COVID-19: Neither China Nor the WHO Are to Blame for Trump’s Failures

John Wight says that the U.S. president, in seeking to weaponize the virus to salvage his own reputation, has set his face against humanity.

By John Wight
in Edinburgh, Scotland

In the midst of a global pandemic Donald Trump has gone berserk, lashing out with increasing venom at the media at home for daring to ask uncomfortable questions — his now customary jeremiads and verbal broadsides against them a now daily occurrence as he dissembles and deflects like a man whose meltdown is near complete — while attacking China and the WHO abroad; more or less claiming that the latter is an agent of the former, with the former a dagger pointed at the heart of the world.

In this the 45th president of the United States has begun to move perilously close to the ranks of the growing number of conspiracy theory nuts in our midst, with their ludicrous assertions as to the origins of coronavirus and, inter alia, the sinister agendas of Bill Gates, the Chinese government, the Illuminati, along with the role of 5G masts in facilitating its spread. As Trump becomes more embattled and struggles to answer the justified criticism of his handling of the crisis, and as his approval numbers dip, his rampant megalomania makes him ever-more-susceptible to the charms of conspiracy theory as a route out of the reality he’s chosen to divorce himself from.

Facts though, as an early U.S. president, John Adams, so helpfully put it, are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. And where the World Health Organization is concerned, the part it has played in warning and helping to prepare the world for this pandemic, the facts are as follows:

  1. A pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO Country Office in China on 31 December 2019.
  2. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020.
  3. On 11 February 2020, WHO announced a name for the new coronavirus disease: Covid-19.

Jan. 20 is a crucial date in the trajectory of coronavirus and the world’s preparedness. For it was on this day that the Chinese government sent the country’s top epidemiologist, Zhong Nanshan, to Wuhan to investigate a virus which by then was spreading rapidly through the city’s 11 million people. Dr Nanshan soon thereafter went on national television to warn the Chinese people to avoid Wuhan, reporting that coronavirus was spreading quickly and that doctors were dying of it. Zhong also revealed that local officials had attempted to cover up the seriousness of the contagion, going so far as to infer that the mayor of Wuhan and rising star within the Chinese Communist Party, Zhou Xianwang, was a liar.

Rapid Lockdown of Wuhan

Dr. Zhong Nanshan in 2015. (Wikimedia Commons)

Two days after after Nanshan’s television address the Chinese government locked down Wuhan, stopping anyone from either leaving or entering and enforcing strict restrictions on movement within. Dr. Zhong Nanshan, it should be mentioned, led China’s response to the SARS outbreak of 2002 and 2003.

The important point to emphasis is that while local officials in Wuhan, up to and including the city’s mayor, attempted to cover up and downplay the seriousness of the virus in its early stages, there was no attempt by the Chinese government to do so. Instead Beijing responded with impressive alacrity and organization, pouring in thousands of doctors and troops, building temporary hospitals, introducing mass testing and contact tracing, and getting on top of the outbreak in a manner that has put Europe and the U.S. to shame.

Indeed, so impressive were the measures China adopted early on to deal with the virus, Trump was on Jan. 24th tweeting the following:

As to the travel ban Trump enforced on flights coming into the U.S. from China, which constitutes the main plank of his risible deflection, we learn from Richard Perez-Pena and Donald G. McNeil Jr.  of The New York Timesthat “airlines had already canceled the great majority of flights from China, and other countries cut off travel from China at around the same time Mr. Trump did.”

On the WHO’s alleged mishandling of the outbreak, meanwhile, and its “China-centric” bias in the way it accepted at face value what it was being told by Chinese officials about the virus, thus failing to respond properly, in the same article the opposite is argued.

To wit:

“the organization (WHO) had already taken steps to address the coronavirus, even before Dr. Zhong’s awful revelation, drawing attention to the mysterious outbreak.

On Jan. 12, Chinese scientists published the genome of the virus, and the W.H.O. asked a team in Berlin to use that information to develop a diagnostic test. Just four days later, they produced a test and the W.H.O. posted online a blueprint that any laboratory around the world could use to duplicate it.”

Unlike other countries, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declined to adopt the German diagnostic test and insisted on producing its own. However, a flaw in the CDC initial test led to a delay in mass testing and thus allowed the virus spread more rapidly in the U.S. It should also be noted that Trump attempted to buy a German pharmaceutical company that is currently working on developing a coronavirus vaccine with the objective, according to reports, of moving the company’s research “wing to the United States and develop the vaccine for the US only.”

Megalomania & Sociopathy

The pristine truth is that Donald Trump’s megalomania and sociopathy have been laid bare. With over 40,000 dead and counting from Covid-19 in the U.S., his failure to act with anything like the urgency of Beijing for six whole weeks after the WHO declared the virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern has been tantamount to criminal negligence. Further still, his continuing denial of the seriousness of the pandemic, defying scientific medical advice in talking up the prospect of returning to business as usual in the coming weeks, marks him out as a clear and present danger not only to his own people but the entire world.

In seeking to weaponize coronavirus in the interests of salvaging his crumbling reputation and credibility, Trump has set his face against humanity. And those who would prioritize the needs of the economy over public and global health at this time are, in the words of Erich Fromm, suffering from the “pathology of normalcy.”

Returning to the way things were is out of the question, and it’s out of the question simply because the ways things were is responsible for the way things are. This is precisely why Trump and his cohort of machine men and women with machine hearts are the enemy inside the gates. We can only hope and pray that the American people wake up to the fact sooner rather than later.

The rest of the world already has.

John Wight is an independent journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

This article was first published on Medium.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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6 comments for “COVID-19: Neither China Nor the WHO Are to Blame for Trump’s Failures

  1. April 26, 2020 at 22:32

    What a joke! Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Isn’t it China that should be receiving compensation for the theft that took place during the Opium Wars of the 19th Century by the Western Powers? The Unequal Treaties which gave European and US narco-traffickers the right to sell their poison throughout China and plunder the riches of a nation older than the Roman Empire. When the Chinese dared to rise-up and liberate themselves from colonial dominance during the 1900 Boxer Rebellion the foreign powers united to brutally repress the insurgency. China was forced to pay $300 million in reparations. Today that would be $9.3 billion.

  2. April 25, 2020 at 19:41

    I think that what is insufficiently understood that “pneumonias of unknown origin” appear quite frequently, so outbreaks below a certain magnitude cannot be use for major alarms. In part, the reason is that these viruses mutate frequently, so more pathogenic viruses appear many times in a given year, and other mutations increase the infection rate. An outbreak is noticed because of pathogenic effects, but it takes time to get an idea of the infection rate, vectors etc.

    At the time when China muzzled a doctor who spread a rumor of a huge epidemic it was still not confirmed. One should also note that US intelligence surely observed the episode as it happen on social media. Of course, to them he was one of numerous muzzled chaps, but it was the same to the Chinese authorities. There is no explanation why USA would not have roughly the same information as Beijing. The same is the case with faulty WHO recommendations. A country like Burkinia Faso has no experts that would know better. But USA? Seriously!!! American experts knew, or should know, the same premises as WHO, and were capable of making their own conclusions.

    On January 23, it was official that there is a very serious outbreak in Wuhan. That was literally a clarion call to the entire world. It makes no difference at all if the number of dead victims at the time was exactly as reported or not, it was at “damn serious” level. As the reader of this website know, American intelligence community, sifting news and rumors from the entire globe, selected some to alert politicians, mostly on very, very, putative Russian effort to help Sanders. That threat was nipped in the bud, too bad that the same cannot be said about COVID-19.

    In any case, before mass epidemic stage started in USA, the potential was fully exhibited in Korea and Iran. Iran reached 1000 cases a week before USA. And the ratio of deaths/million in Iran, however tragic, seem to be about 1/3 of USA. Voice from Europe may ponder that fact. Perhaps in Iran it helped that the intelligence was not preoccupied with the Russian threat?

  3. Voice from Europe
    April 24, 2020 at 02:43

    Meant to say : Mister Wight.
    And inconvenient facts are still facts !
    Journalists should respect not distort them !

    • April 24, 2020 at 15:14

      “And inconvenient facts are still facts !”

      “Journalists should respect not distort them !”

      That is so in science and in theory about other matters.

      But it is plainly not the case for the United States in its international affairs.

      For seventy five years of American imperial wars and coups and intrusions, there has been no truth told about any of them.

      Countless countries overturned and some destroyed plus something on the order of ten to twenty million people killed.

      You would not find an ordinary American citizen who could even sketch out the basic facts of any of that colossal toll.

      And that very much goes for such associated huge events as 9/11 and the assassination of President Kennedy.

      Truth in these matters is like the old “sound of one hand clapping.” You can’t hear it, and may just as well not exist.

  4. rosemerry
    April 23, 2020 at 13:01

    So much information has been available from China as soon as it could deliver it with the novel features of SARS-CoV-2 gradually being discovered and revealed, that Trump’s alleged lack of knowledge despite his reps being in on every meeting is just another of his lies. Of course, the assassination,on his orders, of a top Iranian general in Iraq on Jan. 3 could have distracted him from a tiny matter like possible pandemic that may even reach the USA.

    It is sad that so many “free US media” repeat the Trumpian fantasies.

    btw the facts about philanthropist Bill Gates do need to be examined.

  5. AnneR
    April 23, 2020 at 11:27

    Thank you Mr Wight. Would that one had confidence in the general public – here in the US at least – having the ability to recognize that the Strumpet is using China as a serious distraction, deflection from *his* idiocy, his refusal to accept reality.

    And I wouldn’t be at all surprised at the other Janus face (so-called Dems, progressives) also jumping on the “it’s China’s fault, they’re to blame” and going along with the Strumpet’s expressed intention to demand compensation from the Chinese – based, of course, on totally fallacious accusations.

    The business with “compensation” is so hypocritical I cannot wrap my mind round it: The US and its vassals and proxies have slaughtered millions of people from Korea to Syria, devastated societies – homes, agriculture, water treatment plants, hospitals – often, if not always, deliberately. Who should really be paying out gazillions in compensation…?

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