By DOYLE MCMANUS WASHINGTON COLUMNIST MARCH 29, 2020
In the best of all pandemic-ridden worlds, the coronavirus would spur powerful countries to cooperate with one another since everyone is facing the same danger.
Not this time. The United States and China have turned the pandemic into a battle zone in their struggle for global influence.
And so far, the United States is losing ground.
After bungling its initial response to the infections that first appeared in Wuhan, China appears to have largely contained the contagion and is delivering medical supplies to Italy, Spain and other hard-hit countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping spent last week on the phone offering well-publicized help to leaders around the world.
The White House bungled the U.S. response by failing to stockpile test kits and medical supplies, insisting that a travel ban with China would protect Americans. It didn’t. After initially sending aid to Italy, federal officials are now frantically trying to buy masks and other critically needed gear from other countries to cover shortages at home.
Meanwhile, Beijing and Washington squabbled over which country was to blame. More about this article…