China Pneumonia Outbreak Shows The Narrative Once Again Is The Problem
Propaganda Promoting Poor Health Policy Is Potentially Producing New "Superbugs".
There are times when it must be hard to be a propagandist corporate media shill. What is one to do when, despite the best efforts of the media, facts and data keep confounding even the most determined efforts to resurrect the Pandemic Panic Narrative?
Such is the dilemma that appears to be challenging corporate media now, as China is posting declining cases of pediatric pneumonia, suggesting the outbreak is already drawing to a close even before panic had a chance to set in and spread globally.
The number of cases at major medical facilities across the nation has fallen recently, Mi Feng, a spokesperson for the National Health Commission, said at a briefing in Beijing on Sunday.
Last month, China told the World Health Organization that the source of the outbreak of respiratory diseases among children was known pathogens. Reports about a surge in illness sparked concern that a novel virus may have been the cause.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Beijing Children’s Hospital had told the WHO that there’d been increases in outpatient visits and hospitalizations due to the spread of mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus and influenza.
Just like that, the corporate media’s efforts to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt over this latest outbreak of respiratory illness in the Middle Kingdom have been undone. With no runaway spread of infectious respiratory disease around the globe, with no claims of a novel pathogen or a “pneumonia of unknown etiology”, there has simply been nothing of substance to sustain even a brief resurgence of the Pandemic Panic Narrative begun nearly four years ago.
Yet we should not blithely dismiss these latest efforts to propagandize infectious respiratory disease by the media. Not only do they confirm that the worst impulses of deceit and dissembling persist in the media, they also threaten to obscure important details about the outbreak which could have real, albeit non-pandemic, implications globally.
It is no exaggeration to propose that the Pandemic Panic Narrative—and efforts to resurrect it by the corporate media—are very likely contributing to the emergence of new and dangerous “superbugs” which defy existing medical treatments.
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We must be clear about one thing: corporate media has been explicit and dangerously dishonest in its reporting over the China pneumonia outbreak. As late as the beginning of December, there were reports claiming the outbreak was the result of a “mystery virus”—even as China claimed the exact opposite, that this was an increase in the incidence of known pathogens, such as influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, and the bacterium mycoplasma pneumoniae.
On November 1, Chinese health officials held a press conference to discuss a rise in respiratory illnesses.
They believe that colder weather and relaxed COVID restrictions have led to an immunity gap, causing a surge in known pathogens.
However, a report from the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMed) noted that many sick children in China didn't have coughs or other symptoms, just high fevers. Some even developed lung nodules.
This has led experts to wonder if these clusters could be undiagnosed pneumonia caused by a new pathogen.
At the same time, there were reports hinting that the outbreak might be tied to yet another strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as Chinese officials were reportedly bringing back COVID-19 testing, mask mandates, and other minor elements of the disastrous Zero COVID protocols finally abandoned just over a year ago.
Chinese health officials have acknowledged the spike in pneumonia and other respiratory cases, blaming a cocktail of pathogens including mycoplasma pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus, seasonal influenza and COVID-19.
Now, government documents are starting to warn about a new wave of coronavirus infections in particular, with the State Council ordering local authorities to resume testing and disease monitoring at ports and airports, in schools, care homes and other institutions.
It is important to remember that influenza, RSV, and even mycoplasma pneumoniae are known pathogens. For that matter, SARS-CoV-2 is at this juncture also a known pathogen, and can hardly be counted as “novel” at this late date.
As I have noted previously, corporate media has seized on the China outbreak at first in a curious effort to create a “Non-Pandemic Panic”, ironically seeking to generate fear from that which is well known, rather than something presumably unknown.
The data presented thus far is that in China, in Europe, and in the United States there are somewhat early upticks in infectious respiratory cases, but the case levels are not as of yet so high as to cause alarm. The data presented thus far is that the underlying pathogens are known infectious agents. The data presented thus far is that these “usual suspects” for cases of pneumonia are not even novel strains of these known infectious agents.
It goes without saying that, if disease is caused by known strains of known pathogens, framing an outbreak of that disease as a “pandemic” is notionally absurd. It likewise goes without saying that the corporate media efforts in this regard have been equally absurd.
One aspect of the corporate media reporting which warrants further comment has been the subtle signs of skepticism and disbelief about what China is reporting about its own outbreak.
In addition to the very explicit statements in the corporate media that China might be incorrect and inaccurate over the causes of the surge in pneumonia cases, there have been none-too-subtle hints that even notoriously China-friendly entities such as the World Health Organization are not fully believing China’s reports and are not taking Chinese health officials at their word.
“We asked about comparisons prior to the pandemic. And the waves that they’re seeing now, the peak is not as high as what they saw in 2018-2019,” the World Health Organization’s acting director of its department of epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention Maria Van Kerkhove told STAT on Friday. “This is not an indication of a novel pathogen. This is expected. This is what most countries dealt with a year or two ago.”
WHO has called upon China to release more information about the outbreak. As yet, it’s unclear whether the communist-run nation has provided this information, as they did not provide much of the requested information during the COVID-19 pandemic either. Footage from the country has shown long lines outside hospitals as authorities call for the opening of more clinics.
To a degree, this is perhaps a bit of an “own goal” by China for responding to the outbreak in the same manner to which they responded to the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus: with authoritarian policies and an especial suppression of personal liberties.
China is apparently headed back towards lockdowns in late November as hospitals fill with children suffering from a surge in acute respiratory viruses.
The Chinese National Health Commission claims the new surge is caused by a variety of illnesses, such as influenza, rhinovirus, mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus and adenovirus, according to the South China Morning Post. Officials are calling for a reinstatement of pandemic-era lockdown protocols to help curb the outbreak, even though these measures didn’t really do anything the first time around.
Regardless of the intention or the logic behind such efforts, that China saw fit to call for additional safety measures and risk assessments within schools is an unmistakable indication of heightened concern on Beijing’s part—and unavoidably suggests that more is involved in the pneumonia outbreak than routine pathogens.
China’s education ministry has urged schools to step up daily health checks and reporting as the country grapples with a wave of respiratory illness among children.
In a directive issued on Monday, it also said schools should conduct risk assessments with local health departments to help fight the problem.
When schools are drafted into playing pathogen police by the government, it’s hard not to infer a return to Zero COVID lunacy.
In the directive, the education ministry also told schools to make preparations for online classes for sick children and guide them in home learning.
It also said schools should “guide families in disease control” and “collaborate with relevant departments to promote vaccination”.
It is perhaps not entirely surprising that corporate media and their usual array of self-anointed “experts” began making dire pronouncements about the China outbreak.
In recent weeks, hospitals in the country have been overwhelmed with sick children and there have been fears that the disease could spread outside China's border in a chilling reminder of the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearby countries such as India are said to be preparing to tackle the disease which has already reached Europe, with Denmark and the Netherlands confirming an influx of cases.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is monitoring the situation and has asked China to provide more details. Now Dr Gareth Nye, the Programme Lead for Medical Science and Chester Medical School, stressed the condition is not a new disease like Covid-19 - but could be another Covid virus.
Ironically, however, even as the experts were pontificating on the China outbreak being an emergence of a new COVID virus, their own rationales were cutting against that very argument:
"Now as we are seeing a combination of viruses and bacteria, this is more likely due to how our bodies are handling illness now following years of Covid restrictions.v We have already seen the impact with a rise in Strep A infections in children last winter and there has been similar rises in similar infections in the US following the removal of social distancing, so in essence, this rise was expected and not caused by new diseases which simply put, means we shouldn’t see a Covid 2.0."
However, he went on to state that the rise in bacterial disease pneumonia in children which is being "tracked closely" by the WHO can be explained by a very simple reason. He said: "The missing out of crucial 'infection spreading' of the normal winter bugs during the Covid-restricted years, particularly in children who had social interactions through school disrupted, explains this as your ability to fight infections comes from seeing diseases before.
Note the contradiction: China is supposedly seeing a new COVID virus but is not seeing a new disease—i.e., the China outbreak is not “COVID 2.0”.
That’s taking the doublespeak to an epic level—and that’s what the corporate media has been reporting for several weeks.
Yet there is one aspect of the China outbreak—as well as the outbreaks in Europe and in Warren County, Ohio—that deserves attention, and may carry significant health implications for the future: the incidence of bacterial pneumonia caused by mycoplasma pneumoniae.
What is Mycoplasma pneumoniae?
Rather than a virus like the one behind flu, SARS, or COVID-19, Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a bacteria that can cause pneumonia by damaging the linings of the throat, lungs, or trachea.
It’s quite common and does need a host to spread. It was identified more than 100 years ago Trusted Sourceas a factor in lung disease in cattle, but not recognized as a cause of “atypical” pneumonia in humans until 1944, when scientists named it after the Greek term for “fungus-formed” (they originally thought it was a fungus).
“It’s one of those bugs that doesn’t have a lot in its package, so it does need mammals, cells to replicate,” Dr. Jimmy Johannes, a pulmonologist and critical care medicine specialist at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center in Long Beach, CA, told Healthline. “It’s not like something that you find on dirt or in the ambient air, something like that, just hanging out.”
Significantly for the China outbreak, mycoplasma pneumoniae is regarded as causing “atypical” pneumonia—and affects primarily young people.
“It does have some unusual features,” Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, professor of Medicine, Infectious Disease and International Health at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, told Heathline.
“It usually affects otherwise healthy patients 5 to 20 years old and can be spread person to person so we see it in clusters or outbreaks. We especially suspect it in late summer and fall when we hear from a young patient with pneumonia that they had a slow gradual onset of cough illness even over weeks.”
Dr. Talbot added that the “atypical” aspect of this type of pneumonia is also seen internally, in how the disease interacts with a patient’s body. “If the clinician chooses to do a chest X-ray, the whole lung may be affected, rather than one part like other bacterial pneumonias, which is why the disease Mycoplasma causes is sometimes called atypical pneumonia,” she said.
That the infection is an “atypical pneumonia” has also been the basis for corporate media’s disgraceful misreporting of the infection as a “virus”.
An NHS doctor has revealed crucial information about a novel pneumonia-like virus that has surfaced in China, sharing eight symptoms reminiscent of coronavirus. This differs from earlier reports that mentioned fewer symptoms.
The virus has stirred chaos in China for weeks, triggering global concerns about a potential new pandemic. Surprisingly, it appears to be impacting children more than adults, according to The Daily Star.
Concerned neighbouring countries, like India, are on high alert, fearing the virus's spread, reminiscent of the 2019 coronavirus outbreak.
In Beijing, hospitals are witnessing increased activity, and the virus has already made its way to Europe.
On a biological level, the main difference is that bacteria are free-living cells that can live inside or outside a body, while viruses are a non-living collection of molecules that need a host to survive.
While mycoplasma pneumoniae does require a host to propagate and spread, as a bacterium it does not invade individual cells and hijack their replication machinery.
More significantly, bacteria often respond to treatment with antibiotics, while viruses do not. Conversely, bacteria do not respond to antiviral medications, while viruses do (hence the term).
Differentiating between the two types of pathogens is crucial, because overuse of antibiotics can produce antibiotic resistance.
It is important to know the difference between a viral and a bacterial infection so doctors can treat the right illness, and antibiotics aren’t used unnecessarily, contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
That bacterial infections are rising alongside other more comment infectious respiratory viruses such as influenza, RSV, and SARS-CoV-2 is hardly unusual. The pneumonia cases that arise from these viral infections are often associated with a secondary bacterial infection such as mycoplasma pneumoniae.
Severe cases of viral pneumonia often end up with an associated bacterial infection. This is particularly true with COVID-19, where up to 50% of the severely ill hospitalised patients have developed a bacterial infection. So, despite COVID-19 being caused by a virus, antibiotics are really important to treat the associated bacterial infections.
This correlation may actually provide both an explanation for the China pneumonia outbreak and a cautionary for the wider world regarding the involved pathogens: the pneumonia cases may be the result of an antibiotic-resistant strain of mycoplasma pneumoniae.
An outbreak of walking pneumonia, normally a mild infection, struck millions of children in the second half of 2023, creating COVID-19 flashbacks and raising fears about another novel pathogen. But doctors say another real danger is the rise of superbugs, crafted by drug resistance that’s been building for years and rendering life-saving antibiotics less effective.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections are commonly treated with the antibiotic azithromycin, but within the reports on the Chinese pneumonia cases has been the warning sign that azithromycin is becoming ineffective against these infections.
In China, treating children with mycoplasma pneumoniae infections can be difficult. Nearly 80% of cases are resistant to macrolides, a class of drug that includes Pfizer’s Zithromax, given to Qiao’s daughter, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open in 2022. The proportion of drug-resistant cases were less than 10% in Europe, America and Southeast Asia.
Yet azithromycin remains among the most used antibiotic in China and is the default treatment for mycoplasma pneumoniae. Alternatives carry side effects such as teeth discoloration and bone abnormalities for younger children, leaving doctors with few good options.
If 80% of mycoplasma pneumoniae cases in China are resistant to azithromycin, then China well and truly has a potential pneumonia “superbug” on its hands. While not itself a pandemic or even a novel pathogen, it is still a potential healthcare problem because of the frequency with which the bacteria occurs as an opportunistic secondary infection in otherwise routine cases of viral infectious respiratory disease.
When the news first emerged, there were fears a new pathogen could be behind the large numbers of ill children. However, tests have shown that common seasonal respiratory illnesses like bacterial infections, flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and colds were to blame.
The outbreak was named "white lung" because children suffering from the pneumonia had white patches on their lungs. Doctors explained the patches showed areas with denser lung tissue, which can occur when the body fights infections with bacteria like mycoplasma pneumoniae.
While there is as of yet no reporting in Europe or the United States of a wider spread of antibiotic resistant strains of mycoplasma pneumoniae, if there is such a strain emerging in China it is only a matter of time before such strains emerge elsewhere. This is not because of any pandemic spread of disease as had been the fear with COVID, but because the risks and realities of antibiotic overuse leading to the emergence of antibiotic resistant superbugs is a global phenomenon. While it may be happening first in China, eventually use (and potential overuse) of azithromycin in Europe and the United States will produce the same phenomenon of antibiotic resistance.
We know this to be true because antibiotic resistance is a known global phenomenon across several types of bacterial infections2.
Bacteria are an ever-evolving foe, with the ability to build up resistance to antibiotic drugs, rendering them ineffectual.
These “wonder drugs” have been prescribed inappropriately too many times, helping bacteria develop resistance.
Exacerbating the situation is the lack of development of new antibiotics – in the past few decades most pharmaceutical companies have ended their programs.
Every year, more and more bacteria develop resistance to the available regimens of antibiotics, resulting in previously “harmless” bacterial infections becoming increasingly lethal.
This leaves us, less than a century since the first antibiotic came onto the market, facing a return to the pre-antibiotic era.
In 2019, the most recent year for which we have comprehensive statistics, nearly 5 million deaths worldwide were associated with drug-resistant bacterial infections.
With bacterial infections associated with some 50% of COVID cases in hospital, antibiotic resistance within those infections would be a dangerous development for any country’s healthcare establishment. Nor can any country escape this outcome—antibiotic resistance is the result of normal biological mechanisms which occur everywhere, irrespective of the qualities of a country’s healthcare infrastructure.
Perversely, the corporate media reporting is fanning the flames of Pandemic Panic with its reporting on pneumonia cases around the globe, while largely ignoring the environmental factor of antibiotic overuse that appears to be exacerbating pediatric pneumonia cases in China. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a common denominator in both the pneumonia cases reported in Europe and in the United States, in addition to the China outbreak.
The Warren County Heath District said the main types of pathogens detected so far were streptococcus pneumonia, adenovirus, and mycoplasma pneumonia.
Meanwhile, cases seen in China include respiratory illnesses such as influenza, rhinoviruses and mycoplasma pneumonia. Cases of mycoplasma pneumonia are also spreading in Denmark, reaching epidemic levels and recoding 541 new cases by the end of last week, according to a Danish Ministry of Health research group.
While thus far there are no reports of widespread antibiotic resistance in Europe or the US, the reporting has made the ironic concession that the lunatic lockdowns from the COVID “pandemic” may have contributed to greater susceptibility to infectious respiratory pathogens, particularly among young people.
Restrictions on social interactions being further lifted post-pandemic may have also contributed to the spike in cases. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research at the University of Minnesota, told NBC that particularly rings true in China’s case.
“They really did have a total shutdown of all the infectious diseases. So I would have expected exactly what we’re seeing right now,” Mr Osterholm said. “We’re seeing increases in respiratory infections in general, but particularly it seems like mycoplasma ... It’s just because we’ve got a larger pool of people who are more susceptible.”
In other words, the lockdowns weakened people’s immune systems and made them more vulnerable to these pathogens—a further indictment of the lockdowns on top of last year’s research showing that they claimed as many as 20 times the life-years as they purported to “save” from COVID.
Yet China at least reacted to this pneumonia outbreak by bringing back some features of the lunatic lockdowns, and there have been calls in other countries (including the US) to do likewise. The lockdowns failed to stop or even slow the spread of COVID, they have done untold damage to people’s lives, livelihoods, and bodies, and yet the “experts” still want to push these lunacies on people. This comes despite the fact that even in 2020 the data was clear and categorical that lockdowns were an unmitigated failure of public health policy.
To this mounting mass of evidence against lockdowns we must now add the potential for new antibiotic resistant “superbugs”, ones which have already shown a tendency to tag along in even ordinary cases of viral infectious respiratory disease.
By continuing to push and promote efforts to resurrect the Pandemic Panic Narrative, corporate media is recklessly promoting public health policies which are not only proven failures against infectious respiratory disease, but are now being shown to promote both greater future incidence of infectious respiratory disease and greater susceptibility to secondary bacterial infections in those stricken with infectious respiratory disease. Adding insult to injury, such reckless propagandizing is by extension creating conditions for the emergence of even more antibiotic resistant superbugs.
We must not forget that the damage done by the Pandemic Panic Narrative was not limited to the toxicities of the mRNA inoculations. The lunatic lockdowns claimed lives as well, and are continuing to claim lives today. The lunatic lockdowns damaged people’s immune systems, with impacts which will reverberate long past today. Efforts by corporate media and “experts” alike to bring back elements of the lunatic lockdowns must absolutely be resisted and rejected completely. Our current and future health demands no less than this.
We can combat this latest risk of antibiotic resistance by educated and informed policy resistance. As I have encouraged many times in this Substack, get the facts—all the facts. Know the state of infectious respiratory disease in your community, and learn all the steps you can take on your own to bolster your own physical health and that of your friends and family. The data is out there, and the information is available.
Do your own research, formulate your own thoughts, and reach your own conclusions. Independent thinking is always your best mitigation against all manner of misfortune.
Trust nothing, especially the fulminations of “experts”. Verify everything.
All Facts Matter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. Alternatively, please consider making a donation via Ko-Fi. Thank you always for your support!
Institute for Molecular Bioscience. “What’s the Difference between Bacteria and Viruses?” The Edge: Infection, 2020, p. 17, https://imb.uq.edu.au/article/2020/04/difference-between-bacteria-and-viruses.