Recent quotes:

Pandemic?

“The real issue here is whether we’re seeing efficient community transmission outside of China. And at the present time, we’re not observing that. And as such, we’re not in a position to have that discussion. What we’re seeing is, again, as we’ve said previously, the majority of cases outside China have a direct link still back to China. And of that transmission that’s occurred in countries outside China, the majority of that transmission can be traced through existing transmission chains. So therefore I think we have to be very, very careful not to drive fear in the world right now, and be very cautious in using the words you have used. We’ve said that the risk is very high in China, it’s high regionally and it’s high around the world. That is not, ‘the risk is high of a pandemic.’ The risk is high that the disease may spread further, and I think at face value, that is true."

Rare Release of Xi’s Speech on Virus Puzzles Top China Watchers - Bloomberg

“For Xi to authorize the speech’s publication at this juncture seemed strongly defensive, as though he needed to make clear that he didn’t bear any of the blame for the slow initial response to the discovery of the virus in Wuhan,” said Richard McGregor, a senior fellow at the Lowy Institute and author of “The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers.” “In fact, it does the opposite, by seemingly putting him on par with the top officials in Hubei, in Wuhan, in being late to recognize the gravity of the public health criss as it was unfolding.”

Forget Masks to Avoid Coronavirus on Flights Says Airline Doctor - Bloomberg

[…]Masks are useful for those who are unwell to protect other people from them. But wearing a mask all the time will be ineffective. It will allow viruses to be transmitted around it, through it and worse still, if it becomes moist it will encourage the growth of viruses and bacteria. Gloves are probably even worse[…]inside the gloves, your hands get hot and sweaty, which is a really good environment for microbes to grow.

Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults | British Journal of Sports Medicine

We combined data from two cohorts of approximately 500 subjects each that were studied during the winter and fall seasons. After controlling for important confounders, total days with URTI during the 12-week study were 43–46% lower in the high versus low tertiles for aerobic activity and perceived physical fitness level, respectively, and URTI severity and symptomatology were reduced 32–41%. Limitations in this study include lack of adjustment for all potential confounders including exposure to URTI pathogens at work and from children in the home. Although methodology varies widely, other epidemiologic and randomised exercise training studies consistently report a reduction in URTI incidence or risk of 18–67%.11,–,19 Within certain subgroups such as the elderly or those with high mental stress, the reduction in URTI with aerobic exercise training may have more significance. Fondell et al,15 eg, reported an 18% reduction in URTI risk between high and low physical activity quartiles, but this risk reduction improved to 42% among those with high perceived mental stress. A randomised study of elderly women (mean age, 73 years) showed that walking 30–40 min, 5 days/week, for 12 weeks at 60% heart rate reserve, reduced URTI rates to 20% as compared with 50% among sedentary controls.18 A 1-year randomised study of 115 overweight, postmenopausal women showed that regular moderate exercise (166 min/week, ∼4 days/week) lowered URTI risk compared to controls modestly during the first half year, but then more strongly during the final months.19 The underlying mechanisms for the reduction in URTI risk with aerobic exercise training are still being explored and debated. Each aerobic exercise bout causes a transient increase in the recirculation of immunoglobulins, and neutrophils and natural killer cells, two cells involved in innate immune defenses.16 17 Animal data indicate that lung macrophages play an important role in mediating the beneficial effects of moderate exercise on lowered susceptibility to infection.36 Stress hormones, which can suppress immunity, and pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, indicative of intense metabolic activity, are not elevated during moderate aerobic exercise.16 17 Although the immune system returns to pre-exercise levels within a few hours after the exercise session is over, each session may improve immunosurveillance against pathogens that reduce overall URTI incidence and symptomatology.

Effect of Regular Exercise on Inflammation Induced by Drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus 3089 in ICR mice

Infectious microorganisms also elicit acute inflammatory responses mediated by cytokines secreted from immune cells, akin to inflammation associated with obesity52. In this study, we examined the effect of 3 weeks of exercise (swimming) on the immune response induced by infection with DRSA. Our findings show that regular exercise suppresses infection-induced inflammation, as indicated by reductions in the levels in two inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL1-β) and two inflammation markers (NO and PGC-1), and it increases cathelicidin levels in the blood, adipose tissue and whole lung tissue. Earlier reports indicate that production of TNF-α and IL1-β is significantly increased by regular exercise53,54,55, resulting in improved immune responses, prevention of various diseases, increased signal transduction and reduced body mass through β-oxidation56,57. Secretion of large amounts of cytokines stimulated by infectious pathogens results in strong activation of immune cells58. TNF-α and IL-1β, in particular, are key mediators of the signal transduction initiating immediate immune cell activity upon release from the site of infection59,60. We observed that serum TNF-α and IL-1β levels were lower in SW-EX and SW-EX + DRAS mice than No-EX + DRSA mice, and were even lower in SW-EX + DRSA than SW-EX mice. We also observed that production of TNF-α and IL-1β was reduced in exercising mice, while cathelicidin production was increased, suggesting that suppression of the infection by cathelicidin led to a decrease in cytokine production. We therefore suggest that the immediate action (autocrine and/or paracrine) of cathelicidin on the infected tissues contributed to a reduction in serum cytokine levels.

The Truth About “Dramatic Action” | China Media Project

And there may be a reason for this. Why? Because there are already concrete examples that deepen their sense of dread. On January 22, Huang Mouhong (黄谋宏), the deputy director of the Hubei Provincial Department of Commerce, was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Before this, there was news that Wang Guangfa, the expert who had flown to Wuhan from Beijing and announced that the disease was “preventable and controllable,” had been confirmed as infected shortly after his return to the capital. In fact, both the provincial and municipal governments have already effectively been shut down, and to a large extent can be said to now be only caretaker governments (看守政府). These cowardly and incompetent governments obviously cannot take on the necessary responsibility of governing in what has already become essentially a state of war. This leaves the public in a state of deep concern and uncertainty. On January 22, Zhang Ouya (张欧亚), a journalist for the official Hubei Daily newspaper, clearly at the end of his rope, fairly shouted online: “Wuhan must immediately change out its commanders” (武汉必须当机立断换帅了). For a brief time, this furious call proliferated online. Another meme was rapidly born, like a mutating virus, across social media. The word “coronavirus”, or guānzhuàng bìngdú (冠状病毒), was replaced with the identical-sounding “official virus” (官状病毒), mocking the cowardice and ineffectiveness of the government and of high-level officials. We may find it hard to suppress a bitter laugh over such an acts of inventive criticism. But such a story cannot have a happy ending in China’s stability-obsessed political environment – where anything can be stopped. Zhang Ouya’s post was quickly expunged. The Party leadership of the Hubei Daily Media Group, Zhang’s employer, wrote a letter of apology to the Municipal Party Committee expressing its “deepest apologies” for Zhang Ouya’s “incorrect remarks.”

The Truth About “Dramatic Action” | China Media Project

The scientific results could not be clearer, and the authorities likely had a decent grasp of the real situation. But nevertheless they could not speak the truth, and they spared no effort in keeping the outbreak under wraps. Front-line doctors who spoke up about the outbreak were taken in for questioning. Eight Wuhan citizens who dared to post about the outbreak online were summoned by the police and singled out in public announcements through official media in order to terrify the public and force people to remain quiet.

The Truth About “Dramatic Action” | China Media Project

China is a society closely monitored by the government, and the shadow of Big Brother is everywhere. Social media in particular are subject to very close surveillance. So when the authorities detected chatter about the re-emergence of SARS, or of a similar unknown outbreak, they took two major steps initially. First, they tried to ensure that this new outbreak remained a secret; second, they put the stability preservation system into effect (启动稳控机制). On December 30, the Wuhan Health Commission (武汉市卫建委) issued an order to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare units strictly prohibiting the release of any information about treatment of this new disease. As late as December 31, the government in Wuhan was still saying publicly that there were no cases of human-to-human transmission, and that no medical personnel had become infected.