If China had been more open at the beginning of the pandemic, how would it have mattered?

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw many in the administration complaining that China was not being open with the world. AFAIK, this is still the case. My question is, if China had opened up the doors to the Wuhan lab and said to governments and scientists of the world, “Have at it. Nothing related to the corona virus is off limits”, would it have made a difference and how?

I really wanted to put this in Factual Questions because I’m almost exclusively interested in the actual science that would have been involved but I put it here because I figured some of the issues could become contentious.

if the virus did leak from a lab it would make nations and people dislike China more and want retribution for all the damage done.

I agree China did not want to “look bad” was probably their primary motivation. I would also suspect if data was able to be obtained earlier we might have gotten an earlier jump on identifying the virus and it’s strengths/vulnerabilities, which might have led to the vaccines emerging a little sooner, and public health precautions being more dialed-in earlier. Lots of speculation with that line of thinking tho.

I think there was likely no way of preventing it from spreading into a worldwide pandemic, tho, given the nature of the virus, even with China’s totalitarian reaction to the spread (securing people in their homes, quarantines, and “lockdowns” as we all imagine them).

Would China have been more open with a different American administration, one that wasn’t such an obviously corrupt and incompetent kleptocracy, one which didn’t fire the pandemic response team?

We may never know!

China sequenced and shared the Covid DNA really fast. I’m too lazy to look it up, but AFAIK no one is criticizing China for the speed with which they shared the DNA, which in turn allowed the MRNA to be developed in record speed.

The minute China locked down Wuhan and it’s ~15 million people into a hard quarantine around 24 January, is the minute the rest of the world should have taken it really seriously. instead of playing the blame game.

My opinion is that the scientific advice could have been developed faster and perhaps with more certainty, but the actual implementation of what to do about it was under the control of politicians in each country and I have a feeling not much would have unfolded differently.

There were countries who’s leaders took the available scientific advice and implemented it; some in good ways some in not-so-nice ways, but implemented it none the less. Then there were other countries who’s leaders chuckled and treated the whole thing as a high school popularity contest… “oh yeah eggheads? forget that we’re cool, not gonna affect us, don’t worry other cool people, we don’t want to look bad right?”. Wouldn’t have mattered if they had better or earlier advice; it still would have been ignored. In some places it’s still being ignored.

So, I’d say the smarter-led countries would have done even better than they did, possibly those in the middle would have faired moderately better, and those led by poor leaders would have been pretty much just as screwed.

The rest of the world would have had more of a head start in containing the stuff and adopting the necessary prevention measures.

That being said, in America’s case, it would have been hopeless. Fully half of the populace refuses to get onboard with Covid-fighting protocols no matter what. We’d still see tens of millions infected and a million dead.

The Wuhan lab questions are pretty much a red herring. Unless you believe the conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, letting anyone who wanted to examine the lab wouldn’t have made any difference in how we responded to the pandemic.

Now, there is room for questions about when exactly Chinese officials knew how bad COVID was, and when they told the rest of the world about it. But even there, Trump had solid intelligence that showed him how bad it was back in late January, and he still did virtually nothing about it at that time.

Maybe other countries would have reacted sooner on their own if China had been more open earlier, but with US leadership entirely absent, that’s not a sure thing. Shutting down global travel was probably the best thing we could have done to limit the spread, if we’d had more warning, but that’s not something one, or even a few, countries can do on their own. It would have required a coordinated world-wide effort.

So, yeah, better information, given sooner, that was acted on, could have had a major impact, but the “acted on” part is at least as important as the “sooner” part.

I suppose if there were any truth to the conspiracy theory that China deliberately developed the virus, plus a vaccine/antidote, for nebulous world domination reasons, it might’ve been handy to have access to those things sooner. Not that we would’ve been able to skip the testing phase, though. “Hey everyone! Turns out this virus really was engineered on purpose to bring down democracy and our way of life! Don’t worry, though; the people who unleashed it on us also voluntarily gave us the cure. We haven’t tried it but it probably works. Who’s first?”

Wuhan locked down on 23 January. The day China locked down 15 million people is the day that Trump should have taken this seriously.

I was working for one of the world’s largest manufacturers at the time. We had a factory in Wuhan. We instituted SARS protocols (temperature checks for anyone entering the factory, workers were in pods, etc) about one week before Wuhan officially shut down. It was obvious to anyone involved with Wuhan in early January that something was up.

It’s fair to criticize the Chinese government for not acting 2-3 weeks earlier, but it is a monolithic giant bureaucracy. The US was far slower to react than the Chinese government was, and all we had was lockdown lite.

Yeah, pretty much agreed. One of the reasons that the US even has the intelligence services they have is that we know we can’t trust a lot of other countries to be open about what they’re doing, or what’s happening. But there’s no point in having that system if the people in charge just ignore everything they’re told, which is pretty much what Trump did.

This was probably the biggest intelligence failure of our lives, but unlike previous such failures, it’s pretty much all due to the actions (or more accurately, lack of actions) of one man: Trump.

In relation to that were points made earlier that are slowly being acknowledged only now:

That is, we may be looking at the results of gain of function research involving China and the U.S., and probably other countries, and with funding from private organizations and government agenices participating in gain of function research for finding therapies for future viruses as well as bioweapons development.

In addition, there have been reports of covid found in sewage samples in several countries weeks or months before the pandemic.

Note: it’s key to understand that the covid found in sewage samples was inconclusive that it was Covid-19. Covid viruses are fairly common. Specifically, the question is if it was covid-19? And that was not shown.

Chinese blogosphere/conspiracy theorists were all over this the first few months but it was all nothing of substance

I think it’s inconclusive because they have to be reviewed, but I’ve seen no results on that so far.

In addition are new revelations about the other points in the article I shared.

Of course, it would have made a difference. International teams would have been brought in to study the virus and would have known much earlier on that the thing was doing a human-to-human transfer. As it was, with the WHO basically shilling for the CCP, we didn’t actually find out about this until, IIRC, January 20th. We know (now) that Covid was out at least as early as December, some say even earlier. Getting that much of a jump start on what, exactly was going on would have made a huge difference in preparing the rest of the world for the outbreak, as well as assistance from the world community and medical community.

You aren’t going to get one, as this is going to be very subjective, and basically, it’s going to hinge on when people think this outbreak actually started. If you think it started much earlier than the official narrative then it’s pretty much a no-brainer. If you think it started later and believe the official narrative then you are probably going to think there really wasn’t much that could be done. Of course, even if you do believe the official narrative there is still the issue that the CCP hasn’t been very forthcoming with the data about the root cause of this, and has done its best to deflect and muddy the waters with where the virus REALLY originated, etc etc. Which has slowed down a lot of the process and probably means we might never know who patient zero is or what the animal was that caused this.

If China had opened up the Wuhan labs, the conspitacy theory would be “China destroyed any records related to Covid” instead of “China is hiding any records related to Covid”. And possibly the Chinese government would have lost more face, for research unrelated to Covid.

For anything more, you need to assume that

  1. China was actively researching Covid (as opposed to Sars or any other covid related virus)
  2. The research was relevant to creating a vaccine.
  3. The research was so lengthy that no one else could duplicate the research in a couple months. Most government responses took so long that I’m unconvinced that lack of research time was the real bottleneck.

So, a little faster to get a vaccine, but a couple weeks at best.

Sorry, but disagree. If China had opened up at the beginning we’d actually have known what was going on. The early data is key to both understanding a disease and its actual threat level and preparing.

Also, it’s funny you mentioned destroying records and data because, well, that is actually what they did. This is no CT, though you won’t hear this in any main stream media source. In fact, the destruction continues. Recently, a ton of blood sample data from late 2019 was destroyed, automatically of course, without ever being released to the international community. Data that probably would have shown that this thing started much earlier than the official acknowledgement. At a minimum, it could have shown that it didn’t. But we’ll never know because it’s gone.

It’s funny that they have jumped through the hoops they have jumped through if they don’t have anything to hide…

And, here is a news flash for you…despite all of the attempts to cover this up, despite the WHO covering for them, despite our own media covering for them, the CCP HAS lost face. Big time. Globally. Most of their ridiculous antics and attempts to deflect blame to anyone else is BECAUSE they know they lost face over this thing. They fucked up in every way they could.

Um, that’s not an assumption. That’s a fact. They WERE researching bat corona virus, of which the current pandemic is related. They were arguably the leading country doing this research in fact, and were putting the most time and effort into it.

They had sequenced the genome by early January (and possibly earlier, depending on various speculation). Of course, had they actually released the data, we wouldn’t have to speculate and guess…

Again, the Chinese had the data very early on. If you don’t think that would help, I don’t really know what to say. A couple of months earlier would have been an enormous help, especially had they actually cooperated with international agencies and allowed them in to study both what was going on and the data.

You also missed:

  1. Had they acknowledge this earlier, had they admitted that there was in fact human to human transmission going on, had they not pressured the WHO to essentially lie and cover things up it would have helped the early quarantine and helped other countries prepare for what was going on. Instead, the WHO at the behest of the CCP and mouthing what they were told to mouth insisted until mid-January that there was no human-to-human transmission and that this wasn’t a pandemic. That alone allowed this to spread far faster and far further than it would have if the Chinese had not tried to cover this all up.

No. If countries knew how bad it was, if they had the data and had observers on site in late December or even early January, and information been shared, then they would have been able to prepare a lot better, and could have assisted in quarantining and early screening of people coming from China or who had contact with people from China, especially the Wuhan area. Instead, most countries didn’t get good data until, you know, they were hit by the pandemic in late January or February and could start collecting first hand samples and data themselves.

Instead, we still don’t have much of the early data. And at this point we probably never will. It’s gone, it’s covered up, it’s been white washed away. The WHO investigation was a joke, and even the WHO realized they lost credibility for even publishing their ‘findings’.

Serious question for you…why do YOU think the Chinese have gone to such lengths to cover things up? Why do you think they did that dog and pony show ‘investigation’, and basically gave the WHO team very little access or data? If they have nothing to hide, if they are all on the up and up, why do that? Just curious why folks think the CCP has kept such a tight rein on this stuff if they don’t have anything to hide.

It was not that uncommon to hear in the beginning that Covid 19 was a engendered bio-weapon designed to kill everyone.
(Curiously, it was also a psi-op, fake news, nothingburger, that would be over once the weather warmed up and masks and social distancing were a gross overreaction to nothing more than a bad Flu . . . but I digress.)

How China being “more open” would have changed any of that really requires an explanation.

Well, organizations like the CDC and its various incarnations in other countries would have been there, on-site. Just like in other potential pandemic outbreaks. If the Chinese would have been sharing all the data, right from the start, then there wouldn’t have been the widespread perception…well, the reality…that the Chinese were covering things up.

Instead, what we had was formerly trusted organizations telling the world that there was nothing to see there, no human to human transmission going on, that the virus was contained, no worries, etc etc…until it became obvious that this isn’t what was happening and it was literally a global issue. Then you had the media stomping on things like the lab leak theory as if it were the nastiest CT ever, conflating it with the ‘bio-weapon’ theory and deliberate release by the CCP for ‘reasons’ and attaching anyone who even tried to talk about it. Plus you had the WHO and the media praising China’s early efforts and their ‘transparency’, etc etc. Since most people have a brain, it doesn’t take a large leap to see that a lot of this was lies or deliberate spin, which engendered a sense that the CCP was hiding something…basically, because they obviously are hiding something. What that something is we really don’t seem to know, but that they are hiding something is pretty clear. Otherwise, they would have shared their data and allowed access for a real investigation.

Even had they come clean 100% and been open and free with their data from the start, there would have been CTs. There are always CTs. But it wouldn’t have been as widespread and pervasive as it is. And, regardless, having multiple foreign health agencies who specialize in disease and pandemics on-site early on would have helped immensely not only in understanding the disease and its threat but also in aiding the Chinese in early quarantine as well as getting an earlier handle on sequencing the thing and looking at mitigation strategies first hand (i.e. what treatments work and what don’t in the early days in Wuhan). We might already have the actual animal and patient zero data at this point, which would have put the lab leak theory to bed long ago (assuming of course that this isn’t what happened…which, again, we don’t actually know for sure).

Good starting point. Who said they don’t have anything to hide? Culture of corruption, safety lapses, research on potential bioweapons, any research that might be frowned on internationally, records of contact with North Korea or other “bad actors”, possible theft of research or technology, etc. There are so many possibilities reasons for a coverup that, to me, are more likely than “something bad related to a specific, relatively poor research candidate of a virus”. And that’s not even counting paranoia of other countries stealing their stuff and “WHO is a tool of the evil United States” type thought.

I also suspect an attitude the rest of the world shared. “This is a minor disease, it will just blow over.” “It’s just a little outbreak, so a coverup won’t be a big deal.” Whoever’s in charge starts coverup, then realizes it is too big, but can’t undo the coverup, followed by lots of CYA.

As for the rest. China lost face anyway? Hindsight much? Also, face to whom? How could they possibly be embarrassed by countries with governments denying that Covid is a problem? And, see difficulty of backtracking denial and coverup after the fact.

Researching Covid and having the data. Cite? And a cite for “They WERE researching bat corona virus, of which the current pandemic is related.” is not cite for them researching Covid. Congratulations, you have a vaccine for SARs, or bat coronavirus number 57. Oh wait, that vaccine isn’t effective against Covid-19. Oops.

Now, you said December. Let’s be generous and say Covid originated in November. So, early November to late January. 12 weeks. With a possible symptomless incubation time of 2 weeks. That’s 6 incubation cycles to detect there is a new virus, alert hospitals, accumulate enough seriously ill patients to establish there is an epidemic, exactly identify the virus common to multiple patients, and then sequence the genome. That’s still pretty darn fast.

“If countries knew how bad it was” … “then they would have been able to prepare a lot better”. I have to call BS on that argument. July 2020 we still had governments, with local data, trying to claim Covid was no big deal. Early data from some non-us location wouldn’t have changed their minds.

And, uh, how does the CDC do independent operations outside the USA? I thought that was the responsibility of the WHO, and even they do it in partnership with the host country. I mean, you seem to be arguing that despite a coverup by China, the brave heroes at the CDC would have gone into Wuhan and learned all sorts of things about Covid without even needing anything from that lab.

So, IF that lab had been researching Covid, AND the outbreak started well before January, AND it was identified as a pandemic while only a few people had it, AND no one had left Wuhan with CoVid but without symptoms, AND they immediately linked an outbreak to a specific virus that lab was studying, AND they had gotten the genome sequenced inside a week, AND they had clean, conclusive , useful data to release, AND they promptly released the data, AND everyone outside China had taken this seriously, THEN vaccine work might have been able to start a couple weeks earlier. That’s a lot of if’s to get, what, 10% faster response? Vaccine in November instead of December?