WUHAN, CHINA - APRIL 23:CHINA OUTA resident rides a bike past a graffiti wall on April 23, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.The government started lifting outbound travel restrictions on April 8 from Wednesday after almost 11 weeks of lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Getty Images)
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The most notable feature of the article in last weekend’s FT Magazine (April 25) by Don Weinland, is the fact that, as he says, “mismanagement of the disease elsewhere in the world quickly took the onus off the party”. It was not the onus that came off, but the accusations of failure and cover-up.

If the Chinese Communist party is responsible for a cover-up, then the US should be ashamed of its disorganised, wilful fantasy in the face of a pandemic. If party unity could not stem the tide effectively in China, the political chaos in America and the UK could not help stop the thousands from dying. Yet, that is not the point, not in a liberal democracy or communism, but rather finding blame rather than following knowledge and wisdom.

If the Anglo-American response to the crisis fell short, so did Italy and Spain’s. Mr Weinland went to Wuhan to find a story and his disappointment is more than that, it tells us we need to find a more practical way to deal with dense populations, squeezed health systems, emerging disease and the susceptibility of modern populations to contagions.

There is work to be done. Let’s stop the inquisition in search of a scapegoat.

Niccolo Caldararo
Dept of Anthropology,
San Francisco State University, CA, US

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