China will find it increasingly difficult to keep the figure of deaths due to the 2019 novel coronavirus-induced diseases conservative as scientific journals have begun disclosing the real magnitude of the pandemic. The Lancet has published an essay, detailing the devastation and its causes, lending credence to Senator Tom Cotton’s allegation that China’s official toll figures are a “lie”.
Senator Cotton had tweeted on 31 December 2019, “China is still lying about the spread of coronavirus, as they have from the start. We now know the first case manifested no later than December 1. A month later, they continued to hide it from their own citizens. Today, it is in every single province in China.” The tweet contained the following video.
Cotton had said in his exposition that China’s claim that the virus was acquired from seafood was questionable. This was along the lines of the Sirf News report that had questioned the Chinese government’s assertion of the coronavirus coming from the Wuhan meat market. The Lancet has in effect challenged the government of China, saying, “Exposure history to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale market served as an important clue at the early stage, yet its value has decreased as more secondary and tertiary cases have appeared.”
The Lancet‘s article dated 24 January says, “… cases detected outside Wuhan, together with the detection of infection in at least one household cluster — reported by Jasper Fuk-Woo Chan and colleagues6 in The Lancet — and the recently documented infections in healthcare workers caring for patients with 2019-nCoV indicate human-to-human transmission and thus the risk of (a) much wider spread of the disease.” This is akin to damning the official figures emerging from China.
The situation can only get worse because of the approaching lunar new year in China, warns The Lancet. “The increasing number of cases and widening geographical spread of the disease raise grave concerns about the future trajectory of the outbreak, especially with the Chinese Lunar New Year quickly approaching. Under normal circumstances, an estimated 3 billion trips would be made in the Spring Festival travel rush this year, with 15 million trips happening in Wuhan. The virus might further spread to other places during this festival period and cause epidemics, especially if it has acquired the ability to efficiently transmit from person to person,” the science journal reads.
The Lancet does note that the systems in China have improved greatly since the 2003 SARS attack, but that makes it all the more stunning why the government of that country suppressed facts from its own citizens and the world for a long time. The first case of coronavirus infection was reported on 1 December whereas China reported the outbreak on 7 January this year when the outbreak had turned into a pandemic.
Before the Lancet story, data had accidentally leaked from Chinese company Tencent that put the coronavirus casualty story as many times the figure recognised by the government of China.
This suppression has led to two mutually conflicting conspiracy theories across the world. One, that China was developing the novel coronavirus as an agent for a biological warfare and the agent leaked from its military laboratories. Two, that the US is trying to scare the world to create a market for its vaccine that at least one American company is close to developing.
There is a third conspiracy theory, albeit an incredible one. That this is a repeat of the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ story the US and the UK had concocted to launch an attack on Saddam Hussein’s China. This is unbelievable as Xi Jinping is no Saddam Hussein; China is no Iraq and, most importantly, China is the largest and arguably the most important investment destination of American companies.