Told You So

Anyone else see this article in the New York Times and think of this post of ours from last spring?

Yeah, we didn’t think so. Well, in it, I was arguing that China’s hardcore quarantining response wasn’t the gigantic disaster everyone in the West was making it out to be, and even had the gall to suggest that it might be the right thing to do:

As I see it, the government has several options, which I’ve listed below along with best and worst-case scenarios.

  1. Ignore the students, let them enter China unhindered.
    • Best case: Nothing happens.
    • Worst case: They infect Chinese people and the disease begins to spread through the Mainland.
  2. Test the students as they arrive, then let them into China.
    • Best case: Nothing happens.
    • Worst case: One or more students was a carrier too early to show symptoms or return a positive test; they infect Chinese people and the disease begins to spread through the Mainland.
  3. Quarantine the students for a week in a nice hotel.
    • Best case: Nothing happens.
    • Worst case: The government takes some flak from the international press and some Canadian students learn that TV in China is generally awful.

Given these options, the right choice seems fairly obvious. Furthermore, it’s not that far from the choices many Western countries made during the SARS outbreak.

Many people, including Richard over at the Peking Duck, did not agree. Turns out, though, the experts (both Chinese and foreign) seem to think China did a pretty good job, and that those controversial methods were effective. From the New York Times:

To protests from around the world, China isolated entire planeloads of people entering the country if anyone on the plane exhibited flulike symptoms. Local authorities canceled school classes at the slightest hint of the disease and ordered students and teachers to stay home. China was virtually alone in taking such harsh measures, which continued throughout most of the summer.

Now, Chinese and foreign health officials say that some of those contested measures — more easily adopted by an authoritarian state — may have helped slow the spread of the disease in the world’s most populous country. China has not had to cope with a crush of cases, and it began administering a vaccine for swine flu in early September, the first country to do so.

Foreign officials also say that China demonstrated an unusual openness to sharing information about H1N1 with its citizens and other governments, in contrast to its secretive approach to the near pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, a few years ago.

Oh snap!

Only kidding. Obviously, the “experts” don’t verify everything I wrote, and it’s pretty irrelevant now anyway. The actual purpose of this post is to direct your attention to the top right of your screen (you may need to scroll up) where we’ve added links to recent and interesting stories on other China blogs to our “Read This” section.

Obviously, if you’re reading this via RSS, you can’t see that, which brings me to the next point: anyone know a good WordPress widget that would display links in the same place easily and have it’s own separate RSS feed?

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0 thoughts on “Told You So”

  1. It’s obvious that China’s swine flu measures were racist, designed to separate foreign men away so that they could not have sweet interracial love.

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  2. While they may have done a good job containing the virus, I think one thing that lots of people were complaining about was their reaction considering the severity of the disease. I don’t have a link to the article itself, but I do remember reading that on average, the average flu patient infects .3 other people, and the average swine flu patient infects .4 other people. Additionally, a cursory glance at wikipedia’s statistical chart as to cases/country and deaths/country (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic_by_country) reveals that in places like America where there were no measures taken at all, the death toll is around 2%. It varies from there between 5% and much, much lower. This should be compared to the average death rate for normal influenza, which is about 1%.

    I think part of the reason why everyone was, and is still, so freaked out about H1N1 is simply because of the media. I remember watching CNN this past summer and them saying that during the winter, 90 million+ Americans could die because of H1N1. It’s kinda funny that Jack Cafferty had to apologize for calling the Chinese government goons and thugs, but the network doesn’t need to apologize for needlessly and baselessly scaring the bejesus out of everyone.

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  3. “…wasn’t the gigantic disaster everyone in the West was making it out to be”

    Everyone? A little gloating is OK, I guess, but let’s not go overboard.

    I think the complaints about China’s handling of swine flu had more to do with the manner of their anal-retentive methods than the extent of the containment measures.

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  4. [This post was too ridiculous to remain. Technically I suppose it isn’t against our comments policy to be insane, but our goal is here is productive discussion. You push things in the opposite direction. This comment was particularly blatant.]

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  5. You know what they say. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If China didn’t acted to ‘harshly’ they will have the repeated the 2003 SARS incident.

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  6. ok seriously now, I think a lot of these “commentators” just wanted to see a huge h1n1 problem in China just so they could wag their fingers and say “China bad” like they did about their AIDS hysteria (the UN report was overestimated by far) and SARS (which killed far fewer people than H1N1).

    Westerners just wanted to seize on the “opportunity” to gloat about China’s mistakes and setbacks.

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  7. really, my original comment got deleted? I guess these things need to be “relevant”. So when NYT agrees with you its proof positive, but when they print something u don’t like, well, then there’s that ethnically motivated media bias thing right? It really is the little things

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  8. my original comment didn’t show up on the page, so I added that later comment and all of a sudden they’re both up. i guess you could say i “screwed up posting it”, but that seems wrong

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