China beat the coronavirus with science and strong public health measures


By Elanah Uretsky, Brandeis University

My research suggests that the control of the virus in China is not the result of authoritarian policy, but of a national prioritization of health. China learned a tough lesson with SARS, the first coronavirus pandemic of the 21st century.

Barely less than a year ago, a novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, with 80,000 cases identified within three months, killing 3,000 people.

In late January 2020, the Chinese government decided to lock down this city of 11 million people. All transportation to and from the city was stopped. Officials further locked down several other cities in Hubei Province, eventually quarantining over 50 million people.

By the beginning of April, the Chinese government limited the spread of the virus to the point where they felt comfortable opening up Wuhan once again.

Seven months later, China has confirmed 9,100 additional cases and recorded 1,407 more deaths due to the coronavirus. People in China travel, eat in restaurants and go into theaters, and kids go to school without much concern for their health. Juxtapose that to what we are experiencing in the U.S. To date, we have confirmed over 11 million cases, with the last 1 million recorded in just the last one week alone.

Affirmation in detail of modern public health measures producing the best economic results…as well as saving a heck of a lot more lives than the piecemeal failure we’re still going through in the United States.

5 thoughts on “China beat the coronavirus with science and strong public health measures

  1. Gweilo Joe says:

    “What we can learn from contact tracing an entire province : A new study highlights our consensus on the virus’s spread and how we can change it.” (11/25/20) https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/11/what-we-can-learn-from-contact-tracing-an-entire-province/
    “The new work, done by an international team of researchers, focuses on the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Hunan Province during the first outbreak after its origins in nearby Hubei. During the period of study, health authorities started by identifying cases largely by symptoms, and they then switched to a massive contact tracing effort and aggressive isolation policies. These efforts shut the outbreak down by early March. And, thanks to them, we have very detailed information on viral cases: 1,178 infected individuals, another 15,648 people they came in contact with, and a total of nearly 20,000 potential exposure events.”

    See also “Transmission heterogeneities, kinetics, and controllability of SARS-CoV-2” https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/11/23/science.abe2424 and “Most COVID cases don’t spread virus—it’s the superspreaders we need to stop : Mounting evidence on superspreaders suggests a shift in thinking about social distancing. (6/12/20) https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/06/just-10-20-of-covid-19-cases-behind-80-of-transmission-studies-suggest/

  2. 实事求是 says:

    “Provincial governments across China are placing orders for experimental, domestically made coronavirus vaccines, though health officials have yet to say how well they work or how they may reach the country’s 1.4 billion people.”
    https://apnews.com/article/international-news-taiwan-china-coronavirus-pandemic-5f14c76f18ddab4cc9bc5e826d820445
    “Developers are speeding up final testing, the Chinese foreign minister said during a U.N. meeting last week, as Britain approved emergency use of Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine candidate and providers scrambled to set up distribution.
    Even without final approval, more than 1 million health care workers and others in China who are deemed at high risk of infection have received experimental vaccines under emergency use permission. There has been no word on possible side effects.
    China’s fledgling pharmaceutical industry has at least five vaccines from four producers being tested in more than a dozen countries including Russia, Egypt and Mexico. Health experts say even if they are successful, the certification process for the United States, Europe, Japan and other developed countries might be too complex for them to be used there. However, China said it will ensure the products are affordable for developing countries.”

  3. East is red says:

    (12/26/20): China Will Overtake U.S. as Top Global Economy by 2028 Thanks to Superior COVID Response https://www.newsweek.com/china-will-overtake-us-top-global-economy-2028-thanks-superior-covid-response-report-1557353
    The British Centre for Economics and Business Research released its annual report on Saturday, suggesting that the economic fallout of the pandemic means China will surpass the U.S. five years earlier than previously estimated.
    The U.S. has become the epicenter of the pandemic and cases are still rising sharply. More than 18.7 million cases have been confirmed and 330,000 people have died. Lockdown measures and public safety fears have undermined the U.S. economy and sent unemployment numbers soaring. In China, meanwhile, life has largely returned to normal.

  4. Update says:

    (Jan 16, 2021): “China builds hospital in 5 days after surge in virus cases : China has finished building a 1,500-room hospital for COVID-19 patients to fight a surge in infections the government said are harder to contain and that it blamed on infected people or goods from abroad” https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/china-builds-hospital-days-surge-virus-cases-75292187
    “The hospital is one of six with a total of 6,500 rooms being built in Nangong, south of Beijing in Hebei province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
    More than 10 million people in Shijiazhuang underwent virus tests by late Friday, Xinhua said, citing a deputy mayor, Meng Xianghong. It said 247 locally transmitted cases were found.
    Meanwhile, researchers sent by the World Health Organization were in Wuhan preparing to investigate the origins of the virus. The team, which arrived Thursday, was under a two-week quarantine but was due to talk with Chinese experts by video link.
    The team’s arrival was held up for months by diplomatic wrangling that prompted a rare public complaint by the head of the WHO.
    That delay, and the secretive ruling party’s orders to scientists not to talk publicly about the disease, have raised questions about whether Beijing might try to block discoveries that would hurt its self-proclaimed status as a leader in the anti-virus battle.”

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