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Trump put American lives in China's hands

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft speaks with Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo about his move in bringing 1.2M N95 masks from China to the US using the Patriots plane.

Posted: Apr 3, 2020 7:23 AM
Updated: Apr 4, 2020 3:00 PM


American lives are in China's hands.

China: A country that the White House has called a 'strategic competitor'; a country engaged in active influence operations against us; a country the State Department describes as an authoritarian state that engages in gross human rights abuses; a country that the White House said has 'consistently taken advantage of the US economy'; a country whose leadership Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described as a 'substantial threat to our health and way of life'; a country Trump administration officials are blaming for covering up the truth about the coronavirus outbreak.

China: The country the United States is relying on to supply equipment to save American lives.

In a perverse -- and avoidable -- twist of fate, the country that was arguably responsible for the virus' spread because of its attempts to cover up the initial outbreak is now the one best positioned to profit from its fatal impact.

The US intelligence community has warned that China is intent on expanding its global economic reach. Now, as the epicenter of the pandemic has shifted to the United States with more than 300,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of April 4, Trump's lack of preparation has given China an opening to expand that reach quickly.

The Trump administration should have had a strategy in place to adequately stockpile and distribute key supplies before the pandemic hit the homeland. It did not.

To make matters worse, President Donald Trump hesitated for weeks to use the Defense Production Act, which he finally invoked to help direct materials and other resources to domestic manufacturers to produce ventilators and N95 masks. On Friday, he moved to curtail the export of lifesaving personal protective equipment -- after more than 7,000 Americans already died.

Despite Trump's latest moves, the United States is still not producing enough equipment to meet the needs of health care workers and the sick.

The administration's failure to prepare for the pandemic has left people with no other choice than to find supplies where they can. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said Saturday that the Chinese government helped facilitate the donation of 1,000 ventilators to the state, already ordered 17,000 ventilators from China. Meanwhile, private citizens such as Patriots owner Robert Kraft have desperately sourced masks from China.

China's top medical device maker said that the demand for ventilators, for example, is now 10 times higher than what's available at hospitals globally. While data from Chinese sources is far from reliable, a Chinese government official indicated that China has 21 invasive ventilator makers and that Chinese manufacturers have orders for 20,000 ventilators from abroad. At this rate, orders for Chinese products will continue to surge.

China is cashing in on a crisis they played a large part in creating.

This is both a boon to China's economy and a great propaganda point for the Chinese Communist Party. Their disinformation attacks of late have tried to paint the Party as a global leader when it comes to crisis response, despite the fact it is directly responsible for suppressing information about the outbreak, which allowed the coronavirus to spread for weeks.

While the United States is struggling to contain the virus, treat those who have been infected and get enough medical supplies, China, claiming to be 'post-virus,' is manufacturing supplies at a rate we can't. After months of lockdowns, China can start to bounce back by filling the economic void while we scramble just to contain the virus. They have a strategy -- and we don't.

They also have more foreign policy leverage now than any time in recent history.

We've already seen this play out. The war of words between US officials and the Chinese has quieted down in the past few days. Pompeo has rightfully called out the Chinese for their culpability in this crisis. But his -- and the President's -- insistence on referring to the virus as the 'Chinese virus' or 'Wuhan virus' was a misfire on multiple fronts.

Not only because it may have unnecessarily fueled racist attacks against Asian-Americans, it also sent mixed messages to the rest of the world, especially since Trump praised China's efforts to contain the virus back in January. To top it off, US insistence on calling it the 'Wuhan virus' in a G7 statement -- which other members wouldn't agree to -- meant that the G7 put out no statement at all. We fractured the group at a time when unity is sorely needed.

Now, with American lives depending on the Chinese Communist Party agreeing to export medical supplies to the United States, the war of words has cooled. We don't know whether China may have eked out of the Trump administration in return. But what's clear is that China knows the Trump administration has a critical interest in saving American lives -- and that the United States needs to keep the Communist Party happy to fulfill that objective.

Because the CCP has a finger in the Chinese economy, it has the ability to manipulate trade and manufacturing to serve state needs.

We've seen this play out in the past during the trade war when the government engaged in retaliatory measures such as unnecessary government inspections and slower customs clearance against US companies operating in China, for example. The same applies during the pandemic -- China has the ability to cut off or slow the export of supplies from China that American lives depend on. They have us over a barrel.

We are not the only country in this position. China has the upper hand as countries scramble to fight the pandemic. Meanwhile, the CCP is trying to do abroad what it does at home -- sell a false narrative. They're using all the tools at their disposal to spread disinformation about their role in addressing the virus, its origin and more.

The Trump administration and other officials need to do what it takes to save lives right now. But it should be aware that the reliance on China comes at great cost.

The terrible reality is that the administration has put American lives in Chinese hands.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3213222

Reported Deaths: 37543
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles107967215314
San Bernardino2660281678
Riverside2643632857
Orange2377082704
San Diego2286322375
Santa Clara985831264
Kern90564591
Fresno858081067
Sacramento841101185
Alameda70823896
Ventura66402525
San Joaquin59665835
Contra Costa55245489
Stanislaus49065796
Tulare43574542
Monterey37527259
San Mateo34294340
San Francisco30559293
Santa Barbara27149267
Solano27041115
Imperial25707510
Merced25575331
Sonoma25141251
Kings20138161
Placer17839188
San Luis Obispo16957158
Madera14000151
Santa Cruz13009135
Marin12024165
Yolo11210138
Shasta10054129
Butte9820136
El Dorado818462
Sutter806983
Napa800548
Lassen526916
San Benito522351
Yuba517630
Tehama446846
Tuolumne347740
Nevada335574
Mendocino329336
Amador306733
Lake272432
Humboldt262427
Glenn202622
Colusa18719
Calaveras170423
Siskiyou149913
Mono11454
Inyo105129
Del Norte8742
Plumas6135
Modoc3903
Mariposa3555
Trinity3065
Sierra950
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
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A Pacific storm is now moving into northern California. The clouds have arrived, the wind is getting stronger, and we can expect areas of rain and snow tonight, and it will be heavy at times. Snow will fall down to the valley floor through Wednesday morning.
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