24 March 2020 — UNZ Review
Last Man Standing
China suffered through the H1N1 coronavirus epidemic in 2008 largely because the CDC took 6 months to identify it and, as a result, 300,000 died prematurely. SARS (774 deaths) was the clincher. They created a hair-trigger alarm system, mandated post-mortem pneumonia DNA testing nationwide, and promoted the CDC head, Dr. George F. Gao, to Demigod.
Their Covid-19 emergency has now passed and must give Dr. Gao a B+ because, though his system contained a potential epidemic it suffered from a weakness: local politicians could delay, (but not stop) the alarm sounding. Doubtless for sound bureaucratic reasons, Wuhan officials delayed notifying Beijing for a few weeks but, after Beijing pried the information from the Wuhan Director of Public Health, the system swung into action, everyone pitched in, and they literally killed it.
National cohesion and coordination were amazing, thanks to the Communist Party. They coordinated everything and filled all the gaps, no questions asked. Ninety percent of the frontline volunteer medical staff–of whom 18 died–were Party members sworn to ‘bear the people’s burden first and enjoy their pleasures last.’ Zhang Wenhong, a prominent Party member and Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Shanghai’s Huashan Hospital, became a local hero for his pep-talk to Party members [emphasis added]:
The first-aid team put themselves in great danger. They are tired and need to rest. We shouldn’t take advantage of good people. From now on, I’ll replace all the frontline medics with Party members from different sectors. When we joined the Party, we vowed that we would always prioritize people’s interests and press forward in the face of difficulties. This is the moment we live up to the pledge. All CPC members must rush to the front line. I don’t care what you were actually thinking when you joined the party. Now it’s time to live up to what you promised. I don’t care if you personally agree or not: it’s non-negotiable.
Altogether, 40,000 volunteers self-organized and showed up to help Wuhan.
Now the storm has passed and China has become the world’s Santa Claus, giving out goodies and turning a potential disaster into a real triumph.
Nothing would make that triumph sweeter than the public revelation that our CDC knew about Covid-19 last September. Like many national public health systems, the CDC ignores novel Coronaviruses every ‘flu season and blends their effects in with the immense, fluctuating number of annual deaths. That’s why, back in 2008, the CDC took so long to detect H1N1: they weren’t looking.
Same old, same old until January 1, when China identified a nasty Coronavirus and the US went ballistic and blamed them for starting a pandemic and insulted their culture and their government.
But they handled Covid-19 so competently that they won the world’s admiration and made our attacks on them look mean, but no big deal. People will forget about the huge fuss we made and just remember vaguely that China is filthy and its leaders are liars. Except for two things:
- Their society’s health policies are more compassionate than ours, as older readers will realize. They have always placed a higher societal value on eighty year-olds than we do. So when they were threatened with premature, painful deaths, they put their entire economy on hold for two months and cooperatively saved their parents and grandparents, to worldwide applause (at least from my age-group). Now China is competing to have the lowest per capita Covid-19 death rate of any major country.
- The world suspected that Covid-19 was circulating outside China last year when they recalled this: First Vaping Death Reported by USA Health Officials. August 2019, “Amid the lack of information, investigators scrambled to find shared links to the respiratory problems. Officials said earlier this week that many patients, most of whom were adolescents or young adults, had described difficulty breathing, chest pain, vomiting and fatigue.” Covid-19 symptoms. If that’s too speculative, here’s what NPR turned up: Other Countries can Learn Important Lessons from Italy, says Dr. Giuseppe Remuzzi, co-author of a recent paper in The Lancet about the country’s dire situation. The takeaways include how to swiftly convert a general hospital into a coronavirus care unit with specially trained doctors and nurses. “We had dermatologists, eye doctors, pathologists, learning how to assist a person with a ventilator,” Remuzzi says. Some question why Italy was caught off guard when the virus outbreak was revealed on Feb. 21. Remuzzi says he is now hearing information about it from general practitioners. “They remember having seen very strange pneumonia, very severe, particularly in old people in December and even November. This means that the virus was circulating, at least in northern Lombardy before we were aware of this outbreak occurring in China.“
The WHO has not requested the data from CDC because the US has been attacking the WHO daily and Dr. Ghebreyesus knows the US can get him fired. But Dr. Ghebreyesus and Dr. Gao and every Health Minister on earth know the truth. Dr. Remuzzi’s Italian DNA is traceable. So is China’s. The world is very good at tracing Coronaviruses back through their generations and China has done so and now it seems the shit is about to hit the fan.
Here’s what happened in Chinese cyberspace today (Thomas Hon Wing Polin, Facebook):
WUHAN OUTBREAK: CHINA DEMANDS AN HONEST ACCOUNTING
- It is now virtually certain that COVID-19 was brought to Wuhan by American troops taking part in the city’s World Military Games last Oct. 18-27.
- The 300-strong US contingent stayed 300 meters from the Huanan Seafood Market where China’s outbreak began (see map below) at the Wuhan Oriental Hotel.
- Five of the US troops developed a fever on Oct. 25 and were taken to an infectious-diseases hospital for treatment.
- 42 employees of the Oriental Hotel were diagnosed with COVID-19, becoming the first cluster in Wuhan. At the time only 7 people from the market had been thus diagnosed (and treated before the hotel staff). All 7 had contact with the 42 from the hotel. From this source, the virus spread to the rest of China.
- The American Military Games team trained at a location near Fort Detrick, the military’s viral lab closed down by the CDC in July for various deficiencies.
- The big question now is whether the transmission was planned, or accidental.
- Chinese authorities are awaiting an explanation from US authorities.
- A few days ago, Mike Pompeo phoned Yang Jiechi, Chinese State Councillor for Foreign Affairs. Pompeo’s counterpart is actually Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Yang is Wang’s boss, so Pompeo wanted to talk about something urgent and important.
- Pompeo wanted the Chinese not to publicize what they had found.
- Yang’s reply: “We await your solemn explanation, especially about Patient Zero.”
China’s leaders have long suspected US military involvement in the Wuhan outbreak but were determined to stop the disease before pursuing the Americans for an honest accounting.
 Dr. Gao has made contributions to the study of inter-species pathogen transmission. He organized the first World Flu Day on November 1 2018, commemorating the centenary of the Spanish flu. It was also the 15-year commemoration of the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak, SARS, which led to China prioritising investment in the public health system. He is a virologist and immunologist. He has served as Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention since 2017 and Dean of the Savaid Medical School of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2015. Gao is an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and The World Academy of Sciences, as well as a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Medicine. He was awarded the TWAS Prize in Medical Science in 2012 and the Nikkei Asia Prize in 2014.
 They fired him the next day. Henceforth local politicians will be out of the loop and everyone will have a CDC hotline number.
 Dr Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO International Mission said,“In the face of a previously unknown disease, China has taken one of the most ancient approaches for infectious disease control and rolled out probably the most ambitious, and I would say, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history. China took old-fashioned measures, like the national approach to hand-washing, the mask-wearing, the social distancing, the universal temperature monitoring. But then very quickly, as it started to evolve, the response started to change . . . So they refined the strategy as they moved forward, and this is an important aspect as we look to how we might use this going forward. WHO has been here from the start of this crisis, an epidemic, working every single day with the government of China… WHO was here from the beginning and never left. What’s different about this mission is it’s complementing a lot of other external experts.”