The fog of war obscures much about the novel coronavirus pandemic. But two facts seem absolutely certain. First, China’s Communist authorities have lied, concealed and misled about the origins of the epidemic and the toll of the virus in China. Second, the World Health Organization has acted as Beijing’s handmaid.
The result: The global toll of the tragedy will be much greater than it need have been.
We shouldn’t be surprised that the Beijing regime lies about the epidemic: It lies about, well, everything. From economic data to air pollution figures, the Communist Party doctors information to protect and promote itself.
Naturally, in the face of a grave national-health threat, the incentive for dissembling was tremendous. So Beijing spun and suppressed information about the outbreak and impact of the coronavirus.
Independent Chinese journalists have detailed the Wuhan coverup: They report that a Chinese lab isolated and identified the strange new virus last December — but that the authorities ordered it to stop its work, get rid of its specimens and keep quiet. It took almost another month for the government to acknowledge that a SARS-like contagion, spread by human contact, was exploding in Hubei province.
When the late Dr. Li Wenliang, the heroic whistleblower, tried to warn the public about the coronavirus, he was detained, charged with “spreading false rumors” and accused of “seriously disrupting social order.” All discussion about the virus is now censored.
As for China’s official figures on cases and deaths: These are obviously an undercount, possibly a preposterous one. Regarding prevalence: China’s health numbers didn’t even count infected patients if they tested positive but remained asymptomatic.