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TM, ®, Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

    Trump's Virus (Sinophobia & Covid-19)

    (originally published in March 2020)

    Did China really have a covid-19 epidemic? No, this is not a conspiracy theory. It's about definitions. Whether you believe the numbers provided by China or not (i don't), it is a fact that large cities like Shanghai and Beijing escaped the epidemic, and that it has been mostly contained all over China. Even if the total number of cases in China is ten times more than the official 80,000, that's still a low number in a country of 1.4 billion people, four times more than the USA. The province of Zhejiang that has the same population as Italy recorded only one death. Is it an epidemic when only one person dies out of 60 million? Those of us who have contacts in those cities and provinces have not heard of a single case, of a single death. Even if you don't believe the official data (i don't), you have to accept that there was no epidemic outside of Hubei province. Taiwan has registered only 67 cases of infection and only one death, and we do trust the numbers from Taiwan. Ditto for Hong Kong. These are places that have a lot of contacts with mainland China. In retrospect, the epidemic remained the problem of a Chinese province, not of all of China.

    In yet another display of his scientific competence, Trump called covid-19 "the China virus" or "the Chinese virus" . There have been many viruses in history from China, just like there have been many viruses from Europe, but only one under Trump, so, if we don't want to call it "covid-19", let's call it "Trump's virus", which identifies it uniquely.

    Trump's virus has now caused a worldwide catastrophe. Thousands of people are dying in multiple countries. The economic consequences are unpredictable but will probably take a huge toll on the whole planet. Many books will be written by future historians about the causes of this planetary catastrophe: urbanization, globalization, overpopulation, climate change, and so on. One fact will stand out: if this epidemic had remained confined to China, it would have remained a Chinese problem, and, in fact, the problem of only one province, Hubei, which is the only one in China that experienced a real epidemic.

    Therefore it wasn't inevitable that it would spread all over the world. Who did it? Who is responsible for turning a local epidemic into a global epidemic? Racists like Trump who need to defend their irresponsible inaction and lies try to pin the responsibility on China, but there is actually no evidence that the virus was exported to the West by Chinese travelers. It looks like the virus was mainly spread by Westerners: citizens returning to their country from China, passengers of cruise ships, and so on. Trump banned Chinese visitors from entering the USA but let tens of thousands of US citizens return from infected areas without being tested. And then the problem was compounded by government delays. In the USA the government ridiculed the notion that covid-19 (Trump's virus) could destabilize the country, and Trump consistently downplayed the threat, mocking those who were sounding the alarm, in fact taking the alarm as a conspiracy against him.

    Calling it "the Chinese virus" is a way to avoid the responsibility of what happened next. The Chinese built a hospital in ten days, whereas the USA still can't build enough masks and ventilators in two months, and didn't have working test kits until March 6. Even toilet paper is scarce.

    It is also a way to deflect attention from the lack of prevention in the USA. Trump in March 2018 disbanded the global health security team, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had to slash by 80% its program to prevent global disease outbreaks. In January 2020 Trump proposed cuts to CDC: cutting Health and Human Services funding by $9.5 billion, including a 15% cut of $1.2 billion to the CDC and a $35 million reduction of the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund's annual contribution. In 2010 the CDC budget was $12.7bn in current dollars; today it is $8bn. In 2018 Trump defunded and therefore killed a program by the CDC for epidemic prevention activities in 39 countries, including China a program started by Obama in 2014 to prevent ebola from spreading. The CDC director, Tom Frieden, complained publicly that this "would significantly increase the chance an epidemic will spread without our knowledge and endanger lives in our country and around the world." When in 2017 the Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and several countries established the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) Trump decided that the USA would not be among the participants: CEPI's goal is to speed up the process of vaccine development. Trump also killed the Complex Crises Fund, a fund created by then secretary of state Hillary Clinton to deploy disease experts and others in the event of a crisis.

    There is a sharp contrast between the east Asian epidemic and the Western epidemic. The "Chinese virus" was contained in east Asia. The Western virus was not.

    Westerners spread it, and the inaction of Western governments allowed it to spread. We can certainly blame China (or at least Wuhan) for originating the virus (let's hope that it wasn't made in a US lab like some claim), but it was not China that spread it: it was the West that spread it all over the world. Westerners are still the majority of international travelers and multinationals are still mostly from the West. Western governments obviously did not realize this simple fact, even when it was becoming evident that the virus was traveling to Europe and the USA via returning citizens and that the virus was traveling to developing countries via Western tourists and businessmen.

    If Taiwan only has 67 cases, maybe there was a way to limit the damage. Instead, the Western nations turned the problem of a Chinese province into a planetary problem.

    This is not China's virus, and it is not even Wuhan's virus: it is time that Western governments take responsibility for turning a regional problem into a global disaster.

    Continues here: Sinophobia & Covid-19

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
    Back to the world news

    See also:
    The Clown & the Virus - Part 1,
    The Clown & the Virus - Part 2,
    Sinophobia & Covid-19 .
    Sinophobia & Covid-19 in US Media .
    Was covid-19 made in the USA?,
    A Timeline of Covid-19,
    Covid-19: How it may change the World,
    Covid-19: An introduction and summary,

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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TM, ®, Copyright © 2017 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.