top of page
  • rmacculloch

Otago Medical School vs China's Top Medical Officer

Remember Prof. Baker, from Otago Medical School? He argued elimination of Covid was "sustainable", would become "more feasible" with vaccines & that such a policy would lead to superior economic outcomes. We (mostly) agree that NZ's lockdowns in the early stages of the virus were a success, but were they ever "sustainable"? Give us a break.

Baker wrote in the British Medical Journal, "China’s success in containing the pandemic has shown Covid can be eliminated even after widespread community transmission". China gave up on elimination these past weeks. Baker wrote that "one of the perceived barriers to applying .. elimination .. is the belief that it might sacrifice the economy .. Our preliminary analysis suggests that the opposite is true". One of the primary reasons China has abandoned elimination is because the strategy was collapsing its economy.

Anyhow, on 13 December, Prof. Baker was quoted as follows regarding the death rate from Coronavirus on Radio NZ:

"Covid-19 is killing 3 times as many NZ'ers as influenza does in a typical year. University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker said while Covid-19 does share some similarities with influenza, it's had a more severe impact on Kiwis than influenza usually does."It's far more severe," Baker said & could be shaping up to be our second biggest killer".

One day later, on 14 December, this was Bloomberg News' top headline:

China’s Top Medical Adviser Says Omicron’s Risks Same as Flu

China's fatality rate from the omicron variant of Coronavirus is in line with influenza. The death rate from omicron is around 0.1%, similar to the common flu, and the infection rarely reaches the lungs, Zhong Nanshan was quoted in an interview with state news agency Xinhua. Most people recover from the variant within seven to 10 days, he said.

So who is Zhong Nanshan? He was President of the Chinese Medical Association from 2005-2009 and is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Thoracic Disease. He is a recipient of Medal of the Republic, the highest honour of China. He earned international fame for managing the SARS outbreak and was renowned for refuting the official line which downplayed the severity of the crisis. He was voted one of China's top 10 scientists in 2010. He won "Paper of the Year" in one of the world's top international Medical Journals, The Lancet", in 2008.

Is Michael Baker saying Zhong Nanshan is wrong?



bottom of page