Note: Communist party officials have altered the criteria for “new cases” of novel coronavirus. But they are not allowing outside experts to investigate the true situation on the ground. The graph below is offered as an example of the topsy-turvy way the communists have handled this epidemic. They are treating the entire coronavirus epidemic as an exercise in propaganda balanced against the fear of being discovered manipulating important, life or death data.
Cases Jump Overnight
It has been difficult for the leaders of China to sketch out an optimal strategy for getting its people back to work while keeping cases of the deadly coronavirus to a minimum. The political considerations are complex and the mass public fears are at a tipping point. And Beijing has no idea how many people are infected!
A recent survey conducted by Tsinghua University Evergrande Institute found that among 995 companies, many are unable to resume normal production. The survey concluded that about 85 percent of the companies can survive for only three months.
This will trigger massive layoffs. The wave of unemployment potentially will reach tens of millions of people. By comparison, the economic costs for the 2003 SARS pandemic was $40 billion, but the costs for this one could be much bigger, causing political, economic, diplomatic and social reactions.
The Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) — the seven members who control the real power of China — recently held two meetings within 10 days, a rare occurrence, to figure out China’s strategy for resuming production while fighting the pandemic. They do not appear to have the answer, since more economic hubs have been shutting down. __ The Hill
Asian people have been wearing surgical face masks for decades. But now, in China, they really mean it. In China, if a person coughs on a crowded train, the single other person in the car will automatically move to the far end!
15,000 new cases were added to the coronavirus count overnight, which global financial markets took as a bad sign for the future. Around the world, epidemiologists and government spokesmen complain that the numbers from China are still not nearly high enough — compared to the true numbers of infected. The current ruling system of China is probably not capable of telling the truth.
“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.”
China picked a bad time to have a novel coronavirus outbreak.
About 150 million Chinese remain in lockdown, but the economic and psychological effects of the epidemic — and the sense that China’s government has been negligent, even incompetent, in dealing with it — pervade the entire landscape of China and neighboring regions.
The economic impact on Chinese agriculture is ruinous. Because of the lockdown, main transportation routes have been blocked. Businesses cannot ship perishable produce to market in the cities, where the price for vegetables and fruits is skyrocketing, and many villages also are locked down. Moreover, farmers reportedly are not allowed to work in the fields, resulting in rotten produce and huge losses for agriculture. The spring plowing and planting season should have begun, but because of the pandemic, the work has been delayed. That will result in a major grain shortage.
China’s exports and imports already were adversely impacted by the Sino-American trade war, and the pandemic has poured salt into the wound. Export hubs such as Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing and Guangzhou suspended operation and stopped production for weeks. __ A Crippling Time for a Virus
The fear of contagion is something that cannot be easily quantified. It can be guessed at by the empty streets and shopping malls, by the production stoppages at factories and seaports, by the way people are avoiding others on the streets and in public conveyances. Fear and lack of trust. These have always been there, but now they have been dialed upward several notches.
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 health 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. __ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/12/what-chinas-empty-new-coronavirus-hospitals-say-about-its-secretive-system
This is life in a communist party-run authoritarian country — where religious dissidents are murdered for their organs, and no one speaks out against it. Usually, the fear is tamped down and ignored. But when the fear is unmasked — as by coronavirus — the people wear surgical masks to fortify their haggard psychological defences.
Nobody Knows the True Picture
While Chinese officials reported a sharp uptick in cases of coronavirus overnight, scientists around the world suspect that the true number of cases may be as much as 20X higher than reported. And the true fatality rate may be much higher than the official 2% estimate.
Chinese authorities will do their best to keep any “help” from the west at arm’s length for fear of discovering the truth behind this deadly outbreak.
Jennifer Zeng meanwhile tweeted a video of migrant workers in Jiangsu province being reduced to sleeping in the streets or woods thanks to the lockdown. __ ZeroHedge
Giant tech manufacturer Foxconn has been unable to resume production, and may be lucky to be at half of normal production by the end of February — or even later. The disruptive “supply chain” effects of such production postponements across the various manufacturing sectors in China would be felt around the world. All enterprises that operate production facilities inside China are being hit.
Swiss Head of infectious disease Professor Manuel Battegay said: “The true number of exposed cases affected in Wuhan may be vastly underestimated. The official numbers of both cases and deaths reported from Wuhan represent the ‘tip of the iceberg’, potentially skewing case fatality estimates towards patients presenting with more severe disease and fatal outcome.” The head researcher added: “The resulting number does not represent the true case fatality rate and might be off by orders of magnitude.” __ Wait and See
China has ground to a halt according to measures of traffic congestion and electric power production
A polity that is blatantly incapable of treating its own people properly can hardly be expected to treat the rest of the world well. How can a nation that doggedly refuses to become a modern political civilization really expect to be part of a meaningful community?”
The world should heed the warning of Xhu Zhangrun.