A Few Notes of Interest: China, Italy, Remedies,

From the Wall Street Journal:

The U.S.’s ability to respond to infectious-disease outbreaks in China was already compromised by State Department budget cuts, according to current and former U.S. diplomats.

In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was forced to scale back or discontinue its work to prevent infectious-disease epidemics and other health threats in 39 foreign countries, including China. At its height, the CDC had more than a dozen programs in China, including an emerging-viruses program. Today, that presence is down to a handful of employees, most of them dedicated to influenza.

Plans for annual meetings between the CDC and China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention haven’t been realized for three years, the current and former diplomats said.

“It’s hard to know what the dynamic would have been with this thing showing up in Wuhan but when they were embedded in the offices of the Chinese CDC, they had these relationships with these doctors which were relationships of trust,” Susan Thornton, a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School, said in an interview. “They would have been in on the ground floor.””

From the Daily Mail UK:

“Almost 800 people die of coronavirus in Italy in the past 24 hours taking country’s death toll to 4,825 – with 53,500 now diagnosed in crisis-hit country.  Italy‘s death toll has skyrocketed by 793 to 4,825 in just 24 hours in the worst daily rise the country has seen yet. More than 53,500 people have been diagnosed with the bug nationally, up more than 6,500 from yesterday.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The rising tensions and severing of connections threaten to unravel decades of effort to improve ties between the two countries, said the Asia Society’s Mr. Schell.

“What we’re seeing in a very alarming way is we’re almost snapping back to a pre-1972 state,” he said, referring to the year President Nixon traveled to Beijing to meet with Mao Zedong and restore diplomatic relations. “I think we’re getting closer and closer to that point where it will be very very difficult to reknit the fabric.”

Willy Lam, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation who worked as a journalist in Beijing through the 1980s, concurred, saying the hard-line nationalist stances adopted by both Mr. Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping threatened to push the two countries toward a new Cold War.

“Neither side will give in,” he said.

From Michael Coudrey  @MichaelCoudrey

 NEW DATA: A French study has demonstrated evidence that the combination of Hydroxychloroquine & Azithromycin are highly effective in treating Covid-19. The patients enrolled in the study showed complete viral eradication around the 5th day of treatment.
Trump Tweet Today: @realdonaldtrump at about 10.30 am
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You! Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents)…..  ...be put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE!
From Wired Magazine:
 “It was simply when. It’s really hard to get people to listen. I mean, Trump pushed out the admiral on the National Security Council, who was the only person at that level who’s responsible for pandemic defense. With him went his entire downline of employees and staff and relationships. And then Trump removed the [early warning] funding for countries around the world.”

4 replies on “A Few Notes of Interest: China, Italy, Remedies,”

  1. Otherwise these are good informative posts. I add a few of my own to put things in perspective. No one knows how this will turn out. CDC and John Hopkins experts predicts perhaps hundreds of thousands of deaths, a million or more hospitalizations, and more dire consequences for America in worse case scenarios.

    But remember, China is already reporting a lessening of cases after two and one half months. Conversely, remember, too, the 2009 Swine Flu came in two waves. Remember, also, that everyone seems to be doing the best they can and all are receptive to inputs, advise and criticism.

    A few more thoughts:
    In Italy (pop. 60 million), about 55,000 (about one in ten thousand) have become infected but about 5,000, one in ten of the infected have died. Italy reports that 99% of those who died “had other illnesses” and the average age of death in Italy is 79.1. This seems to fit the worldwide pattern: the elderly with pre-existing illnesses are most vulnerable, by far, to the Coronavirus.The Swine Flu of 2009 conversely targeted children and young adults, mostly. But we know many young people infected with Coronavirus need hospitalization, too.

    In America (U.S.A., population 320 million) we’ve tested only 220,000, but only about one in ten of those tested have tested positive (24,000) and of the infected only 300 (about one in one hundred or 1.2. percent have died.)
    On March 11, Trump announced the travel ban from Europe. (Italy by then already had 10,000 cases and 600 deaths; On March 6, Italy had 4,000 cases and less than 200 deaths. So things were skyrocketing in Italy then, and some predict they’ll soon skyrocket in the USA.)

    A question I have is this: How many of the sick elderly who are dying of Coronavirus would have died from the Common Flu, anyway?
    We do know this. In the winter of 2017-2018, 80,000 Americans reportedly died of the Common Flu. In a normal Flu season, the CDC estimates that about 36,000 folks will die, mostly the elderly with pre-existing symptoms, the same folks being killed by coronavirus.

    So, let’s all wait and see, and keep each other informed, and hope for the best. On a final note: Italy just banned more outdoor activities: running, jogging and bicycling. Maybe it is all for the best.
    On a real final note: some of my best friends are liberals, some are conservatives; some politically neutral. I’m a pro-life, free speech political conservative who hopes everyone stays healthy.

    1. William:

      In France more than fifty percent of the cases are under age 55. China took drastic measures to limit the increase which we have yet to take in this country.

      You live in another world. If the question were “how many of the sick elderly who are dying of Coronavirus would have died of the Common Flu anyway” then there would be nothing to worry about. We would not need to tell people to have social distancing, close down places of entertainments and other gathering spots, tell people to stay in their houses, etc. We could go on as usual and say “hey, what’s the big deal these people were going to die anyway.” Under your suggestion the whole world is overreacting to the virus.

      I assume the numbers dying from coronavirus are those over and above the flu. I note that Russia has very few deaths from coronavirus because it is labeling those deaths as being from the flu. The worst thing we can do is sit and wait. We should face it that we have a pandemic and should exert all the forces we have to fight it. We should also call out people when they are not doing what they should be doing like. We should be watching to see that Congress and the President don’t use this crisis to help their friends and fill their own pocketbooks.

  2. I wouldn’t throw stones at Trump. I’d commend President Trump for his early decisive action which no doubt saved countless lives: (1) Curtailing immigration from China on January 31 and forming a special Presidential Task Force on coronavirus on January 29. (2) This from THE HILL on January 28: “The United States is offering to send a team of health experts to China to help in containing the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
    “Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a briefing Tuesday that the Trump administration has offered China’s minister of health to send a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) team to help with the public health response to the outbreak. ‘We are urging China that more cooperation and transparency are the most important steps you can take toward a more effective response’ Azar said. ”

    3. Early on the Trump Administration declared a Public Health Emergency: : New York Times, Friday, January 31, 2020: “Moving to counter the spreading coronavirus outbreak, the Trump administration said Friday that it would bar entry by most foreign nationals who had recently visited China and put some American travelers under a quarantine as it declared a rare public health emergency.”

    MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACKING won’t change today’s course of events. Yes, we theoretically would have been better of if we had more American physicians working with China’s CDC in January. But we offered China expert medical assistance in January and they apparently declined it. Only sheer speculation can say the outcome would have been different.

    1. William:

      President Trump as you will see in an upcoming post was assuring he had everything under control and there was nothing to worry about. He is still in denial, as it seems you are, that this is a very serious matter which if not quickly and properly addressed. His happy talk which is a reflection of his thinking is damaging the nation.

      What good would it have been to send experts to China when they can’t even handle the situation in the United States. There are now Chinese experts in Italy helping out? What did we do about Italy while North Korea (not our our government) reports Trump has offered aid to North Korea while we don’t have sufficient masks, respirators, etc. here. How does that make sense? As for Secretary Azar – he assured everyone in February the the U.S. had sufficient tests for anyone who wanted them. He was lying – to date, yes to today we don’t have enough tests.

      3. Yes, Chinese nationals were barred from entering but Americans who had been in China and Chinese who were coming here for business purposes were not banned. Didn’t the person from China go to the conference in Boston that gave us 100 plus cases. What good is the ban when it has so many holes in it. Even after the ban as I will post Trump was pretending the virus did not exist as a threat in the country.

      I’m not Monday morning quarterbacking. Trump cut back our teams that were supposed to get us ready for this. Trump should have knoown of the dangers of it in January when others were warning the country about them and the virus was exploding in China and China was isolating up to fifty million people. Trump knew but was not capable of taking it seriously fearful that the numbers (remember he didn’t want the number of cases to rise by taking people off the ship) might damage him – he was thinking of himself and not the country.

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