Perhaps the most problematic aspect of the Coronavirus—it originated in China.
Bringing up the fact the Coronavirus originated in China is not meant to rehash the same tired blame game so many have engaged; but rather, to put the panic of COVID-19 into proper perspective.
What if the virus had originated in Europe or America?
How would the virus have been perceived?
Would there been the same level of panic?
This is a non-trivial issue.
In many respects, the fact the Coronavirus originated in China has been at the heart of how we have approached COVID-19.
Early on, conservative pundits and conspiracy theorists alike were speculating the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan China was a bio-weapon.
There was no evidence COVID-19 was a man-made pathogen, let alone a bio-weapon—but it didn’t matter.
All that mattered…it was Chinese.
Even as China released numbers, indicating a rate of death due to the Coronavirus was somewhere in the 3% range—pundits and conspiracy seekers didn’t retract their claims of bio-weapon.
A bio-weapon with a kill rate of less than 3%–really!
(Note: One must always take information emanating from the Chinese government with a grain of salt. However, if the death toll were significantly different from the rate shared with the world there would have been signs of the deception.)
There’s no great mystery as to why so many latched onto the conclusion of bio-weapon. After all, it was China.
Then came the conjecture—China had released the virus on its own populace.
One can’t make this stuff up.
There was no good reason for the Chinese government to release a pathogen on its own populace.
It is worth remembering, the Communist leadership had bowed to growing trade pressure—signing a pact to ease the tariff war with the United States.
Why would the Chinese turn around and poison their economy?
This is in fact what we were supposed to believe.
By claiming the Chinese had poisoned their own populace, whether pundits understood the implications of their accusations or not, it meant the Communist Party had to be willing to put their economy at risk.
Is that reasonable?
More important, there would be no way of controlling the spread of the pathogen throughout China—unless the Chinese had already developed a vaccine or anti-viral treatment, which does not appear to be the case.
The guesswork didn’t stop—and it is all due to the fact China was involved.
Once the bio-weapon rhetoric had finally subsided—a new mantra sprang up—the Chinese withheld vital information about the Coronavirus.
Their unwillingness to share data has been deemed causal in the rapid spread of the virus globally.
Had the Chinese government shared, early on, all the information they had, nations would have been better prepared.
Ultimately, it has been the secretive nature of the Chinese that has led to the loss of so many lives globally.
What is rendered moot by the rhetoric of malfeasance on the part of the Chinese government is the virus first appeared in China at the same time as the seasonal flu. (Read: Has COVID-19 Been with Us All Along?, What If COVID-19 Had Reached U.S. without Warning?)
Could the Chinese have made an honest mistake—given the coinciding emergence of COVID-19 with the seasonal flu?
No one has given the Chinese government the benefit of the doubt—this has led to mass hysteria.
It is worth understanding, if the Chinese government had made a mistake—they as a culture would be the last ones to be forth coming about that error.
It’s an issue of saving face.
Even so, anyone remotely aware of the culture of saving face should know the Chinese are brutally consistent in this area.
If they had been caught off guard due to the timing of the Coronavirus’ emergence, they would be the last to admit it—especially to a global audience.
Furthermore, as COVID-19 progresses—so much about the virus has remained unknown. Are we to expect the Chinese, with a less than two month head start, had insights into the virus no one else has been able to uncover?
More important—is there any cookie cutter solution to prevent the spread of any pathogen?
What about demographics and culture?
Why was Italy hit so hard?
Was it the demographics of its population?
What role did Italian economic conditions, which have led to so many generations living under the same roof, play?
What lessons could a highly mobile society like America learn from the Chinese?
There may be some technical information that would have been helpful. However to this day, so much about the Coronavirus remains unknown. To believe any particular piece of information could have prevented the wide spread of the Coronavirus is doubtful.
In addition, many countries were caught off guard because they refused to plan accordingly. (Read: State versus Federal Responsibility)
Regrettably, countries around the world relied on untested and foolish solutions such as curve flattening instead of first defining the problem. This “solutions first” approach is perhaps the greatest failing of global governments—and surpasses any lack of transparency by the Chinese government. (Read: Coronavirus: We Never Defined the Problem, Coronavirus Solution: Increase Damn Capacity, Control versus Providing Healthcare)
The overriding problem with the Coronavirus is not the virus or lack of shared information—the overriding problem is the fact COVID-19 originated in China.