|Thursday 14th of May 2020
Secret Chinese Military Data Adds New Detail to Coronavirus Reporting @100Reporters #COVID19
Law & Politics
Beijing claims that since the coronavirus pandemic began at the end of
last year, there have been only 82,919 confirmed cases and 4,633
deaths in mainland China.
Those numbers could be roughly accurate, and in that case a detailed
account would be an important tool in judging the spread of the virus.
But it’s also possible that the numbers presented to the rest of the
world are vastly understated compared to Beijing’s private figures.
The opaqueness and mistrust of outsiders in the Chinese Communist
Party’s system makes it hard to judge—but learning more about the
coronavirus data used directly by Chinese officials is invaluable for
A dataset of coronavirus cases and deaths from the military’s National
University of Defense Technology, leaked to 100Reporters, offers
insight into how Beijing has gathered coronavirus data on its
The source of the leak, who asked to remain anonymous because of the
sensitivity of sharing Chinese military data, said that the data came
from the university.
The school publishes a data tracker for the coronavirus: The online
version matches with the leaked information, except it is far less
detailed—it shows just the map of cases, not the distinct data.
The dataset, though it contains inconsistencies, is the most extensive
dataset proved to exist about coronavirus cases in China.
More importantly, it can serve as a valuable trove of information for
epidemiologists and public health experts around the globe—and has
almost certainly not shared with U.S. officials or doctors. (The World
Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)
While not fully comprehensive, the data is incredibly rich:
There are more than 640,000 updates of information, covering at least
230 cities—in other words, 640,000 rows purporting to show the number
of cases in a specific location at the time the data was gathered.
Each update includes the latitude, longitude, and “confirmed” number
of cases at the location, for dates ranging from early February to
For locations in and around the center of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei
province, the data also includes figures for deaths and for those who
It’s unclear how the dataset’s authors define “confirmed” and
“recovered”: Like other countries, China has updated its counting
methods, as demonstrated in mid-February when Hubei’s reported cases
spiked because officials announced they were including patients
diagnosed with CT scans.
Unlike in other countries, China’s outbreak peaked before rigorous
testing methods were widely available, and the Communist Party often
manipulates data for political purposes.
The data reviewed by 100Reporters includes hospital locations, but it
also includes place names corresponding to apartment compounds,
hotels, supermarkets, railway stations, restaurants, and schools
across the breadth of the country.
The dataset reports one case of coronavirus in a KFC in the eastern
city of Zhenjiang on March 14, for example, while a church in the
northeastern provincial capital of Harbin saw two cases on March 17.
(The data does not include the names of the individuals who contracted
or died from the disease, and the reports of the cases in the dataset
could not be independently verified.)
It’s unclear as yet how the university gathered the data. The online
version says that they aggregated the data from China’s health
ministry, the National Health Commission, media reports, and other
According to its website, the university, based in the central Chinese
city of Changsha, is “under the direct leadership of the Central
Military Commission,” the body that oversees China’s military.
The military has played a large role in mobilizing against the virus:
It has helped enforce quarantines, transport supplies, and treat
A propaganda message on a prominent military website in China reads,
“In the fight against the epidemic, the people’s army is on the move!”
The man most responsible for building the database appears to be Zhang
Haisu, a director at the school’s Information and Communication
In a May press release, the university credits Zhang for building the
“Fight the Virus to Return to Work Database” and praises his
A note on the data tracker’s website reads, “Currently our country is
taking forceful measures, and the epidemic situation is being strictly
managed and controlled. Please correctly understand that to use the
The site features a contact email for a Zhang Haisu; no one responded
when 100Reporters reached out. The university did not respond to a
request for comment.
For now, 100Reporters and Foreign Policy, who are co-publishing this
piece, are not making the database publicly available for reasons of
security, but are exploring ways to make the data available for
researchers studying the spread of the coronavirus.
For its popular coronavirus tracker, John Hopkins University gathers
its data on Chin from DXY, a Chinese medical platform that aggregates
cases in the country.
But DXY provides information at only the provincial level. Richer
information would benefit researchers, and ordinary people, eager to
know more about how the disease has affected other countries and
Patterns in the data could add to what is known about the disease, and
the ways Beijing manipulates its numbers.
Medical researchers expressed skepticism in mid-April, after Wuhan
revised the number of coronavirus deaths from 2,579 to 3,869—an
increase of exactly 50 percent.
Why does Beijing restrict access to its coronavirus data? Possibly
because of malice or mistrust toward the United States, at a time when
tensions are running high.
Possibly because of bureaucratic errors. And possibly because Beijing
fears that outside researchers will learn of its extensive cover-up,
destroying the narrative that an authoritarian nation like China is
better equipped to protect its people against a pandemic.
Even the public version of the National University of Defense
Technology dataset sporadically restricts American IP addresses.
To access the military university’s website hosting the map for the
first time, one of the present authors had to use a virtual private
network to pretend he was browsing in Uruguay.
Scientific Integrity in the COVID-19 Response Statement of Rick Bright, Ph.D
Law & Politics
I am Dr. Rick Bright, a career public servant and a scientist who has
spent 25 years of my career focused on addressing pandemic outbreaks.
On April 21, 2020, I was removed from my positions as the Director of
BARDA and HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
by HHS leadership and involuntarily transferred to a more limited and
less impactful position at the National Institutes of Health. I
believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the
government invest funding allocated to BARDA by Congress to address
the COVID-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions,
and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific
merit. While my intention in testifying today is to be forward
looking, I spoke out then and I am testifying today because science –
not politics or cronyism – must lead the way to combat this deadly
The world is confronting a great public health emergency which has the
potential to eclipse the devastation wrought by the 1918 influenza
which globally claimed over 50 million lives. We face a
highly-transmissible and deadly virus which not only claims lives but
is also disrupting the very foundations of our societies. The American
health-care system is being taxed to the limit, our economy is
spiraling downward -- leading to mass unemployment -- and our
population is being paralyzed by fear stemming from the lack of a
coordinated response and a dearth of accurate, clear communication
about the path forward.
In my position as BARDA Director, I led portions of a coordinated
response; development of vaccines, drugs and diagnostics. In January
of this year, I pushed for our government to obtain virus samples from
China and to secure more funding for BARDA to be able to get started
quickly on the development of critical medical countermeasures. HHS
leadership was dismissive aboutmy dire predictions about what I
assumed would be a broader outbreak and the pressing need to act, and
were therefore unwilling to act with the urgency that the situation
required. Understanding that the United States had a critical shortage
of necessary supplies and PPE to deal with a pandemic, in January,
February and March, 2020, I pushed HHS to ramp up US production of
masks, respirators and other critical supplies, such as medicine,
syringes and swabs. Again, my urgency was dismissed and I was cut out
of key high-level meetings to combat COVID-19.
And finally, when I resisted efforts to promote and enable broad
access to an unproven drug, chloroquine, to the American people
without transparent information on the potential health risks, I was
removed from BARDA.
Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and
other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern
First and foremost, we need to be truthful with the American people.
They want the truth. They can handle the truth. Truth, no matter how
unpleasant, decreases the fear generated by uncertainty. The truth
must be based on scientific evidence – and not filtered for political
reasons. We must know and appreciate what we are up against. We have
the world’s greatest scientists – they must be permitted to lead. Let
them speak truthfully without fear of retribution. We must listen so
that the government can then take the most powerful steps to save
10-MAY-2020 :: #COVID19 and the Spillover Moment
Law & Politics
''They fancied themselves free'' wrote Camus, ―''and no one will ever
be free so long as there are pestilences''
―In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up
in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved
A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell
ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that
will pass away.
But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it
is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they
have taken no precautions
Brazil's coronavirus cases pass Germany's as @jairbolsonaro fights to open gyms @Reuters
Law & Politics
Brazil’s confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus passed Germany on
Tuesday, as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro fought states over his
wish to reopen gyms and beauty parlors even as his country becomes a
new global hotspot for the pandemic.
Brazil has confirmed 177,589 cases since its outbreak began in late
February, passing Germany’s 170,508 confirmed cases and drawing nearly
even with France’s tally of 178,225 confirmed and probable cases.
Europe is beginning to lift lockdowns as the death toll in the region
eases, but the outbreak is still accelerating in Brazil, where
Bolsonaro has played down the risks of the disease and criticized
state governments’ isolation orders.
Brazil recorded its deadliest day yet, with 881 confirmed deaths in 24
hours from the COVID-19 respiratory disease caused by the virus.
Bolsonaro has ratcheted up his dispute with state governors this week,
with a decree classifying businesses such as gyms and hair salons as
“essential” services, exempt from lockdowns.
The right-wing president has argued that the economic damage from
closing businesses is worse than the disease.
“Governors who do not agree with the decree can file lawsuits in
court,” Bolsonaro wrote on social media.
He later threatened to take his own legal actions against them if they
do not comply.
At least 10 governors said they would not follow the decree.
“Bolsonaro is walking toward the precipice and wants to take all of us
with him,” Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel said on Twitter.
Bolsonaro’s popularity has suffered since the crisis began, polls
show. Disapproval of the president rose to more than 55% in a survey
released on Tuesday, from 47% in January.
An investigation authorized by the Supreme Court into Bolsonaro’s
alleged efforts to meddle with police investigations has also eroded
his support, distracted from the country’s pandemic response, and
Bolsonaro won election in 2018 on pledges to clean up politics and
make sweeping market-friendly reforms to restore economic growth after
a deep recession – plans derailed by the pandemic.
Sources told Reuters the government will soon slash its 2020 economic
outlook dramatically, predicting a more than 4% drop in gross domestic
product, down from a prior forecast for flat growth.
As of Monday, Brazil had processed nearly 338,000 novel coronavirus
tests in three months at official labs, said the Health Ministry.
Another 145,000 tests are in analysis or the backlog.
By contrast, Germany’s certified labs tested more than 330,000 samples
last week alone and have the capacity to test around 838,000 samples
France has also invested in testing to boost capacity to around
700,000 tests per week.
Brazil’s health ministry had confirmed 12,400 deaths from the virus as
A coronavirus mortality model from the University of Washington’s
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicts over
88,000 deaths from the coronavirus in Brazil by August.
10-MAY-2020 :: We are witnessing a Spill Over into EM and Frontier Geographies ―Brazil is the global epicenter of the coronavirus.
Law & Politics
In Brazil we have a toxic mix of a „‟Voodoo‟‟ President @jairbolsonaro
and a runaway #COVID19
Brazilians aren‘t infected by anything, even when they fall into a sewer
“It‟s tragic surrealism ... I can‟t stop thinking about Gabriel García
Márquez when I think about the situation Manaus is facing.” Guardian
Bolsonaro rides jet ski while Brazil's COVID-19 death toll tops 10,000 EFE
The South American country with a population of 210 million reached
10,627 deaths after 730 fatalities were recorded overnight, while
cases stood at 155,939.
Viruses are in essence non linear exponential and multiplicative and
COVID19 has „‟escape velocity‟‟ in Brazil.
Brazil Real touched a Record Low of 5.884 May 7th
Brazil is a real time Laboratory experiment and the African
@jairbolsonaro is of course @MagufuliJP
In nautical limbo Where the clusters of cruise ships sit idle with crew still on board @ReutersGraphics
In the past few weeks, Manila Bay in the Philippines has been
transformed into the world’s biggest parking lot for cruise ships,
none of which have any guests.
Around the world, cruise ship operators are finding places to anchor
their enormous vessels with hundreds of crew on board.
Crew told Reuters they were bored, lonely or frustrated being so close
to home, but felt fortunate to be confined to their cabins in comfort,
knowing that thousands of Philippine returnees are in tougher
quarantine conditions elsewhere.
“Each person is staying in a suite room - We feel like the guests
now,” joked Michael Torralba Martinez, speaking from one of the cabins
that he normally cleans.
“We feel safer here ... Standards are strict in ships when it comes to
cleanliness and sanitation,” he said in an online chat.
Data from ship tracking website MarineTraffic showed 378 cruise ships
globally on May 8. Some of the ships were underway at sea but many
were moored in clusters across the Caribbean, the Mediterranean,
Atlantic Ocean and the South China Sea.
As a result of the “No Sail Order” issued by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), cruises in the United States are banned
until July 24, leaving some vessels moored off the U.S. coast with
crew members on board.
According to data from MarineTraffic, many of the vessels are anchored
relatively close to each other off the Bahamas, including a large
group of ships moored west of Great Harbour Cay.
The African @jairbolsonaro is of course @MagufuliJP #COVID19 and the Spillover Moment
Coronavirus: @WHO warns of 190,000 deaths in Africa @TheAfricaReport
WHO warns that the coronavirus pandemic could 'smoulder' in Africa for
Should the various lockdowns currently being eased in many African
countries fail to ̳bend the curve‘, between 29m – 44m Africans risk
being infected, with deaths potentially reaching 190,000.
The WHO believe that transmissions will likely be slower — because of
Africa‘s age pyramid, and social and environmental factors — the
pandemic risks lasting for far longer.
―While COVID-19 likely won‘t spread as exponentially in Africa as it
has elsewhere in the world, it likely will smoulder in transmission
hotspots,‖ said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for
“COVID-19 could become a fixture in our lives for the next several
years unless a proactive approach is taken by many governments in the
region. We need to test, trace, isolate and treat.”
The worrying development is Transmission Hotspots
Kano in Nigeria for example
• Western Cape growing at an alarming rate @sugan250388
Someone with close knowledge of the medical profession said it was
almost impossible to secure a hospital bed in several cities.
The Aga Khan hospital in Dar es Salaam had a well-equipped ward for 80
coronavirus patients, but several were dying each night, he said.
The Question for SSA is whether these Transmission Hot Spots expand
@StateDept has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory @usembassytz The risk of contracting COVID-19 in Dar es Salaam is extremely high. all evidence points to exponential growth #COVID19
The Tanzanian government has not released any data on COVID in
Tanzania since April 29, so there are no current data on the number of
people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Tanzania.
The Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory
For emergency American Citizen Services, including emergency
passports, please visit ourwebsite for additional information.
The risk of contracting COVID-19 in Dar es Salaam is extremely high.
Despite limited official reports, all evidence points to exponential
growth of the epidemic in Dar and other locations in Tanzania.
The Embassy has strongly recommended that U.S. government personnel
and their families remain at home except for essential activities
(e.g., grocery shopping) and substantially limit into private homes
the entry of anyone but regular residents.
Many hospitals in Dar es Salaam have been overwhelmed in recent weeks.
Limited hospital capacity throughout Tanzania could result in
life-threatening delays for medical care, including for those with
The Government of Tanzania suspended all international scheduled
passenger planes to Tanzania effective April 11 and international
commercial flight options no longer exist in Tanzania.
U.S. citizens who remain in Tanzania should be prepared to remain
abroad for an indefinite period. The U.S. government does not
anticipate arranging additional repatriation flights in Tanzania at
However, in the event that opportunity becomes available, we are
asking you to let us know if you are interested in being contacted.