How bad is the pediatric pneumonia outbreak in China?
If you ask Chinese authorities, the answer would be that you shouldn’t be too worried.
Beijing has told the World Health Organization that there are no “unusual or new pathogens” or clinical symptoms.
Some of the Chinese media reports have described the illness as “preventable and controllable”—you might recall the same phrase being used back in early 2020 when the COVID-19 outbreak began to spread in Wuhan.
Whatever the case, the concerns from Chinese parents are real.
Families are waiting in long queues at Chinese hospitals for hours so that they could see a doctor. Many classes get suspended because too many children are sick.
“Everyone in the class is coughing—you can’t even hear what the teacher is saying,” a man with the surname Chen told The Epoch Times, recounting what he heard from his school-aged daughter from Beijing.
While the WHO is seeking more information from the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese regime’s coverup is being noted by a number of U.S. lawmakers.
“We have no ability to trust the Chinese,” Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), told The Epoch Times’ sister outlet NTD on Nov. 30.
Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.), a practicing surgeon, also said he believes “China’s going to do everything possible so that they don’t look like they’re the genesis of another pandemic.”
“I don’t trust anything the Chinese say—not a word,” he told NTD. “You get burned once, you don’t get burned again.”
A number of Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, have called for a travel ban.
“A ban on travel now could save our country from death, lockdowns, mandates, and further outbreaks later,” they wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden.
No travel ban is being planned for the moment.
Asked if the State Department supports a travel ban, spokesperson Matthew Miller said they will “continue to monitor this situation closely and provide important updates should the situation change.”
“At this point the CDC has said publicly it does not have any evidence that it’s a novel pathogen,” he said in response to a question from The Epoch Times during a press briefing.
Chinese authorities seem to be using the same strategy they used three years ago to convince the public that the outbreak isn’t very severe.
There has been a lot of emphasis on the effect of flu and other contagions spreading around this time that could have contributed to the clusters of outbreaks; mycoplasma pneumonia is another cause cited.
But Sean Lin, a former lab director at the viral diseases branch of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, isn’t happy with that explanation. Respiratory disease seasons in the past hadn’t reached such a scale as it has now.
A whistleblower close to the top Chinese leadership told The Epoch Times that the Chinese communist leader Xi Jinping had ordered officials to play down the severity of the outbreak and emphasize that it’s not a result of COVID-19 mutation.
Some countries and regions are now expressing concerns.
Taiwan has advised the elderly, very young, and those with poor immunity to avoid going to China.
So far, the Chinese authorities are expanding hospital capacity, promoting traditional Chinese medicine, and telling feverish students and teachers not to come to class.
What’s next? We’ll keep you informed.