I have been pondering the differences in anti-viral approaches by China versus the USA. I recall starting a post looking at China's actions whilst the USA was virus free, and posing the question, "Do you think any kind of Draconian, Big-Brother mobilisation like that could ever happen here? Now, here we are, all sealed off in our cells like baby bees. Pretty efficient - the whole country is shut down! But, there are differences...
(I am going to try to keep away from a conspiracy theory discussion)...
The virus began in Wuhan, China, (which I keep mistaking as Waupon, Wisconsin, *palm/forehead*). Wuhan is a regular monster city where people snack on Pangolins, raise pigs alongside bats and chickens, shop at large open wet markets, and have one of the five giant Chinese bio-weapons reseach facilities a few miles away.
At the beginning, the new Coronavirus was apparently completely concentrated locally. Even though China took some time getting around to dealing with this emerging crisis, when they finally did, they were able to surround the concentrated problem, to a great degree. There had not been a lot of traffic going in an out of the city, and region, and the first thing China did was shut that all down.
That was one reason for China's now-success, showing no new cases at the epicentre after the two month ordeal. But, actually, the ordeal had secretly begun there in November, which makes it now a 4 or 5-month ordeal. While China was locking down Wuhan, there were a lot of carriers walking around undetected, multiplying geometrically, and they, or their contacts, liked to travel out of country. To Iran's nuclear weapons facilities, or to upstate Italy, or Seattle, and so forth. As we know by now, Coronavirus can keep apparently 'dormant' for a week or so in a carrier, showing no COVID-19, yet contaminate potentially many other people. So, the Chinese and American method of taking people's temps has been a very, very crude safeguard.
Not only can the virus hide in this way, it can also disappear and come back later. These facts, and the virus' ability to easilly transmit, are the reasons why China did not catch every case, by any means. Trump wisely took drastic measures, banning travel w/ China, etc., not knowing then - as China had not known - the stealthy nature of this virus - or that it was already circulating in the USA.
There is another reason why China has been reducing cases, especially at the epicentre: China commands from the top-down, just like the NAZI's did, and can be said to be a constant state of emergency. A state with this structure gets little resistance when it employed measures which we would consider violation of civil or human rights, personal liberty, or common decency.
So, premised on fear or shame, China exerted complete force in quarantining citizens under the threat of death. It manually shut everything down, without question. And it mistakenly encouraged the decimation, yet again, another fragile species, assuming that it was the source of the virus. Just like we kill millions of chickens (bird flu), or cattle, or so forth. We, on the other hand, tend not to threaten to execute citizens without trial of some sort. Rather, we wait a while, leaving it to the free market of mob panic, for the errant blame and killing to proceed.
Note that I am not informed of Chinese efforts across the entire country, although I am sure they have been similar to those in Wuhan. We don't have reporters there, remember? And China, as usual, is secretive, or deceptive, if not subversive.
In America, there is not so much control from the top, until it gets to the point where the problem is defined as a war. (Note my recent post where I supposed Trump and Johnson could emerge as Churchill-like characters. Right again). Cooperation was urged via the the CDCp, and the WHO, and the VP, etc., not imposed. States began instituting their own regulations, which is appropriate. A huge amount of proper action was taken directly by businesses and local groups.
In America, things take time but, as Churchill said, it always takes the right action in the end. I think the American people have so far shown a moral maturity in willingly listening to advice, following requests, accepting demands, and hunkering down, etc. They were allowed to use their own minds and will, to a fair extent, in determining the extent and threat of the pandemic, and they made choices like grown ups - so far. Be mindful that they are waiting for cash assistance, and the severe economic problems have not yet emerged and hit home.
In America, the Presidency is given the authority to exert executive powers above the norm, all be they nothing like the top-down control in China - which is mainly via committee, currently with a ~strong chairman; (this central bureaucracy, and the state's traditional xenophobia and fear of shame, is why China moved slowly at the beginning - even more slowly than did Trump at the beginning).
So, the president had the authority to postpone a state of emergency, hoping not to spook Wall Street - (he couldn't SAY, "Shhhh! I'm trying not to spook Wall Street!"). Wall Street went into seizures soon enough, and Trump declared the emergency only two days after the WHO declared the COVID-19 a pandemic.
The decision to keep working at developing an American test kit was partially due to Trump's misunderstanding, but was probably more due to the bureaucratic regulations and insufficiencies which needed to be changed and overcome. The state's bureaucratic innertia, (comparable to China's slow-moving Central Committee).
It is the nature and method of conservatives to wait and act cautiously. It must be remembered that Trump still needs to proceed with the support of his base, as he also tries to keep Wall Street sane. So, it was something completely normal for him to first propose $2.8? billion as the first salvo, while Dems too it up to what, something like $8.7 billion? I found it completely disingenuous and selfish for the Dems to blame him for "such a small amount," when he said from the outset that he would be perfectly fine accepting any higher amount offered by the Dems - almost as if he were signalling, "YES, LET'S GO HIGH!," but being constrained by the reality that he is a Republican. And, once again, Trump was not aware of the sneaky methods of this Chimeric virus. And, a byproduct of fear is normally blame. Fear the invisible, blame the obvious.
The Presidency is required to try to keep above fear, which prevents such irrational moves as, e.g., killing off spooky animal species, or hitting the hot button. An unfortunate consequence of trying to learn and act rationally, and cautiously, may be that sneaky things can go wrong, including this virus, or, e.g., global warming.
It is big business, money interests, which normally lobby for the decision to err on the side of caution, which we progressives know to be a major problem. On the other hand, there have been times when presidents have busted banks, or monopolies, or corruption, etc., defying these forces. It looks to me that this is that sort of time. Similar to his stance in retaliating against Iran, Trump easilly said, "People's lives are more important than the economy." Now, if he can just wake up to global warming in the same way...
A Part Two might follow... Probably a combo of NPR and conspiracy theories...