Pandemic Politics

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The government of the People’s Republic of China has accelerated its efforts to get out ahead of the Wuhan coronavirus. As Lunar New Year festivities begin around the country, China’s leader Xi Jinping warned of a ‘grave situation’ developing with regards to the virus. According to Chinese state television, Xi has told senior government officials that the virus spread is increasing. These remarks have come as new restrictions are about to take effect in Wuhan, and a number of other Chinese cities on Sunday.

Not surprisingly, Beijing has been quite hesitant and vague when it comes to revealing the extent of the virus’s impact. Officially, the virus has killed at least 41 people and infected 1,400. Considering these numbers come from the Chinese government, they’re presumably light. In all likelihood the number of deaths, and people infected inside of China is higher. Exactly how high remains to be seem, however, a large hint can be found in the government’s recent actions. Two emergency hospitals, each able to accommodate 1,000+ patients are being hurriedly constructed in Wuhan. Military medical teams have been dispatched to the Hubei province where Wuhan is located.

It is understandable that Beijing is looking to keep the panic level below sweat stage. That is why the release of information has been staggered, and drawn out. Unfortunately, cases are cropping up outside of the country, and there are governments across the Western Pacific region, and other parts of the world demanding more information and answers in order to prepare. Simultaneously, the World Health Organization, and Centers for Disease Control here in the United States are both running blind to an extent. Sharing medical data at a time like this is essential, and generally a two way street between international medical organizations, and the government of affected nations. That hasn’t been the case with the Wuhan coronavirus.

Around the world, a sense of urgency is building. If the numbers of infected, and dead are rapidly increasing in China, the government has to be forthcoming with the fact and give other nations in the region, and around the world enough information, and time to ready their own citizens before it is too late.

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