A Question Time rant from Lancet editor Richard Horton is doing the rounds this morning after he savaged the “national scandal” of “being in this position. We knew in the last week of January that this was coming – the message from China was absolutely clear that a new virus with pandemic potential was hitting cities.” Hindsight is a wonderful thing…
Richard claims the message by the end of January from China was absolutely clear – why then, in late January, did he Tweet:
A call for caution please. Media are escalating anxiety by talking of a “killer virus” + “growing fears”. In truth, from what we currently know, 2019-nCoV has moderate transmissibility and relatively low pathogenicity. There is no reason to foster panic with exaggerated language.— richard horton (@richardhorton1) January 24, 2020
The WHO at the time downplayed the possibility of Coronavirus becoming a global pandemic, and parroted the Chinese authorities ‘findings’ that there was no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission. Something Horton called “clear and confident”…
And, when one examines the global response to 2019-nCoV, Chinese authorities have acted quickly and decisively to control the outbreak. They have shared information rapidly and transparently. Meanwhile, WHO has been impressive: clear and confident decisions and communication.— richard horton (@richardhorton1) January 24, 2020
Richard’s own journal, The Lancet, included a report on the effects of Coronavirus in China published weeks later in the February edition, which said “2019-nCoV still needs to be studied deeply in case it becomes a global health threat” – implying they did not, at the time, see the virus as a global health threat. Richard is arguing that governments around the world should have seen what he, the editor of one of the world’s premier medical journals, only sees in retrospect…
Check out this bizarre piece praising Karl Marx in one of Britain’s leading peer-reviewed medical journals, The Lancet, this month. The article isn’t just a junior leftie medic’s fantasy: it’s by the journal’s Editor-in-Chief Dr Richard Horton. He writes:
“Marxism is a call to engage, an invitation to join the struggle to protect the values we share. You don’t have to be a Marxist to appreciate Marx. As the centenary* of his birth approaches, we might agree that medicine has a great deal to learn from Marx.”
Marx you feel sick!
*He means bi-centenary.