Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The world once looked to the U.S. for leadership and aid in global health crises.

  • But the Trump administration has rejected global leadership in the fight against the coronavirus and much of the initial domestic response was focused on shoring up the economy.

Compare this with China’s response. After a series of early decisions that allowed the coronavirus to spread rapidly in China (and thus abroad), China’s leaders made a 180 degree turn and implemented a set of unprecedented measures, including quarantining entire cities, to get the epidemic under control.

  • As the growth in the number of new cases in China slows, Beijing’s leaders are ramping up a nascent bid for global public health leadership in the fight against the coronavirus.
  • China is sending masks and diagnostic swabs to Italy, which is in the throes of a severe outbreak. 
  • China sent a team to assist Iran.

What they're saying: “The 2009 financial crisis was a decisive moment emboldening Beijing and altering global perceptions of relative power between U.S. and China,” Ely Ratner, a former deputy national security adviser under Vice President Joe Biden, said on Twitter recently. 

  • “I worry now we’re at risk of another decisive moment for U.S.-China competition as Trump administration badly mishandles coronavirus.”

Go deeper: Bethany discusses China's response with Dan Primack on Pro Rata.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Aug 26, 2020 - World

U.S. targets Chinese individuals, companies over escalation in South China Sea

Fishing vessels are seen in the South China Sea Photo: Artyom Ivanov/TASS via Getty Images

The Department of Commerce on Wednesday blacklisted 24 Chinese firms for "helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea."

Why it matters: The move comes as the Trump administration continues to ramp up pressure on Beijing amid escalating tensions in the disputed region.

Aug 26, 2020 - World

U.S. presses Israel to cool ties with China over support for Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Aug. 24. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Jerusalem on Monday to further cool relations with China and limit Chinese investments in Israel over the new strategic partnership agreement China signed with Iran, Israeli and U.S. officials said.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has been lobbying Israel for two years to scale back its relations with China. Until now, those efforts have had very little success.