It is 10 AM on a Saturday morning, roughly 13 hours ahead of the time that I would normally be writing my journal entries. I remain interested in the various news stories being aggregated on the news pages that I visit. My first new story relates to the Covid-19 lock down in Australia and is simply confusing. The story, published today 4th March 2020, suggests that, “Australians could be free from draconian coronavirus restrictions in just six weeks if the whole nation goes into a stricter lockdown and citizens commit to serious social distancing” with Professor Raina Macintyre pointing to the success of China’s short, sharp lockdown as an example of how the virus can be successfully combatted.
The heart of the argument is that Australia should stop instituting progressively more restrictive containment measures in favour of immediately putting in place extreme containment measures. Roughly the same argument, that if we increase protection for the elderly and the sick ensure that we quarantine the sick then we might be able to relax current Covid-19 restrictions such as social distancing within two weeks, is made in a second news story. A major problem with the argument in the first story is that no-one believes China’s reported figures for Covid-19 cases and Covid-19 fatalities. Indeed, as I reported yesterday, it has been suggested that the figures are pure fantasy with China engaging in a face saving exercise by deliberately mis-reporting Covid-19 data.
Another problem with the first story is the fact that China’s lock down measures were inhumane in the extreme with people suspected of having the virus being dragged from apartment buildings and apartment doors being welded shut to keep residents inside. These points aside, the first article also points to Singapore as an example of a country that has been successful in combatting the virus by instituting extreme social distancing measures. The case of Singapore resonates more deeply because, as far as I know, there have not been any reports of Singapore falsifying its Covid-19 data or engaging in inhumane practices to lock down the country. The same is true for Hong Kong which seems to have the virus under control, likely because of its border control measures along with the fact that Hong Kong residents, having experienced the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – which also originated in China – are socially isolating and engaging in rigorous hygiene practices.
The first article also suggests that Australia needs to increase testing rates and I would have no argument with this point having already written about the fact that the testing rates in Australia are so low, and criteria for being tested so stringent, that Australia does not have the first clue how many people in the country are actually infected with the Covid-19 virus. This situation is not unique to Australia as this video evidences in terms of testing rates in the United Kingdom. The video also makes a point I have made before about testing in Australia being reactive rather than proactive. We test a small percentage of the population who turn up to be tested whilst other countries proactively test millions of people. For the reason it seems to me to be reckless to talk of Australia flattening the Covid-19 curve and equally reckless to introduce talk of relaxing current Covid-19 regulations.
Now let’s take a look at news stories that have to do with China, starting with the big picture which remains focussed to a large extent on issues that I reported on yesterday. First, China has failed in its duty towards the rest of the world and should be made to pay reparations to just about every country in the world for the financial and economic carnage that it has caused. If we were to dig a little deeper then this failure could easily be shown to have resulted from deliberate actions on the part of the Chinese government including covering up the Covid-19 virus when it first emerged in a wet market in Wuhan, trying to blame a United States soldier for introducing the virus into China and deliberately mis-reporting their data thereby hiding the true extent of the virus. China continues to lie about the number of actual cases and deaths and, even more so, is peddling a story that life is getting back to normal including the re-opening of exotic animal markets and wet markets across the country.
As discussed yesterday, these market places are pandemics waiting to happen with the world finally calling for the “strongest assurances” that the markets will stop trading in wild meats whether exotic or not. There seems to have been some movement on this front and China’s top legislature saying that it would ban trade and consumption of wild animals. A very recent story, 3rd March 2020, also confirms that something seems to be happening in China in this respect with Shenzhen banning the consumption of dogs and cats. An official with the Shenzhen Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, said that the poultry, livestock and seafood available to consumers were sufficient. This statement is ultimately ironic given that China’s wet markets, slaughterhouses and factory farms are, quite simply, diseased and disgusting environments which have been described by me and others as pandemics waiting to happen.
In other news it has long been known that China has systematically pillaged Australia and other countries around the world of essential medical supplies at a time that both China and the World Health Organization were assuring countries that there was really nothing to worry about with the Covid-19 virus. In Australia this pillaging was carried out by two property companies under the directive of the Chinese government which, as I have reported before, is trying to leverage the Covid-19 virus to its own advantage by, for example, cementing relationships with countries in Europe through providing medical supplies which, in a couple of cases, turned out to be defective.
At a more local level, Chinese residents in Australia – whose real allegiance lies with China – stripped city supermarket shelves bare of supplies whilst also bussing en masse to rural supermarkets to do the same. This behaviour is more than morally repugnant; it is profoundly immoral and wicked showing that these people sought to profit from the Covid-19 virus without a care for the fact that people in Australia would not have essential medical supplies and essential foodstuffs. I want to reiterate this point. Chinese companies and Chinese residents in Australia had no compunction in acting in ways that would almost certainly lead to the deaths of Australians.
If I were to sum up my writings about China so far, I mean all my journal entries up until this point, then I would say that China is exercising a malign and insidious influence upon the world. This influence operates at many levels all of which have been expanded upon and substantiated over the last three weeks or so of writing. However, I have made one point in the last three weeks that had not, until very recently, been taken up by the mainstream media. I wrote that had I still been living in Hong Kong then I would have been reasonably afraid that my writings might catch the eye of the Chinese government and that, as a result, the Chinese secret service might take an interest in me, just as they have with other writers who have disappeared in Hong Kong. I also said that had I been living in China then I would have been very afraid to the extent that I might have questioned whether to write.
Unfortunately I cannot find the news story that I wanted to relay, one that talked about the presence of the Chinese Secret Service in Australia. However, this news story will suffice as it makes the point, erroneously in my opinion, that China cannot silence voices in the free world. Well, of course it can. If China wants an Australian to disappear then they could achieve it very easily be snatching a person from their home and bundling them on to a private jet to China. That person would never be heard from again. This video also makes another point that I have discussed in the past viz that throwing out a charge of racism is a sure way to muddy the waters of an argument and to ensure that truths are not surfaced. The point is made in the context of highlighting that China owns a significant amount of the dairy production in Australia, particularly in Tasmania and Victoria meaning that should there be a more virulent and deadly virus China can simply export huge quantities of milk, and other food products, from Australia to China.
The news story argues that we should be concerned about any country owning vast swathes of land and means of production in Australia but, as the news story points out, China is a particular concern because it is a totalitarian regime that has shown its true face during this pandemic and there is nothing racist about saying so. This does not mean that racism is absent in Australia. Chinese people, or perhaps more broadly people of apparently Asian origin, have been targeted in racist attacks. However, let’s be clear that these attacks should not be leveraged to suppress evidence based reporting and discourse on China’s atrocious behaviour throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Racism of the visceral sort is an entirely different question.
I haven’t looked at the data for a while so let’s do that now. According to my first data source – which updated in real time for number of new cases and new deaths and reset at GMT+0 for new cases and new deaths meaning that given that it is nearly mid-day in Australia the reported figures will just about cover a 24 hour period – we have a total of 1,097,810 cases worldwide. This figure represents 82,745 new cases. There have been 5,972 new deaths bringing the total number of fatalities to 59,140. 287,545 have had an outcome, with 228,405 having recovered and 59,140 having died, meaning that the death rate currently stands at 21% of cases that have had an outcome. This is a far cry from the early days of the virus and indeed more recent reports where estimates for the death rate have ranged between 3%-6%.
The United States has reported 276,965 cases, an increase of 32,088 cases over yesterday. There have been 1,320 new deaths in the United States bringing the total number of deaths to 7,391. Italy continues to be ravaged by the virus with 4,585 new cases bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 119,827. There have been 14,861 deaths in Italy, an increase of 766 deaths over yesterday. Spain is also being ravaged by Covid-19 with 119,199 confirmed cases, an increase of 7,134 cases over yesterday. There have been 11,198 deaths in Spain, an increase of 850 deaths over yesterday. Germany has now surpassed China in terms to total number of confirmed cases with 95,159 cases, an increase of 6,365 cases over yesterday. There have been 1,275 deaths in Germany representing an increase of 168 fatalities over yesterday.
China continues to report very low numbers of new cases, this time 31 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in China to 81,620. China has also reported 4 new deaths bringing the total number of fatalities to 3,322. Looking ahead, France and Iran will likely be the next two countries to register more confirmed Covid-19 cases than China. Australia has registered 140 new cases bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 5,454. There have been 3 new deaths bringing the total number of deaths to 28. Finally Australia has reported 5,330 confirmed cases and 28 fatalities. As mentioned by me in various stories, talk in Australia is now of having flattened the Covid-19 curve and of “winning” against the virus. However, these stories are, to say the least premature.
First Published April 4th, 2020