Comparing the response to Covid-19 in China and the US

The following article by John V Walsh, republished from Popular Resistance, debunks various misconceptions about China’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and contrasts China’s performance with that of the US. Walsh observes that the deaths per million figure in the US currently stands at 3,042; for China the figure is 3.7. So on this metric – surely the most meaningful in terms of assessing a given country’s public health response to a pandemic – China has outperformed the US by a factor of over 800. Anticipating the usual cries of “you can’t trust the Chinese numbers”, Walsh links to numerous articles in the scientific literature confirming the validity of China’s statistics.

While China clearly pursued a strategy that prioritized human life over corporate profits, the author notes that, ironically, China’s economy has also fared far better than the US’s since the start of the pandemic. Walsh concludes that the Chinese experience “should not be lightly dismissed let alone be the subject of mean-spirited attacks” since the measures taken “may be a means of saving millions of lives when the next variant or the next pandemic strikes”.

Covid Deaths In The US (Over 1 Million) And China (About 5000).

“History Should Judge Us” – and it will.

In May and June of 2022 two milestones were passed in the world’s battle with Covid and were widely noted in the press, one in the US and one in China.  They invite a comparison between the two countries and their approach to combatting Covid-19.

The first milestone was passed on May 12 when  the United States registered over 1 million total deaths (1,008,377 as of June 19, 2022, when this is written) due to Covid, the highest of any country in the world.  Web MD expressed its sentiment in a piece headlined: “US Covid Deaths Hit 1 Million: ‘History Should Judge Us.’”

Second, on June 1, China emerged from its 60-day lockdown in Shanghai in response to an outbreak there, the most serious since the Wuhan outbreak at the onset of the pandemic.  The total number of deaths in Mainland China since the beginning of the epidemic in January 2020 now stands at a total of 5226 as of June 19,2022.

To put that in perspective, that is 3042 deaths per million population in the US versus 3.7 deaths in China due to Covid.  3042 vs. 3.7!  Had China followed the same course as the US, it would have experienced at least 4 million deaths.  Had the US followed China’s course it would have had only 1306 deaths total!

The EU did not fare not much better than the US with 2434 deaths per million as of June 19.

When confronted with these numbers, the response of the Western media has all too often been denial that China’s numbers were valid.  But China’s data have been backed by counts of excess deaths during the period of the pandemic as the New York Times illustrated in a recent article.  Actually this is old news.  The validity of China’s numbers, as shown by counts of excess deaths, was validated long ago in a February 2021 study by a by a group at Oxford University and the Chinese CDC.  This was published in the prestigious BMJ (British Medical Journal) and discussed in detail here.

What about the economy?

Clearly China put the saving of lives above the advance of the economy with its “dynamic zero Covid policy.”  But contrary to what was believed in the West at the time, saving lives also turned out to be better for the economy, as shown in the following data from the World Bank:

During the first year of the pandemic, 2020, China’s economy continued to grow albeit at a slower rate.  In contrast the US economy contracted dramatically, dropping all the way back, not simply to 2019 levels, but to pre-2018 levels!

Interestingly the plot also shows the year that the Chinese PPP-GDP surpassed that of the United States, 2017, heralding a new era for the Global South.

The World Bank has not yet released data for 2021, but the IMF has PPP-GDP data for 2021 shown here.  The U.S. economy grew at 5.97 percent and China’s at 8.02 percent.  Unlike the World Bank data shown in the graph above for the years up to 2020, these data for 2021 are not corrected for inflation which for 2021 ran at 4.7% in the U.S. whereas China’s was 0.85%.  So China’s growth would be even greater in comparison to the US, were inflation taken into account.

The bottom line is that for the first two years of the pandemic through 2021, China’s growth was always positive and greater than that of the US.  China’s policy not only saved lives but protected the economy. Win-win, one might say.

Is China’s dynamic zero Covid policy “sustainable”in the face of the Omicron variant?  The Shanghai Lockdown.

The period of the recent Shanghai lockdown which we can date from April 1, 2022, ended on June 1, and was the second largest outbreak in China since the original outbreak in January, 2020, in Wuhan.  Each resulted in major lockdowns, the first in Wuhan lasted about 76 days and the second in Shanghai about 60 days.  The first in Wuhan was due to the original variant and the second was due to the much more infectious Omicron.

During the recent lockdown in Shanghai, the Western press was awash with proclamations, all too many laced with an unseemly Schadenfreude, that China’s dynamic Zero Covid policy was not sustainable.  This is all too reminiscent of decades of predictions that China’s extraordinary success in developing its economy to number one in the world in terms of PPP-GDP was a passing phase, a Ponzi Scheme that was – what else – “not sustainable.  Recently the same press has gone silent, always a sign that China has met with success.  So what are the results?

The Shanghai Lockdown ended on June 1 and from that day until today, June 19, there have been no deaths due to Covid on the Chinese Mainland.  Cases nationwide are also way down to 183 per day from the peak of 26,000 on April 15.  That was the largest number of cases in a single day for the entire period of the pandemic in China.  For comparison, the  peak in the US was 800,000 in a single day.

Both the Wuhan and Shanghai lockdowns demanded sacrifices and patience over the roughly two-month period for each.  However, these difficulties are generally exaggerated In the West and based on anecdotes of the worst of the difficulties encountered.  Such sordid journalism reached rock bottom in a NYT piece equating China’s hard working health care workers to Adolph Eichmann!

As an antidote to this kind of hit piece and to gain a feeling of life in the cities that were under lockdown during the Wuhan outbreak, Peter Hessler’s March, 2020, account in the New Yorker, “Life on Lockdown in China,” is enlightening and will dispel many misconceptions.  Hessler was living and teaching in Chengdu, Sichuan, at the time.

For the moment China’s approach has succeeded although we cannot say what the future holds.  But the public health measures that have worked so well in Mainland China should not be lightly dismissed let alone be the subject of mean-spirited attacks.  Such measures may be a means of saving millions of lives when the next variant or the next pandemic strikes.

The US Needs a People’s Tribunal On the Handling of Covid-19.

Turning again to the US, what does it say when the US, one of the richest nations in the world, spending over $1 trillion a year on its “national security” budget, could not muster the means to deal with Covid-19 and ended up with more deaths than any other nation on earth?  China’s handling of the pandemic certainly shows a completely different outcome is possible.  The US death toll was not an inescapable act of nature.

That being so, should there not be a People’s Tribunal to investigate those in charge in the US government over the course of three administrations?  That, and not an official white wash, is certainly needed?  And should not punishment appropriate for a crime against humanity be meted out?  The one million dead deserve no less.

4 thoughts on “Comparing the response to Covid-19 in China and the US”

  1. The diagnostic capacity for testing COVID 19 for China was far greater than any other country. The government of China excelled above all others in ability to track and isolate new cases.
    China had for centuries done inoculation before arrival of intramuscular vaccines. Polio still is treated with oral virus. Intestinal infections made changes in T cell immunity that stopped lung transmission . Intramuscular vaccines had “antibody titers” that supported sales of Moderna Pfizer.IM covid-19 vaccines do not stop lung transmission.
    But often GI covid produces negligible changes in standard antibody tests. Intestinal infection provides immunity for lungs and stops respiratory transmission. Infection was known to be fastest way to stop transmission. Lung infection was dangerous or fatal . But GI infection of Covid-19 is generally very safe but associated with diarrhea.
    People eat viruses everyday. The WHO stated that food and drink contaminated was safe. However the WHO never said there was therapeutic benefit to GI inoculation. I did GI tract inoculation with community acquired donated virus. I was able to prove GI infection with PCR positive stool at independent lab.
    In USA my promotion of GI Covid research using inoculation was unable to compete with Big Pharma. Big Pharma had research tract and was able to generate big revenues. I did find individual scientists in US with sincere interest in inoculation. But inoculation in USA could not generate money and was not profitable. I was the only US physician who would pursue my own inoculation.
    But DPRK has lowest Covid mortality in the world. The DPRK was completely unvaccinated and had limited PCR testing resources. When aerosolized covid mutant blew through DPRK in May and June of 2022 it was inevitable that lungs of most DPRK would get some Covid exposure. KJU understood inoculation and GI Covid. He also knew that DPRK did not have the testing capacity to isolate all cases. In May the Covid began spreading at a time when DPRK need to move forward productively. The Covid daily death peak occurred May 13. I believe that DPRK utilized inoculation of GI tract to eliminate almost all covid mortality. KJU wore mask on May 12 2022. But by May 22 2022 KJU was attending state funeral without a mask. Look at KCNA photos. By June 15 2022 KJU was convinced that “home medicine and the innovation of DPRK was successful. On KCNA June 16 KJU is seen without a mask with his family without a mask. KJU used a new process not fully disclosed.
    By the last weeks of June 2022 KJU is photographed on KCNA with hundreds of military officers without masks and laughing. KJU beat COVID epidemic out of necessity without vaccines and without worlds best testing.
    The death rate in Pyongyang a city of 4 million exposed to highly aerosolized COVID variant was only 73. Likely most of Pyongyang had respiratory exposure. The best way to determine accurately exposure to live coronavirus is T cell testing. China could help Pyongyang by testing random samples of population for T cell changes associated with prior infection. Stool PCR testing of sewage system would have been very helpful for tracking the pandemic in Pyongyang.
    As of July 1 2022 DPRK has beaten Covid without disclosing their exact technique. However it is noted that GI Covid produces GI illness and DPRK experienced “unidentified” GI illness in their pandemic while successfully avoiding lung deaths. The DPRK has experienced so much pain and hardship based on 70 years of sanctions. Yet DPRK faced a Covid crisis and came up with solutions without submission to Big Pharma or UN or USA. DPRK succeeded without testing resources of China. A wonderful victory for people that love each other.
    GI Covid or whatever KJU did in Pyongyang protects the DPRK lungs. This makes possible KJU and his military laughing without masks this month. China using T cell data can confirm the percent of Pyongyang exposed to Covid 19.
    It is highly likely that Pyongyang will not have another Covid pandemic having acquired immunity without any IM vaccines and with limited testing. If DPRK encounters a aerosolized virus that makes a neurotoxin, the DPRK will likely rely on principles of GI covid to defend their country.
    A defense for aerosolized toxic virus is essential for emergency responders. Understanding how to work with your body GI immunity to achieve lung protection is important.
    GI immunity promotes tolerance. I can eat the same virus daily for a year without long term symptoms. But I can not take an IM vaccine one week safely for a year. IM vaccines have greater potential tend to sensitize to stimulus. As someone who applied for a patent on GI Covid I believe that GI based immunity will have best immunity at lowest autoimmune response.
    China should consider GI Covid-19 as extension of live virus inoculation practiced with small pox and polio. China should investigate GI Covid-19. I have already used GI inoculation for Influenza as well.
    I did a podcast with Winn Henderson on the DPRK Covid success. https://freedomfromaddiction.libsyn.com/dr-mark-hayden-0?tdest_id=420267

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