There are 3 things we need to think about in regards to the Wuhan virus.
1: Is China telling the truth?
At this stage we simply can not know for sure the true level of infection or death rates. The panic the truth could cause in a country already under economic stress is too dangerous for Officials to acknowledge so we simply can’t know how dangerous or how transmittable this novel virus is yet. Without knowing that it makes effectively countering a possible pandemic much more difficult.
2: The impact on the Chinese and global economy
The real dangers here beyond those who get sick and the small percentage who are currently dying (if we are to trust those Chinese numbers) is the enormous damage this could cause China’s already sick and weakening economy and the further impact that will have on the global economy. If this starts a recession, look for China to start militaristically pushing for confrontations in the disputed South China Sea as a means to divert domestic attention away from criticising the Communist Party. The Wuhan Virus legacy could be to destabilise an already unstable situation.
The spectre of China is looming ever larger over Asia. Now international relations experts are sounding alarms at the risks of an armed clash.
There are always tensions between states, says the ANU’s Professor John Blaxland, “but there is a gnawing sense that this decade may see us get closer to the brink than in generations”.
He, like the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), has offered a new assessment on our region’s potential for conflict.
Repeatedly featuring as a risk of “accidental or inadvertent” conflict is China. Specifically, China’s ambitions towards the East and South China Seas, and Taiwan.
3: Pandemics are a new frontier of climate crisis
As biospheres deteriorate and humans encroach on more and more old habitats, old virus can spring back to life. Add to that the impoverished cheek to jowl living arrangements over population create, pandemics are a new frontier of the climate crisis.
The Wuhan virus is just the start.