A look at U.S. H1N1 virus compared to China 2020 coronavirus Part I
Editor's Note: Mario Cavolo is an author and entrepreneur with 20 years of experience living in China. This is part one of the article "Something's Not Right Here Folks" | A Look at U.S. 2009 H1N1 Virus Compared to China 2020 Coronavirus, first published on Mr. Cavolo's personal Linkedin account. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
加油中国！When the United States 2009 H1N1 swine flu emerged, an international emergency, a declared global pandemic, it eventually infected 60 million and initially killed a minimum of 18,449 cases that year. But the final story of the H1N1 global pandemic was far worse than that, with close to 300,000 deaths, according to the final tallies in 2012 reported by the CDC, as you will read below.
Which is why I am scratching my head at how bizarrely negative forces are attacking China and Chinese people as it engages a remarkably aggressive front addressing this coronavirus outbreak which started in Wuhan, central China. I am forced to ask and answer a few questions.
During 2009 H1N1 outbreak, I don't recall xenophobic anti-America attacks across the globe, do you? In fact, do you recall it took six months for the U.S. to declare a national emergency? Did any government from the onset in April 2009 through the end in April 2010, including the month of June, when H1N1 was declared an international emergency global pandemic, then send out a notice to its citizens that they should leave the United States? Close their borders to American travelers? Nope, not a peep.
Like I said, something's not right, folks. I am reading hateful vicious attacks on the Chinese government for their supposed intentional conspiracy to intentionally under report the number of infections, yet that is exactly and always the case with such flu outbreaks no matter what country and the CDC reports illustrate that crystal clear.
The U.S. H1N1 swine flu numbers were vastly underestimated and updated three years later, because dear friends, that is the nature of such viral outbreaks which don't care which country they started in. There is never enough man power, there are never enough test kits, there is never enough medicine or medical supplies. China is not trying to hide these hardships, they are well known, they are being reported on the news daily in China. There are always people who die, thousands of them whom we'll never know if they actually died because of a particular virus. Those are the facts, not any problem unique to China's healthcare system or government.
It's not a conspiracy, it's a tragedy.
According to the June 27, 2012 research report follow-up three years later, it gets much more disturbing when you learn about the CDC's final estimate of the H1N1 virus global death toll. You and I find at this at this article at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy website, the CDC's 18,449 total deaths number was "...regarded as well below the true total, mainly because many people who die of flu-related causes are not tested for the disease." So during the 2009 outbreak, was anyone accusing the American medical and government authorities of hiding the numbers? Were Americans with hidden cameras strolling into the Mayo Clinic to prove how many people were really dying? The absurdity of these vicious attacks are that whether or not a person specifically does have the coronavirus or some other viral bug presenting as pneumonia, the treatment is the same supportive treatment anyway.
Something's not right here folks. The world should be applauding China's unprecedented, broad, aggressive response. (WHO officials and many other government and healthcare officials across the globe are.) I am on the ground here in China watching with my own eyes and it is quite incredible by any measure, not to mention an enormous economic sacrifice.
Instead of looking at the will of an entire system of government acting faster than any other government on the planet could, we are one month later, still busy bashing a few local government officials in Wuhan who should have told us a couple weeks sooner. And yes, that is true those local officials screwed up. And by the way, those officials are in deep trouble for it. Just like the recent Puerto Rican politicians who are in trouble when we learned they didn't distribute hurricane emergency supplies that were sent to them to help during last year's terrible hurricane. A disgrace. Individual people screw up all the time and hopefully justice gets served later, but that's not an indictment of an entire country's government. Secondly, on this point, every provincial government has sent out a notice to its government officials pretty much saying that if they are stupid enough to do the same, they will face the wrath of harsh punishment. I don't doubt it for a moment. Lets contrast to what countless western politicians have gotten away with and remain in office to remind all of us that human error, stupidity and greed is not unique to any particular skin color or race or country. "What about..." reactions don't help.
And here's the mic drop for you: "The CDC researchers estimate that the H1N1 2009 pandemic virus caused 201,200 respiratory deaths and another 83,300 deaths from cardiovascular disease associated with H1N1 infections." Total: 284,000 deaths. Shocking, isn't it?
Was there a travel ban for any length of time to and from the United States? Did China, Germany, Japan or any other country close their border to American travelers? Today I noticed in the updates that following the United States Department of State policy suggesting U.S. citizens leave China, the United Kingdom embassy just released the same recommendation to subjects of the kingdom. In 2009, did UK subjects in America get a notice from their kingdom to leave America? No. Did the world suggest we isolate from America? Close the U.S. borders!? No. Did Americans get xenophobically attacked and targeted by anti-American sentiments like the Chinese are experiencing now? Um, no.
Fascinating and disturbing to say the least. If you're an expat currently in China, unless you're in Wuhan, fact is that you're most likely safer and more peaceful and more stable by simply staying put than by leaving right now. You couldn't be safer than in this country, where almost everyone is staying home and dutifully isolating themselves with awareness. Not to mention that the Chinese government's decision to safeguard the society, the families, the people, is coming at a devastating economic cost in the hundreds of billions.