16 January, 2021

China & World Health Organization | Zondag met Lubach (S11)

The first peak of the corona crisis seems to have passed, and in China the first surgical masks are taken off.

Chinese doctors can smile again after many weeks of hard work.

That looks promising.

Can we learn something from China? Yes, what can we learn from China? While Dutch hospitals are overflowing, Chinese doctors can smile again.

Well, maybe they were smiling all the time, but we couldn't see it because of the surgical masks.

Not only the NOS wants to learn from China, but also the WHO (World Health Organization), are impressed by the Chinese policy.

This is the Canadian epidemiologist Bruce Aylward.

He is co-leader of the WHO corona mission in China.

They know what they are doing, and they are really good at it, and they are really keen to help.

If I had COVID-19, I'd want to be treated in China.

Yes, I'd want to be treated in China, and I want a blue blanket, and the doctor needs to have a moustache, and he has to listen to the name Sjoerd.

Otherwise I don't want corona.

That's not how it works, Bruce.

So, according to the WHO, the international authority concerning health, China did act really well.

That is also said by the director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

China took action massively.

And that helped in preventing cases from being exported to the rest of the world.

According to the WHO, China is a shining example of how you should tackle a virus outbreak.

But, maybe good to say, they are also a shining example of how to cause one.

Where did the virus outbreak come from? Well, it started on animals, and is jumped to humans.

This is called zoonosis.

And you know it's wrong when a word contains 'O no'.

Think of Bono, monogamy, and of course, child pono.

Many well known virusses, are zoonosis.

For example, HIV jumped from a monkey to a human.

And ebola jumps via bats, to other animals, to humans.

The MERS virus was perceived to jump from a bat, to a dromedary, to a human.

Bats are qua risk of infection the yellow cleaning wipes of nature.

Scientists discovered that there are a hundred more virusses in bats, waiting to jump to a human.

The likelihood of a virus jumping to a human is small, but when you put together enough animals and humans for long enough, it could happen.

That does not just happen in Sesame Street, but also in South East Asia on some markets.

'The cages stuck, one above another.

The animals at the bottom are often soaked, with all kinds of liquid.

Animal excrement, pus, and blood.

This place is a torture chamber and a filthy labaratorium all mixed into one.

Hey, no handshakes! That's how things go wrong! But really, because this is a serval, A wild african cat, that is sold on Chinese markets.

And that's where the problem is.

On those markets, different animals from all around the world are stuffed together.

The ideal place for a virus to jump from animals to animals.

For example on this animal.

That's a weird animal, a pangolin, een schubdier in Dutch.

I don't know them, they look like walking pinecones, but I don't understand these animals, so I looked them up on Wikipedia, and At first sight, pangolins look like walking pincecones.

Oké, so it's not just me.

Wikipedia does this only by lesser known animals by the way.

You would never see this with an elephant.

At first sight, the elephant looks like a giant grey poof with a big dick on it's face.

Or with humans: At first sight, Herman van Veen looks like an elephant, but without a dick on it's face.

Back to the corona virus.

There is strong evidence that the virus jumped from a bat, to a pangolin, to a human.

So there is a Pangolin Zero.

He doesn't live anymore, since pangolins are eaten in China, And the scales are used to make pills, Because some believe that these have a medicinal purpose.

Because the pangolins are sold next to bats, a virus has the opportunity to jump from a bat to a pangolin, or to a civet, like with the SARS epidemic in 2003.

That was also a bat virus that jumped to a human, also on a Chinese market.

If your in the business of spotting new strains of flu, or any other emerging disease, there's no place more important to watch than here.

This is Guangdong-province in Southern China, what the scientist call: Pandemic central.

And this video is from 2003.

Then the whole world yelled: China stop with those crazy wild animal markets! One day it could really go wrong! Since then, the call for closing those markets, got louder and louder.

The likelihood of a disaster is small, But when it happens, it's a big disaster.

When you let children play with a bucket plutonium, you don't immidiately have a working atom bomb.

But when you let half a billion kids go on for years, the discussion will erupt whether this could have been prevented.

On the markets in Wuhan, the first case was likely in november 2019, When the first people were infected with the new corona virus.

Then the clock of this pandemic started ticking.

The perfect moment to strangle it at it's birth.

And honor were credit is due: China did everything to prevent the spreading.

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of the news about the virus.

The Chinese doctor Li Wenliang died.

He was the first who raised the alarm about the corona virus.

The Chinese government tried to silence him.

In December 2019 the 34-year old doctor from Wuhan warned about a new virus.

The Chinese goverment accused him of spreading panic.

They forced him to write an apology letter.

In January he announced he had been infected himself.

So this doctor said in December a dangerous virus broke out.

His warning was picked up on social media.

And he was arrested because he was spreading rumours.

The same happened with 7 other doctors that raised the alarm.

A day later, When the news about the virus became bigger than articles about Bridget and Andre Hazes.

China had to report some cases of illnesses with unknown causes in Wuhan, to the WHO.

So there was a new virus, and the crucial question is: Can humans infect other humans? China knew for 10 days that this happened.

One of the visitors of the market, infected his wife.

She had never been to that market.

She didn't even like pangolin.

China knew, but 4 days later, WHO announced there was no clear evidence of human-to-human infection.

So China withheld crucial information.

Until the end of January they said: There is nothing wrong.

Those were just some people who were chewing on walking pinecones.

So what do you do when there is nothing wrong? When there are no signs of a virus that could kill the entire world? Then you organise a party with 40.

000 families to celebrate Chinese New Year in Wuhan.

Baibuting, a populous district in the city, was preparing an annual banquet to celebrate the Lunar Chinese New Year.

Over 40.

000 families would join.

The banquet was set to happen on January 18th.

This footage from Youtube is from 2 months after the first case.

and a week after there was evidence that the virus could jump from human to human.

Yes, but the last part had no subtitles.

How do I know this is footage of this year? I don't speak Mandarin and you do neither.

No, I don't either, but I do read Cucumber.

Look, here, you see? 2020.

Oh, yea, the raw vegetables reveal.

Always the raw vegetables.

So this is footage of this year, during the outbreak.

The government allowed the party.

They even tried to break the world record for most dishes served, to celebrate the 20th edition.

A good candidate for worst plan ever.

An even worse plan would be: Drinking a lot in party costumes, and then grabbing each others' shoulders to dance in Tilburg- Oh, wait.

So this national party was at January 18th, when we even knew about the virus in the Netherlands.

In China, 2 new casus of the corona lung virus were discovered.

The corona virus was discovered last month in Chinese city Wuhan.

The virus is related to SARS and MERS.

They still called it the corona lung virus, which sound more cozy, Like longdrink, everything with long is nice, right? Longboard, Long Island, Long Island IceTea.

Lung cancer, pneumonia, emphysema.

Oké, yes, thank you.

Wuhan didn't go in lockdown until January 23th, 2 months after the outbreak and 5 days after the party.

Way too late.

In the meantime doctors were silenced, and half of the population of Wuhan ate from the same cucumber.

Still, WHO director Tedros, was very positive about China.

Why? It's not like the WHO is never critical.

WHO critical: Netherlands, do not sail blind on herd immunity.

But they are constantly praising China.

End of January: WHO praises Chinese approach.

Here: Boss of WHO stays with his praise to China and Xi Jinping.

In a report end Februari: WHO praises China for bold approach to the outbreak Why is the WHO so positive about China, while they let the virus start ánd escape? Maybe because China has much influence at the WHO.

Tedros is director of the WHO mainly because of China, that invests a lot in Ethopia, Tedros' country of birth.

Chinese diplomats campaigned for the Ethiopian, making use of Beijing's influence.

And non-transparant aid money, to gather support from developing countries.

And the question is if Tedros was the right man.

One of the first things he did was naming the Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe as WHO ambassador.

which he revoked immidiately, after he was criticized.

Oh I couldn't do that? Sorry, I just started working here.

I also sold all our computers on Ebay.

Is that.

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? Oh also not oké? I just started work here, sorry.

But even before Tedros was the director, the WHO was very praising about China.

Like in 2003, with the SARS outbreak, which China also wanted to cover-up.

Which makes you think: Who are those crazy people? But they aren't crazy.

They are doctors and virologists who do very important work across the globe.

They provide vaccines and medicines in poor countries, for example for malaria and polio.

They see to spread the information about illnesses to the right places.

They draft lists with essential medicines for low prices, etcetera.

But they are also a part of the United Nations.

So they have to be a bit diplomatic.

For example when we talk about Taiwan.

It is an independent country, but China doesn't want other countries to recognise it.

That's why the WHO also doesn't touch the topic, which is noticed by this journalist.

Will the WHO consider Taiwans membership? Hello? I'm sorry, I couldn't hear your question.

Oké, let me repeat the question.

No that is oké, let's move to another one then.

Right, because I'm actually curious on talking about Taiwan as well, on Taiwan's case.

Sorry, I got caught out for a second.

Can you repeat your question? However, there are no flies on her, so she calls again.

And I just want to see if you can comment a bit on how Taiwan has done so far, in terms of containing the virus.

Well, we've already talked about China, and, you know, when you look across all the different areas of China, they all have all done quite a good job.

So with that, I'd like to thank you very much for inviting us to participate.

Yes, and this shameless bow for China is maybe quite a good ending to this conversation, thank you.

And this goes a bit further than uncomfortable interviews.

When Taiwan, a land with 24 million residents, started to worry about the virus in December, their questions were completely ignored by the WHO.

Small fact: Because Taiwan was one of the only countries to distrust China, and immidiately got over to action, is their death toll right now.

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6 I've been at baby showers with more dead people.

And because there are so few deaths, they also have a weird chart.

We have a smooth curve, but this is Taiwan.

This is because these are individual deaths.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

We have 'Flatten the curve', they have 'Mind the curb'.

In Taiwan they are doing well, but at the same time continues the WHO to kiss China's ass.

The identification of the pathogen was record time.

The pathogen was sequenced and the genome was shared immediately so that other countries can use it.

And the other important element is the political commitment and your personal leadership, which we have been following.

Yes, and what else.

You've got such a cute laugh, and I'm just going to say it, Xi, what a good ass.

Indeed, China did share the genome of the virus immediately with the rest of the world.

What's more, the entire virus was shared with the rest of the world.

Kind of weird that the WHO was not on top of it, so did this American amateur virologist think.

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Had the WHO done its job, to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground, and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source, with very little death.

Okay, Trump is right here.

Excuse me? Trump is correct here.

Oh, yeah, okay, I thought we were going to bash Trump? No, that comes now.

He also stopped the cash flow to the WHO, and I think that's a stupid decision.

But I understand his criticism on how they deal with China.

What I don't understand, is that there aren't more people angry at China.

Everyone is in the mode of: The whole world fighting together against this virus, this natural disaster that's suddenly happening to us, And that's of course very cozy, but to prevent the next disaster, it's good to see what China is doing exactly You cannot silence a doctor who discovers a virus, and why are there still that kind of animal markets? And I don't mean eating a bat or pangolin is less tasty than a cow.

I mean, look, it's not like you look at this and think 'mmm'.

At first sight a kind of walking carpet with udders, And in here there are still chickens and pigs in too small cages, and that is super sad, but if you put cages full of wild animals on top of each other, you have an extra problem, For instance that it causes a pandemic once in a while, that helps the whole world to the COVID.

SARS, MERS, COVID-19, and the next one can be even worse.

So is it that weird to ask the Chinese government if they could focus less on silencing concerned doctors, and more on stopping wild animal markets? Otherwise we have to record another season without audience in a few years, because a Chinese pangolin threw up an ill bat on a raccoon.

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