China’s Coronavirus Response Speed Was Critical to Stopping It

There were critical elements for the speed of China’s coronavirus response.

1. Everyone needed to know the first symptoms. These are a fever and a dry cough.
2. China had a giant network of fever hospitals. A team can go to a possible case, swab and provide a positive or negative diagnosis in four to seven hours.
3. The public health infrastructure needs to investigate cases, identify the close contacts, and then make sure they remain under surveillance. 5 and 15 percent of close contacts are infected.
4. China made coronavirus testing free and coronavirus treatment is free.
5. China increased prescriptions from one month to three months and made prescription refills available online.

There was no iceberg of undetected cases. In Guangdong province, there were 320,000 tests done in people coming to fever clinics, outpatient clinics. And at the peak of the outbreak, 0.47 percent of those tests were positive. There were around 1500 positive cases out of 320,000 tests.

China ventilated dozens in the average hospital. Critical care was provided to nearly 5% of the cases. They used extracorporeal membrane oxygenation when ventilation did not work. Oxygenation was done by removing blood from a person’s body and oxygenating their red blood cells. This is sophisticated health care. China will have a better survival rate for critical coronavirus cases than many other countries. Italy and Iran seem to have a higher rate of people dying from critical coronavirus cases.

Coronavirus kills with an inflammatory process in the lungs. It’s not an infectious process, like a bacterial or viral infection.

An antibody test is needed to see if children are carriers of coronavirus who do not show symptoms.

Written By Brian Wang,

74 thoughts on “China’s Coronavirus Response Speed Was Critical to Stopping It”

  1. Your kidding Right ? The true number of dead and ill Chinese patients will never be shared. And with all the pro China lies from pieces like this, in three week the world will think it started in the USA. You stated China increased prescriptions from one month to three months and made prescription refills available online. What are you talking about there is no known cure, vaccine or real proven treatment. What they did to 90% was give them lots of fluids and oxygen treatment. And you call this “sophisticated health care.” Brian this con job came looks like its right from China State Media. AGAIN “There are no virus-specific treatments for COVID-19”. Any drug being touted by China are US made drugs lopinavir and ritonavir. Had China told the world the truth we would not be in this situation were in now!

  2. Right. When you look at Egypt, forget the land area of the country. Consider, instead, a strip of land just a few miles to either side of the Nile.

  3. Panic. Pure panic. Why are they buying water? This isn’t a hurricane, an earthquake, a flood, or anything that would cause the water supply to fail.

  4. Well, they do make up 20% of the world’s population and have a lot of exposure to live animals as that is how many of them are sold in the markets to consumers. They also eat an incredibly wide variety of animals (waste not, want not) for both nutrition and “medical” properties. And quite a few of them do not cook all of the animal products they eat. That’s a lot of potential exposure across species.

    It also gives them a lot of incentive to study diseases.

    In the case of the Coronavirus, however, it seems rather likely that samples of it were being studied at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (not necessarily for germ warfare or genetic modification of any sort) and something malfunctioned and/or someone goofed up, someone got sick, and carried it home, just a few miles away. We are told this is an extremely unlikely scenario as these labs have stringent controls and this would be almost impossible.

    On the other hand, if I were in a stringently sealed submarine, and found salt water pooling around my knees, I would have to wonder if something malfunctioned, or someone messed up, and seawater was getting in. Even if it was too late to ascertain exactly how it did get there, and there were other possibilities, the coincidence would be hard to accept.

  5. “The JIT supply chains … are overwhelmed. And this isn’t going to abate for 2+ months, maybe much longer.”

    The Whole Foods in Orange County sold all their water one day last week (I know because I did all my prepping two-three weeks ago and I keep tabs). Amazon being Amazon has placed pallets of water throughout the store and the normal stocks of water are holding up on a day to day basis.

    I know because I go to WF almost every day to repurchase the foodstuffs that we ate the previous day.

  6. Egypt still has a healthcare system, however bad. Syria and Yemen barely have one at all, due to ongoing war. Lebanon is probably somewhere in the middle. Their capitals are 5-10 times smaller, but about the same density as Cairo (Syria’s is about 2/3 the density). I think you’re underestimating how bad the other ME countries are.

  7. Iran and Italy are head-to-head right now. Depending on the timing of updates, either temporarily takes the lead on number of cases. Italy still has more deaths, but I think Iran will pass them pretty soon.

    Meanwhile, Germany is starting to look alarming too. They’ve gone from ~10 cases to 350 within a week or so, and looks like they’ll be near 700 tomorrow (3 days later).

  8. That would make it a better place than Italy.
    And this is the second reason for which I
    would never, for any reason, swap my place
    with an Iranian.

  9. I need to give credit where it is due. I read your post about 2 versions of virus and not eating coconut oil. 8 hours later, boom, news report on 2 virus versions. Well done sir. Now back to coconut oil, why is it bad?

  10. I’ve been having a lot-of-back-and-forth conversation with my brother and his epidemiologist neighbor-friends.  

    We’re almost all coming to the same conclusion: IRAN will be the (very sad) poster-child of what it looks like for a nation-state to broadly contract CV–19. They’re completely out of control. 

    Don’t get me wrong — I don’t take a kind view of the Iranian government, but I have absolutely nothing against her people. Some of my best and most amazing friends in University were self-described Persians.  

    I’m counting on the really-smart people of Iran trying hard to educate their neighbors on anti-pandemic practices.  

    Right now, here in California, the grocery store shelves are beginning to empty out, everywhere. Its really something. The JIT supply chains … are overwhelmed. And this isn’t going to abate for 2+ months, maybe much longer.

    Let’s bow our heads for her.

    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  11. Egypt, because Cairo is a city of almost 10 million inhabitants with inadequate healthcare, sanitation and nutrition resources. All four factors are contributors to the spread of infectious disease.

    All the third world megalopolises share these risk factors.

  12. Simple enough … the argument made was well made, and without substantial controversy in and of itself. But the follow-on comment, by me, added more-and-different thoughts to the topic. 

    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  13. Go Google all the pics of Chinese brute squads welding apartment doors shut to trap the inhabitants inside.

    I think I’d rather take my chances with the virus.

    Kinda gives renewed impetus to the old expression, “Better dead than red.”

  14. Well this seems to be a different variety since it has highly variable symptoms. Some get what appears to be nothing or a common cold/flu, they spread it. Others with compromised immune systems die at 10% mortality or so. It’s the regular flu but with an added dose of repository issues it can create in those compromised already.

  15. How can a comment be spot on and yet wrong? “spot on” followed by ” the thing is tho”..?

  16. And, I have seen no evidence that the efforts to isolate the lethal strain is different from the efforts to isolate the benign strains. An containment effort around a patient cannot wait until the patient is dead and thus cannot really know of they are isolating a deadly or harmless strain.

  17. Your logic only works if the different *efforts* to quarantine the strains results in significantly different spreading rates.

    Say, for instance, that 99% of all transmissions occur before a patient is showing any symptions. And let us assume that the quarantine is perfect for stain L and zero for the benign strain. Then, there will only be a 1% difference in the rate of spreading. Not enough to make a difference.

  18. One important thing is chinese medicine which helps a lot to mild or new patients. So western doctors concentrate on critical or the like patients. Time can tell very soon (in one year) which political systems is better.

  19. I think its something like 1 in 10 of their MP’s are sick. Holy crap who was in china that brought it home.

  20. Oh yes the licking. What to say.

    Even money Iran isn’t a functioning nation-state in one month.

  21. “Let the record show that the US was the first to restrict travel to the afflicted areas, for which it was condemned as racist.”

    We live in stupid times. This will be evident to all if this virus hits the homeless in LA.

  22. Let the record show that the US was the first to restrict travel to the afflicted areas, for which it was condemned as racist.

  23. Spot on.

    Thing is tho’, when the lethality is down below 5%, and the incubation time is above 10 days, and the subclinical proportion over 50%, there are an awful lot of subclinical cases that escape the suppression measures that nominally would (select against and attenuate) the more lethal strains wandering about.  

    I cite HIV, for the best example. Such a long incubation period, and with a such a modest proportion of the all-carrier population finally being in the clinically-observable stage. Last I heard, if it weren’t for the cocktail of anti-retro-viral drugs, AIDS would be just as lethal, today, as it was when first broke forth. The ordinary selection-and-attenuation factors are undermined by its incubation and visibility.

    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  24. Perhaps, but perhaps even the Godly would do well to wash their hands, maintain a ‘safe’ conversational distance from people in public places, and not handle religious icons as if God Herself was in charge of keeping said icons squeaky clean.

    Only science ignorami go about their daily activities as if they’re divinely protected, in times of a fast-moving plague.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  25. During times of adversity, if we put our faith in god, he will help guide us to the path of happiness and peace.

  26. “Not trying to support China on this, but if this started in the US it would have been global in a week.”

    With or without the 6-8 weeks of ignoring the problem?

  27. I actually agree that it isn’t the time to have a talk with China. That’ll come in several months.

    For now each country needs to deal with this but also remember that China let this spread for 6-8 weeks before doing anything.

  28. Officially, there are 2 cases in Egypt, one recovered. I don’t see why Egypt should be worse than other middle eastern countries. Lebanon could have more trouble for example, and they already have 13 cases. Almost all of the middle eastern and nearby countries are infected already, most of them from Iran.

    But the real battle in these countries starts once it gets to general population. We’re not quite there yet, except probably Iran.

  29. Again, as I repeat myself, there are systemic structural issues in China which must be critiqued, and if appropriate, harshly.  

    But that time is not now.  
    Now it is time to get on with QIP.  
    Quarantine in place – for the hard-outbreak areas.
    China is using a heavy-hand at that.  

    We can moralize on it later… I just did a rather large (100 million population) numerical simulation of how fast CV can spread in a modest-mobility population, and it is … striking… how vulnerable civilization is high-mobility vectors at work within. Astonishing, actually.  Yet, when the ‘high-mobility knob’ is set to zero, and the local mobility knob to 5% of ‘nominal’, the bug spreads, but kind of taps out too. 

    Very similar to numbers coming from China.

    I’ll grant — no matter what you think of simulations — that cobbling together a sim based on a few probability knobs and infectious promiscuity vectors is simplistic. Be that as it may, it does project just how vulnerable we are to the mobility of our citizens, which is only one step removed from ‘mobility of the virus’.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  30. Okay, now they can start working on wiping the disgusting open air markets where every animal and insect under the sun is sold in the most horrid sanitary conditions.

    Then the Chinese government might explained how a bat flu virus got a SARS receptor…

    And it might have gone a long way if they hadn’t arrested the first doctor raising the alarm of the virus. BTW, that doctor died of it…

    It cannot be denied that that the Chinese, early on, clamped down on information, and initially forbid outside assistance…

    Just saying here…


  31. I agree the numbers from China, Iran and any totalitarian regime are very suspect. Much of it is driven by the tendency of such regimes to shoot unpopular messengers leads potential messengers to keep very quiet and hide bad news. By this time, when they know it’s too late, and the regime is going to scapegoat those who hide bad news, the numbers tend to become more accurate.

    I’m more concerned about Africa and the Middle East, I’m dreading what happens when it gets into Egypt, the infection and mortality rate in Cairo may end up being the worst in the world.

  32. True. But the reality is these viruses almost always begin in China. That is a thing.

    Corona Virus
    Spanish Flu
    Hong Kong Flu
    Swine Flue

    All started in China.

  33. On many things, including this, you are correct.  

    However to be fair overall I don’t think the ‘cat’ would have gotten ‘out of the bag’ before front-line detection for as long as it did — in China — for pölïtically motivated reasons. 

    Chinese New Year festivities markedly contributed to CV’s runaway transmission as was widely cited early in the Coronavirus’s media reporting.

    We are watching — real time as it were — The West’s varicolored response to transinfection-from-abroad. CV on-the-ground cases in EU and US (North America) were largely zero not just 1 month ago. Now in the thousands lead by Italy of all things but destined in the next month to ‘erupt’ more broadly.  

    My futurescope is pointing to Southeast Europe.  
    The coming Iranian pandemic … is going to leak over its walls.
    And there are a LOT of emigrants from the ME to SE EU.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  34. As I said here, somewhere below, I think that our primal instinct to castigate China … is completely understandable, yet untimely. 

    With little doubt, the societal infrastructure issues in China markedly amplified CV’s run. 

    Now tho’ is not the time to hold China’s feet to the fire: they’ve already got a fire and are trying to battle it in their (shockingly? predictably?) totalitarian way.

     ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  35. I’m not quite as pessimistic (… thinks a bit, doesn’t even agree with his own assessment, … so maybe I am…), but I think we really need to keep our eye on IRAN.

    They are, right now, the epicenter of the poster-child-of-stretched-thin outbreak. Their medical facilities, while “at the top” are actually pretty solid, are stretched thin; anywhere outside of Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Tabriz and Karaj … medical “facilities” are largely just what we’d call large clinics here.  

    They are reporting … today … over 8,000 CV cases, hundreds dead. Yet, the homebrew videos leaking out show people collapsing on the streets, from CV. And they show people LICKING the gate-doors of shrines. This will NOT go well for the Iranians, methinks. 

    The problem — 

    + (supersititions) 
    ++ (impoverishment) 
    +++ (population density)

    I’d bet hard cash on Iran’s CV outbreaking going exponential in the next 2 months. Unabated. And with a government that — unlike China — simply would not be able to effect mass-quarantine-in-place dynamics. Not even a tiny chance of that.

    Man, I do feel for the Persian people right now.
    So sad.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  36. This is total BS. They have not stopped the spread just slowed it down. The Chinese are well known for lying so if you believe anything out of a Chinese official then you truly are a fool.

    Even if China were able to eliminate the virus in China with the snap of your fingers reinfections for those returning home would start immediately. There are 1 million Chinese nationals in Africa and another 3/4 million foreign Chinese students traveling back and forth. If they had a test for the virus it would not detect it when the person was recently infected.

    This is just the start. Africa especially those heavily infected with HIV will have death rates 6% or 10% or even higher. They do not have the medical infrastructure nor the capability to isolate themselves without starvation. Dido for India and Indonesia and virtually every third world country. Our own country has not taken this seriously enough IMO with the State department overruling the CDC and bringing infected back on the same plane as those uninfected in a tube (airplane) where the air is recirculated constantly.

    BTW kiss the worlds economy goodby. And DO NOT believe the soothing buy and hold your portfolio deception where they say the market will return to these levels in a few years (5-15 that is).

  37. Not trying to support China on this, but if this started in the US it would have been global in a week. Think about expensive health care leading to people not even seeking treatment, ending with a fast spread. China was slow, but the US just would not have responded at all for well over a month. No way they would have created a mass quarantine.

  38. If L escapes quarantine, it kills a few people and gets found out. Those people and their close relatives and neighbors are quarantined. Virus L is given fewer opportunities to spread. It gets evolutionarily “punished”.

    This partially (but not completely) breaks down if it has a long infectious (and mostly asymptomatic) incubation period. By the time the family etc are quarantined, they can infect others. And even the patients that died would have moved around before they developed symptoms, would have visited various public places, etc. It can be very difficult to track down all contacts during a long incubation period of a dead patient (or even a live one).

    Furthermore, the non-lethal version might be sufficiently different that it doesn’t confer immunity against the lethal strain. It may confer only partial resistance, or not even that.

    Again, I’m not a virologist, and your post does make sense in the general case. But reality is not guaranteed to happen this way.

  39. A) The CCP is also responsible for spreading it so wide due to massive incompetence.

    B) Why do you think its been stopped? Because the CCP says so? Yea they would NEVER just tell people they have a quota of available cases to report and report all cases after that as either the normal flu, Pneumonia, or some other disease….

  40. Your logic only works if there is a way of detecting the L stain before infects new patients. In this case there isn’t.

    The incubation time is more than 2 weeks (probably more than 4 week), and during this time the carrier can transmit the disease to more victims.

    If anything, evolution should select for long incubation time because it facilitates the spread of the virus…

  41. Yeah, but we sort of need those smaller, imperfect news sites around to stir the pot. It’s kind of like finding something terrifying in your food that definitely shouldn’t be there.

    Like, huh… why is there a grasshopper on my ovaltine? There shouldn’t be a grasshopper in my ov– oh whatever. *drinks it*

  42. Only the Soviet Union could perform such an incredible disaster. I wasn’t old enough to remember when it happened (born 1982), but studying it later, I wanted to be shocked at that kind of language surrounding the event, but I wasn’t. If by “disaster response” they meant letting people die, then, ya know… *clicks tongue and points the pistol finger at the USSR and winks* Y’all were really on point there, old hats.

    I read something recently where it’s starting to look like this virus has ebola and HIV type mutations, which is one more finger pointing to at least SOME arm of the CCP in our game of Clue. Though, I’m pretty sure that by now, everyone knows it was Faceless Communist Research Dude in the drawing room with the candlestick.

  43. Sounds cool, but I just can’t see how a neat architectural feature is brought to mind by this article.

  44. I know the theory of evolution. And I know that it only acts this way when the diversity in phenotype is heritable. There must be an actual mechanism that evolution that can act on leading to differences in lethality, and there must be an appreciable mutation rate at a related set of sites. It makes a difference.

    For what it’s worth, I think that this is or will be true. But again, we need evidence. Such a strain must actually emerge. It must in fact have a different sequence from more lethal strains.

    Don’t tell me to look at history. We have sequencers. They are affordable. We can look right here and now.

  45. Your logic is good, but we need some data to back it up and prove that is actually what is happening.

    Like, do we have evidence that those who catch the virus from an asymptomatic carrier are more likely to be asymptomatic themselves, when normalized for age and pre-existing health status?

    Are we seeing sequence divergence between the serious cases and the non-serious cases?

    There’s been enough cases that we can actually answer these questions if we look.

  46. Overall mortality rates will likely hinge on specific environments. So basically, the level of preexisting conditions in a population, percent of the population that is elderly and then their access to health care. You may get below 0.5% in some nations and more like 2-3% in others. The US will be a tricky case as you have a substantial portion of the population that is over 60 and has diabetes or is obese, estimated about 30 million over 60 and obese. 25-35 million with diabetes total, tough there is plenty of overlap. Then you also have a health care system that is bonkers and will cause under insured persons not to seek treatment when they should due to the cost.

  47. Vox? Seriously? Vox is a far left rag that is written by people, who like Bernie, never met a Communist regime that they did not love.

    China’s response was not good, not as bad a SARS but not nearly what it should have been. They put more effort into suppressing the spread of information vs. the spread of the virus.

  48. I read or heard that as a kid (father regularly made business trips to USSR) and could tell it was a crazy statement like some other “weird” books (I’d read small parts of 1984) in the hard to articulate and yet very lucid way you have at that age. Like the cognitive dissonance the first time someone tries to hypnotize you or speaks more sophistry than plain sense.

  49. That is just the type of coronavirus coverage I would expect from a publication like Vox. I think if you polled their editorial staff, half would identify as communist and the other half as socialist.

  50. It would be good if it mutates towards a less deadly form. But so far the death rate statistics seems to be converging towards ~3-4%.

    There is another scenario that worries me, given the stealthy infectiousness of this virus. Suppose it does spread to millions. Maybe it mutates to a less deadly form, so governments decide to loosen up. Or maybe they just fail to contain it and give up. So it stays circulating in the population long term. “Just a bad flu.”

    Then a few years later, some much more deadly virus pops up or resurfaces, say H5N1 bird flu, with its 60% death rate. And it infects someone who’s carrying this highly infectious SARS-CoV-2, and they combine.

    I’m not a virologist, so don’t know what’s the worst case result, but if it gets this virus’ stealthy infection mechanics and potentially long incubation period, combined with H5N1’s high death rate – that scares me.

  51. Quite possibly. I forgot about the welding.

    Btw, the latest numbers raise Italy’s death rate towards 3.2% (79 of 2502).

  52. Vox is the closest thing in media to excrement. Please do not quote from that disgusting source.

  53. Wow.
    Just did a google-video search.
    Indeed … so.

    What the Chinese people will put up with from their heavy-handed Han leaders, is remarkable. 

    My brother thinks that as the disease mutates to a LOWER morbidity form, we’ll almost all end up catching it. It’ll be more like a super-flu, with morbidity around 0.2% to 0.5% instead of the present 1% to 4% estimates.  

    Not a pretty picture, but not exactly terrible odds. 

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  54. reminds me of the Chinese cave apartment that has no windows… only an entire wall of nothing but plexy glass…so you can stand on 20th floor and look down like you are standing on an edge….

  55. 80,000 cases sounds more like the tipping point where they close the special hospitals and give up on containment… then pat themselves on their shoulders for success to save face…

  56. When alarming reports of a SARS-like viral infection reached the Chinese National Ministry of Health in December 2019, they sent out a gag order to the doctors involved. The Ministry also told them to destroy the viral samples they’d taken.

    And when the US sent a team of researchers in early January, the Chinese hid the fact of transmission of coronavirus from patients to hospital staffers. Not so great health care.

  57. I’ve seen video of the elderly jumping and falling to their deaths in China because their doors have been welded closed- locking them in their homes.

    Does that show up in the mortality stats?

  58. China didn’t stop the virus spread. They have changed what the define as infected. Funny how that works.

  59. “4. China made coronavirus testing free and coronavirus treatment is free.”

    That’s nice. Did they charge for being dragged away in vans or being welded into apartments?

  60. Italy and Iran seem to have a higher rate of people dying from critical coronavirus cases.

    Don’t know specifically about critical cases, but for the total cases, it’s not true. Based on the published numbers, Iran’s death rate is down to 3.3% (77 deaths out of 2336 cases), Italy is at 2.6% (52 of 2036), while China is slowly creeping up, currently approaching 3.7% (2944 of 80151).

    (Btw, China’s recoveries are up to 59%.)

  61. Alternate true headline:

    ”China’s Coronavirus Response Speed Was Critical to Starting It”

    Im old enough to remember post-Chernobyl editorials in which writers would say something along the lines of “Only the Soviet Union could perform such an incredible disaster response.”

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