Realism and clear-headed thinking a must in the coronavirus crisis
John Ross

Editor's note: With the coronavirus casting a shadow over China, people are much concerned about the development of the coronavirus crisis. What kind of attitude should we hold in the fight against this crisis? John Ross, a senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, British scholar, and former Director of Economic and Business Policy of London shares his views over this issue. The opinions expressed in the video are his and do not necessarily represent the views of CGTN.

My thoughts are, of course, first with all the Chinese people who are going through a time of serious stress, and in some cases personal tragedy, faced with the coronavirus. Above all, my thoughts are with the Chinese medical and emergency services who are in the front line for all of humanity against this threat not only to China but to every country.

But faced with such a serious situation above all what is required is realism and clear-headed thinking – there is absolutely no virtue in "optimism," there is no virtue in "pessimism," and least of all is a virtue in panic or exaggeration. The most useful thing I can do is to analyze clearly the data which is appearing internationally on the virus.

Some Western media are engaging in disgraceful attempts to falsify the situation. But fortunately some serious Western organisations, realizing the threat, are giving the most accurate information possible.

For example, John Hopkins University, the world-renowned U.S. research university, continues to defy anti-China propaganda in U.S. media by publishing objective data on the coronavirus – so I am going to use its latest data.

The first key data is that at the time of writing (Feb. 6) the situation in Hubei is very serious, the mortality rate from those declared with the virus in Hubei is 2.8 percent – a very serious number.

The Chinese government, to counter this dangerous threat, is pouring medical personnel into Hubei.

But the data shows that this effort, and the quarantine and other decisive measures by the Chinese government, are so far containing a great danger to China and world from developments concentrated in Hubei.

The success of the Chinese government's measures are shown by the fact that at the time of writing (Feb. 6) the mortality rate in China outside Hubei is only 0.18 percent. That means that for every 1,000 people who catch the disease outside Hubei, 998 survive.

This data means clearly that the situation in Hubei is extremely serious, but so far the Chinese government's actions to contain the virus outside Hubei are being successful. Obviously, the decisive question is that these efforts by the Chinese government continue to be successful and that the huge resources being allocated by China to eliminating the virus in its heartland of Hubei are successful.

Both China and the rest of the world are therefore relying on the heroic efforts of medical staff, particularly in Hubei but also rest of China, and the Chinese government, to contain the virus.

China's actions against the coronavirus are being strongly praised in the West by medical professionals, led by the World Health Organization, which has serious medical knowledge. But Western media figures, who know nothing serious about medical issues at all, are attacking China. This shows the absurd and completely irresponsible behaviour in large parts of the Western media.

In summary, if the coronavirus is not contained, it is a serious threat to the whole of humanity in every country. But so far the decisive actions of the Chinese government, which have been strongly praised by the World Health Organization and other responsible international bodies, are containing that threat. The suffering in Hubei province is intense and tension is naturally great throughout China. China's medical teams, who are the front line not only for their country but for humanity, battle to contain the virus. Not only China but the whole world is entirely depending on them.

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