The Impact of Cultural and Lifestyle Choices during a Pandemic

May 13, 2020

China is a collectivist culture based on valuing the needs of a group or a community over the individual.

Better the Future.org says, “The traditional Chinese diet consists of low or moderate amounts of meat or fish and plenty of vegetables accompanied by starches like rice or noodles. Tea is often served with dinner instead of soft drinks. Desserts are generally not part of the meal but fresh fruits can be served to help with digestion.”

The BBC reported, “China reported the cases to the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN’s global health agency, on 31 December.… The mayor of Wuhan has previously admitted there was a lack of action between the start of January – when about 100 cases had been confirmed – and 23 January, when city-wide restrictions were enacted. …

“WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has hailed China for the ‘speed with which [it] detected the outbreak’ and its ‘commitment to transparency’.”

The United States is an individualist culture. Very Well Mind.com says, “Individualistic cultures are those that stress the needs of the individual over the needs of the group as a whole.”

Health.gov tells us about the Current Eating Patterns in the United States. “The typical eating patterns currently consumed by many in the United States do not align with the Dietary Guidelines. … About three-fourths of the population has an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oils.

“More than half of the population is meeting or exceeding total grain and total protein foods recommendations (and) … are not meeting the recommendations for the subgroups within each of these food groups.

“Most Americans exceed the recommendations for added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

“The high percentage of the population that is overweight or obese suggests that many in the United States overconsume calories. As documented, more than two-thirds of all adults and nearly one-third of all children and youth in the United States are either overweight or obese.”

How do these cultural and lifestyle choices translate to death by COVID-19?

On May 6, 2020, Statista reported that the United States was 1st place for COVID-19 deaths worldwide.

1st Place: The United States with 72,284 deaths

2nd place: the UK with 29,427 deaths (the UK is also an individualist culture)

11th place: China with 4,633 deaths (where the pandemic started)

The Smithsonian Magazine reports that “U.S. Life Expectancy Drops for Third Year in a Row, Reflecting Rising Drug Overdoses, Suicides,” and Global News reported, “The novel coronavirus is a bundle of proteins. It doesn’t care about faith, freedom, jobs or right-wing conspiracy theories, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of Americans from defying all medical advice to protest against lockdown measures meant to keep them safe — often while standing unmasked and shoulder to shoulder.”

What about life expectancy in China? Macrotrends says, “The Current Life expectancy for China in 2020 is 76.96 years, a 0.22 percent increase from 2019.”  In fact, China has seen a slow and steady increase in life expectancy since 1950. Click the link in this paragraph to see for yourself.

It is apparent that the price for individual freedoms in the U.S. means shorter lifespans and a higher risk of death by COVID-19. What freedom means in the United States depends on each individual.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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The COVID-19 Warning

May 6, 2020

If it is possible to learn from history, the world may be fortunate that the stability of Chinese civilization for several thousand years left behind a well-documented historical record.

In 2017, Scientific American reported, “Records from Ancient China reveal link between Epidemics and Climate Change. By analyzing Chinese records throughout nearly 2,000 years of history, researchers have found that climate-driven disturbances like floods, droughts and locust outbreaks were associated with disease epidemics. …

“The new research underscores the idea that climatic changes may affect human health in a variety of ways. Present-day concerns about climate change and infection often focus on the potential of higher temperatures to facilitate the spread of disease vectors, like mosquitoes.”

Contagion Live reports on The Ripple Effect of Climate Change on Epidemic Risk. “Increases in extreme weather events, as predicted by climate scientists, may also lead to increases in infectious disease outbreaks. Epidemics have previously been seen in the wake of natural disasters, which can lead to displaced and crowded populations, hotbeds for infection transmission. Severe rainfall or flooding is particularly effective at creating environments suitable for the transmission and propagation of infectious diseases such as measles or cholera. Conditions, as currently seen on the devastated island of Puerto Rico, are often more amenable for mosquitoes to breed in flood-affected regions and as a result, may increase disease risk in those areas.”

What did China learn over the centuries?

The Journal of Biosafety and Biosecurity reports, “Since ancient times, China has acquired a rich experience in both the prevention and cure of infectious diseases. As early as in the Warring States period (475 BC – 221 BC), China began to develop theories on epidemic diseases. In the Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC), an integrated response system, including prevention, diagnosis, and isolation, was established.

“Later, during the Han Dynasty (206BC – 220 AD), people began to pay attention to the control of infection sources. Whereas, vaccination methods were created in the Song Dynasty (960 – 1270 AD, composed by the Northern Song Dynasty and Southern Song Dynasty), they were popularized throughout the Ming (1368 – 1644 AD) and Qing (1644 – 1912) Dynasties.

“However, at that time, China had not established a biosafety prevention system based on modern microbiological studies on infectious diseases, lacking a comprehensive scientific understanding of them. It was in the middle and late Qing Dynasty, with the arrival of missionaries and the return of overseas students, that advanced western science and technology were introduced into China, allowing the implementation of scientific infectious disease prevention and control measures and giving rise to modern biosafety means.”

For modern civilization to survive, the world’s leaders must cooperate, and that includes the United States. However, current President Donald Trump is always looking for someone else to blame. For sure, Donald Trump is not a role model for how to survive a pandemic. That is not how to survive climate change and the epidemics to come. COVID-19 might be just the beginning. Are you ready? 

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Who Deserves Credit for the First Vaccine?

April 1, 2020

Worst Pandemics in History reports that “25 million died from Bubonic Plague in 541-542 AD, and 75-200 million died from the Black Death in 1346-1353.” … The next huge death toll from a pandemic equal to the first two was Influenza in 1918 killing “20 – 50 million people.”

Because of these earlier pandemics, eventually, the first successful vaccines were created, and as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the world, a global race is on to create a vaccine to protect us from this one, too.

While Edward Jenner, an English physician, developed the first successful smallpox vaccine in 1796, did you know that he wasn’t the first one to inoculate for a viral disease?

The history of vaccinations started centuries before Jenner was born.

“Several accounts from the 1500s describe smallpox inoculation as practiced in China and India (one is referred to in volume 6 of Joseph Needham’s Science and Civilisation in China). Glynn and Glynn, in The Life and Death of Smallpox, note that in the late 1600s Emperor K’ang Hsi, who had survived smallpox as a child, had his children inoculated. That method involved grinding up smallpox scabs and blowing the matter into nostril. Inoculation may also have been practiced by scratching matter from a smallpox sore into the skin. It is difficult to pinpoint when the practice began, as some sources claim dates as early as 200 BCE.” — History of Vaccines.org

However, Britannica.com tells us “China has one of the world’s oldest medical systems. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies date back at least 2,200 years, although the earliest known written record of Chinese medicine is the Huangdi neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic) from the 3rd century bce.”

“Newly discovered documents reveal that 2,200 years ago, Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s first emperor, put out an executive order to search for a potion that would give him eternal live.” — Live Science.com

Is it possible that the first emperor of China’s search for immorality might have also led to those alleged early inoculation attempts as early as 200 BCE? After all, the same desperate search by Huangdi’s alchemists accidently led to the discovery of gunpowder.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Surviving a Pandemic: China vs the United States

March 25, 2020

China is a collective culture and the United States is individualistic. FutureLearn.com says, “Individualism stresses individual goals and the rights of the individual person. Collectivism focuses on group goals, what is best for the collective group, and personal relationships.”

While it is true that China got off to a bad start when local officials in the city of Wuhan attempted to silence and punish Dr. Li Wenliang for sending out a warning about the COVID-19 virus, it didn’t take long before China’s central government acted aggressively to contain the spread of the epidemic.

On December 27, Wuhan health officials learned that a new coronavirus was making people sick. Four days later, China informed the World Health Organization’s office in China.

Then on January 7, China’s President Xi Jinping became involved. Eleven days later Beijing sends epidemiologists to Wuhan to determine what is happening.

On January 21st, the CDC in the United States confirmed the first COVID-19 case. Two days later, China, locked down Wuhan and three other nearby cities, days before Dr. Li Wenliang died on February 7 from COVID-19. The lockdown was not voluntary. It was mandatory.

By March 19, China Daily reported, “The lockdown of Wuhan, the city hardest-hit by the novel coronavirus in China, could gradually be lifted if no new cases are reported for two consecutive weeks, which may happen in April, a top public health expert said.

“However, strict disease control and prevention measures will still be needed to prevent a possible rebound of the outbreak, said Li Lanjuan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a senior adviser to the nation’s top health authority.”

Meanwhile, in the United States on January 22, President Donald Trump, a hard-core individualist, because almost every word out of his mouth or from his Twitter account is about how great he is or an attack on someone else or another country, said, “We have it totally under control.”

That was the same day it was confirmed that the first American had COVID-19.

February 2, Trump said, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China. It’s going to be fine.”

The number of confirmed victims in the U.S. had climbed to 8.

February 24, Trump said, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

But the number of confirmed infected individuals was increased by 27, and CNBC reported, “Stocks plunge for a second day as the DOW lost more than 800 points on Tuesday.”

February 25, Trump said, “CDC and my administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”

Eighteen more victims of COVID-19 were confirmed in the United States.

February 26: Trump said, “The 15 cases within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” He also said, “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

Six more cases were reported by February 27.

On March 4 (Source: The White House), Trump said. “If we have thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work – some of them go to work, but they get better.” Trump made this comment during an interview on Fox News. At the time, the CDC was urging employers to have workers stay home. Later that day, Trump defended himself, “I never said people that are feeling sick should go to work.” Source: CBS News

By the end of March 4, another 51 confirmed cases had been added to the list.

Meanwhile, many of Donald Trump supporters, individuals that seem to think like him, refused to self-quarantine. “Trump supporters have been warned incessantly not to trust mainstream journalistic coverage of the issue.” Source: The Atlantic.com 

Between March 4 and March 18, another 7,078 confirmed cases had been added to the list. — Statista.com

“Though President Trump said March 7 that ‘anyone who wants a test can get a test,’ the United States’ limited testing capacity means that in practice, only a fraction of people who have symptoms are being tested.” – LiveScience.com

To see the list of Trump’s lies from January 22 to March 13, click on Snopes.com.

 

I started my self-quarantine on March 13th and have gone out once to buy supplies. I was gone for about an hour on March 19. While out, I saw two shoppers (of dozens) wearing masks and they were a young Asian American couple. Later, while at Trader Joes, I saw one cashier (Caucasian) with a face mask, but it was hanging around her neck and wasn’t covering her mouth or nose.

Time.com reported, “Why Wearing a Face mask is Encouraged in Asia, but Shunned in the U.S.”

What do you think – Do collectivist cultures like China have an advantage over an individualist country like the United States when it comes to dealing with a pandemic like COVID-19?

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Do people or countries pollute, that is the question

November 13, 2019

Recently, I heard someone accuse China of being the world’s worst polluter based on its total carbon dioxide emissions (CO2). When I pointed out that per capita (per person) was more important than the total and mentioned that per capita in the United States was 15.53 tons of CO2 per person vs 6.59 tons for China, he refused to back down. To him, China was guilty of being the worst CO2 polluter on the planet, because of its total, not its per person number.

Saudi Arabia is the worst polluter on the planet because its population of 34.2 million produces 16.85 tons of CO2 per person (per capita).

If Saudi Arabia had China’s population, how much CO2 would its people produce?

The United States is ranked #3 for per capita (per person) CO2 emissions behind Saudi Arabia (#1) and Australia (#2).  China is ranked #12.

There are 195 countries in the world and if you click globalcarbonatlas.org, you will easily discover the population of each country and how much total CO2 pollution each country produces.

For instance, the United States has a population of 324,459,463 and it’s per capita CO2 emissions are 15.53 tones per person. China’s per capita (per person) emissions are 42.4-percent of the United States, but because China’s population is more than four times larger, the total amount of C02 is higher. China’s population is 1,409,517,317, and it’s per capita CO2 emissions are 6.59 tons per person.

If we got rid of all the people in a country, would that country still produce CO2 emissions?

U.S. 15.53 tons of CO2 per person vs China’s 6.59 tons


Watch the video and answer this question: what country has produced the most CO2 since 1960?

If you are interested, The Union of Concerned Scientists ranks the top 20 highest emitters of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions based on each country’s total and its per capita (per person) amount. The first chart is ranked by the total CO2 emission per country. Scroll down for the second chart that ranks the top twenty by individual (per capita) CO2 emissions. … The world’s per capita average is 4 tons of CO2 per person.  That means the population of the United States produces 3.88 times more CO2 than the global average vs China at 1.62 times.

Science Daily reports, “students conducted detailed interviews or made detailed estimates of the energy usage of 18 lifestyles (in the United States), spanning the gamut from a vegetarian college student and a 5-year-old up to the ultra-rich: Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates. The energy impact for the rich was estimated from published sources, while all the others were based on direct interviews. The average annual carbon dioxide emissions per person, they found (for the ultra-rich) was 20 metric tons …

“But the ‘floor’ below which nobody in the U.S. can reach, no matter a person’s energy choices, turned out to be 8.5 tons …. That was the emissions calculated for a homeless person who ate in soup kitchens and slept in homeless shelters.”

Just in case you did not understand what Science Daily was saying: The ultra-rich in the United States produce 20 metric tons per person (per capita) and even a homeless individual in the U.S. still produces 8.5 tons of CO2 vs China’s per capita average of 6.59 tons, but to the individual I went all Rambo on, none of that matters, because China is guilty due to its country total. Since CO2 emissions are caused by individuals instead of countries, I wonder what his solution would be … to execute one billion Chinese to get China’s total CO2 emissions down. How many American’s would have to die to get that country’s per person CO2 emissions down to 4 tons per capita?

What is China doing to lower its per capita (per person) number?

Well, USG.gov says, “China is the largest producer of (clean) hydroelectricity, followed by Canada, Brazil, and the United States.”

China is cleaning up coal production by renovating old coal-burning facilities, and some Chinese sources estimate that China will possess the world’s largest high-efficiency coal power system by 2020. … Over the last decade, China’s investment in renewable energy and natural gas has surged. In 2017, almost half of global renewable energy investment came from China, totaling $125.9 billion.” – China power.org

What about the United States under illegitimate President Donald Trump? Politifact.com says, “Emissions did fall slightly between 2016 and 2017. But the rate of decline slowed under Trump and the month-to-month changes have been modest. Whatever decline has occurred on Trump’s watch is unlikely to stem from his own policies. Changes to emissions levels tend to come either from changing economic incentives, government policy over the long term, and factors beyond human control, such as the weather.”

The New York Times reports, “How Trump Is Ensuring That Greenhouse Gas Emissions Will Rise”

Yes or No – is China the worst CO2 emitter in the world?

Your answer will depend on rational logic vs confirmation bias. If your thinking is ruled by bias, you will say yes, if your thinking is based on rational logic, you will say no.

Science Daily says, “In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias (or confirmatory bias) is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions, leading to statistical errors.”

What about you: do you make judgments and decisions based on confirmation bias or logic and facts?

Oh, and if you are one of “those” climate change denialists like Dumb-Dumb Donald Trump, and do not think CO2 emissions are a problem, I want you to know that exposure to CO2 can produce a variety of health effects. These may include headaches, dizziness, restlessness, a tingling or pins or needles feeling, difficulty breathing, sweating, tiredness, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, coma, asphyxia, and convulsions. In fact, ToxTown says, “Breathing in high amounts of carbon dioxide may be life-threatening.”

Also consider that there are more than 7.7 billion humans living on this planet and when we average CO2 emissions per person, The World Bank says it is almost five tons each. However, that average is not accurate because some countries produce more CO2 per person than others. For the United States, that average per person is 16.5 tons (according to The World Bank). For China, it is 7.5 tons per person, and in India, it is 1.7 tons per person, way below the global average.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Just because they are Chinese, Trump is having them persecuted

July 24, 2019

Illegitimate President Donald Trump is waging a war against everyone that lives south of the U.S. border and against China and even Chinese-Americans in an attempt to isolate China from the world.

Bloomberg.com recently reported, “The greatest fear is that history may repeat itself in this political climate, and Chinese Americans may be rounded up like Japanese Americans during World War II. The fear and worry is real.”

“The NIH and the FBI are (even) targeting ethnic Chinese scientists, including U.S. citizens, searching for a cancer cure.”

There is what happened to Xifeng Wu, an award-winning epidemiologist and naturalized American citizen, who lost her job of 27-years because of the Trump administration’s attempt to counter Chinese influence at U.S. research institutions. Xifeng Wu was only doing her job and following directions from MD Anderson, the company she worked for.

No matter how many lives they destroy, the Trump administration’s goal is to stanch China’s well-documented theft of U.S. innovation and know-how. The collateral effect, however, is to stymie basic science, and the foundational research that underlies new medical treatments.

Do you know anyone that has cancer and is waiting for the cure that might save their lives? If so, break the news to them softly that Donald Trump might be responsible for their death caused by that cancer.

Xifeng Wu was never charged with stealing anyone’s ideas, but in the political climate created by Trump, a documented serial liar, a documented failed businessman, and a documented racist, she was forced to resign from a company she had been with for 27 of her 56 years. “A month after resigning,” Bloomberg reported, “she left her husband and two kids in the U.S. and took a job as dean of a school of public health in Shanghai.”

U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Moonshot program, the government’s $1 billion blitz to double the pace of treatment discoveries by 2022. One of the program’s tag lines: “Cancer knows no borders,” … except for China’s borders.

Scientists and researchers want to save lives. Donald Trump doesn’t care.

Adam Kuspa, the dean of research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston said, “Faculty don’t see international borders anymore. If someone in another country has a piece of the puzzle, they want to work with them.”

Bloomberg said, “Relationships often begin at academic conferences, jell during invited visits for symposiums or lectureships, and culminate in the melding of research into scientific papers.”

Thanks to the Deplorable Trump Administration, “Innocent yet meaningful scientific collaborations have been portrayed as somehow corrupt and detrimental to American interests,” Adam Kuspa said. “Nothing could be further from the truth”

Bloomberg continues, “Federal agents have also made an alarming number of spy arrests that proved unwarranted. From 1997 to 2009, 17% of defendants indicted under the U.S. Economic Espionage Act had Chinese names. From 2009 to 2015, that rate tripled, to 52%, according to a December 2018 article in the Cardozo Law Review. As the number of cases soared, evidence of actual espionage lagged behind. One in five of the Chinese-named defendants was never found guilty of espionage or any other serious crime in the cases between 1997 and 2015—almost twice the rate of wrongful accusations among non-Chinese defendants.”

The University of Wisconsin at Madison, Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley, have all published letters of support for Chinese faculty members and research collaborations. “An automatic suspicion of people based on their national origin can lead to terrible consequences,” wrote Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ in February.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Healthcare in China

May 8, 2019

After 1949, China’s government established the country’s first national health system more or less from scratch. However, the US National Library of Medicine reports, “the well-established cooperative medical system for the rural areas collapsed within a short time period after the economic reforms in China in the late 1970s, leaving the vast majority of the rural population without health care. In 1999, only 7% of the 900 million rural residents had some kind of health insurance coverage.”

Then in 2003, China’s government again took steps to reform the health care system that had collapsed in the late 1970s, and as you read this post, you will discover that today 95-percent of China’s population has some level of health care.

InterNations.org says, In 2011, new social insurance legislation set out to reform China’s healthcare system, and there are now three insurance programs providing basic coverage for 95% of the population.”

One: The Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI) applies to workers and employees living in cities. Their contributions are deducted from their salary via payroll taxes.

Two: The Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance (URBMI) covers the non-working population in Chinese cities, such as children, the elderly, etc. The scheme is partly financed through contributions from individual households, but mostly through government subsidies.

Three: The New Rural Cooperative Medical System (NRCMS) is supposed to revitalize healthcare in China’s countryside. Funds are raised through a mixture of individual contributions, support from collective enterprises, and government subsidies.

In 1949, the life expectancy in China was only 37 years. In 2018, Reuters reported that China has overtaken the United States in healthy life expectancy at birth for the first time, according to World Health Organization data. Chinese newborns can look forward to 68.7 years of healthy life ahead of them, compared with 68.5 years for American babies, the data – which relates to 2016 – showed.” …

While the quality of lifestyles and health care is improving for China’s citizens, what is happening in the United States? “The United States was one of only five countries, along with Somalia, Afghanistan, Georgia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where healthy life expectancy at birth fell in 2016, according to a Reuters analysis of the WHO data, which was published without year-on-year comparisons in mid-May.”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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