In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, everybody has been trying to blame China for the severity of the pandemic. They blame China for a lack of transparency, for covering up details about the virus, for her tardiness in reporting the disease to the WHO. The claim is that had China been more forthcoming, the global death toll due to COVID-19 would’ve been much lower, by as much as 95%, according to some estimates. This is because other countries would’ve had earlier warning and taken proactive steps to shut down their borders, lock down their citizenry, and ramp up their medical facilities to deal with the imminent outbreaks.
But how true is this? How much responsibility does China bear, and how much responsibility do we in the West bear?
The people blaming China are basing their argument on many assumptions, most of which are, in fact, rubbish. Let’s take a look at the timeline…
Dec. 31, 2019 — China confirmed dozens of mysterious cases of pneumonia to the WHO.
How much did the Chinese know about the novel coronavirus at this time that would’ve set off alarm bells and caused countries like USA, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and UK to immediately close their borders and lock themselves down? Not enough, that’s for sure.
Chinese officials were aware of COVID infections in early December. By the end of the month, there were only a few dozen confirmed cases. Was this enough time to determine the lethality of the virus? After all, we in the West have had months to analyse the virus and we still aren’t sure of our facts!
Here’s the problem: other countries have been negligent, too, in the way they conducted themselves during this crisis. For example, the USA knew of the severity of COVID-19 on Jan. 21 when the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was discovered in Washington state. The virus was already sweeping across the country via asymptomatic carriers and people who hadn’t yet shown symptoms, all unbeknownst to authorities.
But it would be another month (Feb. 29) before President Trump announced travel bans. Why didn’t the USA close her borders and lock down the country immediately?! What did they not know, and what did China have to do with it?
By this time, Italy and Iran were already in crisis mode. Italy only issued a lockdown of the northern Lombardy region on March 8. March 8!!!
President Trump announced a state of emergency on March 13. What, it wasn’t an emergency before?!
On March 16, Germany finally sealed its border with France, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Denmark. Well, they certainly took their time, didn’t they?
At the same time, Canada closed her border. What took so long?!
Belgium announced plans to lock down the country on March 18. Again, what took so long?
I could go on, but the point is clear: every country in the world shares some of the blame. They were tardy in closing their borders. They didn’t ramp up their healthcare systems fast enough.
Would China reporting to WHO a month earlier have made any difference? Common sense says, no.
So, what’s the reason for all this blaming of China? It’s politically motivated. It’s the demonization of China because she has an autocratic government that is opaque and self-serving and hostile to human rights.
It’s also because we have to blame someone. We don’t want to look at ourselves in the mirror.