This is a summary of a brilliant article by Gorge Calhoun that appeared in Forbes Magazine on January 2nd, 2022. Apologies to George for chopping it up to shorten it.
China Is Panicking
Why has the recent outbreak in the Chinese city of Xian spurred some ridiculous Covid countermeasures? Authorities have shut down the entire city of 13 million people, shuttered businesses, schools and factories, imposed virtual house-arrest on all residents. Leaving home is a violation. Not even food shopping is allowed. Instead, bags of vegetables are delivered to the locked-down inhabitants. Hundreds of quarantine camps are being prepared to hold thousands of people in solitary confinement who may have been in proximity to an infected individual. The city’s economy is at a complete standstill. Yet the virus is now spreading to other cities and the same civil and economic jail sentence awaits them as well.
This is clearly a paranoid Government response. Yet China’s official Covid death toll is only 4,636 out of 1,447,000,000 people over two years. Reality on the ground and official numbers are not adding up.
Comparing China With the USA
In the United States, more than 825,000 people have officially died from Covid and yet the country is comparatively open. The official USA death toll is 800 times higher than China’s. The Chinese authorities are therefore triumphalist. As they see it, the success of their “zero Covid” approach, marked by severe lockdowns for entire cities, travel bans, intensive contact tracing and military enforcement, simply demonstrates the superiority of their system.
Yet the 800-to-1 ratio of US-to-Chinese mortality rates is a statistical, medical, biological, political and economic impossibility. The mortality rates presented by China are plainly lies. The Chinese death rates are much higher than what is published. But how high are they?
How To Find The True Covid Death Rate
The only way to truly know how many have died from Covid is to compare recent total death rates in a country to the normal total death rate pre Covid. The excess is caused by Covid, unless there is another pandemic or war in that country. Leading research centres around the world are now adopting this approach. This effort has started to reveal the truth, and the truth is shocking. Almost every country has under-reported their Covid deaths:
“[The true death toll] is two or three times higher than the number of deaths we know about.” – Amber D’Souza, Prof. of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
“Whatever number is reported is going to be a gross underestimate.” – Tim Riffe, a demographer at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany.”
The U.S. is one country guilty of underreporting, but in their case it’s probably just inefficiencies in their health system. According to the New York Times study, The USA probably undercounts the prevalence of Covid deaths by about 17%. The Economist found a 7% discrepancy. They later increased their estimate of U.S. under-reporting to 30%.
China is another story. according to The Economist’s model China’s official statistics understate the Chinese Covid death rate by 17,000%. In fact, based on excess mortality calculations, The Economist estimates that the true number of Covid deaths in China is not 4,636, but something like 1.7 million!
This means China’s cumulative death toll is likely at least double that of the United States. This makes much more sense of their insane city-wide lockdowns we are seeing. They are desperately trying to keep up a false narrative
China’s data manipulation is clearly intentional. The Covid death figures are being grossly, childishly, and crudely manipulated. This is nothing new. The suppression or deletion of data related to excess deaths in China began shortly after the pandemic started. As a result, most multi-country studies of Covid prevalence and outcomes are forced to omit China from their analyses. Consider the following:
November 2020: An academic study of 22 countries stated “There are no data from China.”
July 2021: A Journal of American Medical Association study covering 67 countries had nothing on China.
August 2021: “Data for China was unavailable.” The Financial Times.
The missing data problem also emerges from an examination of the hotspot, the only hotspot for Covid in all of China, Wuhan, in Hubei province. According to China’s official statistics, Hubei has accounted for 97% of all Covid-related deaths in the country. All of the reported deaths in Wuhan/Hubei occurred between January 1 and March 31 of 2020. After that, all reporting ceased. There are no excess-death statistics for the period from April 2020 onwards.
Beyond Wuhan and Hubei Province there have been just 124 Covid deaths reported in all of China over two years among the 1.447 billion Chinese who do not live in Hubei province, a mortality rate of .002 per 100,000 population, 124,000 times lower than the mortality rate in the U.S.
The isolation of the disease to Wuhan that this implies is impossible. A study of the travel patterns for Wuhan in January 2020, published in Nature magazine, described “an outbound travel surge from Wuhan before travel restrictions were implemented”. The first case of Covid in Wuhan was officially diagnosed officially on Dec 31, 2019, and the virus was very much active in the city before that time. The Covid travel ban was not imposed until January 23, their peak holiday period and the largest annual migration of humans on the planet. Approximately 10% of the city’s population, mainly university students, left during this time. It is not believable that the infection was stopped dead in its tracks, completely contained by April 1, 2020, and its impact limited to Wuhan and Hubei.
Comparing China with New Zealand
We know this because here is the best comparison we have for a nation-wide lockdown: New Zealand. This small country is the most geographically isolated in the world and it has a very low-population density, just 11% of the population density of China. Both factors should be favourable with respect to controlling the spread of Covid. New Zealand has 4 times the per capita GDP of China. It is peaceful and well-governed. It has strong medical institutions, and universal government-run and publicly funded healthcare. The country responded quickly to Covid and instituted a rigorous travel ban. The authorities articulated an aggressive China-like “zero covid” type policy early on, which has been described as “an emblematic champion of proper prevention and response to the pandemic.”
The country was able to contain the initial wave more effectively than almost any other nation. New Zealand achieved an extraordinarily low mortality rate of just 10.3 deaths per million. Yet China claims an overall Covid mortality rate three times lower than New Zealand. And if we exclude the single 90-day period of Wuhan/Hubei’s Covid cases from January 1 to March 31, 2020, then China’s official Covid mortality rate over the past 20 months would be 73 times lower than New Zealand’s.
The Economist’s Study
As mentioned above, to address the missing data problem, Western analysts have recently turned to alternative methods for estimating the prevalence and impact of Covid. The Economist has developed a new model for assessing and estimating Covid mortality.
The Economist’s model attempts to estimate excess mortality in the Covid era. This refers to the deviation from the past averages and trends in death rates in a given country, which normally only vary by about 1% a year. Globally, the study concludes that Covid deaths are underreported by a factor of 2 to 4. That is, if the model is correct, there have been between 10 and 18 million more Covid deaths in the entire world than the 5.5 million that have been officially reported.
Looking at individual countries, the model further confirms the peculiarity of Chinese Covid mortality figures.
|Country||% Of Excess Deaths to Official Covid Deaths|
No other major country is even close to China’s discrepancy. The only comparably large figures come from countries that are currently involved in war or large-scale civil unrest, such as South Sudan, Chad, the Congo, or Burkina Faso. Even some of the most unstable countries in the world such as Libya (400%), Iraq (900%), Iran (100%), and Afghanistan (900%), Venezuela (1100%), while clearly undercounting their Covid deaths, have nowhere near China’s undercount of 17,000%.
China has a long history of public health scandals, suppression and lying, including faulty vaccines, adulterated baby formula, and coverups and mismanagement related to the initial outbreaks of SARS (2003), Bird flu (2004), Bird flu again (2013), Swine Flu (2019).
And now we can add Covid, 2020!
Bottom line: China’s numbers cannot be trusted. Which ought not to be surprising, given how little we can trust China with respect to almost anything involving Covid or their economy, or their statements on almost any topic for that matter. They have probably lost almost 2 million citizens and must continue locking down their cities every single time a single case pops up as their vaccine is useless. If they don’t then millions more will die, and they know it. Hence the panic. This policy, built on lies and deception, will eventually destroy their economy and any tolerance left in their people,
Especially now that Omicron has arrived.
As to motives? The NY Times headline puts it succinctly: The government has staked its political legitimacy on controlling the virus. It is a battle Beijing cannot afford to lose. 2020 will be a very rough year for China.
Pride comes before a fall.