Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) became a pandemic (1), it has caused 405,587 deaths worldwide by June 9, 2020 as a common enemy of mankind (2). Multiple governments around the globe started to respond to this pandemic with wartime-control-level measures. China’s situation has been improving with international help during the peak of the outbreak and people gradually resume a normal life (1). The United States and European countries currently become new epicenters of this pandemic. Experience in China showed that quarantine, social distancing, and isolation of infected populations were effective, and similar procedures have already widely imitated in other countries. Since March 2020, China has already donated numerous coronavirus testing kits and sent planeloads of medical supplies (e.g., ventilators and facemasks), as well as experienced experts, to support other countries combating the pandemic (3). However, conspiracy theories and rumors against China have been spreading since its local outbreak.
As stated by António Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, ‘‘we can still control COVID-19, and it will take unprecedented personal, national and international action to slow down transmissions, prevent infections and save lives. We must declare war on this virus, meaning all countries have a responsibility to gear up, step up and scale up (4).’’ Infectious diseases do not respect national borders, does not distinguish between races or ethnicities, and have no regard for a country’s socioeconomic status or level of development (5). Conspiracy theories yield nothing but create fear, rumors, and prejudgment, jeopardizing our global collaboration in the fight against the COVID-19. Only rapid, open, and transparent data sharing regarding this pandemic is helpful against rumors and misinformation within the global health community.
International cooperation of COVID-19 should be emphasized in numerous dimensions, including but not limited to:
- Rapid and transparent international communication about its unfolding epidemiologic characteristics, including transmission patterns, mortality related factors, and efficacy of various interventions;
- Real-time sharing of detailed scientific data about its pathophysiology, genetic profiling, and immunologic response;
- Coordination of standardised manufacturing to accelerate the distribution of reliable personal protective equipment, diagnostic tools, and therapeutic medications;
- Collaborative efforts to undertake evidence-based analyses of emerging concerns and policy issues associated with this evolving global pandemic;
- Coordinated establishment of evidence-based guidance for the general public and policymakers in rapidly-changing circumstances;
- Cooperated research and development of safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 and of speeding its availability in the future.
Herein, we call for the active participation of people around the world to stand together to solidly condemn the conspiracy theories, take their responsibility to follow medical advice and practical measures recommended by local health authorities, and support the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals on the frontlines. United we stand, divided we fall. It is the right time to cooperate internationally to battle our common enemy for a global community with a shared future for mankind.
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- World Health Organization. WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 11 March 2020. [Internet]. [cited 2020 March 22]. Available online: https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19---11-march-2020
- World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report-62. [Internet]. [cited 2020 March 22]. Available online: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200322-sitrep-62-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=f7764c46_2
- Reuters.com [Internet]. China sends medical supplies, experts to help Italy battle coronavirus. [cited 2020 March 22]. Available online: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-italy-respirators/china-sends-medical-supplies-experts-to-help-italy-battle-coronavirus-idUSKBN2101IM
- The United Nations. COVID-19: We will come through this together. [Internet]. [cited 2020 March 22]. Available online: https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/covid-19-we-will-come-through-together
- World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Press Conference 27 February 2020. [Internet]. [cited 2020 March 22]. Available online: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/transcripts/who-audio-emergencies-coronavirus-press-conference-27feb2020-finalpdf.pdf?sfvrsn=97d492d9_2
Cite this article as: Sun C, Zhou Q, Xu J, Liu J, Han Z, Chen X, Su B, Gao L. COVID-19 pandemic should be an arena of international cooperation for a shared future. AME Med J 2020;5:45.