China and the U.S. blame each other for the coronavirus. But both countries made similar mistakes.
The State Department pushed back last week on Chinese statements suggesting that the coronavirus originated with U.S. military personnel in Wuhan — rather than a live animal market in Wuhan. Lijian Zhao, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, posted statements to this effect on Twitter and Chinese social media, but offered no substantive evidence.Last week, President Trump called the coronavirus a “foreign” virus. Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has repeatedly mentioned a debunked conspiracy theory that a Chinese bioweapons lab in Hubei created the virus.As the United States and China apparently ramp up efforts to blame each other for the outbreak, the two governments responded to the coronavirus itself in one surprisingly similar way: Each government’s official response has been riddled with costly communication delays. Here’s what you need to know.U.S. government officials sent false reassurancesIn Washington, some conservative politicians have characterized the coronavirus as “foreign,” attributing it to China and Europe. Trump, in a recent Oval Office address, mentioned the “foreign” virus and announced a 30-day ban on travel from Europe. However, by the time the ban was issued, domestic cases spreading rapidly within the United States blunted the potential effectiveness of such a policy.Trump’s March 11 address, which emphasized