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The World Health Organization might be talking tough on China now, but back when it would have counted, they were obviously pandering to them. What, if anything, is the use of an "international" organization that can be influenced by any especially powerful country, let alone one with a track record of cover-ups, in ways that get hundreds of thousands of people killed? Is it to "investigate" these countries? Why trust an "investigation" in which the suspects let investigators in willingly, presumably believing they've already covered up all the evidence they need to cover up? Why can't each country just send spies to gather intel on each other country, and then let the public decide which country's spies to believe based on the biases each country may have in favour of or against the country they're investigating?

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Unfortunately, those of us in the US weren’t able to dismiss him out of hand. And yet his administration’s response seems to not have much to do with the information he got, since he largely ignored i

Alternatively, perhaps the currently available explanation is the correct one and people just refuse to accept it as valid for various reasons. 

Quite a lot. The WHO has played a leading role in several public health achievements, most notably the eradication of smallpox, the near-eradication of polio, and the development of an Ebola vacc

Hence why I pointed out the possibility that if you let the ones countries willingly let in be the judge of this sort of thing, then governments will cover up just enough evidence to get away with it at best, or bribe them into being complicit at worst.

 

Precisely what else is the WHO good for, then? The "information" they're supposed to provide is already distorted, by their own failure to spot the CCP's lies until it was too late at best, or by corruption at worst. Weren't they supposed to be about spreading information? What information could possibly be spread by them that couldn't by the less-corrupt among countries? Information about a new disease that is artificially suppressed by the country responsible for the disease?

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It is the only platform to at least bring governments together to address health risks. And has been crucial to address major outbreaks and persistent (but often overlooked) pandemics. Without this platform folks likely will fall prey to the common belief that diseases always come from elsewhere and one does not need to plan for outbreaks.

But obviously governments such as China or USA (or any other) might not play ball if it is to their political disadvantage.

Rather obviously you won't be able to create a body that actually has power over those governments. 

And even if the information is not perfect, it is better than the alternatives. Even if late and botched as it was, it is unclear how long counties outside China would have taken to identify the virus.

There is at least partial evidence of community spreads before they were seen as such.

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18 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Precisely what else is the WHO good for, then?

Quite a lot.

The WHO has played a leading role in several public health achievements, most notably the eradication of smallpox, the near-eradication of polio, and the development of an Ebola vaccine. Its current priorities include communicable diseases, particularly HIV/AIDSEbolaCOVID-19malaria and tuberculosisnon-communicable diseases such as heart disease and cancer; healthy diet, nutrition, and food securityoccupational health; and substance abuse.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Health_Organization

You seem to be confusing the World Health Organisation for the US Marines. 

 

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23 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

what else is the WHO good for, then?

https://www.who.int/about/what-we-do
 

Quote

WHO works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable. 

Our goal is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and well-being.
 

For universal health coverage, we:  

  • focus on primary health care to improve access to quality essential services
  • work towards sustainable financing and financial protection
  • improve access to essential medicines and health products
  • train the health workforce and advise on labour policies
  • support people's participation in national health policies
  • improve monitoring, data and information.

 

For health emergencies, we:

  • prepare for emergencies by identifying, mitigating and managing risks
  • prevent emergencies and support development of tools necessary during outbreaks
  • detect and respond to acute health emergencies
  • support delivery of essential health services in fragile settings.

 

For health and well-being we:

  • address social determinants
  • promote intersectoral approaches for health
  • prioritize health in all policies and healthy settings.

 

Through our work, we address: 

  • human capital across the life-course
  • noncommunicable diseases prevention
  • mental health promotion
  • climate change in small island developing states
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • elimination and eradication of high-impact communicable diseases.


 

1 minute ago, Curious layman said:

You seem to be confusing the World Health Organisation for the US Marines. 

He’s confused about much more than that. Read his posts if you have the patience for it. 

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14 minutes ago, Curious layman said:

Quite a lot.

The WHO has played a leading role in several public health achievements, most notably the eradication of smallpox, the near-eradication of polio, and the development of an Ebola vaccine. Its current priorities include communicable diseases, particularly HIV/AIDSEbolaCOVID-19malaria and tuberculosisnon-communicable diseases such as heart disease and cancer; healthy diet, nutrition, and food securityoccupational health; and substance abuse.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Health_Organization

You seem to be confusing the World Health Organisation for the US Marines. 

 

Any of these tasks sound like they could be handled by any other alliances between multiple different countries' departments of public health; alliances that would each be accountable to their respective citizens, as opposed to an alliance that involves a country not accountable to its citizens at all, a country that has all the more incentive to screw them over to save face.

 

Funny you should mention the Marines. We don't just count on the UN for international alliances; we count on institutions like NATO to protect the military interests specifically of countries accountable to their citizens. (Turkey notwithstanding, but they don't have as much clout as China anyway.) So why should international co-operation on medical issues be handled by an institution large enough to be tainted by countries that seek to undermine it?

 

How do we know all these same things wouldn't have been handled even BETTER if it weren't for the toxic influence of countries like China?

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Alliances are often limited and not global like pandemics. The EU often worked well with the CDC. Except this time around the CDC was crippled and we know how bad things became. Clearly not a great blueprint.

 

1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

 

How do we know all these same things wouldn't have been handled even BETTER if it weren't for the toxic influence of countries like China?

Because after China locked down everyone knew what was coming and they still messed up (plus the aforementioned possibility of earlier undetected spread in Europe). And after that of course the following waves which some countries managed to control but many did not. Saying that these poor responses are entirely caused by China's initial failures is just silly.

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12 hours ago, CharonY said:

Alliances are often limited and not global like pandemics. The EU often worked well with the CDC. Except this time around the CDC was crippled and we know how bad things became. Clearly not a great blueprint.

 

Because after China locked down everyone knew what was coming and they still messed up (plus the aforementioned possibility of earlier undetected spread in Europe). And after that of course the following waves which some countries managed to control but many did not. Saying that these poor responses are entirely caused by China's initial failures is just silly.

Not just by their initial failures, but by their plain dishonesty about them. They tried to silence their own citizens for spreading awareness about this disease. If not for that, the rest of the world could've shut down travel and had a much better chance at getting this disease under control. Any alliance large enough to incorporate a country that does that; without accountability to citizens to keep them in check; has no business influencing alliances between democracies.

 

Deranged Donald screwed up too, but that doesn't absolve the Chinese government of its share of the blame for a disease that harmed countries other than just the USA.

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Just now, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

If not for that, the rest of the world could've shut down travel and had a much better chance at getting this disease under control.

Not really. We have seen that shutting down travel only has modest effects. Again, it is based on the false assumption that we can just close borders as a primary control. As mentioned, there is information that the virus might have been spreading in Europe as early as October. However, authorities in Europe did not identify these as a novel disease. 

I mean of course, if China not only had correctly detected the outbreak and responded by enacting immediate quarantine (the failure in reporting happened on several levels and was at least seemingly not entirely a top-down decision), then it might have been contained.

But again, a) potentially early infections outside of China were not detected in the earliest phases and b) even later on once the virus was sequenced and diagnostic kits existed, many countries did not have a proper idea about their circulation. Also note that countries such as Taiwan and Vietnam who controlled the virus did it not by shutting down borders, but by enacting their pandemic plan, which included ramping up in production for PPE, aggressive contact tracing, compliance to state measures and so on.

Again, the ship has sailed for clamping down early which one could blame China for (but again, due to the high rate of asymptomatic circulation, which we were not aware of for a long time, it is a bit tricky), but for everything else, including the huge death toll throughout much of the Western World, that is all on us.

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Taiwan didn't just "ramp up" production for PPE while doing testing and tracing, it also KEPT its PPE instead of squandering it by sending it to China. The USA sent masks to Wuhan instead of keeping them at home, presumably as a PR stunt, but that leaves behind the question of who they were trying to impress. People who think it's a charitable gesture? People who think fighting the disease overseas would prevent it from coming to one's home country when, quite frankly, at least shutting down travel sooner would've at least resulted in not as many cases coming in?

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101
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Shutting down travel after the virus has entered the country is like putting on a condom after you've already ejaculated

Why you think this would be effective is strange to me

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1 minute ago, iNow said:

Shutting down travel after the virus has entered the country is like putting on a condom after you've already ejaculated

Why you think this would be effective is strange to me

Exponential rise from 2, while still exponential, is still slower than exponential rise from 3.

 

All else held constant, the former would be more controllable.

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1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Exponential rise from 2, while still exponential, is still slower than exponential rise from 3.

Fair

I’m unsure the numbers work out the way you think, though... especially given the strong points above about how far it had already spread before we were even able to detect it 

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1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Taiwan didn't just "ramp up" production for PPE while doing testing and tracing, it also KEPT its PPE instead of squandering it by sending it to China. The USA sent masks to Wuhan instead of keeping them at home, presumably as a PR stunt, but that leaves behind the question of who they were trying to impress. People who think it's a charitable gesture? People who think fighting the disease overseas would prevent it from coming to one's home country when, quite frankly, at least shutting down travel sooner would've at least resulted in not as many cases coming in?

They did both. And PPE manufacturers in the US and Europe have reportedly tried to talk to officials to figure out whether they should also increase production and keep stock for domestic use. They never got an answer. So the issue still is bad planning. Unless of course you now want to blame China for taking away other folk's masks...

 

23 minutes ago, iNow said:

Fair

I’m unsure the numbers work out the way you think, though... especially given the strong points above about how far it had already spread before we were even able to detect it 

Even worse, after some countries managed to either keep low counts for some time, especially over the summer months, it escalated badly almost everywhere due to community spread. Studies have calculated that travel spread accounted for at most 10% in some countries and 1% in others. The only effect of travel restrictions is to slow spread of the disease so that one can implement countermeasures. If you fail to do the latter, community spread will dominate. I think fundamentally disease outbreaks require community effort to combat them. There is no magic bullet, one should not expect the disease to magically stay in their place and most importantly, one needs to take them seriously and implement community-wide countermeasures. You are only safe if others around you help keep you safe. There is no hero to save us, there are no villains to doom us. It is just us and how we behave. If you think that a party is more important than keeping your friends safe, for example, well than you are the risk and not a random traveler. There is a reason why the major outbreaks happened after major holidays.

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I agree it was little more than scapegoating and spreading of xenophobia and jingoism to distract attention from incompetent responses. 

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@ScienceNostalgia101 Your solution appears to be . . . . Let's take an organisation that, while not perfect, has achieved considerable success over its lifetime and has a mature, effective organisation for observing and analysing  problems and communicating warnings and solutions, disband it, set up a new organisation from scretch that excludes nations that are of great significance politically and demographically, then pretend this will be some kind of improvement.

Perhaps a bit of a strawman characterisation of your proposal, but I'm just taking your lead.

 

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On 2/16/2021 at 7:41 PM, iNow said:

little more than scapegoating and spreading of xenophobia and jingoism

I wouldnt go that far.
China tried control news coming out of the country, that it had everything in control.
They let the rest of the world know, only when they realized it was out of control.

In effect, they had a stick of dynomite, they lit the fuse, and handed it to the rest of us when the fuse was half burned.

On the other hand ( as CharonY likes to point out ), we took the stick of dynomite with the lit fuse, and put it in our back pocket, without taking any precautions or making any preparations.

Multiple failures all around.

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23 hours ago, Area54 said:

@ScienceNostalgia101 Your solution appears to be . . . . Let's take an organisation that, while not perfect, has achieved considerable success over its lifetime and has a mature, effective organisation for observing and analysing  problems and communicating warnings and solutions, disband it, set up a new organisation from scretch that excludes nations that are of great significance politically and demographically, then pretend this will be some kind of improvement.

Perhaps a bit of a strawman characterisation of your proposal, but I'm just taking your lead.

 

A bit off the mark, but closer than most have come.

 

The "maturing" of the organization is "maturing" it into an institution which values its connections with China over calling China out. Even if you give the WHO the benefit of a doubt on COVID-19, there's a much more clear-cut case of it for SARS. Enough is enough. Let the rest of the world represent its PEOPLE, and let the governments that only appointed themselves have no say in shit they were only going to lie about anyway.

 

Alternatively, have 2-week quarantines of all travellers from China indefinitely until/unless it drastically reforms to become a vastly more transparent and democratic society. I think we're all getting tired of the idea that people all over the world have to die in the name of political correctness every time a new contagion comes out of that country that their government can't admit to until it's too late.

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7 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

A bit off the mark, but closer than most have come.

I'll just note that self confidence is one thing and patronising over-confidence is another.

 

8 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

The "maturing" of the organization is "maturing" it into an institution which values its connections with China over calling China out.

China is a member of the UN. China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The WHO is an adjunct body of the UN. I'm reasonably sure, until you show me reliable documentation to the contrary that WHO is obligated by charter to retain that connection. Not to mention the recognition that diplomacy can yield more than deliberate isolation.

12 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Let the rest of the world represent its PEOPLE, and let the governments that only appointed themselves have no say in shit they were only going to lie about anyway.

What about the governments that were appointed by the people and yet tells lies? Ought you not to exclude Saudi Arabia for its suspected actions? The UAE? Myanmar? Venezuela? A quarter of the African nations. (Just a guess.)  If China is excluded then so should many more the world's nations. You really think excluding a substantial portion of the world's population helps solve a world problem? Send me your address and I'll send you a drawing board. You need to go back to it.

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Well, yeah. This isn't the first troublesome result to come out of letting countries like China and Russia into the UN. Start over. Have alliances between actual free countries, untainted by the influence of tyrants. If we're not supposed to negotiate with terrorists, why are we expected to negotiate with the geopolitical equivalent thereof?

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101
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There is literally nothing that prevents some countries to form medical or other alliances (and they exist). But you forget the whole point of it. Many diseases are global problems. Just caring and coordinating in your neighborhood alone cannot control them. I mean, just look at the freaking situation right now. 

You are basically saying that without info from China somehow the West would have magically responded better. We have empirical evidence that the world needs to work more together on this matter not less.

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12 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Have alliances between actual free countries, untainted by the influence of tyrants

According to whom?

You act like the west is squeaky clean. We're responsible for just as much of the bad things in the world as anyone else.

There are plenty of people who think countries like Britain and America are run by tyrants.

18 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

If we're not supposed to negotiate with terrorists

We negotiate with terrorists all the time. The IRA, FARC, Taliban...

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Britain and America at least speak for their citizens. The CCP only speaks for the predecessors from their own party who seized power violently decades ago, not the citizens of their own country who were kept just as in the dark (and then some, since then) about this disease until now.

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