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NY Times Advises China on Covid-19: Abandon Success, Try Failure
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Shielding the Western elite from justified rage

The recent outbreak of the Delta variant in China “shows that its strategy no longer fits. It is time for China to change tack.”

So declared a lead essay atop the New York Times Opinion/Editorial section on Sept. 7 by Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Delta outbreak that “changed the game” in Huang’s words emerged after an outbreak at Nanjing international airport in July traced to a flight from Russia. Did this outbreak change anything in fact?

Let’s do the numbers.

Let’s do something that Huang did not; let’s look at the numbers from July 1 until Sept. 7 the date of the article, a period that brackets the Delta outbreak cited by Huang.

During that period China experienced 273 new cases, about 4 per day, and no new deaths. That hardly seems like a failure.

To get some perspective on these numbers, during that same July1-Sept. 7 period, the US a country one fourth China’s size reported 6,560,588 new cases (96,479 per day) and 45,054 new deaths (662 per day).

The same contrast can be seen for the entire period of the pandemic. From the pandemic’s initial Wuhan outbreak in January, 2020, until Sept. 7, 2021:

China had a sum total of 95,512 cases and 4629 deaths;

The US had 40,196,953 cases and 648,146 deaths.

There have been two previous outbreaks of the Delta variant in China, one in Guangdong and another in Yunnan near the Myanmar border before the one arising in Nanjing. The Delta variant was contained in each case. None of the three has turned out to be a “game changer,” as Huang incorrectly maintains.

Perhaps it is the U.S. that needs “to change tack.”

To anticipate an objection that has largely faded but persists in some quarters, can we believe the case and mortality count China gives us? There are now many first-hand accounts of what life has been like in China these days that make the official tallies quite reasonable. And quantitative evidence supporting China’s data is available in a peer-reviewed study in the prestigious British Medical Journal; it is summarized and discussed here. Carried out by groups at Oxford University and China’s CDC, the study compares excess deaths in Wuhan and also in the rest of China during the period of the lockdown, and it finds that the official counts are remarkably accurate.

Do China’s life-saving measures imperil its economy?

China would need a very good reason to abandon its public health measures of massive, rapid testing, tracing and, where necessary, quarantining. Are there any such reasons? Mr. Huang states that the life-saving measures now “threaten overall economic growth in China. Does this prognostication fit the facts?

China’s GDP grew more slowly in 2020, but still it grew by 2.27%, the only major economy in the world not to contract. In contrast the US economy contracted by 3.51%. (Even China’s slowed growth in 2020 matched the US economy in normal times, which grew at an average rate of 2.3% in the four pre-pandemic years, 2016-2019.)

What about the future? Economies are set to rebound in 2021 from their 2020 lows, with recent projections giving China an 8.4% bounce before settling in to an average growth of 6% over the following 5 years. For comparison the US jump in 2021 is estimated to be 6.4%, dropping to a 1.9% average over the following 5 years.

In terms of the economy present and future, China’s policies appear to be doing quite well, better in fact than any other major economy. Mr. Huang has advanced a thesis that is unencumbered by the facts.

Why is the media’s failure to report on China’s success a threat to our very lives?

At every step of the way, China’s successes with Covid-19 have been met in the U.S. media with silence, denigration or a prediction that the success cannot continue (FAIR provides a brief survey here). As a result, China’s measures are not widely known or understood.

China’s success with its public health measures is important for us now, because the pandemic is far from over. We don’t know what surprises viral evolution will have in store for us. If a new variant emerges that is resistant to existing vaccines, then we have only public health measures to protect us until we catch up. That is also true for future pandemics which will surely come our way. For us to be kept in ignorance of those measures or to have them dismissed, as Yanzhong Huang does, poses a threat to our very lives.

In sum, China’s containment efforts worked very well – even before the present era of vaccines. China is now quickly adding vaccines to its arsenal with 73% of its population fully vaccinated and with a booster program underway which may include mRNA vaccines, both its own and BioNTech’s now made by Fosun Pharma in Shanghai. But it is clear now that vaccines alone are not enough to contain Covid, and it would be foolish for China to abandon its current measures. What will happen in the future is unclear of course as the world struggles on, but so far China presents us with a model for saving lives and reducing symptomatic disease to disappearingly low levels.

We might also wonder what would happen if the people of the West, including the U.S., understood clearly that measures were possible which could have protected us from the millions of deaths we have suffered. How would the millions of friends and loved ones of the dead and badly damaged react to that news? Governments have toppled from far less. Mr. Huang, the New York Times and the mass media, whatever else they are doing, are certainly protecting our Establishment from a rage that might have most unpleasant consequences for them.

John V. Walsh can be reached at [email protected] He is a founding member of “ComeHomeAmerica.US”.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: China, China/America, Coronavirus 
The China/America Series
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  1. Let’s look at the first part of the argument you’re trying to take down (the rest of it is of course trash, this is the NYT after all):

    Then came the Delta variant. An outbreak that started in Nanjing, in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province, on July 20 quickly spread to at least 17 provinces, causing the worst outbreak since Wuhan. Now more than a month has elapsed since the first Nanjing cases were identified — and the Chinese government still has been unable to completely break the domestic transmission chain. As of Sunday, there were still three intermediate-risk Covid areas nationwide, according to the government’s classification system. In Yangzhou, which became the new outbreak epicenter in Jiangsu Province, residents were prevented from leaving their homes for a month and underwent at least 12 mandatory rounds of nucleic acid testing.

    Maybe this involves less than 273 cases as the Official statistics claim (I’m assuming some cases came from other outbreaks).

    But if those claims are correct it’s very serious, and overt actions in a majority of of the nation’s provinces speak loudly. And are consistent with the PRC’s non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) and vaccinations failing to be as effective against Delta with both its greater transmissibility and immune escape mutations. That’s why it’s generally been a “game changer” around the world even if as you claim Yanzhong Huang fails to make a convincing case.

    For example, we’re already at the point were “a new variant emerges that is resistant to existing vaccines,” ones that target the spike protein of classic Wuhan show lower efficacies for all endpoints, although one can hope the PRC’s inactivated whole virus vaccines do better through targeting proteins in addition to the spike one, like the “N” nucleocapsid one that Indian Bharat Biotech’s does in animal testing. (Complete resistance would mean a new “strain,” we have reasonable hopes that won’t happen but only time will tell.)

    IF the official statistics bear some resemblance to reality it is indeed entirely premature for the PRC to change its policies; time will tell.

    • Replies: @Brás Cubas
  2. onebornfree says: • Website

    Here we go again! Yet another “America needs to be more like China” article, written by some state indoctrinated halfwit who is stupid or gullible enough to believe CCP figures/claims about its “successful” treatment of something that’s never been proven to exist.

    “China’s Charm Has Expired”

    “China Won’t Be Taking Over the World”

    “If the US Wants to Beat China, Why Is It Copying China’s Socialism?”

    “Regards” onebornfree

    • Replies: @onebornfree
  3. onebornfree says: • Website

    I said: “….written by some state indoctrinated halfwit who is stupid or gullible enough to believe CCP figures/claims …”

    To whit:

    “The fact is that communism is and has always been alien to civilisation. We cannot rely on communist regimes to behave appropriately or honourably. We can place no trust in their word, even in the most elementary matters.”

    “Take, for example, the statistics on COVID-19 for which the CCP is responsible.”

    “We are told the deaths from the virus in Australia, a country of 26 million, will soon exceed those from Communist China, a country with a population of over 1.4 billion.”

    “Clearly, no wise person would ever take either their statistics, or their word, seriously…”


    Regards, onebornfree

    P.s.Please don’t assume that I’m saying that the official US government figures for Covid ( or anything else) are any more believable, because they’re not.😎

  4. Rahan says:

    Mr. Huang states that the life-saving measures now “threaten overall economic growth in China.

    Love that kindly concern about the fate of China’s economy. “We only want what’s good for you, Mr. Xi”.


    How about Australia, though. It’s a f*cking brutal zogbot nightmare there now for what the third month in a row? No advice for Australia?

  5. @That Would Be Telling

    When will vaccines targeting Delta (and possibly other new variants) be available? Are they being made at all?

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  6. @Brás Cubas

    When will vaccines targeting Delta (and possibly other new variants) be available? Are they being made at all?

    They are being made, it’s extremely to very easy to make the ones based on modern technology like the mRNA and viral vector ones, and I assume easy enough for inactivated whole viruses (there you need a sample culture and BSL-3 facilities), and tested on small scales (for challenge tests you need a good and preferably cheap AKA mice model and again BSL-3 facilities), the big problem is the major league testing the anti-vaxxers insist isn’t happening. Like the 10,000 person trial BioNTech and Pfizer are doing for a booster dose of their Original Forumla against classic Wuhan vaccine, it started this summer and had no data to report to the FDA when “Biden” forced Pfizer’s hand, and we saw what that results in when the advisory committee met.

    So the vaccine companies are faced with the issue of spending a lot of money to do big Phase III tests in a context where they’re harder, so many people have gotten natural and/or vaccine immunity it’s going to take a longer to get efficacy results (still takes only two months for safety). So if they do this for Delta with government and/or their own money, they have to make a good case for either, is Delta still going to be the dominant strain by the time they’ve got results?

    Suppose they’d done big Phase III trials for Alpha? As a matter of fact they wouldn’t because it doesn’t escape immunity like Delta, but its transmissibility is in between classic Wuhan and Delta, and so it had a short period while it was dominant. There’s also opportunity cost to consider, suppose you do this and an even more troublesome variant arises. As it is, per Wikipedia there’s already AY.1 through AY.28 variants of Delta, although that system does not signify anything biological about them.

    Some will be dominant in various regions simply due to the founder effect. Here’s Wikipedia on that in a significantly different context; in short for this context, if a index case with a particular mutation starts cases in region A, and a different one in region B, you’ll see that mutation all the cases which has it as its ancestor. Thanks to the unique among RNA viruses proofreading mechanism the coronaviruses have that’s particularly useful for monitoring, but it doesn’t mean the mutations in question have any clinical or epidemiological significance.

    A lot of mutations are “mostly harmless,” for example in parts of virus proteins that are structural, you need an amino acid about “this big” there and several will do, and that may or may not be immunological significant. The ideal targets for antibodies and other parts of the adaptive immune system are “conserved” and can’t change (much) or “the virus won’t virus.”

    For strategy in handling the pandemic, the serially more transmissible Alpha and then Delta are sobering, with Delta having a different mutation in one particular location that’s also in Alpha and some less important variants. This Alpha to Delta sequence suggests the virus may not have finished adapting itself to humans and with the vaccines against classic Wuhan having significant efficacy against it, we’ve got a bigger problem getting vaccines into the willing in the developing world and the unwilling everywhere, it would make sense to hold our fire until we think we have a better handle on what may happen.

    TL;DR: “Reply hazy, ask again later.”

    • Thanks: Brás Cubas
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