Mario Cavolo: Don’t understand how China stopped the virus? Read this

May 02 , 2020

By Mario Cavolo, a non-resident senior fellow of Center for China and Globalization (CCG)


This article is for those of you who somehow still don’t understand how it is that China achieved getting the virus outbreak under control. There are no lies about it. There are no new cases and when a few crop up, the controls here are quickly put back in place. There are over 250 major cities in China and here and there small outbreaks will appear. The same will be the case for many months to come in countries all across the world after they gotten the severe initial outbreak under control.

Our children here in China are still not back to school even though there are no new cases. This is because cases in local cities will pop up and so there is still an abundance of caution. Most recently, there is a cluster of more than 50 cases in Harbin and lockdown measures are back in place to stop it, which of course are working fine. But these control measures stifle the economy and community. This is the new reality for many months to come. (Middle school students are just now starting to go back as we head into the end of April.) And this is even if President Trump wonders whether “those numbers seem light”. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or throw dishes at the wall. The numbers are as real as any country or city, who as we can see are also regularly updating and adjusting their numbers.

Here is exactly what we did and how we did it in China. Living here for 21 years and having been here through the entire winter months up to now, I am extremely familiar with what has happened here on the ground along with tens of thousands of other foreigners here as well, including our community through many of the chambers of commerce. And importantly, we foreign friends here are in constant live touch with one another through the WeChat groups that we all belong to.

This is an incredibly efficient and transparent direct communication network. For example, two weeks ago when there were some problems related to a local outbreak in Guangzhou, our friends in Guangzhou sent information. This is one of the primary reasons you can believe me when I tell you that the information that comes from me comes directly from me and is a direct reflection of the experience of all the foreigners here who are directly live connected with one another. With WeChat, we continuously send each other texts, voice messages, photos, 15 second videos, weblinks and computer files such as PDFs. If you were also here in China during this time, then you fully understand this situation as well.

Meanwhile, being past the worst of the outbreak, China is getting back to normal, with shopping malls much busier, sales rebounding, the Apple stores packed again, Huawei too. But restaurant business is still down as people are still vigilant and nervous about being directly close to other people for extended periods of time.

1. The reason China does not have any new cases and got the virus completely under control in a few weeks is because even before any province had less than a hundred cases, the entire country was completely shut down. And every person at all times outside wears a mask. It is mandatory, not optional. What don’t you understand about this crystal clear explanation?

2. For example, here where we live in Liaoning province, we only had 89 cases and the entire province was shut down. For America, I will use Arizona as a comparison, where there are not many cases. Do you want Phoenix to turn into New York? Fine, then don’t shut down, don’t isolate and watch what happens. Something every person needs to remember is that the current rate of outbreak we are watching includes the social distancing, isolating and hygiene practices so many people have been doing. So if this year was treated as just another flu season, you tell me how many more cases and deaths there would be than the current 55,000? Please do not lose sight of this point. As bad as it is, you have avoided worse cataclysmic disaster. If there were not lockdowns, the situation would have been a far worse disaster exactly as was happening in Wuhan, Italy and New York, for example.

Remember H1N1? Nothing that significant was done to stop it in America. According to the CDC, H1N1 then infected 60 million Americans with 18,000 dead, and then 1.4 billion worldwide killing an estimated 200,000-575,000.

Next, be thankful H1N1 had a very low death rate, but COVID-19 does not. So please take a moment to imagine the death counts if 60 million Americans get infected with COVID-19. Stop with speculations and do the math. You tell me how many would be dead right now instead of 55,000 if for the past two months America had done nothing and let COVID-19 spread the same as H1N1. Click here to read my original comparison to H1N1 if you haven’t already. Something’s not right here folks, has close to 2 million views.

And in case you still don’t understand and want to doubt what we are saying to you, remember this: 37 New York Police Department workers are dead. So far, over 10,000 US healthcare workers are infected and 27 are dead; those numbers will continue increasing. In China, over 50 healthcare workers died in Wuhan, Hubei treating patients. Heartbreaking.

Did that happen during the H1N1 outbreak? No. COVID-19 is far more deadly.

3. Here in China, in every province, all public transportation, every retail shop, every office building, every school, everything was entirely shutdown. And no doubt, that is damaging to the real world economy. But in China, from day one, the government and community of households put saving lives, saving people first. There was never even a discussion of the economics and politics, so I get livid when people try to imply and accuse that the Chinese government doesn’t care about its people when the situation is the exact opposite. Actions speak louder than words in life and saving lives was the first and only priority here in China, knowing full well that meant falling on the economic sword as a united act of civic duty and sacrifice. And yes, people really suffered miserably as many other countries are now experiencing.

4. The only thing you could do in China through February, and March too, was go to a nearby grocery store with temperature and QR scan controls to buy groceries. That’s it. Every 3-4 days I went out to one of the two large markets that were open. On entering, they took your temperature and you scan the QR code to track where and when you were so they can back trace who you were in contact with later if you later developed symptoms.

5. After shopping, then you just go back home and enjoy yourself isolated once again, with your children at home because the schools were shut. It has been a struggle to keep our 9-year-old busy in a routine, moving him from playtime to online courses to reading to playing downstairs with the other kids in our apt garden space. But we’re doing great.

6. This level of discipline is what we did for weeks and weeks here in China. More importantly, this is what every province across the entire country without exception did. This was what China’s provinces with very few cases did to insure that the outbreak would stop.

7. We didn’t wait. The government said do it, we did it. It’s called civic duty and sacrifice to your community in the society in which you live.

8. By the end of February, most provinces had no new cases. All controls remain in place, now relaxed. If and when any small clusters of new cases pop up, those controls will instantly be turned on again. So there will never be another large outbreak ever again anywhere in China.

9. As of now, all cities have rolled out the Green Health QR Code app across China’s cities. Every Chinese citizen has it on their mobile devices. Here in Shenyang, for example, you need to QR scan and show your green health code when you enter the subway, or a mall. Simple. If for some reason, it is yellow you can ‘t go and if it is red, you belong at home in quarantine. The software works for foreigners in most cities. Here in Shenyang, it is not updated yet. So foreigners need to show their passport and register in a manual book in that case. Perfect? Nope, definitely not. Annoying at times? Sure. But it’s a system in action being rolled out and tweaked at lightning speed across the country. Privacy? Hah, don’t make me laugh. You better get over that one anywhere on planet Earth.

So now I want to ask you. Do you have any more silly questions about why there are no cases here in China? It is because of extreme disciplined controls. There is no conspiracy, there are no lies. The political anti-China haters are a distraction at best. They are just making this pandemic problem worse across the world by sowing disinformation and lies and hate. Please ignore them.

Or do you still believe the latest CIA “intelligence” report and other media on how things are still bad in China, which by the way are just trying to make you feel better about how bad things are there instead? Do you know that it is now crystal clear the virus is natural?

Do you know that there are now many, many reports of people in other countries including the US with the exact same severe/pneumonia coronavirus symptoms back in October and November? I have a close family friend telling me that most of their customers in Phoenix had these severe symptoms and also tested negative for the flu virus, so what did they have? We do not know. Even the CDC Director already said it could be they had COVID-19. Maybe we can find out later with antibody tests.

Listen to me please, and understand that we don’t know who flew from where to where first. For example, there was a medical device exhibition in Los Angeles in October with hundreds of visitors from Wuhan medical companies. There was the US military visiting Wuhan from the US during the same time to engage in military sports games at a stadium which in fact was not far from the Wuhan market. There were reports of nasty pneumonia then in other parts of the US and other countries. We just don’t know. And the virus source for New York has been shown to be Europe. But many Chinese also fly between China and Europe. Also, did you now that the first two confirmed cases in Wuhan, Nov 17 and Dec 1, were not associated with the Wuhan market?

So then, as Nassim Taleb well pointed out, this is globalization with international flights. So do you see how many unknowns there are? These are people flying back and forth on flights so no one can identify who spread it from where, who started it.

The scientists are right now, the Chinese and American and other country scientists are right now still actively working on identifying these origins and paths. Meanwhile, stop with the speculations and political garbage.

And on the millions of cellphones canceled, that’s because all the workers on very low salaries/income at home for three months canceled their mobile subscriptions to save money while they knew they were stuck at home for at least two months. AT&T just reported losing 897,000 TV subscribers. So they all died from the virus, right?

Are you done speculating? I surely hope so.

Thanks, god bless, go home and stay home until the end of May and don’t touch anything outside your home. Use sanitizer and wipes. Don’t get near any person whose history you don’t know. Tough. Simple. Do it. I told you before, act like you’re going camping for a few weeks. Enjoy yourself and practice hygiene and isolation

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