The Key Political Question about the Wuhan Virus in the U.S. — And Why Widespread Testing is the Number One Imperative
Here is my key question:
If the social credit, uber-face recognition totalitarian state of China can’t quarantine this (as evidenced by its global spread and the fact that the 60 million person quarantine inside China they imposed Jan. 23rd is STILL IN EFFECT) what is it about the West or American society that is going to make the Wuhan virus have a smaller impact on the U.S. health or economic systems?
What difference in Chinese society versus our society make in the transmission rate of the virus in the U.S. versus China?
Could it be the cultural difference in our notion of personal space?
Better quality health care in the U.S.?
Here is my horseback response — I have no clue: time will tell.
What the doctors and nurses in Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International/Doctors Without Borders will tell you is this: Is there access to clean water and consistent electricity and power, plus can you receive real-time information updates. And, do you have access to clean, healthy food?
Those four key things define the mortality rate for the country of something like the Wuhan virus — and bulldozing hospitals or collapsing quarantine hotels in China because they have no sense of personal space and have packed too many sick people in the halls and rooms, indicates their country’s infrastructure is not up to the task.
As Korea has discovered, the real way to contain and collapse the transmission of the virus is to test as many people as possible so those with the virus can be contained and quarantined to stop the spread.
Korea’s contribution to the global strategy to stop the Wuhan virus is far more user-friendly than the Obergruppenführer approach being taken by China.
Here are a couple of key data points from the Bloomberg article via Yahoo News (linked to above) that is titled: “Virus Testing Blitz Appears to Keep Korea Death Rate Low:”
(Bloomberg) — Highly contagious and manifesting in some with little or no symptoms, the coronavirus has the world struggling to keep up. But when it comes to containing the epidemic, one country may be cracking the code — by doubling down on testing.
South Korea is experiencing the largest virus epidemic outside of China, where the pneumonia-causing pathogen first took root late last year. But unlike China, which locked down a province of more than 60 million people to try and stop the illness spreading, Korea hasn’t put any curbs on internal movement in place, instead testing hundreds of thousands of people everywhere from clinics to drive-through stations.
It appears to be paying off in a lower-than-average mortality rate. The outbreak is also showing signs of being largely contained in Daegu, the city about 150 miles south of Seoul where most of the country’s more than 5,700 infections have emerged. South Korea reported the rate of new cases dropped three days in a row.
It’s an approach born out of bitter experience.
An outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in 2015 killed 38 people in South Korea, with a lack of kits to test for the MERS pathogen meaning infected patients went from hospital to hospital seeking help, spreading the virus widely. Afterward, the country created a system to allow rapid approval of testing kits for viruses which have the potential to cause pandemics.
So, the massive supply of U.S. test kits that are now being created and the multiple sources of Wuhan test kits being made available to State and local authorities and hospitals and clinics in the U.S. is the entire key to making the Wuhan virus in the United States impact as small as possible.
The distribution of the test kits is occurring right now and will continue over the next week to ten days. Then, sufficient supplies will be everywhere to allow testing without restrictions.
The questions are pretty simple: is it too little too late? And/or, how widespread is the infection in the United States?
Finally, if as some fear, millions of Americans have the virus — then perhaps it is time to focus on a or many treatment protocols since if sufficiently widespread that there is community spread throughout the U.S. or in key parts of it, then, the virus will be largely unstoppable, at least in urban and suburban settings.
If the virus is widescreen, then we will be moving on to the part where those who cannot fight it die off, and help the collective human herd, by removing their genome and weakness to the disease from the human collective gene pool, and therefore, strengthening those that remain alive and able to fight off the virus.
This is what happened in 1918 with the Spanish flu when an estimated 50 million humans died. Now, the base version of the Spanish flu is widescreen across the globe, but the mortality rate is very low, at 0.1%. Those left after 1918 were able to survive with the flu virus in circulation and it kills relatively few people every year, compared to when it first arrived.
Essentially, that is what will happen now or is happening now, if testing finds widescreen infection of the Wuhan virus in the United States.
That is not to say the political or collective economic or health effects won’t be significant or very difficult for everyone.
But from the moment test kits are in-hand, it’s all about the number of tests and what the testing reveals.
If the CDC or HHS or the WH is seen as failing on the distribution or manufacture of the tests any more than they have been to date, it could easily cost President Trump his re-election, if (and only if) Wuhan virus infection rate is already widescreen in the U.S.
These two graphs from the Morning Consult today, are relevant indicators of political and economic risk:
It also bears mentioning that there are and have been a number of reports about the “real” impact of the virus in China — which essentially state — the Chinese have been lying to the world.
One recent report says that of the 20% who are severely impacted by the Wuhan virus, few recover. (Thus, the smog from forty portable industrial incinerators which are designed to burn tons of biological waste at scale brought to Wuhan, China weeks ago.)
But civil servants tell Caixan that businesses are actually faking these numbers. Beijing had started checking Zhejiang businesses’ electricity consumption levels, so district officials ordered the companies to start leaving their lights and machinery on all day to drive the numbers up, one civil servant said. Businesses have reportedly falsified staff attendance logs as well — they “would rather waste a small amount of money on power than irritate local officials,” Caixan writes.
In Wuhan, officials have tried to make it appear that recovery efforts are going smoothly. But when “central leaders” personally survey disinfecting regimens and food delivery, local officials “make a special effort” for them and them alone, one resident told Caixan. And in a video circulating on social media, residents can be seen shouting at visiting leaders from the apartments where they’re being quarantined — “Fake, it’s all fake.” Read more at Caixan.
This is the other reason to have the test kits distributed widely in the U.S. in numbers that matter — we will know over the course of the disease for Americans with severe illness from the Wuhan virus if the Chinese are lying, and by what magnitude they are lying.
But if President Xi has been lying to President Trump about the disease and Trump has believed it to his detriment politically in the United States, then that relationship will suffer greatly, as may President Trump, politically, as the two graphs above indicate.