China and the Initial Response to Covid-19

A must watch documentary, even if you know the basic history: Frontline‘s “China’s Covid Secrets“.

From CRS, a timeline:

  • Late December: Hospitals in Wuhan, China, identify cases of pneumonia of unknown origin.
  • December 30: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issues “urgent notices” to city hospitals about cases of atypical pneumonia linked to the city’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. The notices leak online. | Wuhan medical workers, including ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, trade messages about the cases in online chat groups.
  • December 31: A machine translation of a Chinese media report about the outbreak is posted to ProMED, a U.S.-based open-access platform for early intelligence about infectious disease outbreaks. WHO headquarters in Geneva sees the ProMED post and instructs the WHO China Country Office to request verification of the outbreak from China’s government. | The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issues its first public statement on the outbreak, saying it has identified 27 cases.
  • January 1: Wuhan authorities shut down the city’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
  • January 3: Dr. Li Wenliang is reprimanded by local Wuhan police for spreading allegedly false statements about the outbreak online. | Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) Director-General Gao Fu tells U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) Director Robert Redfield about a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan.
  • January 4: In its first public statement on the outbreak, WHO tweets, “China has reported to WHO a cluster of pneumonia cases—with no deaths—in Wuhan, Hubei Province.”
  • January 6: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar II and U.S. CDC Director Redfield offer to send U.S. CDC experts to China. | U.S. CDC issues a “Watch Level 1 Alert” for Wuhan and advises travelers to Wuhan to avoid animals, animal markets, and animal products.
  • January 11: A team led by Prof. Yong-zhen Zhang of Fudan University in Shanghai posts the genetic sequence of the virus on an open-access platform, sharing it with the world. | China CDC and two other Chinese teams subsequently also post genetic sequences of the virus on an open-access platform. | China shares the virus’ genomic sequence with WHO.
  • January 12: Dr. Li Wenliang is hospitalized with symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
  • January 20: China confirms person-to-person transmission of the novel coronavirus and infections among medical workers.
  • January 21: U.S. CDC announces the first novel coronavirus case in the United States, in a patient who returned from Wuhan on January 15, 2020.
  • January 23: Wuhan suspends public transportation and bars residents from leaving the city.

Relatedly, the the DNI has released an unclassified summary of its investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 / Covid-19.


23 thoughts on “China and the Initial Response to Covid-19

  1. Baffling

    Didnt watch the documentary yet. However, the report is close to where i am. I still feel it was a natural occurrence. However, given the proximity of the virus to the lab, that cannot be ruled out. Yet. More data would be helpful.

    1. Ivan

      The virus is a natural mutant. We will never know whether it came directly from nature to start a pandemic (in non-lab workers) or it came via a lab worker to start a pandemic (in non-lab workers). That also doesn’t really matter. Regardless of the origin of this specific virus, we must do all we can to prevent lab leaks and also do all we can to prevent natural animal-to-human transmissions in the future. It’s not as if we knew that one of those routes for sure was the culprit this time, then we would ignore the other possibility for any future prevention efforts. History show that pandemics are started by natural processes not lab accidents, but we should certainly work to reduce probabilities of both. Even though lab accidents have never started a pandemic they can be the cause of illness and even death among those who are affected.

      1. baffling

        “but we should certainly work to reduce probabilities of both. ”
        i agree. we should spend far more effort working to reduce either possibility in the future. we are not going to stop other nations from biological experimentation in the future. what we can do is provide resources to help them do so in a safe way. biologicals are not like nuclear materials. any old joe can access biologicals and begin to experiment. we cannot really stop this in the future.

  2. ltr

    August 31, 2021

    Chinese mainland reports 37 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland recorded 37 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, all from overseas, the latest data from the National Health Commission showed on Tuesday.

    In addition, 14 new asymptomatic cases were recorded, while 443 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation.

    This brings the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland to 94,879, with the death toll unchanged at 4,636.

    Chinese mainland new locally transmitted cases

    Chinese mainland new imported cases

    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases

  3. ltr

    August 31, 2021

    Over 2.05 bln doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered in China

    BEIJING — More than 2.05 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in China as of Monday, data from the National Health Commission showed Tuesday.

    [ Chinese coronavirus vaccine yearly production capacity is more than 5 billion doses. Along with over 2.055 billion doses of Chinese vaccines administered domestically, another 800 million doses have been distributed to 100 countries internationally. A number of countries are now producing Chinese vaccines from delivered raw materials. ]

  4. macroduck

    It’s remarkable that Li Wenliang was reprimanded for behaving in the public interest. It’s notable that ltr would certainly draw a repremand from the Chinese government if she posted U.S. propaganda on a blog hosted in China. Notable for ltr’s hypocrisy, among other things.

    Li Wenliang behaved honorably and was repremanded. ltr is paid by China to behave hypocritically. No wonder Biden is focused on countering China’s efforts to expand it’s influence.

    Sad that Li Wenliang contracted a Covid infection severe enough to require hospitalization.

    Otherwise, the timeline presented here suggests China acted reasonably quickly to notify the WHO of the outbreak, but only after he cat was out of the bag.

    1. Ivan

      Yes he was reprimanded for the Chinese equivalent of “yelling fire in a crowded theater”, then it turned out there actually was a fire – and that the slow response of the fire brigade left him being burned to a crisp. Very sad.

    2. Moses Herzog

      You know he eventually died right. My recollection is Beijing “walked back” their criticism of Li once he became a bit of a hero to regular Chinese. It was only after Beijing saw that led balloon wasn’t flying that they walked it back. I think Li Wenliang was really doubly heroic here, if I can use that phrase. Because in any country what Li did as far as public awareness and saving of lives makes it heroic. With a virus that grows exponentially it’s hard to actually measure the amount of lives he might have in fact saved. What adds and extra layer of heroism to it is, he had to have known Wuhan officials, Hubei officials, and Beijing were coming after him once he sounded the alarm. No one will convince me Li Wenliang didn’t know he was going to get a severe punishment “talking out of turn”. Maybe Western Chinese can do what needs to be done for this still unsung hero. It would be super cool if say Chinese in San Francisco or Chinese in Vancouver Canada would make a large public statue for him. I think he’s more than deserving of this level of remembrance.

  5. Moses Herzog

    You know what this “C variant” stuff tells ME??? Keep in mind this is a guy (Uncle Moses is who I am talking about here, I’m pulling “a Bob Dole”) who made poor science grades n high school, and whose “general requirement” science classes in college did not require a lab (which was extremely rare for a 4-year college even at the time I attended). It tells me you better not have let your personal/household supply of masks dwindle down. Why would a science moron like me say that?? Because even as much of an idiot I am on science, I have enough intelligence to know that if 2-3 of these mutations start catching on, it’s going to turn into a logistical nightmare for people to get their “booster” shots before these things have already transmitted to a significant portion of any nation. And at least at the start of any epidemic, one thing you cannot trust Fauci on, aside from shivering and quivering in the very back of the stage underneath Deborah Birx’s skirt because he might be called to the microphone at a MAGA press conference~~~you can always trust Fauci to do THAT~~~is tell people to purchase/backlog surgical masks or N-95 masks, because “The masks are needed to save healthcare workers, not you or your family”.

  6. Moses Herzog

    Regarding this PBS Frontline show~~~Don’t let Barkley Junior see the video of those meat markets (which the northeast China version of I have seen dozens of times in person). And don’t show Junior the video of caged bats pissing on caged civet cats piled on top of each other which about 98% probability started SARS. Because Barkley Junior thinks Codid-19 came from a scientist inside of a lab, and so does CIA lapdog David Ignatius, whose story leaking masters benefit from such absurd conspiracy theories. That would mean Barkley Junior was wrong about something or another. Something which a a monstrously large but hypersensitive ego cannot handle.

    1. baffling

      i read the article. to be honest, i found it neither very informative nor convincing. just did not think it was effective as written. i understand it was an op-ed, but i guess i expected better quality from the nyt. it was not like something intentionally misleading, like what often appears in the wsj opinion pieces or anything. just felt like i wasted a couple minutes of life i will never be able to reclaim. when you click, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Well, I lived there for 7 years, and I feel that counts for something. And I can tell you his words rang as extremely accurate to me. Not everyone can be as perceptive when looking at their own group. It’s similar to “family dynamics”, like a “nuclear family”. Sometimes people inside the family can see things people outside the family cannot see. And sometimes it works in reverse in other aspects, people outside of the family can see things patently obvious that people inside of the family are blind to (possibly they know subconsciously, or maybe they just don’t).

        All of this is a subjective, so to me, this particular issue is not worth an argument. But my feeling is if mainland Chinese cannot face what this man is saying, there is upwards of a 75% chance there will be another world outbreak originating from China, which has ZERO connection (transmission-wise) to Covid-19. Which is one of the reasons why people like Barkley Rosser running around telling people “this came out of a lab” aren’t doing anyone, in ANY country any favors. because it’s obfuscating the true crux of the problem.

        1. baffling

          i don’t disagree with the wild animal trade issue. it has many problems. i am just saying, i don’t think the article was particularly effective at making this argument. i actually agree with you on this moses. but by the time i finished reading the article, the point seemed to be lost.
          rhinos are going extinct in the wild because of the type of animal consumption described in the article. we have known this for decades. does not seem to have changed the behavior of those involved. apparently shaming them does not work.

        2. Barkley Rosser


          There you go again, lying your worthless effing face off. Will you cut it out you worthless disgusting scumbag?

          I have never said that the virus came from a lab, as you have now taken to repeating even when told you are lying, never. I said it might have, and that remains the generally accepted case. We do not know and probably never will, again due to the Chinese hiding or destroying data.

          Again, you yourself awhile ago admitted that you were wrong over a year ago when you went around claiming in posts directly very virulently at me that it was impossible it had come from a lab. Various scientists changed their mind from that view to that it could have. Do you remember this, Moses, you inveterate drudger through past posts here? Are you now denying that you admitted you had been wrong?

          BTW, for what it is worth I was unable to read the link due to firewall, but if it says the wild animal trade in China is dangerous and can lead to new pandemics, I completely agree with that. Again, for the record I do not dispute that Covid-19 might have come from a wild animal source. I simply said we did not know for sure it did not come from a lab either, and indeed have noted the possibility that only occasionally gets mentioned that it may have come from an animal in a Wuhan lab, not from some gain of function research. We do not know.

          In the meantime, I am going to ask Menzie to totally ban you if you insist on repeating rank lies about people here, lies you have yourself have admitted are lies. This is simply unacceptable. Just cut it out.

    1. baffling

      i’ve been following this as well. there is also the lambda variant, also in south america, that has some similar vaccine resistance. considering how few people are actually vaccinated around the world, i think we are further from the end game that folks believe. in june, i was convinced i saw the light. in september, i am convinced that light may very well be an oncoming train. we are going to deal with this for a while ff our nation refuses to accommodate masking and social distancing when conditions call for it.

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ baffling
        You and I have “gone at it” (disagreed) on a fair amount of things, and I’ve taken some shots at you, fair or unfair. It seems i may have taken some low gut shots from you before. HOWEVER…….. We pretty much see eye to eye on this one, and I think you stated it well.

        Let’s hope that we are both so very wrong.

  7. Moses Herzog

    It turns out the deep south USA is not the only place with knucklehead police who think their jobs are all about fleecing and scamming the general public out of their money. They also exist in northeast USA:

    But policeman and ;law enforcement officers would never do that, right?? The police are “very busy” “with mountains of paperwork”, how would they “find the time” for a side hustle??? Well, now I see how it went, it was those infamous Vermont “gangbanger” Blacks making accusations against our citizenry loving and protectors of communities, “upstanding” “men in blue”:

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