COVID-19 facts to counter the U.S. anti-China campaign

A medical brigade from eastern China left Wuhan April 8 after helping to beat back the pandemic.

The U.S. campaign of slander against China regarding its response to the coronavirus can’t be seen only as electoral damage control for Donald Trump, nor should it be interpreted only as friction between two economic rivals with billions of dollars at stake. 

Not that those aren’t factors. But, even with its historic concessions to the global capitalist economy, the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party showcases the superiority of socialist planning in the fight against the coronavirus and points toward a future where private ownership can be eliminated. 

The anti-China propaganda, along with Trump’s trade war and growing Pentagon threats toward China, are all part of the global class struggle.

The danger for the U.S. ruling class is that literally millions of young people in the U.S. are already fed up with the capitalist agenda of racism, war and gaping inequality, and since the election campaign of Bernie Sanders the fear of uttering the word “socialism” seems to have evaporated.

Exposing the lies about China is an important part of building a fightback movement against rampant U.S. capitalism and imperialism.

China did not conceal anything about the outbreak.

On Dec. 31, 2019, China complied with International Health Regulations — the United Nations’ system of monitoring potential epidemics — and notified the World Health Organization (WHO) that there were 27 cases of a mysterious pneumonia-like illness in Wuhan. Nothing was known yet about its ability to spread pre-symptomatically or from humans to humans. 

On Jan. 12, Chinese scientists shared the virus’s genome via the internet. It was the fastest this was ever accomplished.

On Jan. 22, President Xi Jinping spoke personally with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron about the outbreak. Ma Xiawei, the head of China’s National Health Commission, spoke with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Jan. 27, and senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi spoke directly with China’s most rabid accuser – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

In fact, according to a recent timeline published by China to refute the slanders being spread by the U.S., China briefed the U.S. on coronavirus epidemic prevention on Feb. 3 for the 30th time!

The novel coronavirus was not manufactured.

Scientists from Scripps Research Institute published the results of a study in the journal Nature Medicine on March 17. It is the most widely cited information on the origin of the virus that causes COVID-19. “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus,” they wrote. 

They point to two pieces of evidence that they consider conclusive:

First, the virus’s ability to attach itself to human cells so successfully indicates it happened through natural selection — not human engineering. And second, the molecular structure resembles viruses found in bats and pangolins more closely than it resembles any of the six other identified coronaviruses that infect humans.

“These two features of the virus … rule out laboratory manipulation as a potential origin for SARS-CoV-2,” concluded Kristian Anderson of Scripps.

There was no accident at the lab in Wuhan that “leaked” the virus.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is one of about 50 high-security labs that study infectious microbes in the world. At this particular lab, they study coronavirus samples taken from bats. After the genome of SARS-CoV-2 was shared with the rest of the world by China, lab scientist Shi Zhengli compared the DNA to every virus sample at the lab. All of the samples there were of viruses from previous outbreaks — too dissimilar to be the cause of COVID-19.

Viral samples at the WIV lab are handled with strict protocols, as they are in all Biosafety Level 4 laboratories. Some samples are chemically deactivated for study and all samples are frozen in liquid nitrogen and then kept in a freezer set to minus 80 degrees Celsius. All technicians wear double sets of personal protective equipment (PPE). 

There have been accidents that resulted in shutdowns of similar laboratories. One such shutdown occurred at a U.S. lab at Fort Detrick, Md., in August 2019. But none have occurred at the WIV lab.

China acted to correct Wuhan authorities for the reprimand of Dr Li Wenliang.

Dr Li, an ophthalmologist who worked at Wuhan Central Hospital, noticed a number of cases of a pneumonia-like illness that presented similarities with the deadly SARS virus. He shared his observation with colleagues on an internal email network. On Dec. 31, Wuhan police reprimanded him for “spreading false information.” 

News of the incident spread across social media. When central leaders in Beijing learned of it, they, in turn, reprimanded the authorities in Wuhan. The mayor of Wuhan and police officials apologized publicly. 

Sadly, Dr Li died from COVID-19 in February. But, Li was not a “whistleblower.” The efforts to learn about COVID-19 and prevent a health catastrophe were underway in China before Dec. 31. In fact, that is the same day that the first notice to the WHO took place.

In the U.S., millions have lost their livelihoods overnight. The deadly virus has hit oppressed communities — where deep poverty blocks access to health care — the hardest. The racist prison system is now a massive network of death traps. Seniors trapped in nursing homes run for profit are dying in startling numbers. 

This disaster can’t be assigned just to Trump or to the Republican Party. The blame belongs on the doorstep of capitalism. The diversion created by slanders against China has to be exposed.