Seven Weeks

Still no deaths on the Diamond Princess, 24 days after the 80-year-old man boarded the ship, 10 days after he became the first nCoV case.

The passengers are pretty elderly:

As of last Wednesday, about 80 percent of the 2,666 passengers were age 60 or older, with 215 in their 80s and 11 in their 90s.

WUWT:

Should the world be concerned? Perhaps.

Will there be a terrible Wuhan pandemic? Probably not.

Again, the analogy to climate change alarm is striking. Alarm based on lack of underlying scientific knowledge plus unfounded worst case projections

Tobacco smoke alarmism is another example, of course.

The WHO is busy stoking the alarmism:

Killer coronavirus is ‘the worst enemy you can ever imagine’ and may pose a greater global threat than terrorism, World Health Organisation warns

The real crisis may prove to be an economic and political crisis far greater than the original medical crisis. After shutting down much of the Chinese economy, attempts are being made to restart it. But since the virus appears to have spread to all regions of China, the Chinese appear to have lost control of it anyway.

ZeroHedge:

In his 2016 book The Perfect Dictatorship: China in the 21st Century, Norwegian political scientist Stein Ringen describes contemporary China as a “controlocracy,” arguing that its system of government has been transformed into a new regime radically harder and more ideological than what came before. China’s “controlocracy” now bears primary responsibility for the coronavirus epidemic that is sweeping across that country and the world…

The first coronavirus case appeared in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, on December 1, 2019, and, as early as the middle of the month, the Chinese authorities had evidence that the virus could be transmitted between humans. Nonetheless, the government did not officially acknowledge the epidemic on national television until January 20. During those seven weeks, Wuhan police punished eight health workers for attempting to sound the alarm on social media. They were accused of “spreading rumors” and disrupting “social order.”

It would seem that it was during those seven weeks that the epidemic gathered momentum, and spread across China, just when it might have been possible to prevent this happening.

This is what happens with top-down control. The truth is suppressed in order to preserve the appearance of normality.

Having failed to contain the epidemic, the lockdown of Wuhan and multiple other cities is a further example of top-down control.

And with an economic crisis resulting from the lockdown, the attempts to restart the economy are a further example of top-down control.

The top-down controlling Communist Chinese government is blundering from one crisis to another. And the Chinese people are losing confidence in them. So now there’s a political crisis rapidly developing in China. What happens when China is being simultaneously ravaged by a country-wide epidemic, and its industry has ground to a standstill, and the political class are being shown to be incompetent/ineffectual?

What happens when more or less every country in the world then has pretty much the same experience?

And what if there was no real cause for alarm? What if 2019-nCoV turns out to be not much different from a run-of-the-mill flu epidemic. Nobody on the Diamond Princess has yet died.

And isn’t it interesting that much of the news about it all is coming from ordinary people bottom-up posting up their own video reports online, rather than from top-down mainstream news media?

About Frank Davis

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13 Responses to Seven Weeks

  1. Mark Jarratt says:

    Excellent and well reasoned assessment as usual, thank you Frank.
    WHO alarmists claim 2019-nCoV is a ‘greater global threat than terrorism’! That’s a welcome relief – no need to panic (and an utterly specious and nonsensical comparison), as the number of potential terrorist targets is almost infinite, but the risk of any particular site being attacked is infinitesimal. Death from animal attack is much more probable than death from terrorist attack, 1 in 1.6 million vs 1 in 43 million (U.S. figures, with wasps, bees, hornets and domestic K9s causing 47%). Death by common or garden variety homicide has a likelihood of about 1 in 14000.
    Why then is so much effort and funding devoted to using the sledgehammer of the state to crack the by no means existential threat of the terrorism nut, I hear you ask? Clearly more top down social control…confirming the pithy observation of H L Mencken that the entire aim of politics is to create a series of imaginary hobgoblins so the population clamour to be led to safety… 😱

  2. Dmitry says:

    Hello, people. Brigitte was urging me to comment, since I’m in Malaysia now after a trip to Thailand, and am incessantly commenting on the virus on the Russian TV, and scan the Asian media, etc.
    So, what I see is an ideological battle started by America over the right way to treat viruses. Sorry, Frank, but I think you were too fast to believe in these all-too-obvious accusations about top-down control and the rest. What China is trying to do is to show the world its ability to organise a massive effort in containing any threat of any epidemics. And they hate all possible attempts to build up a case against them, basing it on fake accusations like that story about a doctor warning the authorities about an unknown virus. They always do that, you know.
    Look at that article about an American flu and the way the US behaved in similar situation http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0210/c90000-9656206.html . The figures here are real. And nobody cared a bit about the American disease.
    Are the Chinese overdoing it a bit? They do, being perfectionists to the core. Do they hate the previous (January) ideological attempts to portray them as a contagious race? They do. And, now, they know that whatever they do will be an accusation against them. If they do nothing, you can imagine what response they’ll get.
    While in real life, here and around, nobody is really worried. Plenty of Chinese of all kinds are all over town, not many idiotic respirators anywhere… a flu like any other.
    My prediction is the current episode will show everyone that 1. you cannot do without China economically, and 2. China is showing the world that any bout of contagious disease can be contained. So eventually they’ll win.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Sorry, Frank, but I think you were too fast to believe in these all-too-obvious accusations about top-down control and the rest.

      Top-down control is state control and is what Communist states do, more or less by definition.

      What China is trying to do is to show the world its ability to organise a massive effort in containing any threat of any epidemics.

      But they haven’t managed to contain it. It’s spread to every region of China. They’ve lost control

      And they hate all possible attempts to build up a case against them, basing it on fake accusations like that story about a doctor warning the authorities about an unknown virus.

      Do you mean Dr Li Wenliang? Are you saying that all the reports about him are fabrications? Including the following from Chinese publiccations:

      South China Morning Post:

      Hundreds of people in New York commemorated Dr Li Wenliang, the coronavirus whistle-blower who died from the disease last week, in a tribute at Central Park on February 9. Li was detained and silenced by Chinese authorities after he warned fellow medics about the outbreak in late December. His death has sparked public anger and united many in China to call for freedom of speech.

      China Christian Daily

      On December 30, 2019, after hearing colleagues saying that the hospital’s emergency department had quarantined seven SARS patients from Wuhan South China Seafood Market, Dr. Li Wenliang posted the news for the first time in a social media group of more than 150 college alumni, and explained: “To define it as SARS is not very accurate. It should be a kind of coronavirus and the specific categorization is yet to be confirmed”. He warned the group to watch out for prevention, but also particularly stressed on not spreading the news yet.

      Despite his group warning, a WeChat screenshot of “7 confirmed SARS patients from South China Seafood Market” was eventually circulated and had a large number of retweets on the Internet. Ultimately, it attracted the attention of the local police and the matter temporarily ended in Dr. Li receiving an official warning from the local authority.

      However, as the truth of the outbreak gradually surfaced, the name of Li Wenliang, “the rumor monger”, began to enter the public eye. The 34-year-old young doctor was also affectionately known in the media and among the netizens as “the outbreak ‘whistleblower’.”

      Xinhua

      BEIJING, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) — The National Supervisory Commission has decided to dispatch an inspection group to Wuhan, capital city of Hubei Province and the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, to thoroughly investigate issues related to Dr. Li Wenliang.

      The decision has been approved by the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the commission said in a statement on its website Friday.

      Li, an ophthalmologist with the Central Hospital of Wuhan, passed away early Friday after being infected with the novel coronavirus despite the best efforts of doctors.

      The National Health Commission (NHC) expressed its deep condolences over Li’s death in a statement on Friday.

      People’s Daily

      Dr Li Wenliang, one of eight people who tried to warn about the novel coronavirus when it first emerged in Wuhan, now the epic center of the disease, but was reprimanded by local police, was proclaimed dead on Friday from the virus, according to the Central Hospital of Wuhan.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Hi Dmitry! It is good to read your take on this whole epidemic. I am glad to read that in the places you visited (and still are) everyone is going about their business as usual.

      While in real life, here and around, nobody is really worried. Plenty of Chinese of all kinds are all over town, not many idiotic respirators anywhere… a flu like any other.
      Although only 518 people outside China have so far been diagnosed as having contracted the virus, of which 12 people are listed as being in critical conditions and only 2 have died from complications arising.
      It sure does sound like a flu like any other.
      Nevertheless, it is a novel virus and therefore fascinating. Thinking a little ahead I am wondering about the possibility that the mutations (they do occur far more often in RNA viruses than DNA viruses naturally) on the long run on second, third etc. exposure to the virus (by then having natural antibodies, thus mounting an immune response) could lead to far more severe autoimmune reactions. (I will not go into details in this post, everybody scream if you don’t want me to do that at all!).

      And they hate all possible attempts to build up a case against them, basing it on fake accusations like that story about a doctor warning the authorities about an unknown virus.
      Dr. Li Wen Liang was real. At that point in time (December 2019) there were 59 cases diagnosed with the virus and the Chinese government HAD INFORMED the WHO of this, so the Chinese government cannot be accused of having done nothing.

      My prediction is the current episode will show everyone that 1. you cannot do without China economically,
      My interest and knowledge of economics is limited, but I think you are right.

      and 2. China is showing the world that any bout of contagious disease can be contained. So eventually they’ll win.
      My take is that the virus will burn itself out eventually. All virus epidemics do.

      Last, but not least and this is a question for everyone:
      In what sense is “proof” of top-down control and an ideological battle over perceived “right” treatment for virus infection useful right now?

      What if the next mutated virus with an R0 of e.g.3 originates somewhere in Europe? Looking at flight tracker the day I learned about the now COVID-19 named virus it was clear that, considering the incubation time of corona virus, that it wouldn’t remain in China.
      Lets be honest, every government of this planet would be overwhelmed. A novel virus identification takes time.

      • beobrigitte says:

        Further correction with respect to Dr. Li Wen Liang:
        I had come across an article a little while ago in which prior to Dr. Li posting his concern on WeChat the Chinese government had already launched it’s own investigation of the spread of the virus which Dr. Li Wen Liang was not aware of.
        On 31.12.2019 the Chinese government reported it’s finding to the WHO.
        https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/news/coronavirus-a-timeline-of-how-the-deadly-outbreak-evolved/

        31 DEC:
        First cases detected
        China has alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) of several flu-like cases in Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province with 11 million population. Patients have been quarantined and health authorities commenced work on tracing the source of the flu.

        It reminds me of frustrated police reports a few years ago about vigilante groups, meaning well, exposing pedophiles much interfere with their ongoing investigations.

  3. smokingscot says:

    And isn’t it interesting that much of the news about it all is coming from ordinary people bottom-up posting up their own video reports online, rather than from top-down mainstream news media?

    —-

    And it’s encouraging to see the plethora of platforms anxious to get their videos. All those people with their attention on their mobile device used to hack me off. Now I’m not; even the most basic has a camera and I for one am most grateful they act as a huge army of reporters.

    Ages before plane crashes and that awful killing spree in Thailand even got on the news wires, video platforms had them. And I’m guilty of bombing your site with ordinary people showing us what’s really going on in China.

    What’s odd is the China ones have all but dried up.

    • beobrigitte says:

      And isn’t it interesting that much of the news about it all is coming from ordinary people bottom-up posting up their own video reports online, rather than from top-down mainstream news media?
      I just caught in BBC news that social media is taking further steps to curb the “infodemic” of misinformation about the coronavirus.
      So far the only thing I can find is:
      https ://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2020/02/12/China-virus-Covid-19-coronavirus-fake-news-APHR
      The World Health Organisation says a glut of information, some of it false or misleading, is causing an “infodemic” around the coronavirus outbreak.

      In the above article “infodemic” links to the WHO web site – Situation Report 13, 2. February 2020.
      Due to the high demand for timely and trustworthy information about 2019-
      nCoV WHO technical risk communication and social media teams have been
      working closely to track and respond to myths and rumours.

      Trustworthy information is a subjective term.

      On youtube my feed is constantly trying to direct me to the WebCram channel, which I have excluded as in episode 12 it uses a non-peer reviewed manuscript as a valid paper (it excludes the male/female ratio infection susceptibility – and yes, N=8 is not sufficient) and concludes:
      This indicates the smokers may be more susceptible to 2019-nCov and thus smoking history should be considered in identifying susceptible population and standardizing treatment regimen.
      https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202002.0051/v1

      I haven’t looked into ACE2 allele frequency in the different ethnic groups that one comment to the above paper mentions but it is another interesting path to follow.

      I searched for the male/female corona virus infection ratio. This is surprisingly extremely difficult to find and even more difficult to verify.
      So, going back to basics:
      https://bsd.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13293-019-0247-5
      Sex differences in the metabolic effects of the renin-angiotensin system
      These collective findings illustrate the critical need for additional mechanistic and clinical research to determine the impact of sex on metabolic effects of the RAS.

  4. smokingscot says:

    Talking of which, I’m unsure if any UK media outlet ran this, because – in isolation – I too would have chucked out the case and fined those who brought it.

    I may be wrong, but my take on the poor quality of the video is because cameras are not allowed in court.

    Anyway it completely rubbishes the claims made against Trump. It’s 10 minutes.

    https://www.liveleak.com/view?t=C4kcq_1579983042

  5. Dmitry says:

    Answering both Frank and Brigitte:
    1. They have contained the spread of the virus. Most of the recent cases come from only 2 quarantined provinces. Other figures, in the rest of China, are going down now https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1179374.shtml . They have reopened a lot of highways, restarted many domestc flights, and they are gently suggesting to other nations that maybe it’s time to restart flights between them. They have succeeded.
    2. China is not a Communist country. Such country is supposed to have no private property and no rich people. China is a classic conservative (Confucian) state with a strong government. And, being Confucian, they love to keep old names, like the Communist party, and the old style, but the essence has changed totally.
    3. Speaking about Dr. Li, he was an ophtalmologist – not a virusologist – who have heard about a new virus from his colleagues and announced it in his blog, despite general orders from the hospital chief to hold the information until checked. That happened on December 30th. Next day, as Brigitte has noted, China has already filed a report to the WHO. The attempts to silence him have been made by the local police, while the Beijing government has almost immediately corrected the locals. In short, somebody is trying to create a martyr of a “totalitarian state”, knowing no facts about the case.

    • Frank Davis says:

      They have contained the spread of the virus.

      I sincerely hope you’re right, but that’s not the impression that I have, or that a great many other people in the West have. Also a number of countries, including Mongolia, N Kores, and Russia, have closed their borders with China.

      But we will see in the fullness of time. If you’re right then the epidemic should begin to die down. If not, then it will continue to mount in China (and probably elsewhere as well.)

      China is not a Communist country.

      According to Wikipedia it is (although that’s not the best source in the world)

      A communist state, also known as Marxist–Leninist state, is a state that is administered and governed by a single communist party guided by Marxism–Leninism. Marxism–Leninism was the state ideology of the Soviet Union, of the Comintern after Bolshevization and of the communist states within the Comecon, the Eastern Bloc and the Warsaw Pact.[1] Marxism–Leninism remains the ideology of several communist states around the world and the official ideology of the ruling parties of China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam.[2]

      My general understanding is that the Chinese economy now operates in a very similar way as in the capitalist West, and that’s why it’s been so dynamic in recent decades. But my understanding is that the Chinese Communist Party remains in tight control at the top.

      There are elections in China, but only to the lowest local level in government

      Elections in China are based on a hierarchical electoral system, whereby local People’s Congresses are directly elected, and all higher levels of People’s Congresses up to the National People’s Congress (NPC), the national legislature, are indirectly elected by the People’s Congress of the level immediately below.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Hi Dmitry!

      1. They have contained the spread of the virus. Most of the recent cases come from only 2 quarantined provinces. Other figures, in the rest of China, are going down now
      The sharp increase in numbers we have seen today are due to quicker diagnosis [checking the John Hopkins site, yes it looks like the individual area “blobs” they put up ARE decreasing] and to me indicate “catching up”, which is a good thing. I do expect a few more flare ups everywhere but nothing like we have seen.

      2. China is not a Communist country. Such country is supposed to have no private property and no rich people. China is a classic conservative (Confucian) state with a strong government. And, being Confucian, they love to keep old names, like the Communist party, and the old style, but the essence has changed totally.
      I am in no position to dispute this and I’m sure I will find literature that explains Confucian Conservatism (I just glanced at it on google) to me.
      What I observed over the last couple of weeks or so I view with concern.
      God help us all wherever we live should there be a nEbola pandemic!!!! (I will be in the cellar with several crates of beer and plenty of tobacco and OFFLINE)
      That reminds me:
      https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/02/1057291
      What’s the political situation there? Ebola, whoa hey!!! Another RNA virus.

      3. Speaking about Dr. Li, he was an ophtalmologist
      He was, and according to what we were told he observed symptomatic patients and posted to his colleagues about it a day before the Chinese government informed the WHO.
      And here is something to note:
      The WHO KNEW about COVID-19 (how long did it take them to come up with this name in Geneva 10.2. – 11.2. 2020?) since 31.12.2019. The Chinese government had followed the guidelines provided and reported it. What help came from the WHO?

      And whilst we are here discussing different political ideologies the anti-smokers are moving in. I keep listing a non-peer reviewed paper that made it’s way into the media. Perhaps now is a good time to read it.

      • beobrigitte says:

        Last comment, I promise!!!
        https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/how-to-interpret-feb-12-case-surge/
        How to interpret the 15,152 surge in COVID-19 new cases of February 12
        China reported 15,152 new cases for February 12, in an apparent 600% surge over the preceding day. However, this spike does not represent a change in the trend.
        In fact, 13,332 of these new cases are clinically (rather than laboratory) confirmed cases, reported for the first time as an effect of a change in how cases are diagnosed and reported in Hubei province starting on February 12. Previously, these cases were counted as “probable” or “suspected” cases.

        Of the 15,152 new cases reported, only 1,820 are new laboratory confirmed cases (1,508 in Hubei province and 312 elsewhere in China).

        These 1,820 new laboratory confirmed cases actually represent a decline of 26% over the preceding day (when 2,467 cases, all laboratory confirmed, were reported).

        Looks like I did find a good site for my personal data collection.

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