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Regarding the Chinese government, I would say it's a story of failure and corruption at the beginning which turned the epidemic into a crisis and then a story of insane efforts to contain it. After SARS things did change very much for the better but still in this case there was the usual suppression of bad news, experts silenced, and evidence destroyed. And now that the spread has been 'officially contained' in China, I wouldn't expect to see trustworthy statistics from now on.

More than a decade ago there were warnings that the culture of consuming wild animals in South China was a ticking public health time bomb. It's these two factors, 'shoot the messenger' and exotic animal consumption [for homeopathy], that have created this crisis, a product 'Made in China' we all could have lived without. Obviously that doesn't excuse the performance of other governments and organizations.

Why Did the Coronavirus Outbreak Start in China? - Yi-Zheng Lian - NYT

... consider the fate of one of Confucius's beloved students, Zi Lu (子路) ... after he ran afoul of the precept: For trying to rebuke a usurper in a power struggle between feudal lords, he was killed and his body was minced. (It is said that Confucius never ate ground meat again.)

... Beliefs surrounding the health benefits of certain wildlife foods -- which are discussed in newspaper columns and on numerous dedicated internet sites, as well as taught in China's medical schools -- permeate the culture.

... But what is notable about China is that these beliefs about the special powers of some foods have been accepted, are now a given, even among people who do not put them into practice. They have become firmly embedded in the Chinese collective consciousness.

Regarding Italy, it seems to have had the misfortune of being one of the first international recipients of the virus. The epidemic there has probably been going on since the end of last year. A lot of younger people, infected and undetected, eventually carried it to their older compatriots. Combined with the nonlinear effect of the overwhelmed hospitals, that could explain the discrepancy in fatality rates.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon Mar 23rd, 2020 at 10:33:17 PM EST

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