I keep hearing the phrase “China should have stopped it” particularly from the United States regarding the coronavirus, and this is so clearly misses the real point that I have to write about it here. I’m sure the phrase is being used to deflect criticism but it’s so obviously, logically and scientifically, a very flawed argument that I’m very surprised it’s not called out more often as wrong, damaging and dangerous. I’m going to make that argument here.
NB: Reference sites are listed at the bottom of this article.
As far as the United States is concerned, the coronavirus problem began with a single case entering from Wuhan on January 21st, as told by the President in an interview with CNBC on January 22nd;
“It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine”
To put that in perspective, on this same day the coronavirus had killed only 9 people in China. It was on December 31st that China confirmed that they were treating dozens of cases of people infected with a new virus. On January 11th, China recorded its first coronavirus death.
Now let’s fast forward several months…
What was said in the July 21st Press Conference?
The President of the United States held a press conference yesterday (July 21st) and made these statements;
“Today, I want to provide an update on our response to the China virus”
The President used the term “China Virus” four times during the press conference.
“It’s a nasty, horrible disease that should have never been allowed to escape China, but it did. And it infected the world and the world is suffering, but we’re going to get it taken care of.”
“So it’s a shame that it happened. It shouldn’t have happened. China should have stopped it.”
China should have stopped it! The words of the President of the United States.
What is the fallacy?
On January 21st, the United States had just one case of the coronavirus in the country, as confirmed by the President on January 22nd. Also, the United States had at least three weeks of warning about this new virus.
So, for the United States, January 21st was day one of the coronavirus in that country. And it’s clear given the statistics today that the United States was incapable of “stopping” the internal spread of the virus even with a three week warning of its existence.
Given those facts, how can the President of the United States claim that China should have stopped it? China had no warning. With all the might of the United States and a three week warning, they we unable to stop it in their country. It makes no sense to suggest that China could have stopped it except if the claim is that China is a massively more powerful country than the United States, but I don’t think that’s what the President is trying to say here.
So, if the superpower of the United States of America couldn’t “stop” the virus in the U.S. given a three-week warning, please don’t say that “China should have stopped it”. It makes no logical sense. It’s really the same as saying “I wish China had stopped its spread because we certainly can’t!”.
Related Links – China should have stopped it
- A Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic – from the New York Times on July 21st
- Trump says he trusts China’s Xi on coronavirus and the US has it ‘totally under control’ – from cnbc.com on January 22nd
- Pandemic probably will ‘get worse before it gets better’: A solo Trump holds 1st coronavirus briefing in months – from abcnews on July 21st
- Donald Trump Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript July 21 – from rev.com on July 21st
- Taking care of everyone during this pandemic
- My wish: Help me stop pandemics
- What is truly important?