For some, China's model is looking increasingly attractive

In the United States, which is often held up — for better or worse — as the example par excellence of a Western democracy, the alternative to the Chinese model appears to be somewhat chaotic. Far from a strong government, Washington has found itself fighting with state officials, facing accusations of pilfering medical supplies and growing calls for greater state power. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has been accused of spreading disinformation and encouraging protests.

Speaking to Der Spiegel earlier this month, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the virus had exposed the problems at the heart of both the Chinese and US models. Asked which was being proven superior, Maas said “neither.”

“China has taken some very authoritarian measures, while in the US, the virus was played down for a long time,” he told the magazine. “There are two extremes, neither of which can be a model for Europe.”