February 17, 2020

New Day's Alysin Camerota asked New York Times columnist Nick Kristof what Chinese officials did wrong in their handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Kristof said the biggest problem is that they tried to cover it up. He said the Chinese scientific community reacted "heroically."

"The scientific side did great. Meanwhile, the political side, when eight doctors are discussing this in a WeChat group, they summoned them to the police station. They warned them not to do this again," Kristof said.

"Most strikingly, they announce on national television these eight doctors have been reprimanded, to send a signal across the country that nobody talks about this. And so meanwhile in Wuhan, you have the local legislature is meeting. There are banquets and 5 million people leave Wuhan for the rest of the country in this period before the clampdown. Once it comes, extraordinary efficiency and one might say ruthlessness, they were -- Xi Jinping, the president, was very late and his instinctive response was to cover up."

"Did the delay lead to the spread? For folks at home to understand the scale of what China is doing right now, we're not talking about a cruise ship here or there, a few hundred passengers. They blocked off parts of the country where hundreds of millions of people live. I don't think the world has ever seen this," Jim Sciutto said.

"Yeah, I can't think of any analogy. it's not just that the highways and air traffic and rail lines have been largely cut off, it's that even within cities, you go out to the store and you get three checkpoints back to your apartment. Farmers find they can't get feed for their livestock, so their livestock risk dying. In some ways it may well be quite effective in preventing the spread. On the other hand, it's devastating for the economy and raises obviously fundamental questions about rights," Kristof said.

"We have a way of visually showing that, just how air traffic has dropped so dramatically in China, by 80% in and out of the biggest airports. On the left-hand side of the screen that's what it looks like. Crazy. Now just a fraction. That has economic impacts, too," Sciutto said.

NOTE TO READERS: This is not a conspiracy theory. Coronavirus is already here, and it's extremely contagious, so it will spread. Read up on pandemic preparation. In the meantime, I suggest you get hand sanitizer, surgical masks, and gloves. Better to have supplies and not need them than not have them when you do!

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