, including "grounding," targeted lockdowns and curfews.

The 40 million milestone confirms again that it is impossible to cover up or beat the outbreak with lies and shifting blame.

A policeman checks a resident after the curfews in Lille, northern France, Oct. 17, 2020. (Photo by Sebastien Courdji/Xinhua)

Since the beginning of the pandemic, some U.S. politicians in Washington have been energetically peddling virus-related lies and rumors, spinning unproven treatments like hydroxychloroquine, and attacking medical professionals and experts. Their negligence and arrogance have contributed to America's tragic fiasco in the fight against the pandemic.

The worst is yet to come unless scientific guidance can have an upper hand in the fight against the pandemic. To this end, one urgent task is to debunk the myth of the so-called "herd immunity" theory that is both immoral and unscientific.

Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "herd immunity" is a kind of protection that needs to be achieved by vaccination, not by deliberately exposing people to a potentially fatal disease, and that "allowing a dangerous virus that we don't fully understand to run free is simply unethical."

A pedestrian walks past a sign reminding people to wear masks in Brussels, Belgium, Oct. 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Cheng)

The 40 million milestone underscores how fighting the virus alone is futile. As long as infections surge, no one is safe.

Countries worldwide need to pool their wisdom and resources into vaccine research and development, and fairly distribute vaccines around the world once available.

Meanwhile, while governments are responsible to formulate effective anti-pandemic policies and guide the public through this unprecedented public health crisis, ordinary people have a role to play.

As top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said, sometimes "you may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice" amid still surging infections.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commented recently that the international community is unfortunately failing the test of the pandemic as a major global challenge.

There's no time to waste as flu season approaches and the risk of further infection grows. More sober action is needed to slow the spread of the deadly disease and end this nightmare once and for all. ■

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