Increasing Signs of U.S.-China-Russia Collaboration
China-U.S. collaboration after the March 26 G20 and phone discussions between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jining may now fundamentally change the materials-logistics situation in the coronavirus fight at least in the United States and probably internationally. President Trump spoke at his Monday afternoon press conference today about additional day-to-day cooperation with Russia after a phone discussion with President Vladimir Putin; and of another conversation with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy, a destination for increasing U.S. aid against the coronavirus.
Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump on March 29 in the Rose Garden spoke of 50-60 big cargo planes full of medical equipment coming from all over the world in April and landing at JFK Airport in New York and Los Angeles Airport—“the Project Airbridge.” The President repeated the formulation Monday afternoon, but “all over the world” probably means largely from China. On Monday Trump also named Russia as having sent a “very, very large planeload” of medical supplies to the United States; and he added that planes will be going back out with aid for other nations, naming Italy, Spain, and France.
In a statement released Sunday night, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it had received “30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate donated to a national stockpile of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.”
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Trump spoke on Monday morning. The White House and Kremlin statements said they agreed on the importance of stabilizing the global energy markets, and that they would work through the G20 nations to combat the coronavirus and reinvigorate the global economy. Just a day before, Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, had implied in a March 27 interview with Reuters, that a new oil production agreement could be reached between Russia and Saudi Arabia if President Trump and other “OPEC-plus” leaders became involved, telling the news agency: “Efforts to restore relations between Russia and the United States are now as important as ever, we will take all the efforts our side and hope the United States will also understand that this is necessary.”
And President Trump, talking to Fox News early Monday morning about his upcoming call with Putin, stressed the World War II fighting alliance between America and Russia, something almost banned from public discourse by major U.S. media today.
Otherwise the Sunday, March 29 press conference saw the President drop entirely the idea of opening up the economy quickly, and defer to medical advisors Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, and other epidemiological experts who met with him Sunday morning and presented a new model of the virus curve in the United States. This model evidently foresaw 2.2 million American deaths from COVID-19 without the current mitigation strategy; and between 160,000 and 220,000 deaths if the full mitigation strategy is continued, with testing being rapidly increased further and contact tracing beginning in less hard-hit areas. Trump said: “We had an aspiration of Easter. But when you hear these kind of numbers and you hear the potential travesty, we don’t want to do anything where ... we don’t want to have a spike up. ... This—again, 151 countries. And we’re going to do it. We’re going to have a great victory. We’re going to have a great victory.”