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EIR’s Dr. Debra Freeman on CGTN Urges Global Collaboration To Combat Coronavirus

Feb. 6, 2020 (EIRNS)—On the CGTN TV “Dialogue with Yang Rui” program today, Dr. Debra Freeman, of EIR News Service, participated on a panel on the topic, “Coronavirus Battle Continues.” The theme she struck in several ways, is that there must be international collaboration to fight the outbreak.

Anchor Zou Yue hosted a half-hour discussion among four guests: Participating from Beijing was Prof. Xue Lan (Dean of Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University), Prof. Wang Linfa (Director, Duke-NUS Emerging Infectious Diseases Program), and James Chau (Good Will Ambassador for the World Health Organization, and host of “The China Current”). Freeman holds a doctorate in public health.

Freeman said that any progress to be made against the virus requires that the China-bashing has to stop. What China has done is heroic. We don’t know everything we need to know, but what we do know is a result of what China has shown to us. What China is doing is important, and even then, might not be able to contain the virus; the virus is probably elsewhere and had not manifested itself. She said that, everyone screams that China withheld information, but they didn’t, and now they are being penalized.

On travel bans, Freeman said that it does not work to contain the virus, and more importantly, it chills what other countries may report. It hurts China and may hurt others in the rest of the world.

She went through the fact that, doing what the U.S. is doing today—grabbing people and confining them to military quarters for 14 days—is a waste of critical resources. The reason why it is happening, is that the United States has taken down so much of its infrastructure, such as hospital beds, its ability to monitor epidemics, and capacity to isolate people properly.

In 2009, travel bans were imposed for the influenza epidemic. It was totally ineffective. Travel bans are political statements.

Freeman elaborated on the main theme of the discussion: collaboration. She called for complete international collaboration without restraint, stressing that such collaboration is the natural impulse of scientists. They should be allowed to go forward without restraint.

She observed that President Donald Trump talks of his great friendship with President Xi Jinping, but the U.S. has not acted in this crisis as a friend. When there are earthquakes, tsunamis and other disasters, we move in with help, but the U.S. is not doing it here, and we should be doing it.

The lead-in from host Zou said,

“According to China’s National Health Commission, the death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak stands at 564 so far, which already surpasses the number of Chinese victims of the 2003 SARS epidemic. While the number of people infected continues to surge, those who have recovered is also rising—which suggests that some treatment may be working. But moving forward, how worried should we be? When will the virus reach its peak? And what further measures should China—and the world—implement to contain the outbreak?”

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