Subtitle this one “A Tale of Two Stories.”
The first is the teaser to an article appearing in yesterday’s New York Times that reads:
Beijing is mounting a humanitarian aid blitz in countries struggling with their own outbreaks. In doing so, it’s stepping into a role the West once dominated.
Compare that with the teaser to an article appearing in the Wall Street Journal:
China’s errors, dating back to the very first patients, were compounded by political leaders who dragged their feet to inform the public of the risks and to take decisive control measures.
The body of the Times’s panegyric goes on to praise “China’s leader, Xi Jinping,” who “pledged to send more medical experts to Italy this week, on the same day Beijing sent 2,000 rapid diagnostic tests to the Philippines” and other points east, west, north, and south.
Serbia’s president pleaded for assistance not from the country’s neighbors in Europe, which restricted the export of needed medical equipment, but from China.
“European solidarity does not exist,” the Serbian leader, Aleksandar Vucic, said when he announced a state of emergency in televised remarks. “That was a fairy tale on paper. I believe in my brother and friend Xi Jinping, and I believe in Chinese help.”
That China has turned a corner in its own daily case load of infections — which is not surprising since that’s where the virus started — is undeniable. But so are the facts laid out in the Journal article, which was published on March 6:
It was on Dec. 10 that Wei Guixian, a seafood merchant in this city’s Hua’nan market, first started to feel sick. Thinking she was getting a cold, she walked to a small local clinic to get some treatment and then went back to work.
Eight days later, the 57-year-old was barely conscious in a hospital bed, one of the first suspected cases in a coronavirus epidemic that has paralyzed China and gripped the global economy. The virus has spread around the world and sickened more than 100,000.
For almost three weeks, doctors struggled to connect the dots between Ms. Wei and other early cases, many of them Hua’nan vendors. Patient after patient reported similar symptoms, but many, like her, visited small, poorly resourced clinics and hospitals. Some patients balked at paying for chest scans; others, including Ms. Wei, refused to be transferred to bigger facilities that were better-equipped to identify infectious diseases.
When doctors did finally establish the Hua’nan link in late December, they quarantined Ms. Wei and others like her and raised the alarm to their superiors. But they were prevented by Chinese authorities from alerting their peers, let alone the public.
One of the first doctors to alert Chinese authorities was criticized for “spreading rumors” after sharing with a former medical-school classmate a test result showing a patient had a coronavirus. Another doctor had to write a self-criticism letter saying his warnings “had a negative impact.”
The Chinese government also deleted lab work and lied to the World Health Organization. But you’d never know it from reading the Times piece, which could just as easily have been written by the communist party.
As if that’s not enough to make you sick, this all comes at a time when the Left is on the president’s case for referring to this nightmare as “the Chinese virus.”