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Coronavirus panic stoked by anti-China media, politicians: Myth vs. fact

Stoked by the corporate media and anti-China politicians, panic has swept the country over the outbreak of a new strain of Coronavirus. Coronavirus refers to a family of viruses that range from the common cold to more severe diseases that typically affect a patient’s respiratory system. A new strain of Coronavirus was recently discovered in China.

Watching the coverage on the major TV news stations or reading the pages of the New York Times or Washington Post, one gets the impression that this disease is causing massive death around the world and poses a grave threat to the health of people in the United States. The reality is that this public health issue is being cynically manipulated for political purposes.  

The Coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, the capital and largest city in Hubei province of China. As of February 7, the total number of those infected by the coronavirus has risen above 31,000. The death toll stands at around 650. There are less than 300 cases of infection confirmed outside of China. 

The total number of those who have died from the new coronavirus has exceeded that of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in 2002 and 2003 in China. However, the death rate is significantly lower than for SARS, standing at 2 percent, whereas for SARS it was 9 percent. During the SARS outbreak, 349 people died in China. 

While any death from a virus is lamentable, for comparison in the United States up to 42.9 million people got sick during the 2018-2019 flu season, 647,000 people were hospitalized and 61,200 died, according to the Center for Disease Control.

What is the Chinese government doing to address the crisis?

The corporate media is pushing the false conclusion that the Chinese government is responsible for this pandemic, is completely illegitimate to rule and that Chinese socialism is to blame because of it’s “authoritarianism.” But, casting aside the lies, slanders, and distortions of Pentagon echo chamber news outlets like the Washington Post and the NY Times, one can clearly see not just the dynamism of the Chinese government’s response, but also the superiority of a centrally planned economy over a free market capitalist one. 

In order to meet the needs of the medical staff and the people, the CPC pulled off a herculean effort in the construction of the Huoshenshan Hospital, which began on Jan. 24 and, amazingly, opened just 10 days later. Chinese state media reports that patients arrived early Monday at the 600,000-square-foot hospital, which has 1,000 beds and is staffed by 1,400 doctors, nurses and other personnel from the People’s Liberation Army. Another hospital, one with 1,500 beds, is set to open this week.

A real-time webpage has been created providing daily updates. The Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee issued a notification to party members on January 30 calling on them ‘stand the test’ of fighting against the coronavirus. Those who fail in their duty, exaggerate their work or falsify their accomplishments are to be held accountable. The highest rungs of the Chinese government not only consider this to be a major area of focus but are working tirelessly to coordinate the maintenance of basic foodstuffs, medical necessities, combat price gouging, take down misinformation and construct medical infrastructure to house patients. 

In addition, according to reports from Pepe Escobar in Asia Times

“The government has directed everyone to install a ‘Wuhan Neighbors’ applet downloaded from WeChat. That determines ‘our home’s quarantine address through satellite positioning, and then lock on our affiliated community organization and volunteers.’ Theoretically, this means that ‘anyone who develops a fever will report their condition through the network as soon as possible. The system will immediately provide an online diagnosis, and locate and register your quarantine address. If you need to see a doctor, your community will arrange a car to send you to the hospital through volunteers. At the same time, the system will track your progress: hospitalization, treatment at home, discharge, death, etc.’” 

The World Health Organization called the outbreak a global epidemic. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised China’s response to the virus as transparent and efficient, especially as the Chinese government moved quickly in isolating and sequencing the virus. According to Ghebreyesus, “The Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak, despite the severe social and economic impact those measures are having on the Chinese people” and “China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response.” He also warned that the “If this gets into a country with a weak health system then that can be problematic.” 

As the number of people who are diagnosed as infected increases, as well as the number of those who have recovered, the disease threatens to wreak more havoc on poorer nations with less medical infrastructure. 

For Chinese people in the diaspora, they face mounting racist attacks due to the massive misinformation mired in bigoted stereotypes. We have a duty to combat those viruses as well, the ones that have claimed more lives than any: racism and capitalism. There are countless incidents of racism and xenophobia directed at Chinese people in the U.S. linked to the coronavirus, from racist jokes to the cancellation of field trips to Chinatown. 

The true motivation behind the anti-China campaign

The U.S. government and ruling class considers China the “number one threat” to their domination of the whole world. On January 30th, while on a trip to the UK in an effort to dissuade British Prime Minister Boris Johnson from partnering with China’s Huawei to develop 5G network technology, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. sees the Communist Party of China as the “central threat of our times” and that the U.S. must “ensure that the next century is governed by … Western democratic principles.” 

But look no further than Hong Kong to see a shining example of so-called “Western democratic principles.” In Hong Kong the government is being severely criticized for its inability to address the growing need for mask production supplies and medical workers. Hong Kong’s masks are made by prison labor, and now they are being coerced to increase production to meet the needs of the people. The U.S. government, which allows for the world’s largest prison population, would be proud of them. The anti-China Hong Kong protesters so beloved by “western democracies” set fire to an unoccupied public housing complex, the Fai Ming Estate, after the government announced it would be used to house quarantined patients. 

Yet, where is the ire for these clear acts of sabotage and terrorism? 

Additionally, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a recent interview that the spread of the virus within China is good for the U.S. economy and that it will bring jobs back from China. Such a cold and callous statement reveals yet again the duplicitous posturing of the U.S. government as a staunch defender of human rights. The U.S. doesn’t care about human life period. It only cares about it’s economic bottom line and maintaining its position as the most powerful empire in the world. 

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