Home > Analysis > How China Covered up the Coronavirus Crisis

How China Covered up the Coronavirus Crisis

Despite Trump having said he will stop using the term “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus” a few days ago, 1 the U.S. is still actively pushing the world to buy the idea that China covered up its coronavirus outbreak, a cover up which directly lead the world to suffer a pandemic.

The G7 just failed to issue a joint statement because the U.S. kept pushing for a statement about a “Wuhan virus” that the others felt was unnecessarily antagonistic.

Recently, I found an article that goes over the U.S.’s full spectrum efforts to smear China in the face of its cataclysmic failures at home. Please refer to the following for a good overview how the US wants to pin China for covering up the Coronavirus Crisis:


No, China didn’t cover up the Covid-19 outbreak: An analysis (from asia-review.com)

Over the course of the course of the outbreak, the narrative surrounding Covid-19 has changed from “China did great in containing the virus” to “China covered up the virus for weeks, CCP must be held accountable”. Many have started to parrot the Chinese “cover up” blindly without looking into the claims.

The “cover up” is largely a false narrative that was initially propagated by various news outlets, like the New York Times and the Guardian.

On March 21, leaked cables and statements from officials revealed the US State Department had informed its officials to propagate the coverup myth in order to distract the American public from its own failures.

“These talking points are all anyone is really talking about right now,” one official said. “Everything is about China. We’re being told to try and get this messaging out in any way possible, including press conferences and television appearances.”

The timeline

2019-12-01 – a viral pneumonia patient with an unknown cause was hospitalized at Jinyintan Hospital. This patient was the earliest known case of 2019-nCoV infections. The patient did not have any exposure to Huanan Seafood Market.

2019-12-27 – Dr. Zhang Jixian, ICU doctor at Hubei Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, files report to Wuhan Municipal Health Commission on pneumonia patients with an unknown cause. Investigation opens shortly later.

2019-12-28 – three more patients arrives to the hospital, all of whom were related to Huanan Seafood Market.

2019-12-30 – Li Wenliang sent messages to private Wechat group about 7 cases of unknown virus, (wrongly) claiming it was SARS.

2019-12-30 – Notice issued and public health announcement made by Wuhan Municipal Health Committee of an unknown viral illness.

2019-12-31 – China receives genome results from commercial lab.

2019-12-31 – WHO is informed of mysterious pneumonia cases in Wuhan China with unknown cause. Wuhan City authorities put out public notice and is reported by CCTV and CGTN.

2020-01-01 – Seafood market shut down as potential cause of outbreak. Chinese researchers at the CCDC publish an article on suspected outbreak.

2020-01-03 – China reports a total of 44 suspected patients with the mystery disease.

2020-01-03 – National Health Commission classified the virus as a highly pathogenic virus, orders all labs to either destroy samples or transfer them to higher level labs. (cited as evidence of coverup such as by NY Post)

2020-01-09 – For the first time, Chinese labs confirm the existence of the new virus. Genetic sequencing work starts

2020-01-09 – China reports first death linked to Covid-19. A 61-year-old male in Wuhan with several underlying medical conditions.

2020-01-11- China shares the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus to international database.

2020-01-14 – WHO reports there is “limited human-to-human transmission between close contacts. WHO assesses that there was no clear evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission. https://www.who.int/csr/don/14-january-2020-novel-coronavirus-thailand-ex-china/en/

2020-01-21 – WHO confirms human-to-human transmission of the virus.

2020-01-24 – China declares complete quarantine of Wuhan.

The main claims of Chinese coverups by Western media:

1. China arrested whistleblower Li Wenliang to silence him

On December 30, Li Wenliang sent some messages to a private Wechat group with a few of his friends, claiming that he saw patient scans and that “There has been 7 confirmed cases of SARS”

Li Wenliang was an opthalmologist (a doctor specialised in eye disorders), who claimed that the virus outbreak was confirmed to be SARS. This was objectively false information spread by a doctor in an unrelated field, obviously he would get censured for spreading rumours. Also, contrary to popular belief, he was not arrested at all, only told by the police to stop spreading rumours and sign a notice. He was reportedly at the police station for only an hour, hardly as serious as Western media have made it sound.

This post goes into further detail debunking the New York Times claim that Li Wenliang was a whistleblower and shows how they twisted the story to suit their narrative: https://mronline.org/2020/03/05/yellow-caking-an-epidemic/

Icing on the cake by the New York Times:

2. China issued gag order and instructions to destroy samples on January 3rd

The New York Post, claims that China’s National Health Commission’s issuing of gag order and instructions to destroy the samples on January 3rd was evidence of coverup.

There are 2 problems with this claim. Firstly, China already informed the WHO of the virus 4 days prior, on 31 December. There is no reason China would inform the WHO voluntarily if they were going to try and cover it up.

Secondly, they intentionally left out the reasoning behind the NHC’s actions, which is that commercial gene sequencing companies are not allowed to process highly contagious viruses. “China’s NHC published an announcement classifying the coronavirus as a highly pathogenic micro-organism (type 2), and requested all samples to be handed to provincial or higher level health authorities. All other organizations or person with the virus sample should either destroy or transfer them” http://china.caixin.com/2020-02-26/101520972.html https://www.reddit.com/r/Sino/comments/fkh7r6/propaganda_debunking_western_media_china/

3. China covered up whether it was human-to-human transmissible

This SCMP article quoting the New England Medical Journal is frequently used as evidence that China covered up information about its transmissibility. The journal states that “there is evidence that human-to-human transmission has occurred among close contacts since the middle of December 2019.”

This Vox article quoting Lancet presents two cases of human-to-human transmission before January 20. One is the wife of the first person who died. The other is a family in Shenzhen.

Yes, both China and WHO knew about these cases and did not declare the virus was human-to-human transmissible at the time. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/wuhan-virus-has-limited-human-to-human-transmission-but-could-spread-wider-who

That is because “limited human-to-human transmission between close contacts” is not the same as declaring it “human-to-human transmissible”. For it to be officially declared “human-to-human transmissible” there had to be evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission. https://twitter.com/WHOWPRO/status/1218741294291308545

It was only when there was widespread infection to medical staff on the 20th of January that there was sufficient evidence to declare it was “human-to-human transmissible”. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/20/c_138721762.htm

4. China faked the numbers

Few media outlets have actually made this claim, but instead many commentators have claimed, without a shred of evidence that China must be faking its numbers because Italy had a higher mortality rate.

Simply compare the mortality rate and spread with other countries. Germany, South Korea and many other countries reported much lower cases and mortality rates. China’s mortality rate is nothing special, right in the middle. Italy also started to peak around 2 weeks after quarantine began, right in line with statistics from Wuhan at the time of its quarantine.

There are things you can’t hide, like mass graves, trucks full of dead bodies. China has not had any of these reports despite thousands of Western reporters trying to dig for scoops. Maybe bureaucracy might cause a few unreported cases here and there, but there has been no evidence at all of a mass coverup of cases and deaths.

Some have claimed China is lying in order to get its economy up again. This is an illogical reason. If China was lying and reopened its economy it would simply spread again.

On the other hand, Japan has been under reporting its cases, using only one sixth of its capacity despite WHO encouraging states to make as many tests as possible. France excluded people dying in homes or nursing homes from death numbers. An Italian mayor leaked that many who died in their homes are not counted in death numbers. Yet no media accuses them of coverups.

<img src=”https://i0.wp.com/external-preview.redd.it/ukwurlwy6ixJ9gNTS1XMcjkNdE8KfqslPJojlBmGIbE.jpg” />

Commendations of China’s response to COVID-19

Donald Trump

  • Trump on Chinese efforts

Yes, Donald Trump and the rest of his government knew China was transparent and took great measures to contain the virus.

It was only when the virus exposed how incompetent the US was that he decided to switch to attacking China, spreading the cover-up myth to distract Americans, as I detailed in another post: https://asia-review.com/2020/03/20/how-the-us-is-using-chinese-virus-as-a-distraction-from-their-own-incompetence/

Bill Gates

Bill Gates on China's Initial Efforts at Detecting and Controlling the Coronavirus

Bill Gates counters the common perception of China faking its numbers.

WHO Joint Mission

The WHO Joint Mission consisted of 25 national and international experts. It was headed by Dr. Bruce Aylward of WHO and Dr Wannian Liang of the People’s Republic of China. The Joint Mission was implemented over a 9-day period from 16-24 February 2020.

  1. In the face of a previously unknown virus, China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history. The strategy that underpinned this containment effort was initially a national approach that promoted universal temperature monitoring, masking, and hand washing. However, as the outbreak evolved, and knowledge was gained, a science and risk-based approach was taken to tailor implementation. Specific containment measures were adjusted to the provincial, county and even community context, the capacity of the setting, and the nature of novel coronavirus transmission there.
  2. Achieving China’s exceptional coverage with and adherence to these containment measures has only been possible due to the deep commitment of the Chinese people to collective action in the face of this common threat. At a community level this is reflected in the remarkable solidarity of provinces and cities in support of the most vulnerable populations and communities. Despite ongoing outbreaks in their own areas, Governors and Mayors have continued to send thousands of health care workers and tons of vital PPE supplies into Hubei province and Wuhan city.
  3. China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic. A particularly compelling statistic is that on the first day of the advance team’s work there were 2478 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in China. Two weeks later, on the final day of this Mission, China reported 409 newly confirmed cases. This decline in COVID-19 cases across China is real.
  4. China is already, and rightfully, working to bolster its economy, reopen its schools and return to a more normal semblance of its society, even as it works to contain the remaining chains of COVID-19 transmission. Appropriately, a science-based, riskinformed and phased approach is being taken, with a clear recognition and readiness of the need to immediately react to any new COVID-19 cases or clusters as key elements of the containment strategy are lifted.

Full report: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf

Conclusion

China’s response to the outbreak of Covid-19 has been exceedingly transparent, swift, effective and lifesaving.

However, the narrative has been hijacked by a few Western media outlets to propagate a cover-up using nitpicked events that were twisted to fit their narrative.

The reason it has been succesful is because it aligns with pre-existing Western biases about China’s government being untrustworthy liars.

No amount of re-writing history will change the objective reality that China faced an entirely new virus, had to do all the discovery from scratch, and still had the fastest and most aggressive response. And nothing will change how the entire western world, despite having all the homework done for them, still failed to react until thousands or tens of thousands of cases emerged.

Further reading:

How the New York Times spun a fake narrative of Chinese coverup: https://mronline.org/2020/03/05/yellow-caking-an-epidemic/

The real timeline of Covid-19: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO5EXjFKE7U

China and the coronavirus: https://www.reddit.com/r/communism/comments/fi390n/china_and_the_coronavirus/

Notes:

  1. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-25/trump-says-he-ll-stop-using-chinese-virus-easing-blame-game; https://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/3076522/donald-trump-drops-chinese-virus-terminology-white
  1. Charles Liu
    March 29th, 2020 at 18:24 | #1

    The scientific community had noticed this too:

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/03/27/science.abb9223

    The nationalism that now has flared up around the White House threatens to undermine the effort to manage a global crisis.

    In looking at the papers coming to Science and posted on preprint servers, it is clear that the only way we can get a handle on the situation is with international collaboration. The data coming out of Chinese labs studying the virus—how it spreads and the disease that it causes—as well as the findings of Chinese scientists on the ground, are indispensable in finding a solution. That’s why the racist labeling of the virus is doubly dangerous.

  2. Charles Liu
    March 31st, 2020 at 15:28 | #2
  3. April 7th, 2020 at 15:22 | #3

    If China tried to “cover up” its coronavirus count secretively, the U.S. is doing it openly…?

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/04/us-will-cover-up-its-own-coronavirus-death-toll.html

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.