White House stoops to new low

In a news conference on Saturday, Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, compared the number of deaths per 100,000 people caused by the virus in various countries — 45.20 in Belgium, 42.81 in Spain, 37.54 in Italy, 11.2 in the United States, 5.25 in Germany, and 0.33 in China, to quote some — and implied that while the US has done a good job doctoring its patients, China has doctored its statistics. The logic applied to try and prove that conclusion was these countries are developed countries, while China is a developing one, so given the discrepancy in mortality rates China’s statistics cannot be true. But the low fatality rate in China is because it locked down Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and epicenter of the pandemic in the country, and concentrated its national resources on the city. The rest of the Hubei province was locked down soon after Wuhan in order to provide a buffer zone. With a population of 11.21 million, similar to the 11.42 million of Belgium, Wuhan boasted of 60,000 sickbeds and 42,000 medics at the peak of the pandemic, with 16 temporary hospitals put into operation, which made the responsiveness and coverage of its medical care system in the city similar to the aforementioned developed countries. Even with the concentration of resources, the number of deaths per 100,000 residents in Wuhan is 34.51, similar to the worst-hit developed countries in Europe. China’s relatively low national mortality rate is because Wuhan bore the brunt of the pandemic. As of Tuesday, Wuhan accounted for 83 percent of the national death toll. That the same medical teams from around the country that went to fight on the front line in Wuhan are now strengthening the defense against imported cases in the northeast of the country shows that if the decision had not been made to lock down Wuhan and fight the virus there, the country’s medical system would have been swiftly overwhelmed. That the total number of infections in China is nine times less than the number in the US, is because the authorities acted quickly and decisively when the speed of transmission became clear. As a medical expert overseeing the US government’s billions of dollars’ spending on epidemic control and prevention, Birx is no doubt aware of how unfounded the charges against China are. –CN