Kdy se Čína otevře světu? Vedoucí Čínského centra pro kontrolu a prevenci nemocí Kao Fu vysvětluje

Rozhovor s vedoucím Čínského centra pro kontrolu a prevenci nemocí nastiňuje možnou změnu přístupu ČLR k řešení pandemické situace.

Poznámka překladatele (sinologa J. Hudečka): Čína zkoumá možnosti, jak opustit současnou politiku snahy o vymýcení covidu ve prospěch udržitelnější strategie – tedy zmírňování dopadů covid-19 spolu s úplným otevřením hranic. S touto myšlenkou již několikrát vystoupil respektovaný šanghajský profesor Čang Wen-chung (张文宏), který působí mimo tzv. vládní kruhy. Jeho názory vyvolaly zuřivé reakce ze strany internetových aktivistů. Tentokrát se však proti establishmentu staví samotný šéf Čínského centra pro kontrolu a prevenci nemocí (中国疾病预防控制中心), nechvalně proslulého tvrzením z ledna 2020, že virus je pod kontrolou a nepřenáší se mezi lidmi. Kao Fu (高福) v rozhovoru pro časopis Cchaj-ťing (财经) argumentuje ve prospěch přechodu od politiky ZeroCovid k politice soužití s virem. Jeho argumentace stojí za přečtení celá; dokazuje, že stejně jako na Západě ani čínská lékařská obec nevidí jinou cestu než normalizovat covid jako druh chřipky a zaměřit se na lepší vakcíny, léčbu a jednoduchá opatření individuální ochrany – tedy řešení oné „vleklé války” (termín, který vymyslel Mao Ce-tung pro patovou válku s Japonskem v roce 1939). Stejně jako na Západě, i Kao klade důraz na snížení úmrtí a závažných hospitalizací, nikde ale není zmínka o dlouhodobých následcích covidu jako hlavním riziku pro veřejné zdraví.

Rozhovor v anglickém překladu 

When will China open its doors? Head of China’s CDC Gao Fu explains

Translator’s Note: China is exploring ways to leave its current policy of elimination of covid in favour of a more sustainable strategy of mitigation with full opening of borders. This has been floated several times by the respected Shanghai professor Zhang Wenhong, a figure some distance from the government, with furious responses from hardline online voices. This time, however, the head of China’s CDC (infamous for claiming in January 2020 that the virus is under control and does not transmit well between people), the most establishment expert of all, is making the argument for a transition away from the ZeroCovid policy to one of living with the virus, in an interview with the Caijing magazine. His argument is worth reading in its entirety; it shows that just as in the West, the Chinese medical establishment sees no other way than to normalize covid as a kind of flu and focus on better vaccines, treatments and simple individual protection measures as the tools to fight “a protracted war” (a term coined by Mao Zedong for the stalemate war with Japan in 1939). Also just as in the West, the focus is on limiting fatalities and serious hospitalized cases and there is no mention of long-term sequelae of covid as a major public health risk.

Wang Boming, editor in chief of the Caijing magazine: China has now vaccinated about 2.2 billion doses, so 1.1 billion people have already been vaccinated. I guess that in two months, we  could reach the vaccination rate of 85-90%. OK, so if all have been vaccinated, what will it be like? Could we reduce the SARS-CoV-2 virus to a major seasonal influenza? Could we open the doors of the country?

Gao Fu, director of China Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: This is an excellent question, but also a very sensitive one. I have to emphasize first that I hope once I finish my reply, the people will understand that what you have recorded is a complete argument.

Wang Boming: No cutting and editing, sure.

Gao Fu: This is really very important. Otherwise once you broadcast it, some people will pick [what they want]: For instance people who oppose the vaccines, or people who oppose opening, or people who oppose [the reduction to] major seasonal influenza, they would select a sentence from my reply in isolation. Therefore I have to first say this warning.

Wang Boming: You’ve told it thoroughly.

Gao Fu: Time and space are very important. We absolutely have to place this problem in its time and space. Last year, on 14 November 2020, I urged everyone to be patient, not to get vaccinated, vaccination has to proceed in the defined order, and there are all kinds of problems. But when it was broadcast in August this year, it was incorrect. That was from last November! The problem we’re discussing today is also like that. Time and space!

Wang Boming: It’s a process of understanding.

Gao Fu: From the perspective of time and space, the current Chinese pandemic policy, the ZeroCovid policy, has given us so much time to produce enough vaccine and vaccinate people. Just as you said, by early 2022, we aim at reaching more than 85%. So that’s a success! Even if there will still be people infected, they will be very few. Firstly the number of infected will be low, secondly there won’t be serious and fatal cases in those who do get infected. It will all be mild cases. The virus itself is attenuating its virulence. At that point, I have to ask the other way round: The whole world has opened up, fatality rate has dropped so low, why don’t we open up? That’s a retort [to your question]. Let everyone reflect on that. Why should we not open up? That’s the first question, let’s leave it for everyone to ponder. The second thesis is this: As we see the fatality rate of this virus, its circulation, more and more resemble influenza, although it won’t be influenza, because influenza is seasonal, do you think this one is? It is not. The first condition is sufficient vaccination. The second condition is that it will circulate less and less. As we see that it is going to stay with mankind, if our strategy were like with SARS, to eliminate; if we wanted to eliminate this virus, then our strategy would have to be of protracted war [of attrition]. We can’t rely on war of annihilation. Since it will be a protracted war, we have to use a strategy of protracted warfare. As we adopt this strategy, I have another retort question: Is these another way than to live with it? It is a protracted war! So at this moment, based on these two theses, continue vaccinating, develop new vaccines, even more important, develop effective drugs!

Wang Boming: Treatments.

Gao Fu: If you catch it, it doesn’t matter, whatever drug it is, as long as I can take it when I catch the virus and it works, isn’t it OK then? So I say we have to improve our research into treatments. When we have targeted treatments, or even non targeted, we have to mass produce them. And then there will be no problem. So this is the second thesis as we lay out the future. The third point: Given that there are still breakthrough infections with this virus even after vaccination, there are three things we cannot forget as individuals: Wear a mask, keep distance, wash your hands often. These are the three great non-pharmaceutical interventions. It is very possible that in future, after some time, these three great interventions will still be necessary. For example, when we open up, there is no problem, you have been vaccinated, but there are suddenly cases around you, you have to quickly put on your mask again. We will be adjusting it dynamically.