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Coronavirus turns Germans more critical of US: survey

May 19, 2020

Germans view the United States less positively since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis while their attitudes toward China have improved, according to a new survey.

Coronavirus turns Germans more critical of US: survey
Image: picture-alliance/R. Peters

In a poll of 1,000 Germans conducted by Kantar Public for the German nonprofit Koerber Foundation, 73% stated that their opinion about the United States had deteriorated due to the current health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus.  

This contrasted with 36% of respondents who said their views about China, where the new coronavirus was first detected late last year, had become more negative due to the pandemic.

While one out of four survey participants said that their opinion of China had improved, 71% backed the statement that China could have been more transparent in its crisis management to slow down the spread of the virus.

The shift in attitudes means that only 37% of Germans still want closer ties with the United States, sharply down from 50% in the last survey conducted in September 2019. This compares with 36% who are in favor of closer ties with China, clearly up from 24% in the previous poll.

Read more: Does US-China coronavirus blame game threaten scientific investigation?

'A worrying trend'

"Germans' skepticism about the United States is growing, a worrying trend that should give political decision-makers on both sides of the Atlantic food for thought," said Nora Mueller, an expert on international affairs at the Koerber Foundation.

More than 4.7 million people worldwide have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus and over 315,000 deaths have been recorded, including about 90,000 in the US and over 160,000 in Europe, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Those figures are believed to understate the true dimensions of the outbreak because of limited testing, differences in counting the dead and concealment by some governments.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked China and the World Health Organization (WHO), claiming the UN agency helped Beijing conceal the extent of the outbreak in its early stages.

China’s role in COVID-19

kmr/sri (Reuters, dpa)

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