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The Pandemic in China: a Governance Lesson to the West

The Pandemic in China: a Governance Lesson to the West thumbnail

 

 

China:  Oct 1st, 2020, celebrations of the national day. From this and other pictures, it is clear that the Chinese are not too much worried about getting close together, even without wearing face masks (source)

 

The text below is the translation of a post I published in Italian on the Facebook site “Pills of Optimism” on Oct 26th. There are still many things we have to understand about how China managed to control the COVID-19 epidemic. But one thing is certain: it was controlled and it is still under control.

In China, stopping the infection required little more than a regional lockdown that interested a small fraction of the Chinese territory: the Hubei province, about 4% of the total population of China. Coupled with aggressive tracking and isolating, it was enough to get rid of the virus. There have been no COVID-related deaths in China since March 2020. The Chinese economic machine is in motion, people move, travel, shop, walk around, often without face masks. In short, life is normal. And it has been normal during the past six months, at least.

In comparison, the epidemic in the West has been so badly mismanaged that one feels like crying of rage. A threat that never was overwhelming was magnified to the point that it risks destroying the very fabric of the Western economic machine. How could it happen?

Within some limits, the collapse of the Western economy was unavoidable for reasons related to the decline of the availability of natural resources. But that it happened so fast is bewildering. So surprising that some people maintain that it was a conspiracy against the West concocted by China or even a plot by the evil Western elite to get rid of their useless Untermenschen.

Maybe, but it is more likely that, simply, the West lost control of its governance system that went on by itself like an individual immune system that suddenly attacks its host.

What can we learn from this story? Mainly, that we can’t afford to be dominated by the waves of self-reinforcing hysteria that go through the media and the social networks. How can we manage that? Well, good question. Imitating China would mean giving most of the power to the Communist party, and that doesn’t sound so viable, nowadays, in the West. But, seriously, we must rethink our governance system, otherwise the next serious crisis will truly destroy us. (supposing that we survive the current one)

 

 

 

China: the epidemic is over. How did they manage that?

 

Di Ugo Bardi, University of Florence, Italy (1) – 26 Oct 2020

(translation slightly readapted for an international readership).

💊💊💊 From the data arriving from China, it seems that things are going very well with the COVID epidemic. In China, as well as in all of East Asia, mortality was much lower than in Europe and no deaths have been reported since March. There are still many things to clarify in this story, but China can teach us that it is possible to stop the spread of the virus without harming the economy. 💊💊💊

Do you remember when, in January, the Chinese (or those who looked like Chinese) were insulted in the street in Italy by people who believed they were spreading the plague? Things have changed quite a bit and today it is the Chinese who believe that we Italians are the plague spreaders. In China, there have been no deaths from COVID-19 since about mid-March. As for positive cases, there have been only occasional outbreaks of a few dozen cases, almost all of them imported (2). The Chinese economy has restarted to move and is now running at full capacity.

From what we can read in the international media and from what colleagues who live and work in China tell me, the country is completely open. All commercial and industrial activities are in operation. The shops and restaurants are open and there are no restrictions on internal travel. Wearing face masks is optional and many people don’t wear them. From the photos that come from China, we see that people do not pay much attention to the gatherings of people without masks. (below, celebrations of the National Day in Wuhan, Oct 1st)
 
Of course, the authorities are still on their guard and they intervene as soon as small outbreaks emerge. For example, the authorities of the city of Qingdao recently discovered an outbreak that, according to the international media, may be related to a batch of imported frozen cod on which someone would have observed viruses still whole. True or not, hard to say, but in any case, the local government is committed to testing all the 9 million inhabitants of the city! (3).
But, overall, it is clear that in China and elsewhere in Asia the epidemic is under control without the need for a lockdown or other harsh measures of containment. Not only does the epidemic seem to have disappeared in China. It also created very little damage, at least according to the government data. The total number of victims is reported to have been about 4,600 out of almost one and a half billion people. That means 3 deaths per million against about 600 in Italy and other Western countries. Even if we only consider the European regions where the virus has hit the hardest, we find that the province of Hubei still did better. (4)
How is such a thing possible? We often read on social media and on the media that the Chinese cheated us and that they are continuing to cheat us. Since China is a dictatorship, it is said, it follows that everything the Chinese government tells us is false by definition – including the fact that the epidemic is gone. Could it be that people are still dying of the COVID in China, but the government doesn’t tell us?
Governments are not known to be reliable sources of information. We saw in a previous post how at least one European country, Belarus, may have partially falsified the data on the epidemic (5). As for China, there are previous cases of falsified data. For example, an analysis of fisheries data arriving from China in the 1990s indicated obvious falsifications to hide the depletion of stocks (6), (7)). But an epidemic is a far more serious and more extensive business than a fraud in a specific commercial sector. It would also be very difficult for the Chinese government to hide it if there was one in progress.
So, if we want to believe that the Chinese are telling us lies about the epidemic we must bring some evidence on this. Remaining with the example of the fishery data, one of the reasons that led to mistrust the validity of the Chinese data were the anomalies that were noticed when comparing with data from other similar regions. Can we find any such anomaly for the pandemic? Apparently not: the data on the spread of COVID-19 in China are comparable to data from other neighboring Asian countries which, in general, have had minimal or no mortality.
For example, Taiwan did even better than mainland China with a total of 7 deaths per 23 million inhabitants (less than one death per million). Other countries did a little worse but still remained at very low mortality levels. Singapore reports 5 deaths per million, Hong Kong 13. Neighboring Japan also suffered only 13 deaths per million. Then, both Mongolia and Macao even report zero deaths. Sure, one might say that Mongolia doesn’t count because it’s a country of camel drivers living in tents in the middle of the desert. But, of course, that’s not the case. The capital of Mongolia, Ulan Bator, is a metropolis with over one million inhabitants. Macau, then, is a city of 700,000 inhabitants with a very high population density, perhaps the highest in the world. And the epidemic went through both Ulan Bator and Macau without leaving a single victim! It is hardly credible that all these governments have agreed to hide an ongoing epidemic from the rest of the world.
But why are things so much better in Asia than here? Did the Chinese have used particularly effective containment measures? In some ways, this year’s Chinese lockdown may have been more drastic than the Western one, but it didn’t last longer than in Europe. It is not even possible to say that it was more timely if, as the Chinese themselves say, the virus was already circulating in December. The lockdown was established in Wuhan only on January 23 and a few days later for the entire province of Hubei.
In terms of “social distancing,” we all know that in Asia there is a tendency to avoid physical contact between people. But it is also true that if you have ever taken the subway in an eastern city (for example in Tokyo (8)) you will have a very specific idea of ​​the meaning of the expression “squeezed like sardines”. If you never had this experience, take a look at this link to an impressive video of the Beijing metro (9). Eastern metropolises are extremely crowded and, under certain conditions, it is simply impossible to avoid physical contact.
Could it be then that the trick was in contact tracking and isolating? From what we can read, it seems that Asian countries have been very aggressive in tracking and isolating people who have been in contact with people affected by the virus (10). This is an interesting explanation, but tracking and isolating was done in Europe, too. Maybe we haven’t done it well enough? It is possible, but we have no quantitative comparisons that can tell us if this is the only explanation for the whole story.
There is also another possible interpretation that has nothing to do with what governments have done or not done. It may be that the Chinese have been exposed to the virus for longer than we in the West and therefore approached herd immunity first. You probably heard of Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who first noticed cases of abnormal pneumonia in December and who later died of contracting the infection himself. Initially, he was not believed, but today he is considered a hero in China.
Li had begun to sound the alarm towards the end of December 2019, but nothing prevents us from thinking that the virus had already existed in China for some time, perhaps even in slightly different forms from the one that then hit Europe. It was just that those affected were diagnosed as normal cases of pneumonia. Is it possible that the Chinese population had been exposed to the virus long before the declaration of the emergency? There is a fact that could give us a strong indication in this regard: excess mortality. If the epidemic already existed in November-December 2019, or even earlier, we should see an abnormally high mortality in China, compared to the average for that period.
Good idea, but with a problem: nowhere on the Web we can find data on the additional mortality in China during the COVID pandemic. Note that this does not mean that the Chinese government is hiding anything from us. Hardly any government in the world disseminates these data in an easily accessible form. Europe is an exception with a database on excess mortality called “Euromomo” managed by a network headed by WHO, but there is no such thing for East Asia. So, for the moment, the idea of ​​an early start of the epidemic in China remains a hypothesis.
There are other factors we could look at but this virus has accustomed us to the fact that predictions and interpretations always turn out to be wrong. Even in a recent article in Nature (11), the authors frankly said that “we are not yet able to provide a generalized explanation for the observed quantitative mortality differences between countries”. Thus, we must content ourselves with saying that the epidemic has done much less damage in Asia than it did for us for some reason that, at the moment, we cannot identify with certainty.
But let’s stick with what we know, which is that at the moment things are going very well in China and in the whole East Asia, just while the West is experiencing a “second wave.” At least, we can conclude that we are not facing an invincible enemy. It is possible to beat the Sars-Cov-2 without necessarily having to destroy the economy with prolonged and generalized lockdowns. Of course, we are in a very difficult moment here, in Europe, but there is no reason to think that we will have to continue living in terror for centuries to come.
 The author thanks Chandran Nair for his comments on the situation in China.


36 Comments on "The Pandemic in China: a Governance Lesson to the West"

  1. forbin on Wed, 18th Nov 2020 1:17 am 

    re :“we are not yet able to provide a generalized explanation for the observed quantitative mortality differences between countries”.

    well that’s not actually true is it? it affects the old , even in China . the old died more than the young .

    hey ho

  2. Davy on Wed, 18th Nov 2020 6:50 am 

    It’s all JuanPpees fault China got the CIA virus under control and Biden got elected POTUS. We need to deport Ppee from my country!!

  3. REAL Green on Wed, 18th Nov 2020 6:53 am 

    So true widdle. So true. We need to deport the illegal wetback Miami Beach playboy spic scum from are country.

  4. zero juan on Wed, 18th Nov 2020 6:55 am 

    Ppeee juan, who cares about China I care only about making your troll living miserable. LMFAO. Davy does not come here anymore stupid and you have REAL on ignore. Stupid fuck

    Davy said It’s all JuanPpees fault China got the CIA virus u…

    REAL Green said Can we please go see the docter now Davy. PLEASE!…

  5. Davy on Wed, 18th Nov 2020 7:03 am 

    You are one of my sock puppets zero juan.

    lunatic

  6. REAL Green on Wed, 18th Nov 2020 7:22 am 

    Do we no how many sock puppets we have any more Davy?

    It’s REAL hard for us to keep track.

  7. Dredd on Wed, 18th Nov 2020 10:06 am 

    Why were they blamed for it in the first place (On The Origin Of The Home Of COVID-19 – 18)?

  8. Abraham van Helsing on Thu, 19th Nov 2020 4:14 am 

    Covid end in sight?

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8735759/Oxford-coronavirus-vaccine-safe-triggers-robust-immune-response-phase-2-study-finds.html

    “Another Covid vaccine breakthrough as study confirms Oxford’s jab is ‘safe and provokes a robust immune response’ in over-60s”

    Looks like it.

    The jab could cost as little as £2 per dose, which makes it significantly cheaper than the £15-£28 for Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, which will cost the UK tens of millions of pounds.

  9. Dredd on Fri, 20th Nov 2020 3:38 pm 

    What goes in must come out … (On The Origin Of The Home Of COVID-19 – 19).

  10. dratrepus tak this muzz should be harvested better than self croak LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Khadim Hussein Rizvi, a radical Pakistani religious scholar who this week led thousands of supporters into a sit-in in on Fri, 20th Nov 2020 3:58 pm 

    we need harvestation of master race chinks more than ever. master race chinks harvestation of muzzkarens who are worshipers of pedifiler muhammad

    LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Khadim Hussein Rizvi, a radical Pakistani religious scholar who this week led thousands of supporters into a sit-in in Islamabad over the republishing in France of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which they deem blasphemous, died on Thursday. He was 54.

  11. Greta Thunberg on Fri, 20th Nov 2020 4:35 pm 

    So fat boy lost and by a huge margin and in his own words. To the weakest candidates in history . Boy thats got to burn .

  12. FamousDrScanlon on Fri, 20th Nov 2020 5:40 pm 

    I chink it’s wonderful!

    Rudy Giuliani’s son, Andrew, positive with COVID a day after attending news conference with father on election fraud claims

    WASHINGTON – Rudy Giuliani’s son, Andrew, announced Friday he has tested positive for coronavirus, a day after he attended a news conference with his father and other members of President Donald Trump’s legal team alleging baseless claims of widespread election fraud.

    “This morning, I tested positive for COVID-19,” the younger Giuliani wrote on Twitter. “I am experiencing mild symptoms, and am following all appropriate protocols, including being in quarantine and conducting contact tracing.”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/11/20/andrew-giuliani-tests-positive-covid-day-after-dads-conference/6356737002/

    Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for coronavirus

    https://www.whio.com/news/trending/donald-trump-jr-tests-positive-coronavirus/5PBM63KWBZARHH63GTOPCVPPNU/

  13. FamousDrScanlon on Fri, 20th Nov 2020 5:48 pm 

    Sen. King: This Thanksgiving, staying apart is an act of love

    https://www.pressherald.com/2020/11/20/sen-king-this-thanksgiving-staying-apart-is-an-act-of-love/

    It’s just the flu. Go to Thanksgiving dinner & French kiss your aunt & cousins like you normally would.

    Everything is fine.

    Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

  14. zero juan on Fri, 20th Nov 2020 6:00 pm 

    FamousDrScanlon said Sen. King: This Thanksgiving, staying apart is an…

    Gaia said People can survive on 1 or 2 meals a days. All cou…

    FamousDrScanlon said I chink it’s wonderful! Rudy Giuliani’…

    dratrepus tak Vega failure $373M payload lost said supertards please change ur undies after 5 days

    TomWayburn said replace own by owe Here is an item that is never a…

    Greta Thunberg said So fat boy lost and by a huge margin and in his ow…

    TomWayburn said Certainly, we own Ferroni and Hopkirk our gratitud…

    dratrepus tak this muzz should be harvested better than self croak LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Khadim Hussein Rizvi, a radical Pakistani religious scholar who this week led thousands of supporters into a sit-in in said we need harvestation of master race chinks more th…

  15. Duncan Idaho on Fri, 20th Nov 2020 6:51 pm 

    The Fat Boy is one of the greatest con man that ever lived in America.

    And our wingpawn friends can’t admit it because it would expose them as the dupes they are.

  16. Greta Thunberg on Fri, 20th Nov 2020 6:59 pm 

    And his supporters are like the hypnotised cultist at Jonestown and we all know how that one ended

  17. Duncan Idaho on Fri, 20th Nov 2020 7:06 pm 

    The Fat Boy has been bankrupt 6 times

    https://i0.wp.com/digbysblog.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/MW-EH105_casino_ZG_20160303160414.jpg?w=1320&ssl=1

  18. Greta Thunberg on Fri, 20th Nov 2020 8:04 pm 

    Yes and now he’s pretty much bankrupted america

  19. doug nicodemus on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 10:33 am 

    what is wrong with this site…has it been invaded by the russians…is this a disinformation center or what….

  20. Abraham van Helsing on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 10:51 am 

    “What if the virus that causes COVID was man-made?”

    https://spectator.us/virus-causes-covid-man-made/

    “The genetic structure of SARS‐CoV‐2 does not rule out a laboratory origin”

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bies.202000240

  21. Abraham van Helsing on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 10:53 am 

    “The Fat Boy has been bankrupt 6 times”

    And is now president for life of the Heartland.

    Donkey Idaho never went bankrupt. Every bank that saw him coming from afar was determined not to loan this loser a single dime.

  22. FamousDrScanlon on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 11:29 am 

    Typical desperate banana republic media trying to downplay their nation’s atrocious Covid response by comparing their nation’s Covid stats to an entire continent’s (44 countries) Covid stats.

    Europe’s Death Rate Over 3 Times Higher Than the U.S., as COVID Surges Globally

    https://www.newsweek.com/europes-death-rate-over-3-times-higher-us-covid-surges-globally-1548788

    Cell phone towers are being vandalized across Tennessee. A COVID-19 conspiracy theory may be to blame.

    https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2020/nov/20/cell-phone-towers-vandalized/536495/

  23. zero juan on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 12:26 pm 

    Ppeee fuck, you are not famous, lunatic:

    FamousDrScanlon said Typical desperate banana republic media trying to…

    doug nicodemus said what is wrong with this site…has it been inv…

    yun janghwan said Dear sir/madam; I’m YUN JANGHWAN from KOREA,…

    doug nicodemus said what the hell happened to this site….

    jef said Clogged – You could bring the cost of “…

  24. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 12:36 pm 

    The Fat Boy:

    “Now he’s a Mass-murdering, Bounty-Ignoring, Ally-Blackmailing, Soldier-Insulting, PussyGrabbing, PutinFawning, DraftDodging, Pageant-Peeping, Money-Laundering, Chronically-Lying, Racist, Criminal. Pervert, Traitor of a Pompous Asshole, and apart from sheer visceral hatred for America and everything good in this world, I can’t think of why anyone would want to vote for the guy.

    So let’s ask!”

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/11/20/1995825/-HOORAY-Signs-of-Celebration-Answers-To-The-Big-WTF-USA-Why-Did-70-MILLION-Vote-For-Trump

  25. dratrepus tak doug nicodemus i hear ya and i agree with ya this site is overrun by muzzie lovers they try to kick me out when i say i admire and love master race chinks who harvest muzkarens on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 1:39 pm 

    doug nicodemus on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 10:33 am

    what is wrong with this site…has it been invaded by the russians…is this a disinformation center or what….

    muzzkarens are worshippers of pedifiler muhammad. he married aisha when she was 9. according to muzzkaren the muzzkaren slides his peen on top of aisha peen so he said he’s not a pedifiler. i think he boined her at 9

  26. FamousDrScanlon on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 1:51 pm 

    How fitting for a people who’ve lost their Shit.

    Panic buying of toilet paper hits U.S. stores again with new pandemic restrictions

    https://ca.reuters.com/article/idCAKBN2802W3

  27. FamousDrScanlon on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 1:52 pm 

    There’s your trouble.

    https://imgur.com/5fEjb2t

  28. FamousDrScanlon on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 1:56 pm 

    Tennessee mayor waiting on Holy Spirit’s guidance before ordering mask mandate

    https://whnt.com/news/tennessee-mayor-waiting-on-holy-spirits-guidance-before-ordering-mask-mandate/

    They need permission from their middle eastern, Jew boy saviour on a stick.

  29. FamousDrScanlon on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 2:00 pm 

    U.S. nears 12 million COVID-19 cases ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

    https://www.reuters.com/article/BigStory12/idUSKBN2810OM

    Have yourself a deadly little Christmas….

  30. FamousDrScanlon on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 2:11 pm 

    When states mandate masks, fewer people catch COVID-19

    North Dakota and Iowa recently made the switch. Now 14 states remain.

    https://www.popsci.com/story/health/masks-states-mandates/

    Climate deniers, anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, evolution deniers,peak oil deniers – all the same people listening to all the same sources.

    Conspiracy tards always screaming ‘FOLLOW DA MONEY!’ except when it leads straight to right-wing think tanks, special interest & oligarchs.

    It must be nice to go through life with the mind of a child – comforting, retard simple black & white narrative.

    Like a field slave – almost no thinking required.

  31. FamousDrScanlon on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 2:22 pm 

    Don’t hold your breath.

    Coronavirus vaccine results are pouring in, and it’s good news for older people

    https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-vaccine-results-are-pouring-in-and-its-good-news-for-older-people-150424

    Last time a vaccine was rushed, it did not work out too well.

    Narcolepsy Following 2009 Pandemrix Influenza Vaccination in Europe

    “An increased risk of narcolepsy was found following vaccination with Pandemrix, a monovalent 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine that was used in several European countries during the H1N1 influenza pandemic. This risk was initially found in Finland, and then other European countries also detected an association.”

    “Pandemrix is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline in Europe and was specifically produced for pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza. It was not used before 2009, and has not been used since the influenza pandemic season (2009-2010). It contains an oil-in-water emulsion adjuvant called ASO3. Adjuvants are substances added to a vaccine to increase the body’s immune response to that vaccine”

    https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/history/narcolepsy-flu.html

    Like my dick, my immune system is mighty, so I’ll wait for the desperate 2 legged lab rats to test any Covid vaccine before I’ll even consider it.

  32. Greta Thunberg on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 2:57 pm 

    Well we know at least 70 mil maga. Cultists won’t take the vaccine so it won’t be very affective even if it works

  33. dratrepus tak doug nicodemus welcome to our place please stay for a while we are all muzzies lover here so youre in good company on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 3:06 pm 

    supertards
    please change ur undies after 5 days

  34. zero juan on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 3:28 pm 

    Ppee, you are not famous

    dratrepus tak doug nicodemus welcome to our place please stay for a while we are all muzzies lover here so youre in good company said supertards please change ur undies after 5 days
    Greta Thunberg said Well we know at least 70 mil maga. Cultists won…
    FamousDrScanlon said Most of what you’ve been told about diet was…
    FamousDrScanlon said Humans are evolutionarily adapted to caloric restr…
    FamousDrScanlon said Don’t hold your breath. Coronavirus vaccine…
    FamousDrScanlon said When states mandate masks, fewer people catch COVI…
    FamousDrScanlon said U.S. nears 12 million COVID-19 cases ahead of Than…
    FamousDrScanlon said Tennessee mayor waiting on Holy Spirit’s guidance…
    FamousDrScanlon said There’s your trouble. https://imgur.com/5fEj
    FamousDrScanlon said How fitting for a people who’ve lost their S…
    dratrepus tak doug nicodemus i hear ya and i agree with ya this site is overrun by muzzie lovers they try to kick me out when i say i admire and love master race chinks who harvest muzkarens said doug nicodemus on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 10:33 am wha…

  35. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 5:06 pm 

    “Donald Trump practices cheating as a way of life”
    — Mary Trump

    The Fat Boy is good at something

  36. Greta Thunberg on Sat, 21st Nov 2020 8:49 pm 

    The fat brat knows he lost the election and by a huge margin but is dragging it out as a bargaining tool as he wants to do a deal if he is to conceded he wants a full pardon and immunity to any criminal prosecutions that he and his corrupt family have done over many years

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