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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

China lied about the early days of the pandemic – newly leaked documents from Wuhan

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Covid-19 was first reported at the very end of last year in Wuhan, a city of 11 million in the central Hubei province in China. The deadly respiratory virus has since infected more than 66.8 million people and led to over 1.53 million deaths around the world, according to Worldometers.info

This week, specifically December 1, marks 1 year since the first known patient showed symptoms of the disease in Wuhan, according to a key study in the Lancet medical journal published earlier the year. And what a year it has been.

The common narrative since the earliest days is that China either mishandled or deliberately suppressed, or even destroyed evidence, related to the early days of the outbreak. The Chinese Communist Party and appointed health officials endangered other countries by allegedly silencing doctors and whistleblowers who spoke out about the strange new virus. There were also allegations that government officials destroyed evidence of the new virus in their Wuhan laboratories and refused to provide samples to international scientists who were already working on a vaccine.

Now a series of new documents, verified by experts, point to the answer of the question “what did they know, and when?”

According to the known timeline, by December 30 Wuhan health officials shared internal memos about the “unusual pneumonia”. Some of these leaked on social media. Shi Zhengli, a scientist specialising in coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, famous for being able to trace the original SARS virus back to bats living in a cave, was told about the new strain of coronavirus. She immediately headed back from a conference in Shanghai to Wuhan to investigate the situation.

Then on December 31, on the eve of 2020, the World Health Organisation learned about the mysterious pneumonia cases from an open-source internet platform that searches for any mentions on outbreaks anywhere in the world. The WHO were contacted by their regional office about the finding of the internet reports.

Now, a whistleblower, who claims to have worked in the Chinese health care system, has leaked 117 pages of hitherto unseen internal documents from the Hubei Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, to US cable news giant CNN. CNN entitled the special investigation “The Wuhan Files”.

According to a report published in CNN this week, the document marked as “internal document please keep confidential,” local health authorities in Hubei province list a total of 5,918 newly detected cases on February 10. This is more than double the officially declared numbers released to the public of new, confirmed cases. This larger total was never fully revealed at the time, as China’s health statistics seemed, amid the tumult of the early weeks of the pandemic, to downplay the possible severity of the outbreak.

The documents have now been verified by 6 experts, showed how health officials and medical practitioners in the Hubei Province struggled to manage the coronavirus up to April 2020. These very early days were a critical period where the novel coronavirus spread from central China to other provinces and then beyond its borders to the rest of the world.

On January 13, the World Health Organisation announced that Thailand had the first confirmed case of the coronavirus outside of China.

All together, thees new documents amount to the most significant leak from inside China since the start of the Covid-19 story and provide a clear view of what local authorities already knew, and when. Although these newly leaked documents provide no direct evidence of a deliberate attempt to obfuscate information from the very early days of the new virus, they do reveal numerous inconsistencies in what authorities claimed was happening and what was revealed to the public.

But the documents fall short of proving any specific malicious intent, often used in accusations against the health and party officials in China. The long incubation period of Covid-19, thought to be up to 14 days, also confounded early understanding of the dynamics of the new virus.

To complicate the revelations, at the same time the novel coronavirus was emerging, the leaked documents reveal that another local public health challenge was unfolding. Hubei was also dealing with a significant seasonal influenza outbreak. In fact there was 20 times the level recorded the previous year, according to the documents, placing new levels of stress on the local health system and health workers.
This influenza “epidemic”, was not only present in Wuhan in December, but was greatest in the neighbouring cities of Yichang and Xianning, about 150 kilometres from Wuhan. The leaked documents don’t reveal what impact or connection this influenza spike may have had on the Covid-19 outbreak, if any. At this stage there is no suggestion in the documentation that the two coinciding health challenges are linked. Further information regarding the full impact of Hubei’s 2019 influenza spike is still yet to be made public.

China has continued staunchly defended its handling of the early days of the outbreak. On June 7, China’s State Council released a White Paper proclaiming that the Chinese government “had always published information related to the epidemic in a timely, open and transparent fashion”.

But the reason for the origin of Covid-19 remains unknown at this time, although theories abound including the wet markets of Wuhan (also strongly suspected to have been the cause of the SARS1 coronavirus). Either bats or civets are still thought to have been the root source. Local Chinese health authorities initially thought the early Covid patients had fallen ill through exposure to a common infection source in the markets but initially ruled out this new pathogen as “contagious” until January 20.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, along with leading Chinese politicians, have been rejecting assertions made by the US and some other Western governments that it deliberately concealed information relating to the novel coronavirus, maintaining that it has been upfront since the beginning of the outbreak. The stories of the early days of Covid-19 have also been hijacked by conspiracy theorists who have embellished, or simply invented, their own versions of the early days of Covid-19.

SOURCE: CNN.com

 

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37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 9:42 am

    Well they are known cheats.
    I bought a takeaway sweet and sour pork from the Chinese cafe, and when I got home there was no pork in it!

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 9:42 am

    Good news for those looking for someone to blame, but would knowing have made much difference bearing in mind how many are still in denial about Covid a year later?

    • Avatar

      Brian

      Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 10:43 am

      In denial about what?

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 1:38 pm

        In denial about it being a problem, but also about wearing masks, about lockdowns, etc, etc, etc …..

        • Avatar

          preesy chepuce

          Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 10:28 pm

          Well, it’s not denial to recognise the scientific fact that a mask offers very limited protection from the virus, and it’s not denial to challenge incoherant and inconsistent lockdown policies that wreck economies and undermine the ability to control the pandemic, that in reality only statistically proses a threat to about 4% of people maximum. These aren’t aspects of denial, but if you want to join the media hysteria bandwagon and pontificate to the rest of mankind based on sloppy evidence…

    • Avatar

      Eamonn Maher

      Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 2:00 pm

      The rate of spread of the virus is exponentially dependent on TIME. Knowing 2-4 weeks earlier would have made a HUGE difference to the possibility of containment and contact tracing. This was particularly true of the UK, where we got off to a very poor start. We are still dealing with the consequences, despite having a well-established health service and world-class science research capability.

      There are undoubtedly people in denial about Covid, but with a few exceptions they are not in control of the response to epidemics. The most notable exception is Trump of course, and look at the consequences in the US.

      The RESPONSE of each government worldwide is one thing, but the ROOT CAUSE is another. It’s easy to “muddy the waters” but not at all helpful.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 5:06 pm

        Why would it have made a “HUGE” difference to the UK rather than anyone else?

        Why do you think Thailand had kept the numbers down very successfully despite the massive numbers of Chinese still in and coming to Thailand for the first three months of the year, while the UK has failed so dismally?

        The UK had just as much warning as everyone else, but chose to ignore the advice – not helped by having an inefficient and badly run health service, where if you’re unfortunate enough to be hospitalised or put in an ICU with Covid you have twice as much chance of dying from it as you do in Germany, and a fixation on going their own way with contact tracing with systems that proved to be useless despite other workable systems being readily available.

        It’s easy to find someone else to blame but the “ROOT CAUSE” for the UK’s problems, rather than anyone else’s. lies a lot closer to home.

        • Avatar

          Joe

          Monday, December 7, 2020 at 12:58 pm

          Isaan John is obviously a Chinese backside kisser.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Monday, December 7, 2020 at 9:21 pm

            Anything butt (sorry), but I can’t see anything to be gained by whining that “it’s all China’s fault” when everyone knows that but it’s too late to do anything about it.

        • Avatar

          Eamonn Maher

          Monday, December 7, 2020 at 2:23 pm

          Over a long period I have noticed that your standard reply often begins with questions. I am not the first person who has noticed this.

          This tactic “muddies the waters”, and allows you to wriggle out of sticky situations. It doesn’t work with me, and I am not alone.

          You know perfectly well what I meant by “ROOT CAUSE”. The root cause in this case was the beginning of the chain worldwide – ie: in China – coupled with the delay in disclosing it, as has been pointed out by the WHO. I totally agree that the initial response to the pandemic in the UK was poor, and testing and contact tracing was a joke.

          My point was that the delay in the UK – and even more so in the US – amplified the subsequent problems and that reflects on us very badly, especially given that Covid-19 in Italy, Germany and Spain was a week or two ahead of us. This delay in taking action sooner was very serious, no doubt, but that does not excuse the even-longer delay in disclosure in China. South-East Asia in the main is to be congratulated, especially Thailand, and I guess that SARS was an excellent training ground many years ago. A “dress rehearsal” so to speak. We should all have learned from this.

          Nearly all of Europe is now in a second wave, but we know a lot more now, and it will be sorted.

          Contrast these delays with how quickly we got off the ground in developing, supporting and procuring vaccine candidates, based on a very secure position in molecular biology. This in turn is based on decades of development of instrumentation and techniques such as high-field NMR which reveals the molecular structure of organic matter in great detail, in conjunction with detailed molecular modelling using advanced high speed computers.

          The world moves forward in a positive direction if people recognise and admit their mistakes, and are open to exploring possible solutions to problems in health, environment, social media or whatever.

          It is held back by full-time nit-pickers with negative energy, however proficient in semantics.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Monday, December 7, 2020 at 9:19 pm

            Yes, EM, I “know perfectly well what [you] meant by “ROOT CAUSE”, which was why I never asked you about it!

            What I asked you was:

            “Why would it have made a “HUGE” difference to the UK rather than anyone else?

            Why do you think Thailand had kept the numbers down very successfully despite the massive numbers of Chinese still in and coming to Thailand for the first three months of the year, while the UK has failed so dismally?”

            You’ve avoided answering either question, though!

        • Avatar

          preesy chepuce

          Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 10:34 pm

          There is no credible statistical data that supports your claim that Thailand has “very successfully” kept the numbers down. You yourself keep going on about asymptotic cases, and you know very well that no data was even bothered with before February, and in China, the only thing the authorities were interested in suppressing in late 2019, was evidence about it being a problem in the first place. To compare a place like the UK to countries where there is no credible data is specious nonsense. Thailand could have undiagnosed cases back at the end of 2019.

          Let me ask you a simple question… which vaccine would you choose between? UK? USA? Russia? China? Which one, and why? Why would you not choose the others… we both know the answer, and defending a lack of data as evidence is a weak position.
          You prattle on a lot like you are being rational, but you still lack evidence.

    • Avatar

      Alan

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 12:27 am

      Shutting down international travel would have made a massive difference. Telling the truth instead of the usual habitual lying of the CCP might have helped their international credibility, which is zero. Be warned they will buy Thailand, using COVID to their economic advantage.

    • Avatar

      Alexandra

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 12:24 pm

      It would have made a huge difference if China would have acted and banned Chinese from leaving the country during the Chinese New Year, the largest mass migration event in the world. But they didn’t. They knowingly allowed the virus to spread globally.

      • Avatar

        Steve

        Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 1:36 pm

        I agree 100%, but you forgot to mention that internal flights were banned, it was just the international flights that continued from China. Thus spreading the virus globaly

    • Avatar

      preesy chepuce

      Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 10:25 pm

      You must be stunned, obviously an American conspiracy. With your vast knowledge of Commie China, and your extensive network of contacts there all the way up into the highest echelons, surely have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on there more than us.

  3. Avatar

    gosport

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 10:32 am

    CNN has leaked documents edited by its staff memebers just like washing powder from Iraq. What an amazing beef! Blaming wont save people. Only science can save. This year, Santa dare come, or come with hood over head?

    • Avatar

      Alan

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 9:32 am

      We have yet to learn that the virus was developed by science as biological warfare. It was science that covered up data in the lab, it was science that denied access to the lab. Science in the hands of Chinese Imperial Emperor throwbacks is a recipe for annihilation. The immoral standpoint of China makes science a tool of their global dominance ambitions. Flag on the moon, who’s moon is it?
      I prefer Thai traditional spiritual culture. We need science to create the vaccine. But some of the dietary habits China are more like hyenas.

  4. Avatar

    Marcus Ariealis

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Not to worry, Thailand was the first to get Covid-19 outside of China and sure enough it will open back up to China first, then be the worlds guinea pig for Covid-20….nothing has changed in China.

    The world doesn’t even hold China accountable for the deaths and disruptions that have affected every human being on earth in some manner.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 1:41 pm

      How could “the world … hold China accountable”?

      • Avatar

        Brian

        Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 2:12 pm

        Stop trading with them.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 5:08 pm

          Easily said, but who would lose … and who else could supply at the same price that people would be willing to pay?

          • Avatar

            Philippe

            Monday, December 7, 2020 at 2:21 am

            Brian is right, stop all imports from China unless they pay for the economic damage they’ve done … they have plenty of money.
            Issan John is not thinking! Their products are indeed cheaper than if we make them ourselves, but those who cannot do it in their own country are unemployed … if you make the sum, their product is more expensive … but many are selfish!
            Furthermore, all those who buy Chinese products agree that the people who make them are treated like modern slaves, maybe travel a bit more than to actually see the country and what’t going on..
            Sleep on.

          • Avatar

            preesy chepuce

            Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 10:40 pm

            It’s a bigger question than simply economics, there is a strong lobby for developing (both politically and economically) other parts of the world, Africa, India, SEAsia to supplant, or at least present competition to CCP China. I was a student of the far east many years ago, and endured the rose-tinted optimism of sinophiles who believed that trade with CCP China would insidiously reform them and make them become free and democratic, instead it created a monster that is a threat to humanity, and no amount of trade is worth the risk the CCP poses to modern, liberal, market-driven, rules/standards-based human civilisation. Chinese dissidents are desparately trying to get information out of CCP China to make the world know what they’re dealing with.

        • Avatar

          Alte Ledertasche

          Monday, December 7, 2020 at 8:03 pm

          Stop trading with the US instead. They are permanently lying about everything.

          • Avatar

            preesy chepuce

            Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 10:40 pm

            Says the terrified voice from Peking… terrified of what? freedom?!

    • Avatar

      D-Boy

      Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 9:01 pm

      China is a paranoid country

  5. Avatar

    Alex

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    In Russia for hide COVID deaths it’s called ‘pneumonia’ or ‘flu’ or whatever else.
    Sure that China do same trick, it’s not a flu 20 times harder it is COVID and attempt to hide real number of sick.

    Not first problem from bats, not last, hope they will stop eating bats.

  6. Avatar

    Johnny Dee

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    WELL SURPRISE SURPRISE !!!!!

  7. Avatar

    Pasta Pasta

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    Fact check true. China blocked travel from Wuhan to other parts of China, but was all too happy for them to travel to other counties. Malicious much.

  8. Avatar

    west tiger

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    No intelligent person believes the low numbers of deaths from Covid-19 in China

  9. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    It was in fact the first confirmed case in Thailand on January 13 (a Chinese traveler from Wuhan) that forced the scoundrels of the CCP to face up to reality that it cannot keep this under wraps any longer. It took them another week to finally publicly admit human to human transmission. The AP did an expose on this back in June.

    Also the “Wuhan Files” make it clear: There was a 2000% increase, over the previous year, in severe “influenza” cases in 2 Hubei cities in early December. Anyone can put 2 and 2 together.

  10. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 1:34 am

    No surprise that the lockdown locals are apologists for the Chinese Communist Party. You have no choice but to respect the regional bully…..

  11. Avatar

    Alexandra

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    There is no better living example of Orwell’s 1984 than totalitarian China (save North Korea). As Chinese say themselves, “Do you want to know the truth from the CCP? Then whatever they say, the opposite is true”.
    China could have taken any number of steps to contain the virus, but no. They are ground zero and fully liable for the global pandemic.

  12. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    According to AP reports today, China lied about the early test results too, and in an unparallelled display of corruption made initial testing limited to only three approved companies, none of which were in a position to do so but all of whom had close contacts in the Chinese CDC.

  13. Avatar

    Ameila Leary

    Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    China has always misguided the WHO and the rest of the world as part of the corona virus data. They never tell us about the situation, what’s going on in the world, and what’s causing diseases to spread, where the patient Zero comes from. Why does the sudden unrest begin in Wuhan and then it reaches the whole world and as every nation suffers so venerably and then China suddenly regulates all the infections. There’s something so fishy. They are just beginning to transfer the blame from one nation to another for the chaos that is happening in the world. There are so many concerns about China, but they have never responded to their biological weapons as expected strategically to create chaos in the world. In the race to create a coronavirus vaccine, China aims to beat the world. It cut red tape and provided funds to drug makers, desperate to safeguard its citizens and to deflect international criticism of how the crisis was handled. A vaccine industry that has long been mired in safety issues and controversies has been motivated by the leaders of China. China has since made the vaccine a national priority, but budget specifics have not been released. According to court records, Sinovac Biotech was also involved in a fraud case.kjdhci

  14. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 4:53 am

    Can’t believe there are CCP apologists that say let’s not worry about blame. The moral corruption is mind numbing to even utter that statement. It’s time to give up any sense of fairness when that is the conclusion of those who accept China as your mistress.

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