Mon, 26 Oct 2020

A U.S. national flag and flowers are seen at a cemetery in New York, the United States, July 29, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

- In the name of the 1 million people who have died of COVID-19, more must be done to end the pandemic and prevent the next million from such a tragedy.

- It must be kept in mind that before better treatments and, hopefully, vaccines come to the rescue, it is vital not to let pandemic "fatigue" or "burnout" weaken or crush the world's will to bear down on the pathogen.

by Xinhua writer Wu Xia

BEIJING, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The global COVID-19 death toll has on Tuesday passed the grim mark of 1 million. What the world feared at the start of the year has become a stark reality -- that the human race is in the thick of one of the greatest tragedies in history.

Humanity's miserable losses in the raging pandemic are only partly caused by the virus itself. The past nine months or so have shown that those who deny science-based solutions or resist proven control and prevention measures are even deadlier in this once-in-a-century outbreak.

Even now, as one human life is lost every minute from COVID-19 somewhere in the world, some ill-informed, steadfast coronavirus deniers still insist on not wearing masks and won't stop mass gatherings. They seem to be as optimistic as their certain leaders are, turning a blind eye to stark reality and choosing to believe that the pandemic is a mere flu that "affects virtually nobody."

An Afghan doctor checks a COVID-19 patient at a hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Aug. 19, 2020. (Photo by Sanaullah Seiam/Xinhua)

Ordinary citizens need responsible guidance in an unprecedented crisis, and professional tips alone cannot beat the virus. Government readiness and efficiency to act and to lead is crucial to deal with the novel coronavirus. Decisive steps on testing, quarantine, and public health guidance, especially in the early stage, are proven measures to put an outbreak under control.

The international community can learn from many of the world's successful examples that have effectively contained the outbreak, and from some tragic failures, too.

It is sad to see that the world's most scientifically advanced nation has set a terrible example by leading the world in coronavirus cases and deaths. With just 4 percent of the world's population, it is home to about 20 percent of the world's pandemic fatalities.

U.S. national flags representing the 200,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States are placed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Sept. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

All the more alarming is a staggering disregard for human life at the helm of America's fight. Some U.S. politicians are trying to manipulate the epic battle for political gain, putting their own people at risk with flamboyant, shameless fictions and falsehoods.

"The idea of 200,000 deaths is really very sobering, in some respects stunning," Dr. Anthony Fauci, top infectious-disease expert for the U.S. government, told CNN last week on the latest mortality statistics in the country.

With every day passing by, the battle against the pandemic has been turning into a war of attrition. Currently, several countries are struggling to contain a second wave of COVID-19, with the coming flu season to possibly further complicate the situation.

It must be kept in mind that before better treatments and, hopefully, vaccines come to the rescue, it is vital not to let pandemic "fatigue" or "burnout" weaken or crush the world's will to bear down on the pathogen.

A staff member displays samples of the COVID-19 inactivated vaccine at Sinovac Biotech Ltd., in Beijing, capital of China, March 16, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

Although an evident exit out of the crisis is still not in sight, there is reason to hope for a final victory, as much has been learned about the virus since the onset of the pandemic.

The World Health Organization warned on Friday that it is "not impossible" that the coronavirus death toll could double if countries do not uniformly work to suppress the virus' spread before the arrival of safe and reliable vaccines.

In the name of the 1 million people who have died of COVID-19, more must be done to end the pandemic and prevent the next million from such a tragedy. ■

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