The president insisted. “I understand that whole world. I love that world. I really do. I love that world,” he said “And you know what? The whole world is relying on us.”
Unclear what he meant there—whether the president loves the world of the CDC, or the world of science or medicine. Regardless, it’s clear that the world is in fact not relying on the US to do anything about Covid-19. According to Science, at the end of February the World Health Organization had sent its version of a coronavirus test to 57 countries—but not the US, for reasons the US government still hasn’t explained. China was conducting 1.6 million tests a week with five different kinds of test kits, and South Korea had tested 65,000 people—all without US help. Singapore researchers invented the first blood-based test for use in keeping track of people with the disease. Italy and Japan are relying on their own public health infrastructures to deal with their outbreaks, and so far every other country where the disease is circulating guarantees paid sick leave, so people can stay home rather than spread it further. That’s a low bar, because the US guarantees zero days of paid sick leave to anyone.
So no. The world is not counting on the US response to Covid-19. And judging by this short press conference at the CDC, that’s probably for the best.