Feb 29, 2020

I criticised the initial response, largely from ~mid December 2019 - ~21 January 2020, specifically attempts to shut down any and all discussion of the outbreak initially, as well as downplaying reports. See from three weeks ago this thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22274827

In terms of the actual epidemiological response, most especially since ~22 January, limiting travel, events, large congregations of people, and shutting down workplaces and schools, has been absolutely appropriate. Those measures have received some criticism, including by Chinese citizens. I don't feel those criticisms are at all warranted.

The information environment is difficult to navigate. I'd argue that China's erred on the side of too much control, as it tends to do, but in general, after 22 January, the process as a whole has worked, judging by results. The challenges are certainly staggering, particularly at China's scale. The avoiding of mass panic and protest is commendable.

The fact that other governments -- Japan, Korea, Iran, and the United States, notably, and all but certainly North Korea, are repeating many of the same mistakes (or multiplying them several-fold, in the case of Iran and PRK) -- shows that this is highly typical.

I'm also quite disappointed by the international response, and that of the United States quite specifically.

One of the first references I posted to HN following news of the Wuhan outbreak was Albert Camus' 1948 novel, The Plague. The story it tells, of society, government, and individuals, in the face of pestilence, is timeless. And contains valuable lessons:

https://antilogicalism.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/the-pl... (PDF)

HN submission: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22150237