By late July, most rich countries had brought their covid-19 infection rates down far below their initial peaks. In the US, however, the number of daily new cases was at record highs and still climbing.
The crisis has badly damaged global opinion about American competence. A report in June from survey company Dalia Research revealed a broad consensus that China has handled covid-19 far better than the US. Of the 53 countries surveyed, ranging from Denmark to Iran, only two thought the US had responded better than China: Japan and the US itself. The Dalia survey also found that across the board, public perceptions of US global influence have markedly deteriorated. Nearly as many people believe that America’s impact on democracy has been negative as positive. People in stalwart democracies such as Canada, Germany, and the UK are particularly critical.