China sneezes: The world catches a bad cold; pneumonia and sometimes death! – By Jean H Charles

When China sneezes the rest of the world catches a bad cold that may lead to pneumonia and sometimes to death!

Jean H Charles

 By Jean H Charles  –  syndicated columnist. 

In my commentaries, I have often mused the rest of the world will be half Chinese in the long run. With its fluid population of 1.4 billion people (1.386 as of 2017) out of 7 billion (7.53 as of 2017) in the rest of the universe, China can make a lot of mischief or it can help to solve most of this world’s problems.

With the Chinese Revolution brought about by Mao Ts Tong in 1946 followed by the corrections of Zhou En Lai and the reformer Deng Xiaoping with his practical mind and now the global leadership led by Xi JinPing through the Chinese Silk Road, China in the past seventy years and beyond will heavily influence what’s in happening in the rest of the world. The corona virus known through its scientific name of COVID19 that is sweeping all over the world is a vibrant example of the worst and the best coming from China.           

From the market place of Wuhan in the section reserved for the exotic animals a scientific report from Science daily written by Robert F Garry from Tulane University and W. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University indicates that the Corona virus came from a mutation of a virus from a bat to a pangolin (sort of armadillo) that was bought and consumed by patient number one, who transmit it to his surroundings.

It could have be stopped right there except the regional authorities have failed to heed into the warning of Doctor Li Wenhang, 34 an ophthalmologist who did observed a unusual pathology from several patients coming with the same respiratory ailments leading to death in his hospital. Upon spreading the news through the social media to fellow doctors, he was visited by the Chinese police who told him to stop disturbing the social order or sanctions will follow.

In fact, later the virus has metastasized in the whole city of Wuhan a metropolis of 11 million people with international flights coming and going to all parts of the world. The corona virus was exported to all directions in the universe with its cloud of death decimating people in Italy, South Korea, Iran, Japan, Spain and the United States receiving the blunt of the pandemic. As of this writing there are according to John Hopkins University statistics 200.000 people affected worldwide. The distribution is as follow:

-China 80.860 infected with 3241 deaths and no new case as of March 19th 2020.

-Italy 25.000 infected with 1800 deaths, 450 deaths in one day.

-France 4500 infected with 91 deaths

-Netherlands 2270 infected with 20 deaths

– Germany 5700 infected with 11 deaths

– Switzerland 2200 infected with 14 deaths

– United Kingdom 1144 infected with 21 deaths

– Iran 14000 infected with 724 deaths

– USA 3500 infected with 57 deaths

– Most of Africa, the Caribbean (Haiti has 2 cases) and Latin America with their share of corrupt leaders and dictators keeping their nations in a state of squalor with the lack of decent infrastructure and sane institutions have not been yet put firmly in the equation. Imagine the havoc and the destruction that will ensue in these parts of the world when they will be hit by Corona virus in full force.

South Korea has one of the best practices in dealing with the Corona virus. With 8000 cases on its roster, South Korea has utilized a cocktail of rapid testing, quarantine measure for the most afflicted clusters reducing the number of deaths and the number of new patients.

With easy and fast communication a pandemic that starts anywhere in the world will hit the rest of the universe with the speed of a laser beam. The nations that will weather that pandemic with less stress are those where the sentiment of appurtenance is stronger and where the public health system is excellent at low cost and at proximity to everyone.

The virus causing pandemics has been a recurrent phenomenon that keeps coming in the universe at regular intervals since the first recorded one in 165 AD. A quick review indicates the following plagues have created havoc throughout the centuries.

  • 1-The Antoine plague in 165 AD killing 5 million people
  • 2-The Justinian plague 541-542 named also the bubonic plague killing half of Europe or 25 million people/ 5000 per day
  • 3-The Black Death plague 1346-1353, killing 1 million people mostly in Europe.
  • 4-The Cholera plague 1852- 1860
  • 5-The influenza plague 1889 -1890 also named the Russian  or Asiatic flu  killing  1 million people
  • 6-The cholera plague of 1910 -1911 killing 800.000 people
  • 7-The Flu Pandemic of 1918 killing 50 million people
  • 8-The HIV/AIDS pandemic of 1981 killing 36 million people between 2005 -2012  now contained with adequate medication
  • 9- The SARS pandemic that appeared in China infecting 8000 people worldwide and killing 800.
  • 10 The Ebola virus that stroke mainly Africa particularly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2014 infecting 28.616 people killing 11.310.
  • 11 The Corona Virus 2019 in progress with 114 countries affected 200.000 people with the disease and causing 8000 deaths as of March 2020 since its first appearance in December 2019.

The Corona virus is special in this century because it is inflicting a serious blow to international commerce and transportation, to the stock market and to the ordinary life of each citizen, the young and the old all over the globe. Most nations including the United States and the members of the European Community have closed their doors to the entry of any foreign nationals into their territory. Schools, commerce, religious services and spectacles of more than 10 people have been subject to interdiction.

The wave of death acute in Italy is now inkling towards the United States striking in particular the religious clusters like the Hassidic Jews, the Pentecostals and other sects where intimacy is the standard of behavior.

The nations pregnant with an infrastructure of excellent public health system, weaved with social cohesion and man with strong leadership like China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore have been able to weather the pandemic wave with less stress leading to happy result.

Two months after the appearance of the epidemic, on March 20th 2020, China is basking in the glow that it has zero new patient from a peak of 198.000 patients with 8000 deaths. It is ready to run to the rescue of countries in Europe such as Italy, France and Spain as well as Philippines overwhelmed by the disease.

Will the universe learn a final lesson from this pandemic and conduct business in a manner friendlier to humanity? We are at this corner right now where the two superpowers, China and the United States are engaged in a tit for tat war of words and of diplomacy that may lead to commercial warfare. President Xi in a tit alleges that the American marine during the international game of October 2019 has brought the biological germs to the Wuhan province while President Donald Trump in a tat has qualified the pandemic as the Chinese disease angering the President of China.

There was mutual expulsion of the accredited press of China on one side and the other side of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. There is no sign of regrets or conciliation on both sides.

In the meantime, Cuba is exhibiting glowing gusts of hospitality and of generosity, accepting a British cruise ship in distress for a friendly port of anchor. It is sending its avant-garde medicine and medical corps to any nation in need of assistance.

I have been advocating that this universe must come out of the Westphalia doctrine of strategic competition of winner takes all to enter into the world of the Philadelphia doctrine of strategic cooperation, mutual help and international fellowship. If the lessons from Corona virus does not heed for the present rulers of the major players in this world to reflect, ponder and take action towards this goal, the spirit of the dead ones from this pandemic will haunt them every night causing insomnia in their lives. And God will strike this universe with another pandemic so severe causing much more harm to the living and the survivors! Caveat emptor!

Jean H Charles LLB, MSW, JD is a syndicated columnist. He can be reached at

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  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/20/2020 at 3:06 am

  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/20/2020 at 3:19 am

    PLUS: Police can force patients with coronavirus into six-week quarantine.

    FRIDAY MARCH 20 2020

    Global confirmed cases 243,912

    Global deaths 9,890


    Good morning, and welcome to The Times’s coronavirus newsletter.

    As the Queen left Buckingham Palace to join the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle, where they will stay until the crisis is over, she urged Britons to “come together to work as one” as she issued a message of solidarity to the country.

    The prime minister also tried to provide more encouragement at his daily coronavirus press conference, saying that the UK could “turn the tide” in the fight against Covid-19 within 12 weeks.

    Emergency legislation was also announced to give police powers to forcibly quarantine patients for up to six weeks, while supermarkets plan to pool staff and goods to cope with the strain of panic buying.

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    UK response

    Saving lives trumps civil liberties, Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said, as the government suggested that parts of the capital could be shut down to ensure social distancing rules are followed.

    Headteachers also urged the government to reconsider plans to totally replace exams with predicted grades and teacher assessments, saying that some form of testing should be kept.

    Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, warned younger people to play their part and not to assume that they would “breeze through” the crisis ¬ despite being at a lower risk.

    To underline the seriousness of the virus, Tara Langston, 39, a daily gym goer with no underlying health problems, who is being treated in hospital and is so ill she cannot even walk to the bathroom, recorded a video message urging people not to ignore guidance about the virus.

    World response

    The death toll in Italy overtook China as the country with most coronavirus fatalities, with 3,405 of its citizens dying compared to 3,245 in China.

    President Trump announced a $1 trillion boost for the US economy, which would see a family of four get two payments of $3,000 if the plans pass through Congress as expected.

    A trial involving 36 French patients with Covid-19 showed that 70 per cent of those who were given an anti-malaria drug got rid of the virus within three to six DAYS.


    O2, the mobile phone company, is in talks with the government about gaining access to data on its users’ locations to see whether people are following social-distancing guidelines.

    In a second emergency intervention in little more than a week, the Bank of England cut rates from 0.25 per cent to 0.1 per cent – the lowest level in its history – and promised to raise its quantitative easing programme to £645 billion.

    The government is using cash from the foreign aid budget to try to cope with Britain’s shortage of ventilators. The money will be used to pay for proven technologies that can be adapted by a team at UCL’s institute for healthcare engineering, manufactured in Britain and used in NHS intensive care units.

    Get in touch

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