This year has been devastating for people around the globe as we all face the coronavirus pandemic. As the pandemic approached, world leaders reacted with determination. However, they also reacted in many other interesting ways, recorded forever in the history books.
Thankfully, we’re now seeing the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. Vaccines are making their way to the vulnerable, health care and front line workers we’ve depended on to survive. May the New Year be one of healing, hope, and better days for us all.
President Xi Jinping
When the coronavirus first emerged in China in February, President Xi Jinping made the statement:
“The outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia will inevitably have a relatively big impact on the economy and society … For us, this is a crisis and is also a big test.”
He couldn’t have known what an understatement that would be. Today, over 1.6 million have died globally.
More recently, President Xi Jinping responded to accusations from President Donald Trump. At a September 2020 UN session, President Donald Trump states the UN should “hold China accountable” for the pandemic.
In a pre-recorded message, the Chinese president said:
“Major countries should act like major countries,” he said, calling on international cooperation to “join hands and be prepared to meet even more global challenges.”
Xi Jinping went on to say the coronavirus was a reminder that globalization is an unavoidable reality.
“COVID-19 reminds us that the economic globalization is an indisputable reality and a historical trend,” Xi said. “Burying one’s head in the sand like an ostrich in the face of economic globalization or trying to fight it with Don Quixote’s lance goes against the trend of history. Let this be clear: The world will never return to isolation.”
Thus, the virus has exposed just how connected people and life truly is across the Earth.
President Donald Trump
As noted, President Trump called for holding China accountable for the pandemic. In March, after months of downplaying the threat posed by the virus, a reporter asked if Trump took any responsibility for a delay in distributing tests for the virus. He responded by pointing at the previous Obama administration.
“No, I don’t take responsibility at all because we were given a set of circumstances that we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time.”
‘I Didn’t Do It.’
Before Trump’s statement, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, acknowledged that the federal response had failed.
At the same press conference, Trump also dismissed responsibility for disbanding the White House’s pandemic office.
“When you say me, I didn’t do it. I don’t know anything about it,” he said.
In April, Trump shocked the world by suggesting the use of disinfectants to stop the virus.
“I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that.”
See him say it from CBS This Morning:
At a later White House news conference, Trump faced questions if he took responsibility for a spike in improper disinfectant use.
Asked about the increase during a White House news conference, Trump said: “I can’t imagine why.”
When asked if he takes any responsibility for the spike, Trump answered: “No, I don’t.”
President Vladimir Putin
In late March, Russia was boasting about having fewer cases of the novel coronavirus than Luxembourg. Then, Putin came into close contact with a doctor who tested positive for Covid-19. Headlines on Russian TV stated, “No one is safe,” not even Putin. It must have come as a shocking realization.
From BBC News:
Quarantine or 7 Years of Jail
As in China, official data about the impact there was in doubt. According to Foreign Policy, anyone who expressed doubts could be labeled as enemies and traitors.
Nevertheless, the Russian leader called for home restrictions, although compliance from doubtful citizens was likely “considerably worse than even in the United States.” In many cases, people may have believed the threat wasn’t real or exaggerated.
“Everything passes, and this will pass. Our country has gone through serious trials more than once: the Pechenegs tormented it, as did the Polovtsy – Russia coped with everything. We will also defeat this coronavirus infection. Together we will overcome it,” Putin said.
“I understand fatigue has built up as well as a serious burden of financial, domestic, and other everyday problems. Your normal rhythm of life has been broken. For most people, it is dreary and nauseous to constantly remain within four walls. But there is no choice now.”
Certainly, seven years of jail would tend to do make one think twice about leaving the house.
A Vaccine Experiment
The early downplaying of the Covid-19 threat is one of many ways that Putin’s response was similar to Trump’s.
However, by August, Putin claimed Russia had developed the first coronavirus vaccine. One of the first to receive it was one of his daughters.
“In this sense, she took part in the experiment,” Putin said.
Although he lauded the vaccine’s effectiveness, he claims that he did not take it himself. Days ago, he said he did not receive it because he’s older than the recommended age group approved for the vaccine.
“The vaccines that go into civilian circulation are currently provided for citizens in a certain age zone, and vaccines have not yet reached people like me. I am a fairly law-abiding person. I listen to the recommendations of our specialists. So I haven’t had the shot yet,” he said.
Featured image: Screenshots via YouTube