There has been a hype for many years regarding the incredible modernity and incredible efficiency of the Chinese. We continue to celebrate their ability to build a hospital in 10 days (which is then a military hospital, so 10 days are also TOO many), but we do not ask ourselves what we can deduce from the "coronavirus" case, on the real state of the country.
Of course, those who go to China find that the streets are clean and the buildings are new. This is quite normal for all those countries that build everything starting from a "green field" situation, that is, starting from nothing. Everything is new, everything uses recent technologies, everything has a modern design.
And the Italian press, run by entrepreneurs who dream of the Chinese sweatshop where they work 24/7 (with the addition of Jus Primae Noctis), obviously has always been careful not to dig a moment into the rise of China. And they helped Chinese propaganda build the myth of the supermodern country.
But this is all aesthetic.
Take for example the story of the 1000-seat hospital built in 10 days. It seems incredible, if we go to compare it with European times, and if we think it is a real hospital.
But it's not a real hospital. It is practically made of containers, nothing more than what the Italian Civil Protection builds with every earthquake. That building containers for 1000 people in ten days is, honestly, a MEDIOCRE performance. It is true that the Italian civil protection in this thing excels because of the history of earthquakes (during the Haiti disaster the Americans showed far worse limits, from ridiculous to pathetic) but on the other hand, we are talking about a country that the press Italian continues to sell as ultra-modern and highly efficient.
But the problem is even worse if we look at the context. The context is that of an area of 57 million inhabitants (in practice, the population of Italy), which is unable to accommodate 1000 people in hospital. Now, according to official data from the Italian Ministry of Health, the much reviled Italian health does this:
It means that a thousand patients, in Italy, treat them directly at home with an additional effort equal to one PER MILLE of the effort at full capacity. ONE. FOR. ONE THOUSAND. It means that if we talk about percentages, it is the first decimal after the comma. Zero point something percent.
Even on the level of those who present themselves in an emergency room, the Italian numbers are HUGE:
When we are deciding the efficiency of a country that builds a hospital with ~ 1000 places in ten days, we are talking about a country that, for ~ 60 million people, cannot find a thousand places. Which in Italy is not even an effort easily detectable on a statistical scale. With the same population of the infected area, Italy has emergency room capacity of TWENTY MILLION CASES in a year, of which almost THREE MILLION hospitalized.
In China, if a thousand places are needed, they must build a field hospital.
Having to build a hospital of 1000 patients in an area that has 60 million inhabitants speaks to us of a country with a THIRD WORLD health organization.
They can have as clean roads and railways as they want. But the Chinese have a THIRD WORLD health system. Point. The numbers speak clearly.
Let's go and see the whole response system. Because here we are at levels so painful as to make Chernobyl seem nonsense.
First, the data. The numbers that arrive make little sense, and it seems that the number of deaths is correct, while the number of infected is underestimated by a factor of ten. The trouble is that this way of proceeding did not stifle the alarm, but it AMPLIFIED it.
If the number of infected and dead were correct, we would know that the new infection kills 2% of the time.
If the number of infected is greater than a factor of ten, as feared, then this new infection kills 0.2% of the time. Which makes it as worrying as a seasonal infection, or a little more.
I don't know who was the genius in the Chinese Communist Party who had the brilliant idea of underestimating the number of infected. But if he wanted to quell panic, he would have had to give correct numbers in the number of deaths, and numbers ESTIMATED in the number of infected. In fact, if China had reported 1000 deaths but said that 90% of the Chinese population was infected, authorities all over the world would have given a shit.
Anyone who is censoring the numbers of the epidemic, underestimating the number of infected, is not only doing a criminal censorship job because it blurs the view of the scientific community. He is also doing a VERY bad job of censorship, because by reducing the number of infected, with the same number of deaths, the alarm does not go down, RATHER IT RAISES.
We are talking about censors, but we are talking about INCOMPETENT censors.
The response from the authorities, however, was painful. When the Soviet authorities were silent about the problems, as in Chernobyl, they were meanwhile working frantically to solve the problem, at the cost of sending people to die.
But the Chinese have silenced doctors who talked about the infection, WITHOUT trying to stop it. They left the wild WILD animal markets open, for example. It is as if in Chernobyl the Soviet authorities had silenced the problem first (as they did) and in the meantime ordered another "test", identical to the one that caused the disaster, in the remaining reactors.
Chinese management has not only been criminal in censoring information. It was criminal AND INCOMPETENT. Incompetent because the information was censored in order to INCREASE panic, and incompetent because the news was delayed WITHOUT using the delay in a useful way.
It is not a tyrannical but efficient regime, and it is not a tyrannical but competent regime.
It is a tyrannical regime, and inefficient and incompetent.
But let's go back to the health system, to the "prophylaxis" chapter. In European countries there is a precise prophylaxis for the breeding and slaughter of animals. Furthermore, wild animals CANNOT come into contact with farm animals, and slaughtering must take place in a specific environment, where workers are vaccinated, have masks and protections, and environments are washed.
This is what happens in any Chinese market. Consider that the vast majority of pandemics (SARS, for example) moved from chickens to humans, and consider that those hens will be slaughtered on the spot.
And they will be slaughtered in a place that has these hygienic conditions:
If we make a comparison with western methods:
We can criticize the cumbersome European bureaucracy as much as we want, asphyxiating health standards and everything. But if we make more than a billion people live in these conditions, then we should not be surprised if epidemics pass "from animals to humans". Who knows how it can ever happen, huh?
Now, the government is concerned with these rules. And if a government like the Italian one (and without particular urgencies, given that no particular epidemics have recently started from Italy) manages to maintain a high level of prophylaxis, it is complex but not impossible.
So, I repeat: you can keep the streets clean and the police in immaculate uniform and the trains on time. But if you fail on the ground, your government is anything but competent and anything but efficient. China is more aesthetic than substance.
Last thing, the question of masks. In a country that wants to be the industrial zone of the world, finding yourself asking for masks from European countries means that something is going wrong. VERY wrong. Masks are devices that are produced by the millions and millions in no time. There are no causes for this possible shortage, unless … unless the sweatshops are already working hard
If we take a European mask factory, where workers are working for 40 hours a week, we can ask for an extraordinary effort and have them at work another two days, on holidays. We can also organize longer shifts, and in the end we can safely get 70 hours a week. We can almost double the production.
The Chinese seem unable to do it. Why'? Because if they already work 24/7 in a sweatshop, you can't ask for more than 24 hours a day. And you can't ask for more than 7 days a week.
The point is simply this. The organization of Chinese work is fragile, because it is not flexible: although it seems efficient to make people work 24/7, you always forget that in an emergency it will not be possible to climb again.
This emergency is showing the bluff of the Chinese state organization. Non-existent, incompetent, catastrophically politicized, with an absolute lack of good practices in the basic sectors (health and agri-food) and a political class that does not understand what it is talking about and censors the data in the wrong way.
A third world country with peaks of excellence, highly touted, but when we raise the carpet underneath there is the most total sloppiness.
And pray that it doesn't affect the US, because with their health system we would laugh.