China's coronavirus outbreak looks worse than the Chicoms are admitting

Communist regimes are famous for concealing inconvenient information, and that appears to be the case in China with the spread of the coronavirus, a SARS-linked pneumonia-like flu that reportedly has killed 26, infected nearly a thousand, and spread to to more than a half-dozen countries beyond China, including the U.S.  The Chinese have got 20 million people on lockdown in Wuhan and several cities near it, just as the Chinese New Year begins, which is the entire region's biggest holiday.

It's pretty obvious the epidemic is spreading anyway.  Officials, culpably or not, closed the barn door after the horse got out.

According to the Associated Press:

China's National Health Commission said Friday morning the confirmed cases of the new coronavirus had risen to 830 with 25 deaths. The first death was also confirmed outside the central province of Hubei, where the capital, Wuhan, has been the epicenter of the outbreak. The health commission in Hebei, a northern province bordering Beijing, said an 80-year-old man died after returning from a two-month stay in Wuhan to see relatives.

The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or people with connections the city. Other cases have been confirmed in the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. Singapore and Vietnam reported their first cases Thursday, and cases have also been confirmed in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macao.

Here's the evidence that they're concealing just how bad it is:

First, whether through incompetence or design, they've seemingly ignored their obligation to set up safety measures, described below.  Worse still, they have destroyed the evidence of the disease's origin by scrubbing out the market for exotic food that is the top suspect in the virus's origin, making it now practically impossible to trace, which is an important first step in setting a strategy for containment:

Dr. Guan, in his interview with Caixin, was critical of the local government, saying it had not done enough earlier this week to stop the coronavirus in Wuhan.

"Even though the central authorities have said in the past two days they were attaching a high degree of importance, local health protections had not been upgraded at all," he said. "At the time I thought this was going to be a 'state of war.' Why hadn't the alarm been sounded?"

Dr. Guan said he was disturbed by the lack of safety measures being put in place. At the airport he saw no disinfection being carried out and only a few random places like a Starbucks had put out liquid hand sanitizer dispensers.

The situation was so surprising, "my jaw dropped," he said.

He said he continually ran into obstacles when trying to find researchers to work with on tracing the source of the virus. The seafood and poultry market believed to [be] the source had been thoroughly cleaned, he complained, preventing any effective investigation.

"There's no crime scene," he said.

Signs so far point to some kind of edible vermin origin, which is what needed to be identified to shut down the disease vector.  No chance of it now:

Early epidemiological research is indicating that it may have come from wild animals such as bamboo rats and badgers, said Dr. Zhong Nanshan, a prominent Chinese scientist who was the country's leading expert during the SARS outbreak, during an interview with state media on Monday. Named for its bamboo-heavy diet, the cat-sized bamboo rat has become a somewhat popular delicacy in recent years in China, promoted for its purported health properties.

A group of Chinese researchers from the eastern city of Tianjin and Nanjing in the south, said the Wuhan coronavirus may have originated from Chinese horseshoe bats, according to a study they published in the Chinese Journal of Bioinformatics on Tuesday.

China's National Genomics Data Center said the Wuhan virus was 88 percent genetically similar to a SARS-like coronavirus that was collected from bats in China in 2017.

Still another group of Chinese scientists suggested that snakes were the "most probable wildlife animal reservoir" for the novel coronavirus, then transmitted to humans, in an article published in the Journal of Medical Virology Wednesday.

But it could be even worse than that — here's what Gordon Chang suspects could be going on:

 

Cover-up, indeed.

Wuhan, meanwhile, is a pretty miserable city — the locals call it the "furnace" based on its 100-degree summer temperatures and massive air pollution.  But like Chicago, it's a major transport hub, so things can move fast from there.  The fact that today begins the huge holiday of Chinese New Year is going to make it even worse.

Already the locals are complaining — about empty store shelves and authorities telling them nothing. There are reports of Wuhan looking like a ghost town and videos are circulating on social media of doctors collapsing in the hospitals as they deal with patients. Speaking of 'viral.'

Worse still, they seem to have stepped up censorship. According to the Washington Post (hat tip: Pamela Geller)

Residents of Wuhan report empty shelves in stores and express frustration that the government isn't telling them the full story.

- The World Health Organization declined to declare a global health emergency Thursday, saying it's too early.

The extreme measures were accompanied by other indications that Communist Party authorities were struggling to control the outbreak, notably the aggressive censorship of any criticism or skepticism on social media.

This report from Australia shows just how bad it is.

This Washington Post report details all the efforts the Chicoms are making to cover the matter up, making it worse than it might be:

The ruling Communist Party, which initially tried to show transparency after being criticized for covering up the SARS virus outbreak 17 years ago, has now shown signs of reverting to its default position of censoring bad news.

In a post that was online for less than an hour, the Wuhan Health Commission admitted Thursday that it was struggling to respond to the outbreak.

A post from Wuhan Railway saying that 300,000 people traveled by train out of Wuhan on Wednesday, headed to every corner of the country, was also quickly deleted.

A Chinese epidemiology expert who identified the 2003 SARS outbreak and had been outspoken about government blundering earlier, is mysteriously silent, the Post reported.

Why would the Chinese be doing this? Nobody loses their job from incompetence in a one-party totalitarian regime. ...

The WaPo reports that Chinese officials are actually terrified of the people.

Analysts said the heavy-handed reaction underscored the political risks for Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the ruling Communist Party, already under pressure amid an economic slowdown and accused of mishandling an outbreak of swine fever last year, which led to a sharp spike in prices for China's beloved pork.

"This outbreak may be the biggest threat to Xi and the Party in years, which is why they will stop at nothing to try to control and then eradicate it," said Bill Bishop, publisher of the influential Sinocism newsletter.

The city of Wuhan pulsated with fear and anger Thursday, as 11 million people absorbed the news that they were being confined to a metropolis-sized quarantine zone designed to contain a widening coronavirus outbreak.

Incompetence, zero holiday, empty store shelves ... sounds like a recipe for a riot. And China already is dealing with riots and revolts on its economic fringes - in dirt poor Xinjiang in the west and uberrich Hong Kong in the east. A full blown revolt right in the Chinese heartland might just create a tipping point for the communist regime, which is already under strain and at the 75 year point in its tyranny, a point which a lot of regimes (Think: Mexico, Soviet Union) collapse. 

It certainly would explain the crazy cover-up from the old gray men of Beijing.

Image credit: Twitter screen shot.

Communist regimes are famous for concealing inconvenient information, and that appears to be the case in China with the spread of the coronavirus, a SARS-linked pneumonia-like flu that reportedly has killed 26, infected nearly a thousand, and spread to to more than a half-dozen countries beyond China, including the U.S.  The Chinese have got 20 million people on lockdown in Wuhan and several cities near it, just as the Chinese New Year begins, which is the entire region's biggest holiday.

It's pretty obvious the epidemic is spreading anyway.  Officials, culpably or not, closed the barn door after the horse got out.

According to the Associated Press:

China's National Health Commission said Friday morning the confirmed cases of the new coronavirus had risen to 830 with 25 deaths. The first death was also confirmed outside the central province of Hubei, where the capital, Wuhan, has been the epicenter of the outbreak. The health commission in Hebei, a northern province bordering Beijing, said an 80-year-old man died after returning from a two-month stay in Wuhan to see relatives.

The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or people with connections the city. Other cases have been confirmed in the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. Singapore and Vietnam reported their first cases Thursday, and cases have also been confirmed in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macao.

Here's the evidence that they're concealing just how bad it is:

First, whether through incompetence or design, they've seemingly ignored their obligation to set up safety measures, described below.  Worse still, they have destroyed the evidence of the disease's origin by scrubbing out the market for exotic food that is the top suspect in the virus's origin, making it now practically impossible to trace, which is an important first step in setting a strategy for containment:

Dr. Guan, in his interview with Caixin, was critical of the local government, saying it had not done enough earlier this week to stop the coronavirus in Wuhan.

"Even though the central authorities have said in the past two days they were attaching a high degree of importance, local health protections had not been upgraded at all," he said. "At the time I thought this was going to be a 'state of war.' Why hadn't the alarm been sounded?"

Dr. Guan said he was disturbed by the lack of safety measures being put in place. At the airport he saw no disinfection being carried out and only a few random places like a Starbucks had put out liquid hand sanitizer dispensers.

The situation was so surprising, "my jaw dropped," he said.

He said he continually ran into obstacles when trying to find researchers to work with on tracing the source of the virus. The seafood and poultry market believed to [be] the source had been thoroughly cleaned, he complained, preventing any effective investigation.

"There's no crime scene," he said.

Signs so far point to some kind of edible vermin origin, which is what needed to be identified to shut down the disease vector.  No chance of it now:

Early epidemiological research is indicating that it may have come from wild animals such as bamboo rats and badgers, said Dr. Zhong Nanshan, a prominent Chinese scientist who was the country's leading expert during the SARS outbreak, during an interview with state media on Monday. Named for its bamboo-heavy diet, the cat-sized bamboo rat has become a somewhat popular delicacy in recent years in China, promoted for its purported health properties.

A group of Chinese researchers from the eastern city of Tianjin and Nanjing in the south, said the Wuhan coronavirus may have originated from Chinese horseshoe bats, according to a study they published in the Chinese Journal of Bioinformatics on Tuesday.

China's National Genomics Data Center said the Wuhan virus was 88 percent genetically similar to a SARS-like coronavirus that was collected from bats in China in 2017.

Still another group of Chinese scientists suggested that snakes were the "most probable wildlife animal reservoir" for the novel coronavirus, then transmitted to humans, in an article published in the Journal of Medical Virology Wednesday.

But it could be even worse than that — here's what Gordon Chang suspects could be going on:

 

Cover-up, indeed.

Wuhan, meanwhile, is a pretty miserable city — the locals call it the "furnace" based on its 100-degree summer temperatures and massive air pollution.  But like Chicago, it's a major transport hub, so things can move fast from there.  The fact that today begins the huge holiday of Chinese New Year is going to make it even worse.

Already the locals are complaining — about empty store shelves and authorities telling them nothing. There are reports of Wuhan looking like a ghost town and videos are circulating on social media of doctors collapsing in the hospitals as they deal with patients. Speaking of 'viral.'

Worse still, they seem to have stepped up censorship. According to the Washington Post (hat tip: Pamela Geller)

Residents of Wuhan report empty shelves in stores and express frustration that the government isn't telling them the full story.

- The World Health Organization declined to declare a global health emergency Thursday, saying it's too early.

The extreme measures were accompanied by other indications that Communist Party authorities were struggling to control the outbreak, notably the aggressive censorship of any criticism or skepticism on social media.

This report from Australia shows just how bad it is.

This Washington Post report details all the efforts the Chicoms are making to cover the matter up, making it worse than it might be:

The ruling Communist Party, which initially tried to show transparency after being criticized for covering up the SARS virus outbreak 17 years ago, has now shown signs of reverting to its default position of censoring bad news.

In a post that was online for less than an hour, the Wuhan Health Commission admitted Thursday that it was struggling to respond to the outbreak.

A post from Wuhan Railway saying that 300,000 people traveled by train out of Wuhan on Wednesday, headed to every corner of the country, was also quickly deleted.

A Chinese epidemiology expert who identified the 2003 SARS outbreak and had been outspoken about government blundering earlier, is mysteriously silent, the Post reported.

Why would the Chinese be doing this? Nobody loses their job from incompetence in a one-party totalitarian regime. ...

The WaPo reports that Chinese officials are actually terrified of the people.

Analysts said the heavy-handed reaction underscored the political risks for Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the ruling Communist Party, already under pressure amid an economic slowdown and accused of mishandling an outbreak of swine fever last year, which led to a sharp spike in prices for China's beloved pork.

"This outbreak may be the biggest threat to Xi and the Party in years, which is why they will stop at nothing to try to control and then eradicate it," said Bill Bishop, publisher of the influential Sinocism newsletter.

The city of Wuhan pulsated with fear and anger Thursday, as 11 million people absorbed the news that they were being confined to a metropolis-sized quarantine zone designed to contain a widening coronavirus outbreak.

Incompetence, zero holiday, empty store shelves ... sounds like a recipe for a riot. And China already is dealing with riots and revolts on its economic fringes - in dirt poor Xinjiang in the west and uberrich Hong Kong in the east. A full blown revolt right in the Chinese heartland might just create a tipping point for the communist regime, which is already under strain and at the 75 year point in its tyranny, a point which a lot of regimes (Think: Mexico, Soviet Union) collapse. 

It certainly would explain the crazy cover-up from the old gray men of Beijing.

Image credit: Twitter screen shot.