China is in deep trouble, can fall!: "Western Scientists Cheered On China’s Covid Repression" (WSJ); Many public-health elites still won’t admit it was a mistake for West to adopt Beijing’s strategy
by Paul Alexander
Well written piece by Allysia Finley and it is a wonder WSJ published this! My take, omicron will spread (and other variants) & China may actually fall, 1 billion infected, the world is in trouble!
If what we think does occur, China could fracture and fall as a nation as its entire population is at risk of COVID infection. It will be overwhelmed. I have written and you have read here, that China’s ZERO COVID was insane and that it had locked down too long and too hard. It has no background immunity to rely upon and its entire population is susceptible to infection, and the virus is about to infect everyone in China all at once. A nightmare for China and the world if this unfolds, and if they also rapidly try to mass vaccinate and not allow the vaccinal antibodies to mature to get to its full affinity (binding capacity). They could drive massive natural selection pressure and thus massive waves of infectious variants for the rest of the world. The world is in trouble now because of China’s insane ZERO-COVID policy.
‘China’s zero-Covid policies have recently come under criticism from public-health leaders—including those at the World Health Organization—who once held them up as a model for the West. “China’s success rests largely with a strong administrative system that it can mobilise in times of threat, combined with the ready agreement of the Chinese people to obey stringent public health procedures,” the Lancet editorialized on March 7, 2020.
Western countries, it added, “must abandon their fears of the negative short-term public and economic consequences that may follow from restricting public freedoms as part of more assertive infection control measures.” That hasn’t worn well. The negative social and economic consequences of lockdowns in the West—from learning losses and destroyed small businesses to alcoholism and drug abuse—weren’t “short-term.”
Nor were China’s draconian zero Covid policies, which three years later are only slowly being eased. As hospitals in New York filled up, public-health experts fawned at China’s putative command-and-control of Covid. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and one the media’s top-cited public-health scolds, tweeted on March 27, 2020, that “China w/ 4 times the population of the US was able to flatten their curve.” He added: “Our (US) lack of learning from a region that was hit months before us is striking.” Dr. Topol still insists that China’s repressive policies “worked well until containment of Omicron became impossible,” though most people now acknowledge that they were socially and economically unsustainable.
Many, however, still won’t admit it was a mistake for Western democracies to follow China’s strategy. Why did they believe it was a good idea? A charitable explanation is that China’s Communist Party bamboozled Western public-health officials by projecting competence and control. The National Institutes of Health sent deputy director Clifford Lane to China in February 2020 on a World Health Organization mission to assess the situation on the ground. “The Chinese were managing this in a very structured, organized way,” he explained in an April 2020 NIH newsletter. “Dr. Lane was very impressed about how, from a clinical public health standpoint, the Chinese were handling the isolation, the contact tracing, the building of facilities to take care of people, and that’s what I believed he meant when he said [they] were managing this in a very structured, organized way,” Anthony Fauci stated during a deposition last month.
Yet one merely needed to pick up a newspaper or scroll the web to learn otherwise. “Lisa Wang was fighting a high fever when she was turned away from an overflowing hospital in Wuhan,” CNN reported on Feb. 23, 2020. “A chest scan showed her lungs were infected, but she couldn’t get treated for the novel coronavirus she likely had because there weren’t enough beds at the Wuhan Third Hospital, a doctor told her. Instead, she was given medication and instructed to self-quarantine at home.” Later, she was “forced into a makeshift quarantine center at a technology park—putting her at risk of cross-infection with hundreds of other patients warehoused in the bare-bones facility.”
Chinese who contracted or were exposed to the virus were forced into isolation centers, which weren’t as pleasant as tuberculosis sanitariums a century ago. “Bags of garbage, including unfinished meals and used masks, were piling up on the floor, and no medicine or treatment were provided to patients apart from daily temperature checks,” CNN reported. “There was no central heating inside.” Yet by Dr. Fauci’s account, Dr. Lane concluded that “the Chinese had a very organized way of trying to contain the spread in Wuhan and elsewhere,” even though he never visited Wuhan. A Feb. 28, 2020, report by the WHO-China Joint Mission hailed the country’s Covid response as the most “ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history.”
It lauded the “deep commitment of the Chinese people to collective action in the face of this common threat.” The report also commended China for its high-tech methods of population surveillance: “New technologies were applied such as the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to strengthen contact tracing and the management of priority populations.” But public-health officials in the West may not have been deceived by China’s displays of virus control as much as envious of its government’s ability to subjugate its citizens and censor social-media users who raise questions. “There is no right to lie,” Lancet editor in chief Richard Horton wrote in a Feb. 22, 2022 editorial.
“In very specifically defined instances, governments should have the power to censor lies and falsehoods.” In practice, that means any dissent from publichealth orthodoxy. Look no further than Dr. Topol, who described this column’s recent explainer on the shortcomings of bivalent boosters as “fallacious,” offering nothing to substantiate the claim. China’s three years of coercion and suppression of its people show why political debate on public-health issues is essential. If elites are so enamored with China’s command-and-control model, they should move there.
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