[News] Coronavirus

A place to discuss the now-global coronavirus outbreak.

What Pred said.

EDIT: My original post was way, way too glib, so I apologize. Everything doesn't deserve to be soaked in 2020 ironic detachment and sh*tposting.

'Hero who told the truth': Chinese rage over coronavirus death of whistleblower doctor

The death of a whistleblowing Chinese doctor who was punished for trying to raise the alarm about coronavirus has sparked an explosion of anger, grief and demands for freedom of speech among ordinary Chinese.

Li Wenliang, 34, died in the early hours of Friday local time after he was infected during the fight against the outbreak, said Wuhan central hospital, where he worked, in a statement.

Li warned colleagues on social media in late December about a mysterious virus that would become the coronavirus epidemic and was detained by police in Wuhan on 3 January for “spreading false rumours”. He was forced to sign a police document to admit he had breached the law and had “seriously disrupted social order.”

“They owe you an apology, we owe you our gratitude. Take care, Dr Li,” said a Weibo post from Xiakedao, an account under the overseas edition of Communist Party People’s Daily.

“Good people don’t live long, but evil lives for a thousand years,” said another post mourning Li’s death, with a candle emoji. An image also posted on Weibo showed a message, “farewell Li Wenliang”, carved into the snow on a riverbank in Beijing.

His death crystallised the outrage and frustration felt across China over the initial cover-up of the deadly virus. On Friday, China’s social media was awash with posts expressing immense anger and grief.

Li’s death became the top-read topic on China’s microblogging site Weibo overnight on Friday, with more than 1.5bn views, and was also heavily discussed in private WeChat messaging groups, where people expressed outrage and sadness.

Even blog posts from state media outlets mourned his death and issued veiled attacks on the Wuhan authorities who censured him.

In Li’s last blog post on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblog, on 1 February, Li poignantly wrote: “The test results come out positive today. Everything is settled. It is confirmed.”

The strong public reaction to Li’s death appeared to have drawn the top leadership’s attention. The central commission for discipline inspection, the Communist party’s powerful internal anti-corruption body, and the national supervisory commission, the country’s highest anti-corruption agency, issued a one-sentence statement on their joint website that investigators will be sent to Wuhan to carry out “a comprehensive investigation into the problems reported by the public concerning Doctor Li Wenliang”.

Li was one of eight people who were detained for “spreading rumours” about the deadly disease’s outbreak – the fates of the other seven, also believed to be medical professionals, are not known.

My friend was asking me if the outrage over Coronavirus might turn into something larger in China. I say perhaps, but that the larger likelihood is that the local authorities will get scapegoated, but the larger structure that enabled a situation like this to happen will remain.

Wuhan facing 'wartime conditions' as China tries to contain coronavirus

Increasingly desperate officials in the quarantined centre of the coronavirus outbreak have tightened controls on an already frightened population, likening the growing crisis to “wartime conditions”.

Authorities in Wuhan city have started going door to door checking temperatures, rounding up suspected coronavirus patients for forcible quarantine in stadiums and exhibition centres that are serving as warehouses for the sick, the New York Times reported.

The city and country face “wartime conditions”, the paper quoted vice-premier, Sun Chunlun, who has been put in charge of the national campaign against the virus, saying on a visit to Wuhan: “There must be no deserters, or they will be nailed to the pillar of historical shame forever.”

More than 31,000 people have now been infected around the world, the vast majority inside China and two thirds of them in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province. There have been 638 deaths, all but two of them in China.

Chinese scientists claimed they may have found the animal source of the outbreak, based on genetic analysis, though their results have yet to be published. The coronavirus is thought to have originated in bats but passed through an intermediate host before infecting humans. The researchers identified a coronavirus in pangolins which is 99% similar to the one causing the current outbreak.

The only scaly mammal, pangolins are endangered, but the long-snouted, ant-eating animals are often hunted for meat or use in Chinese medicine.

The World Health Organization on Friday hailed a fall in the number of new infections, for a second consecutive day, which could signal some progress in containing the outbreak.

But Sun’s dramatic visit to Wuhan, stepping up efforts on the ground there, and promises of more help from Beijing, suggest that party officials in China fear the epidemic is still not under control.

Pangolins are adorable and already endangered and if anything bad happens to them because of all of this.....

Huge jump in coronavirus cases and deaths in China

CBS News wrote:

Doctors in China have adopted a new way of diagnosing the novel coronavirus, leading to a huge jump in both the official number of deaths blamed on the disease and the tally of confirmed cases in the country at the heart of the outbreak. Officials in Hubei province, the Chinese region where the virus is believed to have jumped into the human population from wild animals, reported 254 new deaths and 15,152 new cases of the flu-like virus.

The increase brought the worldwide death toll to at least 1,359 and the number of confirmed cases to more than 60,000. Only about 400 of those patients, and just two of the confirmed fatalities, have been outside of mainland China.

The sharp increase came after two days of reported declines in the number of confirmed new cases in China. It was the result of Chinese doctors starting to use lung imaging to diagnose the disease, in addition to the standard nucleic acid tests they had been using.

I saw a tweet in my timeline sometime last week where a doctor was marveling about how the number of new cases reported each day was remarkably consistent and wondered if they were consistent because of a limitation in the tools/process they were using to diagnose new cases. Guess they were right.

WHO says fake coronavirus claims causing 'infodemic'

Maximum Zuckerberg Voice: bUt We DoN't WaNt To Be ThE aRbItRaToRs Of.....

(I actually think they have a point when they make that argument, but I am also profoundly skeptical about hearing it coming from a company that both encourages and profits off the spread of misinformation.)

The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging tech companies to take tougher action to battle fake news on the coronavirus.

The push comes as a representative from the WHO travelled to Silicon Valley to speak directly to tech firms about the spread of false information.

The WHO has labelled the spread of fake news on the outbreak an "infodemic".

Over 1,000 people have died as a result of the outbreak, which began in central China but has spread globally.

Andrew Pattison, digital business solutions manager, for the WHO said false information was "spreading faster than the virus".

Bogus claims that the virus was spread by eating bat soup or could be cured by garlic have already swept the web.