China's Wuhan shuts down transport as global alarm mounts over virus spread - Page 22 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Provision of the two UN HDI indicators other than GNP.
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Image

The diagnostic test kits are only available at limited research facilities dealing with infectious diseases. Most hospitals and laboratories are not offering 2019-nCoV tests. Because of this, the number of 2019-nCoV cases should be at least ten times higher than the official figure that is just above 20,000. A Japanese man who died in Wuhan was posthumously diagnosed with the coronavirus.

As of February 4, 2020, more than 20 000 cases of 2019-nCoV have been reported, 98.9% of them in China, and the outbreak is linked to more than 400 deaths. As the epidemic is evolving and the situation is rapidly changing, up-to-date reliable information on the number of cases and recommendations on management of cases and preventive interventions can be found at various sites, including the webpage developed by the CDC.3 Currently the number of infections outside of China remains small (approximately 180), but cases have been detected in 26 countries, including 11 cases in the United States.

While it is unclear how many people are truly infected, a modeling study suggests that as of January 25, 2020, 75 815 individuals have been infected in Wuhan alone.4 The authors calculated the basic reproductive number (the number of cases one infected individual generates), R0, of this outbreak to be 2.68 (95% CI, 2.47-2.86) and that the epidemic is doubling every 6.4 days. Because of extensive travel between China and cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, and Taipei, these locations have identified the majority of cases outside of mainland China. As testing becomes more frequent, the true number of cases and the full spectrum of disease will become more clear. However, for now, it appears that compared with the other 2 zoonotic coronaviruses that occurred in the last 20 years (severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS] in 2002 and Middle East respiratory syndrome [MERS] in 2012), 2019-nCoV seems to have greater infectivity (eg, a higher R0) and a lower case fatality rate.1

From genetic sequencing data, it appears that there was a single introduction into humans followed by human-to-human spread. This novel virus shares 79.5% of genetic sequence with SARS-CoV and has 96.2% homology to a bat coronavirus.2 In addition, 2019-nCoV shares the same cell entry receptor, ACE2, with SARS-CoV. What is yet unclear is which animal is the intermediate species between bats and humans. For SARS it was civet cats, for MERS it is camels. While the source of 2019-CoV is yet unknown, early on the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was linked epidemiologically.1,5

The incubation period of this virus has been reported to be 5.2 days (95% CI, 4.1-7.0),6 although there is suggestion that it may be as long as 14 days. It is unclear when transmission begins and, although cases have been reported that suggest transmission during the asymptomatic phase, it is likely that the majority of secondary cases come from symptomatic individuals.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/f ... le/2760782
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Saeko wrote:This is a video from the WHO.



China manipulated infection stats by limiting the supply of diagnostic kits. :knife:


It is a 2 month disease. Nobody has enough of those kits, they can't limit something that they don't have themselves. The chance of them using the kits is pretty low, they probably just do lab tests. It is not a portable solution but it works if the infection is limited in one place. Also obviously there is a limit.
#15066220
Mmmmm Chinese economy is imploding a bit, this might really be the Chernobyl moment for China.


Perhaps. I think China realizes that they do not have any options. If they open their factories again the death toll could be staggering with people literally dying by the millions. That would almost certainly lead to either the fall of the CCP or an extremely draconian crack down. Think North Korea.

We need to know how bad this bug is. We need to know if it is seasonal like the flu or whether it can just keep rolling. And we need to have weapons against it that include mass produced vaccine and a treatment like Tamiflu.

Look to the smaller OECD nations for the first indicators of the truth.
#15066256
The WHO believes that we may have only seen the tip of the iceberg of global infections and some experts claim that it could reach 60% of the world's population. That's about 5 billion people and, with a death rate of 2%, 100,000 deaths. That would be twice the number for the Spanish flu. But if we get 1 billion severe infections, health systems would be overwhelmed and the death toll could be much higher.

Coronavirus 'could infect 60% of global population if unchecked'
#15066732
Joseph Needham, the author of the classic on Chinese science and technology, posed the question of why China was overtaken by the West following the European Renaissance even though China had been far more advanced during the Tang and Song dynasties.

The way China handled the corona virus crisis is an excellent demonstration of why totalitarian rule will never be able to compete with open societies. European science and technology developed because competition between the numerous kingdoms, fiefdoms and free cities of Renaissance Europe promoted scientific research, while totalitarian rule in China suppressed incentives to arrive at better solutions:

Any attempt of improvement is a "risky gamble for little reward."

That might have ended it, or not,” Tsang said. “[But] since you stopped the virus from developing, you have nothing to show. You quashed a potential threat that may not have existed.

The official who proposes a new solution to the emperor risks losing his head if his proposal doesn't work and may not get rewarded if it does work. Better to keep a low profile and do nothing. Political intrigue will do the rest to eliminate talents.

Thus, the answer to Needham's question is blindingly obvious.

What China’s empty new coronavirus hospitals say about its secretive system

China’s two new hospitals built in as many weeks were the official face of its fight against the coronavirus in Wuhan. As the city was locked down, authorities promised that thousands of doctors would be on hand to treat 2,600 patients on the facilities’ wards.

Timelapse videos tracked the almost incomprehensibly fast construction of the hospitals, and state media celebrated their opening in early February. The only thing missing a week later? Patients.

Four days after its opening, the larger Leishenshan hospital had only 90 patients, on wards designed for 1,600, but was reporting no spare beds, Wuhan city heath data, first reported by the Chinese magazine Caixin, showed. The other facility, Huoshenshan, had not yet filled its 1,000 beds a week after opening.

Meanwhile, the city was setting up emergency hospitals in exhibition halls and a sports stadium, and medics were still turning some ill people away. China has the world’s largest army but it has not deployed any field hospitals to Wuhan.

The gulf between the vision of vast new hospitals created and thrown into action within days and the more complicated reality on the ground is a reminder of one of the main challenges for Beijing as it struggles to contain the coronavirus: its own secretive, authoritarian system of government and its vast censorship and propaganda apparatus.

Communist party apparatus well honed to crush dissent also muffles legitimate warnings. A propaganda system designed to support the party and state cannot be relied on for accurate information. That is a problem not just for families left bereft by the coronavirus and businesses destroyed by the sudden shutdown, but for a world trying to assess Beijing’s success in controlling and containing the disease.

“China’s centralised system and lack of freedom of press definitely delay a necessary aggressive early response when it was still possible to contain epidemics at the local level,” said Ho-fung Hung, a professor in political economy at Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Beijing did go public about the virus much faster than during the 2002-3 Sars crisis, and it has shared large quantities of information, winning praise from the World Health Organization for its transparency. But it has become increasingly clear that the local government was engaged in a concerted attempt to cover up the crisis during the early weeks of the outbreak, which allowed it to fester at a time when it would have been much easier to contain.

Two officials have been fired, Wuhan’s mayor admitted failings in a live interview on national television, and the central government has sent a team to investigate the treatment of the whistleblowing doctor Li Wenliang.

Security forces punished Li, 34, for trying to warn colleagues about the risks of a dangerous new disease at the end of December. Just over a month later he became one of the youngest victims of the coronavirus. His death made him a household name and triggered a rare discussion in China about freedom of speech.

In a biting essay that laid the blame for the crisis with President Xi Jinping, a dissident intellectual claimed China’s centralisation and culture of silence had played a key role in the spread of the disease.

“It began with the imposition of stern bans on the reporting of factual information that served to embolden deception at every level of government,” Xu Zhangrun wrote in his essay Viral Alarm, When Fury Overcomes Fear, according to a translation by Geremie Barmé on the website ChinaFile.

“It only struck its true stride when bureaucrats throughout the system shrugged off responsibility for the unfolding situation while continuing to seek the approbation of their superiors,” Xu continued. “They all blithely stood by as the crucial window of opportunity to deal with the outbreak of the infection snapped shut in their faces.”

The problems of officials trying to cover up scandals or mistakes are not unique to China. But without a free press, elections or much space for civil society, there are few ways for citizens to hold their rulers accountable. Instead, local officials answer only to a party hierarchy that puts a premium on stability and economic growth.

Prof Steve Tsang, director of the Soas China Institute, said: “China is not a poor country; it has in general terms an efficient government in place. But the incentives are not for a health director (for example) to respond to public health crises in Wuhan first and foremost. The incentive is to do what the party wants … and not embarrass the party.

The cost of trying to curb the coronavirus when it first emerged – high-profile moves to close the market where it originated, cull and destroy livestock, quarantine and compensate victims, cancel mass festivities for the new year – would have seemed a risky gamble for little reward.

That might have ended it, or not,” Tsang said. “[But] since you stopped the virus from developing, you have nothing to show. You quashed a potential threat that may not have existed.”

Even when the government reversed course and announced a crisis, it appeared to be focused on managing its image as well as the disease, he said. It could have deployed medics and a field hospital to Wuhan almost overnight rather than building new hospitals.

It is unclear why they chose not to do so. But a country setting up field hospitals looks like one in crisis. A government expanding hospitals looks like one in control. “Ten days is a very long time when you are looking at a public health crisis like that,” Tsang said. “But a new hospital built from the ground up, that’s a world record.”

Questions about China’s transparency still hang over efforts to manage the disease. Some scientists are concerned about its spread in areas that have become new hubs of the disease. Zhejiang and Guangdong province – both industrial centres – have reported more than 1,000 cases, as has inland Henan province.

That is higher than the number of cases reported in Hubei province when the lockdown of Wuhan was announced in January. But with the economy badly strained by the long shutdown, Chinese authorities are urging people to start heading back to work in “orderly” fashion in these areas.

There have also been doubts about the accuracy of the tally of cases, after many families reported struggling to get testing for sick relatives.

The test numbers may be accurate, and disease control measures in place elsewhere may be sufficient to control a virus that scientists already understand much better than they did a few weeks ago. But if China cannot address the systemic failings that allowed the outbreak to fester originally, it may struggle to control this epidemic, avert the next one and secure the global trust and cooperation needed to fight disease.

“There is no one quick fix to the Chinese system to make it respond better next time,” said Hung. “But if there is one single factor that could increase the government’s responsiveness to this kind of crisis, [it would be] a free press.”
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Even when the government reversed course and announced a crisis, it appeared to be focused on managing its image as well as the disease, he said. It could have deployed medics and a field hospital to Wuhan almost overnight rather than building new hospitals.


Would it ever occur to a Chinese bureaucrat that the best way to manage their image would be to properly manage the outbreak lol
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Donna wrote:Would it ever occur to a Chinese bureaucrat that the best way to manage their image would be to properly manage the outbreak lol

An individual Chinese bureaucrat cares only about his or her own career, and the best way of serving that career. This is why Lenin was always complaining bitterly about "bureaucratism" and the need to combat it, and why Stalin kept purging the Soviet bureaucratic apparatus from top to bottom every few years. If you are trying to build socialism in your nation, then the bureaucracy is your worst enemy. They will sabotage it at every step, simply out of selfish careerism.
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Potemkin wrote:An individual Chinese bureaucrat cares only about his or her own career, and the best way of serving that career. This is why Lenin was always complaining bitterly about "bureaucratism" and the need to combat it, and why Stalin kept purging the Soviet bureaucratic apparatus from top to bottom every few years. If you are trying to build socialism in your nation, then the bureaucracy is your worst enemy. They will sabotage it at every step, simply out of selfish careerism.


The question that people should be asking though is why the the Bureaucracy in Socialist/Communist/Soviet systems was always degrading to that point. It was probably due to a combination of factors like:
1) Being severely punished for failure. (Failure should get you a demotion but never alienate you from the system. US army in WW2 and a bit after was pretty good for this. They did demote failure but it didn't kill careers and people could recover and go as high as the sky. )
2) Being forced to constantly to outperform previous year. ( Causes data manipulation )
3) If you are too efficient then you will be given less resources to manage because you are so efficient so this kinda kills the insensitive to be efficient in the long run. You need scale to impress. Basically inefficiency + scale rule supreme.

Probably a lot more of everything else...
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Patrickov wrote:They probably know "what", but they probably don't know "how" to do, or what is universally accepted does not serve their interests.


The problem is that there is no "how", not as long as the monopoly on power of the CCP (the Chinese Coronavirus Party :D ) doesn't allow press freedom.

If the CCP allows glasnost and perestroika or dazibao, it'll start slipping on a slippery slope at the end of which there will be no more CCP. Xi has no choice but to clamp down on dissenting opinions.

@Potemkin, it's not the bureaucracy's fault. The system is inherently flawed. For the sake of self-preservation, the communist party cannot allow freedom of opinion. It is forced to suppress all opinions considered to deviate from the party. That cannot but result in failure.

The Socialist Virus. Even science has to be approved by the party.



The COVID-19 has made the answer to the Needham question so obvious that even average people instinctively understand it. Once the people lose faith in the party, the party is over :lol:
Last edited by Atlantis on 13 Feb 2020 10:30, edited 1 time in total.
#15066885
Coronavirus: China purges regional leaders hours after spike in deaths and new cases

The number of deaths and infections caused by the coronavirus in China has risen dramatically after authorities changed the way they calculate the figures amid an ongoing purge of party officials in the stricken province of Hubei and in Hong Kong.

Figures released on Thursday morning showed deaths in Hubei, the epicentre of the deadly outbreak, had increased by 254 and new confirmed cases rose by over 15,000 – a jump of about a third on the total so far.

With data from other provinces still being collated, the number of people who have died from the infection on the mainland is now 1,380.

In Shiyan, a city in central Hubei, authorities have instituted “war-time measures,” where only those actively involved in fighting the virus are allowed to leave their homes. From Thursday, all buildings will be sealed. Residential areas will also be sealed and put under 24-hour watch. Public security will enforce the measures.

“Residents without prior approval are forbidden from leaving their home, building or residential compound,” the government notice said. Those who break the rules “will be detained without exception”, it said.

Hubei’s health commission said on Thursday that it was now including in its confirmed tally those people diagnosed via CT scans as well as via testing kits. Previously, authorities had included only those cases confirmed by the diagnostic testing kits, which are in short supply.

The change in diagnostic criteria appeared aimed at heading off complaints about the availability of tests and treatment for residents, as well as questions about whether officials have been underreporting.

The shortage of the testing kits has meant that many sick residents have been unable to seek treatment, with hospital admission contingent on the test result. Health workers have been calling for authorities to broaden the parameters for diagnosing the virus in order to treat more patients. Some have also questioned the reliability of the tests.

“From a medical transparency point of view it’s good, but it raises a lot of new questions,” said Sam Crane who teaches Chinese politics and ancient philosophy at Williams College. “What was the actual infection rate in early January? Are other provinces and cities going to revise their numbers upward?”

“I suspect many people in China will see this as another reason to not believe what the government says,” he said.

The political fallout from the outbreak continued on Thursday with several senior officials fired. Jiang Chaoliang, the party chief of Hubei province, was replaced by the deputy party chief in Shanghai, Ying Yong. The party chief of Wuhan, Ma Guoqiang, was also fired, to be replaced by Shandong’s chief Wang Zhonglin. Zhang Xiaoming, the head of China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs office was also removed on Thursday.

“This is clearly Xi’s move,” said Dali Yang, a professor of political science focusing on China at the University of Chicago, adding that the decision would have been approved by the politburo. “The stakes are high and he needed time to find the right people for the positions to salvage the Hubei, Wuhan situation,” he said.

Ying Yong came up through the ranks in Zhejiang where Xi previously served as party secretary and was also part of anti-corruption campaigns, the president’s signature initiative.

Earlier this week two other senior Hubei officials were replaced: Zhang Jin, the Communist party chief of Hubei’s health commission, and Liu Yingzi, its director, were both fired. They were replaced by a national-level official, Wang Hesheng, the deputy director of China’s national health commission.

On Wednesday, the state-run China Daily news site reported that a powerful Beijing official parachuted into Wuhan to supervise the fight against the virus had reprimanded local officials for failing to organise treatment quickly enough for people reporting to hospitals with symptoms of the illness.

Thursday’s jump in infections may have been another impetus for the purges. “I suspect Xi would have wanted the personnel change to project a sense that he is in control of the situation. The bad numbers undermine that message,” said Crane.

While authorities give daily updates on the death toll and infection rate, questions remain over the transparency of the released data. Authorities have not disclosed all of demographic data of those who have died, making it harder for experts to analyse what groups are most vulnerable.

Victor Shih, a specialist in Chinese politics at the school of global policy and strategy at University of California San Diego, said the switch in methodology was “disturbing”.

“The adjustment of the data today proved without doubt that they have had two sets of numbers for confirmed infected all along,” he said. “If that were not the case, the government could not have added so many new cases in one day.”

“A very disturbing aspect of today’s new numbers is that the vast majority of new cases accrued to Wuhan, but what if the rest of Hubei province still did not adjust their reporting methods?”

Vaguely worded direction from central health authorities about how to deal with asymptomatic patients has caused more uncertainty. Earlier this week, health authorities in China’s northern province of Heilongjiang reduced the number of confirmed cases by 14, 13 of which were patients who were not showing symptoms of the virus.

The move appeared to come after advice from China’s national health commission last week, which said asymptomatic patients who had tested positive would no longer be counted. Instead, they would be included in another category of asymptomatic infections.

The crisis also deepened in Hong Kong, where the education minister announced that schools would remain closed until at least the middle of March. They have been closed since the start of the lunar new year at the end of January.

In Cambodia, health officials were preparing to board the MV Westerdam cruise liner to make health checks before they allow 1,455 passengers and 802 crew to disembark. The passengers include 650 people from the US, 271 from Canada, 127 from the UK and 91 from the Netherlands, with smaller numbers of people from Australia, Germany, China and other countries.

The vessel, which was turned away from five countries over fears that passengers or crew could be infected with Covid-19, is anchored off Sihanoukville port after being granted permission to dock in Cambodia.

And Japan will allow some elderly passengers on a quarantined cruise liner who test negative for the new coronavirus to disembark ahead of schedule, the health minister said on Thursday, as another 44 new cases were confirmed aboard the Diamond Princess.

As UK health officials prepared for more cases of the virus after the first confirmed sufferer in London, US officials said a second case has been confirmed in San Diego.

The person was an evacuee from Wuhan and was among 232 people who had been placed under quarantine at the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar after being airlifted from Wuhan.


The Guardian


As I have made some related comments in some posts above, I choose not to add anything here.
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Atlantis wrote:Once the people lose faith in the party, the party is over :lol:


The diverse development progress in China will make this thing not as homogeneous as we want to. The South and the East will probably be the easiest to offend, but the North and West are mostly people with less demand on their quality of life / society nature. I do not expect they will agree with people down here in Hong Kong or even Guangdong or Shanghai.

(EDIT: I mean North and West of China proper. Even more border-bound areas with minorities are not included)
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Patrickov wrote:The diverse development progress in China will make this thing not as homogeneous as we want to. The South and the East will probably be the easiest to offend, but the North and West are mostly people with less demand on their quality of life / society nature. I do not expect they will agree with people down here in Hong Kong or even Guangdong or Shanghai.

(EDIT: I mean North and West of China proper. Even more border-bound areas with minorities are not included)


Correct. Look at the Shah in Iran for example at what happens to dictatorships/authoritarian rule once too many people get uplifted from poverty and start enjoying a decent life style.(Not good but decent) Then the absense of freedom of speach, freedom of expression, freedom to vote etc starts impeding their progress onwards etc. It is not that much of a problem when you don't have anything to eat though.

Funnily enough, not all dictatorships/authoritarian regimes should get toppled because of this. Mainly due to the fact that the situation often deteriorates severely when it happens and things start moving backwards and not improving. So toppling or getting rid of the CCP is one of such instances in my opinion that shouldn't happen. Force gradual change as painful as it is but do not destroy the CCP. It might be okay for HK if the CCP is gone but China as a whole will see big a decline in my opinion.

On the other hand i understand that forcing change on top of the CCP might also be unrealistic and hence why the before mentioned authoritarian/dictatorial regimes get toppled. That is already the regimes fault i guess.
#15066908
Ok folks. A little perspective.

I get that this is the Politics Forum. But at the end of the day, the Chinese officials are facing a monumental task. There was a little piece of the news that most missed. A lady in an apartment building infected someone below her by 10 stories because of an "uncapped pipe". Now I do not know if this is true but the Chinese media is reporting it is. If true can you get your mind around just how dangerous this virus really is?

We have a cruise ship with 219 or so cases from two infected sources! To put it mildly this bug is a motherfucker. It is time that the world gets really serious about it or we all may be well and truly screwed.

Of course Trump says it is no problem and we have it completely under control. I hope he is right.
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