EDITORIAL: China, Health Professionals, Authorities And Social Media Platforms Elsewhere Using Fake News And Misinformation Accusations To Cover Up Coronavirus Magnitude?
I have to admit that there is so much garbage spewing online about the coronavirus
, from so call non-qualified, non-medical rumour mongers ranging from conspiracy theories, releasing non-scientific information about the virus to flogging ‘snake-oil’ therapies and meds that can claim to be able treat and prevent the coronavirus
. Some even just to cause panic or to increase their viewerships are posting doctored videos and also doctored articles. etc. I wholeheartedly agree that such individuals deserve the full force of the law and be prosecuted.
But on the other hand, is China also concealing lots of information about details about the Covid-19 coronavirus
ie its origin, virulence, potency and characteristics to even about the magnitude of its spread and the death tolls.
What is scary is that we now allow a few organizations like the World Health Organization and certain authorities to control all information online along with the support of most social media platforms and also certain major news networks and even online search engines.
Certain social media platforms and even search engine platforms will lower your exposure or ban it if based on recommendations from WHO or certain authorities or if they feel that it might cause economic harm. Yes, unfortunately economic issues have taken precedence over individuals health risk.
For the past few weeks, all news networks online have been basing their information on data from WHO and the CDC and certain other so called medical institutions. They in return have been basing most of their information from data sent by China health authorities.
This is scary as how do we know that these so called health data we see online is true by these media and health authorities who do not even have their own staff on ground to check and audit all that information.
Take for instance, during the initial days of the coronavirus
outbreak, the Chinese authorities were saying that the virus was not spreadable by human to human transmissions but only via animal vectors. WHO and most government officials elsewhere also echoed this which was reported by major media. Weeks later, the tune was changed and accepted that human to human transmissions were occurring.
We have seen the same with regards to many issues since then with always the same occurrence. China rebukes some claims, and then the rest of the health authorities agree and the major media also simply tags along.
A few things that have been disturbing to many is the number of deaths and infected cases in China.
If China says it has things under control and that the infections are peaking etc why are figures on the ground not correlating. Just a simple example, China has total about 6.12 million hospital beds nationwide. At the moment, 89% all are utilized and there is a huge queue nationwide as confirmed by their own authorities!
China is saying that it is running out of all kinds of medical supplies from even basics like saline solutions, drips, syringes, needles etc. If it only has about 65,000 infected and about 8 thousand in critical condition, why is a country with a population of 1.4 billion people and with more than 33,000 hospitals with 6.12 million hospital beds facing medical supply shortages? Does not make any sense.
Their own Chinese doctors are reporting seeing huge death rates in their hospitals each day while the story about crematoriums being overwhelmed has been verified as true even by a few wire agencies now. So if there has only been 1,300 plus deaths so far for the last 7 weeks, again this does not make sense?
If the number are true and the outbreak is peaking, why are cities still under lockdown and also why are new measures being announced the last 24 hours as even reported by the New York Times that China has now started a mass roundup of people who look sick. Videos online in some sites that were initially though to be fake that looks like scenes from the holocausts are turning out to be true.
The New York Times and numerous media have reported that Chinese authorities are forcefully rounding up anybody that looks sick not just in Wuhan but apparently nationwide.
The new directive comes even amid reports that the mass quarantines in Wuhan have been marked by instances of chaos and disorganization, deepening anxiety and frustration in a city already on edge from a prolonged lockdown.
The Chinese government ordered officials in Wuhan to “round up everyone who should be rounded up,” as part of a “wartime” campaign to contain the outbreak. This has been extended to Nationwide as off the last 24 hours.
During the chaotic rush to carry out the edict, officials are haphazardly rounding up sick patients who do not even have the coronavirus
, in some cases separating them from their families and placing them in the makeshift medical facilities, sometimes without providing the medicine or support they need.(the only good thing is that we have yet to hear of reports of them being sent to incinerators!)
One Chinese citizen as quoted by the New York Times, by the name of Deng Chao, 30, has been in government-imposed quarantine in a Wuhan hotel room for nearly a week. In a telephone interview, he said that although doctors had told him he almost certainly had the coronavirus
, he hadn’t yet received the official results from the test that he needed to be admitted to a hospital. In the meantime, he was getting progressively sicker and finding it more difficult to breathe. He said that several security guards had been stationed at the entrance to his hotel to prevent patients from escaping and that there were no doctors or medicine available.
“This is really like a prison,” he told the New York Times angrily.“Send me to a hospital, please, I need treatment,“ he said, in between bouts of coughing. “There is no one to take care of us here.”
There has been reports of hundreds of thousands of people being held captive with no access to medical treatments being held all over China. There are even stories emerging online about gates and doors to apartment buildings being welded shut.
No international observers have been allowed inside China to date to assess the situation.
Another concern is about whether or not is the coronavirus is airborne and transmitted in what is known as aerosol modes. When a prominent Chinese researcher told a media conference about the possibility, it was immediately refuted by the Chines health authorities and even supported by health and government officials elsewhere in other countries although to date, there is no scientific proof to say which party is wrong. But in the meantime, China is using like hundreds of trucks fitted with huge fumigators and disinfectant blowers to disperse disinfectants and antiviral chemicals into the air around major cities.(wonder why?)
Though we now have laws about fake news and misinformation, what about introducing new laws as so that health authorities, health professionals and governments are also held accountable for any cover ups. We should have new laws for such cases to serve as an example and deterrence for any coverups or prevention of dissemination or distortion of medical information that could result in risk to the health of the public.
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