China or US delayed Covid-19 response?

Many western media and news outlets are portraying China as having maliciously delayed informing the world about the virus and being responsible for the level of the deaths throughout the world, particularly in the United States.  Better than judging is to work toward improving the situation in every way possible.  But for those who wish to judge, here are facts and perspectives for consideration from the World Health Organization (WHO)China-posted timelines, and US media timelines and other documentations.


In November 2019, indications of an unusual outbreak of respiratory cases are observed by some doctors.  On December 27, particular cases come under scrutiny of China’s Department of Respiratory Care with the emerging view that these represent unusual cases; on December 30, the National Health Commission of China is sent to Wuhan to investigate; on December 31, the WHO reports that China had reported an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown causes.  By January 8, China has identified the pathogen, and by January 11, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) has uploaded the whole genome sequences of the new coronavirus on the internet.

Starting January 3, China keeps the WHO and other countries, including the US, regularly informed.  On this day, according to CNN reports, the “The President’s (Trump’s) daily briefing included information the US intelligence community had gathered about the contagion in China and the potential it had to spread….” Trump also receives reports from the NCMI or National Center for Medical Intelligence, and even warnings from his key adviser Peter Navarro.  International reports in world media closely tally alarming increases in infection in several countries.  The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) issues warnings on Covid-19 on January 15.  The US closes its Wuhan consulate and withdraws staff on January 25.  The US imposes a ban on entry of anyone coming from China less than 14 days earlier on February 2; and the world is already posting daily the toll in different countries.

Why do Trump, Pompeo and Pence start insisting two and a half months later that China did not inform them or downplayed things? Downplay by shutting down Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan and other areas totally, covering over 350 million people?

Trump’s response to the January information

January 20: “We have complete control over the situation.”

February 10: “The virus will die in April because of the hot weather.”

February 26: “It will decrease to near zero in a few days.”

February 27: “…disappearing like a miracle.”

March 2: “Vaccine will be produced, relatively quickly. I feel very safe.”

March 4: “No need to go to the hospital to find a doctor.”

March 6: “Our numbers are lower than any other country.”

March 13: US Vice President Mike Pence says 1.5 million tests soon available, while Atlantic confirms only 13,900 tests have been conducted nationally.

March 21: Trump tweets about “HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN…” as a potential treatment.

March 26: “No need for lockdown.”

Did the US, which is accusing China, hide information?  CNN and ABC report: US intel started tracking coronavirus in China last November… though US intelligence sources denied, they admitted they already had reports by December.  Why didn’t the USA warn the world?

March 2: US CDC stops releasing data on Covid-19 cases.

March 2: Dr. McCarthy from New York Hospital tells CNBC that his hospital had to plead to health authorities to test suspected cases.

March 2: New York Times — Dr. Helen Chu, US whistleblower, sounds the alarm in January and reports her testing results to US regulators in February — she is told to “cease and desist” and “stop testing.”

March 12:  US CDC  Director Robert Redfield at a Congress hearing admits it had misdiagnosed (or did not test) Covid-positive victims as influenza deaths.

March 13:  “China bought the West time with Covid”.

March 13: US Vice President Mike Pence says 1.5 million tests soon available, while Atlantic confirms only 13,900 tests have been conducted nationally.

March 30: The Pentagon orders bases to stop reporting Covid cases.

March 31: US hospitals tell doctors they’ll be fired if they disclose information regarding lack of gear, deaths, etc.

April 2: US sacks Navy Captain Crozier for asking help to save his infected crew.

April 7: Trump criticizes the WHO.

April 14: US halts funding of WHO.
**(US owed WHO about $192 million as of 2020

US and China actions

China shuts down totally urban areas covering 350 million people, and was already recovering.  The same goes for South Korea and a few other countries.  Perhaps China’s bureaucracy could have acted faster.  But did the US act faster in past cases?  If the country did not act for two and a half months while the disease was already causing worldwide distress, would it have mattered?

The US blocks shipments of medical goods to Iran, Cuba and Venezuela even when these countries plead for humanitarian assistance.  Germany reports that the US tried to poach German vaccine company for sole US control.  And the US hijacks mask shipments from France, Canada and Germany.

Timeline of China assistance

March 29: The US airlifts medical supplies from China, scheduling 22 flights.
April 4: China facilitates the donation of 1,000 ventilators for New York and various supplies, and any form of assistance that is accepted.

March to April: China donates test kits, personal protective equipment or PPE, and other supplies to the Philippines and to more than 80 countries, including the US and Japan.

April: Alibaba’s Jack Ma donations arrive in the US, the Philippines, the Middle East and all of Africa, etc.  China companies pledged to the Philippines over $20 million in assistance and have already delivered over $10 million, assisting dozens of hospitals, municipalities, government agencies, the urban poor, etc.  This includes help to the Philippines, much of it not visible in the local media.  This is aside from the Chinese government’s donations and other forms of assistance.

Reality practicality and making up

Every country is run on politics; that is understood.  We can assess a country’s goodwill and culture though by how far from the truth it deviates and how big the net benefits or damages are; and if they will be corrected along the way.  Dr. Li Wen Liang, who exposed the pandemic, was questioned and admonished in the initial period but was actually reinstated in his role helping manage Covid, during which he passed away.  The police and local officials of Wuhan apologized, and even offered to resign.  Some local officials were fired, and the High Court of China issued a statement that such reports by doctors should be investigated, not thumbed down.

Up to February, the statements of Trump were in the tone of cooperating with China and other countries in managing this pandemic.  The coming elections and impeachment trial, along with opposition pressures caused by rising death tolls, may have made his critical remarks necessary in an adversarial system of politics.

China gave a recent statement of its side and its outlook:  “We understand the US is facing hardship and some officials are under pressure, and we feel deeply for the hardship of the American people.  We would like to provide support and to help them as our ability permits… The comments by these few US politicians are just shameless… smears, blame games cannot make up for lost time… I hope they will lose no more time and focus instead on fighting the pandemic and saving American lives.”

The grave situations in the US and other parts of the world require everybody to put aside politics and extend all the help.  Hopefully we move toward a direction where the world’s nations and peoples work together even amid disputes and competitions. Hopefully not just on this matter but all important ones.

Part of Series
Chokepoints, Overcoming, Winning and Losing in the New World beyond Covid
Coronavirus world: Science and math key to managing
Philippines-China relations under the Covid-19 pandemic

New Worlds by IDSI (Integrated Development Studies Institute) aims to present frameworks based on a balance of economic theory, historical realities, ground success in real business and communities and attempt for common good, culture and spirituality. We welcome logical feedback and possibly working together with compatible frameworks

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