It seems clear now that Covid-19 will take a place in world history, a seismic event of the twenty-first century whose effects will only be fully understood over many years, even decades. What also seems clear is that the United States-China relationship will change — indeed, must change. The question is how, and along what lines.
Among Americans, anger at China runs high. American voters may, in the short term, choose to blame the Trump administration at the polls in November 2020; in the long term, whomever they vote for, most Americans understand that China is responsible for a global catastrophe that could have been greatly minimized or even averted entirely had Beijing simply told the truth about it from the beginning. No number of missteps, from often-bungling Western governments, can disguise Beijing’s fundamental culpability. Recent polls in the United States suggest that Americans understand this — overwhelming majorities blame China for causing this disaster. Moreover, the coronavirus has darkened Americans’ views of China more broadly. A Pew poll showed two-thirds of American respondents now view China negatively.