In The Beginning
Der Speigel has an investigation into the early days of C19, attempting to figure out who knew what when. While it’s clear the Wuhan/Hubei authorities downplayed the severity so as not to affect their People’s Congress and also tried to hide information from Beijing, at this stage it’s less clear which delays originated in Beijing with the intent of keeping the world in the dark.
The most important political events of the year, after all, were imminent. On Jan. 6, a session of the city parliament was set to begin, and the People’s Congress for the Hubei province was to convene on Jan. 11. And it was now that the provincial government also issued an order that entries into the national disease tracking system be made “cautiously.” Entries were to be coordinated not just with the local health authorities, but also with the city and provincial governments.
The authorities were doing all they could to keep both the public and the central government in the dark about the true extent of the epidemic – likely to prevent the disruption of the two parliamentary sessions. It could, however, also have been because they simply didn’t want to spread bad news – especially not to Beijing.
ABC News reports on the fact that the US Intelligence community was reporting on what became C19 as early as late November, almost a month before the first patient showed up in a Wuhan hospital.
The report was the result of analysis of wire and computer intercepts, coupled with satellite images. It raised alarms because an out-of-control disease would pose a serious threat to U.S. forces in Asia – forces that depend on the NCMI’s work. And it paints a picture of an American government that could have ramped up mitigation and containment efforts far earlier to prepare for a crisis poised to come home.
Despite Trump’s efforts to blame China for everything, it’s pretty clear that he was aware of a potential issue for almost three months before he bothered pretending to do anything about it.
Jurassic Park is reopening, despite the velociraptors still being loose… ;-)
Now, I understand why some people might be skeptical about reopening an amusement park when there are still blindingly fast, 180-pound predators roaming around. But the fact of the matter is, velociraptors are intelligent, shifty creatures that are not going to be contained any time soon, so we might as well just start getting used to them killing a few people every now and then. Some might argue that we should follow the example of other parks that have successfully dealt with velociraptor escapes. But here at Jurassic Park, we’ve never been ones to listen to the recommendations of scientists, or safety experts, or bioethicists, so why would we start now?