Monday, March 30, 2020

Watch what the Chinese do

I don't easily believe Chinese statistics - especially regarding something as awful as COVID-19. Believe your eyes and common sense over Chinese statistics.

When China (officially) had 19 deaths they started building massive field hospitals. Believe what you see (the hospitals) but take the 19 deaths as a rather dubious estimate (as per that time).

By contrast when the Chinese Government say COVID-19 is highly controlled in China you can believe them because there are Westerners and Western companies throughout China and what you can see (Shanghai and Chongqing as functional cities) comports with the statements and the actions of the Chinese Government.

My general view: watch what the Chinese Government does - rather than what they say.

This is a story about journalists returning to their home in Beijing before a Government crackdown on foreigners. 

Watch it.

You can see the Chinese take COVID-19 very seriously indeed.

We can conclude that

a. The Chinese have seen the virus. They think they know what it can do. They are scared. Do not believe the Chinese numbers. The truth is much worse. But believe the Chinese actions. They think fear is appropriate.

b. The Chinese have proven that a super-hard lockdown lasting seven weeks in affected areas 2.5 weeks in Shanghai etc can work. Their major cities have low virus load and major Western cities have not.

c. The Chinese Government are super-scared of reintroducing it.



Paul said...

Hi John, any thoughts on the supposed effectiveness of Hydroxychloroquine. A couple of very interesting research papers have been released. Whilst clearly not a cure, if accurate, it should alleviate the pressure on the health care system.



Anonymous said...

And why would John know? You are simply pushing your BS theories about a non-effective drug.

Kien said...

I’d say ‘prudent’ sorry ‘scared’. China is restarting its economy and understandably wants to avoid a rebound in infections. We should hope they succeed.

Chinese statistics are noisy, but I think its trends are informative.

Anonymous said...

Given what is happening in Europe, do we need to look to China to know that we probably don't want this thing?

MCRude1 said...

We need more testing. If we had more testing we could identify those people who are carriers but are asymptomatic. Without testing we have no real way of knowing what the real infection rate is and if we relax social distancing laws too soon we will likely see an increase in the rate of infection. I agree watch what the Chinese do - and they are measuring and testing like crazy.

Andy S said...

The current consensus in the healthcare community is that hydroxychloroquine is useful (at least partially effective), but only in the non-acute phase (pre-ventilator). It is also somewhat toxic (much higher doses than malaria prophylaxis).

I'm not a medical professional, so please seek appropriate advice before relying on this.

Anonymous said...

About the China numbers.....

abee crombie said...

Great thoughts John. You certainly point out a well known fact with Chinese official data.

Looking at the decline curve in the number of Chinese cases of new covid infections in February is either extremely remarkable or a great example of this. Maybe a bit of both.

This feels like it's going to be a marathon not a sprint.

Mr. S. said...

China probably also just built the world’s largest DNA database with all the swabbing...

Anonymous said...

Same same in Singapore, and it works!

Conscience of a Conservative said...

apparently china has excluded asymptomatic cases from its data

Anonymous said...

The Chinese cities are NOT free of CV19. There is a second wave of cases appearing in Wuhan, with the city still under lockdown.

Four days ago, China closed all cinemas nation-wide, shortly after re-opening them

The problem is that Chinese markets sell live animals. In China, if you want roast chicken, you don't buy a frozen chicken from the supermarket. You buy a live chicken and have it killed and plucked in front of you. Traditionally, in a country without access to refrigeration, this a how the Chinese guaranteed fresh unspoiled meat. The same market that will sell you a chicken, also sells many other live species. Essentially, many (absolutely not all) Chinese markets are uncontrolled, unsupervised abattoirs.

The BSE (mad cow disease) epidemic in the early 1990's resulted in treaty which strictly controlled how animals can be slaughtered. For instance, farmers are no longer allowed the slaughter their own animals, all animals have to be processed at regualted and controlled abattoirs.

China signed and ratified that treaty. It was not aimed at China, it was aimed at Britian and China was happy to join in.

After the 2002 SARS outbreak, China was pressured into agreeing to enforce the requirements of the treaty. However, public health enforcement has never been a particularly powerful part of the Chinese bureaucracy, so many markets were able to use 关系 (guanxi) to obtain exceptions. In addition, the central health ministry issued, over a period of a few years, 58 revisions to the regulations which markedly weakened the new provisions and effectively returned to the status quo ante.

China's lack of modern public health standards has caused world-wide havoc with CV19. China will have to be forced to cleanup their wet markets and specifically the way animals are handled and caged before slaughter. The Chinese are going to have learn to enjoy frozen chicken.

And finally, as to the claim that CV19 is a US military bio-warfare experiment gone wrong - would the Chinese care to explain SARS, H5N1 and arguably H1N1, let alone a generations worth of 'asian flu' viruses? Nobody has ever claimed that they did not originate in China.


Anonymous said...

Interesting to see the extent of the countermeasures. How do you square that with reports that the wet markets have re-opened - with the potential for a next-generation coronavirus?

Dmitry said...

Disagree on the "what they say" part.

Right after the initial "head in the sand" period, Chinese released data which was
a) scary enough, and a good deal distance from "nothing to see here, no problem" approach
b) now, after we have the covid-19 across the world, actually looks fairly consistent with what other countries experience - the "no healthcare collapse" kind
c) at the time of the release, the virus had not yet spread internationally, so China could have had "reasonable expectation" that noone will be there to check the numbers they publish, so it just begs to doctor it a bit to look better.

I suggest we compare to
a) top first-world governments, UK, US, playing corona-denial far into the precious time when it was "silent but quite deadly" infecting the populace there - after they already could see how BS about "limited measures" and "group immunity" works for Italy and Spain
b) Germany today, which shocks everybody with the absolute record lows for lethality - better then any other country reporting with non-negligible amount of cases, no matter "democracy" or "not exactly". And where individual doctors do leak fairly openly in social media that they, as a coordinated centralized measure, list causes of illness and death as "chronic symptoms" or stuff like that, just to dodge calling it corona.
basically what you, I, and the rest of "developed world" expected of China.
surprise here.

this clearly aren't going to "end the world as we know it" even worst case scenarios, but it is going to change the landscape a bit. Especially after the peak, when people calm down, sit down, and start to count bones and sheckels. "how much was it", "who sent aid and who sent best wishes dick picks and little else" (will be a harrowing moment for the EU, sadly) e t.c.

Mark Sheridan said...

Singapore now shutting down as of Tuesday and they have some of the best contact tracing and management of this in the world.

Anonymous said...

A truism. We all know the Chinese numbers are and always have been complete BS.

Another Chinese Virus. How many now in the past 25 years? What should the consequences be for both turning a blind eye to the origins and then arresting those that raised the alarm bell? Should there be a Chinese Virus tariff on the country? Maybe not, but a somewhat amusing look at the situation is to watch Border Security and see all the shit brought in by Chinese tourists. I amuse myself thinking its a micro version of the illegal animal markets they operate there and total disregard for other peoples health.

Blissex said...

«I don't easily believe Chinese statistics»

That's an excellent general principle, but I also I think that many non-chinese statistics are misleading, even if they are accurate in some technical sense (rather than being overtly faked like those from Argentina or pre-bailout Greece), so I take them all under advisement.
BTW I remember someone wrote a few years ago a "Can you handle the truth?" blog post not unrelated to this topic :-).

«When China (officially) had 19 deaths they started building massive field hospitals.»

I am not at all surprised. The chinese government is huge on planning: they after all built the famous "empty cities" ahead of mass urbanization, while other countries just let their migrants dies like flies in horrible rookeries or favelas. The provincial authorities may misreport things, but the CCP has a network of informants that allows them to keep a pulse of what's really going on. Also the chinese state has had to deal with *many* avian flu outbreaks. I suppose that in some chinese ministry there is a big red button with a label saying "Press in case of avian flu spreading" and it triggers a fairly automatic plan,

Put another way, the chinese government is run by engineers, not by finance people and spivs whose only goal is to sweat their assets into oblivion and externalizing costs onto others, and engineers understand dynamics and planning.

«By contrast when the Chinese Government say COVID-19 is highly controlled in China you can believe them because there are Westerners and Western companies throughout China and what you can see (Shanghai and Chongqing as functional cities) comports with the statements and the actions of the Chinese Government.»

I rather believe that both because they are engineers, and because they are control freaks (many of them grew up in the chaos of the Mao regimes and its periodic mad campaigns), and perhaps more control freaks than engineers, because they try too hard to control systems and thus make them a bit too fragile.

Blissex said...

BTW, part of the reason why I am credulous of chinese statistics in this case is that I reckon that their reports of mortality rates are higher than what will happen in long-developed nations:

* It is pretty obvious that like all bad flu viruses those of this variants of SARS kill more easily people with a weaker constitution, but obviously a weaker constitution is more common among old people everywhere.

* Chinese statistics show an enormous increase in mortality rates among old people.

* Old people in China were by by women or grew up in a very poor country with poor nutrition and bad healthcare, and ravaged by Mao's mad campaigns like "Big Leap Forward" and "Cultural Revolution", and many are still today very poor, especially outside developed areas, and they get a lot less health care, which is expensive.

* Therefore I would expect many old people in China to have much weaker constitutions and poorer health situations than people of the same age in long-developed nations, and hopefully mortality rates in the latter to be lower.

Anonymous said...

Hey Smug Douchebag I hope you are losing money.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHA Hysterical Hempton, have you calmed down yet and when will you admit you were widely wrong?

Anonymous said...

John Dear your fear porn was a joke right?


Still laughing about your wild predictions on the virus.


UplayOnline said...

obviously a weaker constitution is more common among old people everywhere.


Roger Fox said...

The Chinese take everything seriously, in general they are very obedient, they were told to stay at home, they were sitting, and the Italians violated for a long time, which led to such sad statistics.

samir sardana said...

People say that the COVID death rate is 0.40% ! This was circulated in several news channels also !

Me Thinks the death rate is beyond 10%,on aggregate count,and for some nations it is way beyond.

As per - = there are 7.5 million cases and 420000 dead.Simple numerics place it at proximating 6%.

Wrong me says ! dindooohindoo

India,Brazil,Russia have seen a sharp rise in cases,in the last 30 days.40% of their cases came in the last 30 days,and for India,it will worsen exponentially.If you see the kill data of the RIB in the BRICS - it has increased sharply,in the last 30 days (which proves my thesis)

People dying today,were in the quasi morgue (hospitals) 30-60 days ago.Let us take it,at 30 days.

So we rewind to 30 days ago,and exclude the jump in RIB of BRICS,in the last 30 days. So we have say 4.5 million cases and the kill quant is 420,000

Rate proximates 10% ! But that is also wrong,as the infected are NOT solely on RTPCR mode.Many nations cannot afford it and are doing antibody tests.An antibody positive may be RTPCR negative,and the vice versa is less likely. If you exclude these specimens from the infected tally,the % rises further.

Also have to exclude the recovered cases - as those with immunity will recover in 30 days - AS THE VIRUS was DESIGNED THAT WAY.Unlike HIV and Cancer - where patients are NOT likely to recover- on a generic mode.But those who recover from COVID -WILL (in part) come back again,and then die.That will double count the infected cases.Hence,we exclude the recovered cases (which are 4 million,as per site stated above).

These Johnnies who recouped,may have been infected,say 15 days ago - and if you rewind to 15 days ago,and deduct the spike in the RIBs of the BRICS - you will have an infected base of,say 6 million.If you remove the recovered (4 million),and then ratio it,to the dead of 420000 - then you have a
kill ratio of 21% !

Cannot compare the dead to the entire population - as of this instant - as it would include billions of aged,morbid and asymptomatics - who will get infected very soon.

If we take a 1 year horizon - then post the 1 year - you could take the global population - as that by that time,the virus would have had enough time,to spread,evolve and mutate (across the latitudes and seasons).At that stage,a ratio w.r.t the population,would be a meaningful statistic - to benchmark intra and inter se,with other diseases.By that time the death rate will mature and the complete breakdown of the health imfrastructure will be apparent (to explain the future geometric rise)

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