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Groundless blame against China's anti-epidemic fight only indulges virus

By Li Da (People's Daily Online)    17:39, February 10, 2020

A New York Times article published Monday slandered the Chinese government, saying its inability to contain the outbreak has disrupted life across the country and beyond, and that economists are predicting a significant blow for China’s economy.

CNBC echoed the New York Times’ view on the same day, claiming the coronavirus outbreak could diminish China’s international profile.

In addition, some American politicians have taken advantage of the epidemic to attack China’s political system and tried to benefit from it.

While the Chinese people are combating the virus and protecting people’s health, such ridiculous remarks reflect the evil intentions that cross the bottom line of morality.

The virus knows no borders, and remains a public enemy for the entire human race. In the face of the novel coronavirus outbreak, countries around the world form a community with a shared future, where no one can sit back and act like an irresponsible onlooker.

The global epidemic calls for full efforts from the relevant countries, as well as global cooperation. Any practice that points fingers at other countries’ efforts goes against the future of mankind and indulges the virus.

Since the onset of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese people have launched a battle against it in which everyone is involved. The scale, speed, efficiency and transparency of China’s preventive efforts are almost unprecedented.

There is a window of opportunity because of the strong measures China is taking at the source, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The epidemic acts as a mirror for previous outbreaks. The influenza A (H1N1) epidemic in 2009 led to around 284,000 deaths around the world, and the WHO also declared it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The U.S. was one of the sources of the epidemic, but failed to take forceful measures to control it, which resulted in the virus spreading globally.

American media and politicians might turn a blind eye to that fact, but history is a witness and people are the judge.

Any country would take strict prevention measures for epidemics within its territory, as it is responsible for both its own citizens and the global population.

However, it’s confusing that the U.S. seems to have learnt nothing from the epidemic 10 years ago. So far, an influenza virus has infected 19 million Americans across the country and killed at least 10,000 people this season alone. In today’s world, where there is such a high frequency of global travel, all countries may get severely hit by the virus if the U.S. continues its loose regulations. This is nothing less than a crime against the entire human race.

In a recent article, BuzzFeed News Reporter Dan Vergano urged people not to worry about the coronavirus, saying that they should worry about the flu. In the article, Vergano told people that the coronavirus is infectious — but that shouldn't cause panic. The risk of getting infected is high in China — but people in the US should be way more worried about the flu, he said.

The objective view that he put forward was neglected by some people in the U.S. who believe that blaming China is the politically correct thing to do, rather than being responsible to Americans and people in the rest of the world.

History proves that effective international cooperation is essential in winning the battle against viruses, and also a key to safeguarding and developing human society.

American media and politicians, please look at the American people suffering from the influenza before you create any nonsense. It’s hoped that you still have at least something of a conscience. 

Background information:

Summary highlights on US response to the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic

2009 H1N1 was first detected in the United States in April 2009. This virus was a unique combination of influenza virus genes never previously identified in either animals or people. Later, the virus spread across the US and affected over 200 countries and regions.

On April 26, 2009, the United States Government determined that a public health emergency existed nationwide.

On April 27, 2009, World Health Organization (WHO) raised the level of influenza pandemic alert to phase 4, based primarily on epidemiological data demonstrating human-to-human transmission and the ability to the virus to cause community-level outbreaks.

On April 29, 2009, the WHO raised the influenza pandemic alert to phase 5, indicating sustained community-level transmission in two or more countries within one WHO region.

June 11, 2009, WHO signaled that a global pandemic of 2009 H1N1 influenza was underway by further raising the worldwide pandemic alert to phase 6.

According to summary highlights by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic, on May 4, 2009, CDC shifted from reporting confirmed cases of 2009 H1N1 to reporting both confirmed and probable cases of 2009 H1N1. At that point, more than 98% of “probable” flu virus samples were testing positive for 2009 H1N1, indicating the ever-growing scale of the outbreak. Over the course of the outbreak, more than 3,300 people from throughout CDC would support the response.

On May 6, 2009, CDC distributed recommendations for the use of influenza antiviral medicines to provide guidance for clinicians in prescribing antiviral medicines for treatment and prevention (chemoprophylaxis) of 2009 H1N1 influenza.

On June 11, CDC held its first press conference. At the time, more than 70 countries had reported cases of 2009 H1N1 infection, and the number of patients diagnosed with the disease continued to rise.  By June 19, 2009, all 50 states in the United States had reported cases of 2009 H1N1 infection. On June 25, CDC estimated that at least 1 million cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza had occurred in the United States. On July 23, 2009, CDC reported the number of 2009 cases for the last time. Reporting of 2009 H1N1 hospitalizations and deaths continued. In addition, CDC continued using its traditional surveillance systems to track the progress of the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak. Traditional surveillance systems do not count individual cases, but instead monitor activity levels and virus characteristics through a nationwide surveillance system.

CDC closed out reports of 2009 H1N1 hospitalizations and deaths for the 2008-09 season in late August. Reporting modifications were then implemented to allow states to report hospitalizations and deaths associated with any influenza for the 2009-2010 flu season. 

According to USA Today’s report on October 27, 2009, H1N1 flu was pushing hospitals to their limit in terms of patient capacity. Waves of flu patients arrived at hospitals in Denver, Seattle and San Diego, doubling their emergency room volume. Nearly three times as many kids as usual streamed into the emergency room at Johns Hopkins Hospital. One of the ER doctors said on Oct. 11 that they had 15 to 20 patients an hour. And 95 children had died of H1N1 flu by the time the report was published.

From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases, 274,304 hospitalizations, and 12,469 deaths in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.

Medical journal The Lancet published a report on June 26, 2012, estimating that globally there were between 151,700 and 575,400 deaths associated with 2009 pandemic influenza A H1N1, and 51% of the deaths occurred in southeast Asia and Africa.

A New York Times article published in 2010 on U.S. Reaction to Swine Flu pointed out some other problems. For example, the US only detected the outbreak from late March to mid-April in 2009 while the outbreak probably already began in rural Mexico in January. “They could have spotted the new virus earlier” if the surveillance system had not been absent in Mexico. Also, the US government predicted in early summer that it would have 160 million vaccine doses by late October, 2009. It ended up with less than 30 million. 

In a comprehensive review by The New England Journal of Medicine, of available data from national public opinion polls conducted by telephone between April 2009 and January 2010, 54% of respondents said the federal government was doing a poor or very poor job of providing the country with adequate vaccine supplies. Respondents were nearly evenly divided on whether medical testing of the H1N1 influenza vaccine had moved too quickly to ensure that it was safe.

In 2010, CSIS Global Health Policy Center cited a report by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, finding that swine flu “has exposed serious underlying gaps in the nation’s ability to respond to public health emergencies.” In the report, 20 states in the US had six or fewer of the 10 key indicators of prepared infrastructure. Almost two-thirds of states in the US had seven or fewer. “What has been in short supply is leadership,”the report says. (Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA Today, New York Times, CSIS, etc.) 


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