Editor’s note for Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Dear Access member,

I was on the radio program BBC Sounds earlier this week as one of several guests answering the question “Has the COVID-19 epidemic weakened or strengthened the grip of China’s Communist Party?”

Our top story today is yet another piece of evidence of the Chinese government’s missteps in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. But although China’s official silence on the outbreak may have been a major contributor to the spread of the disease, it’s worth noting that by January 8 — nearly two weeks before Beijing came clean on the situation in Wuhan — some governments were already responding to the threat. See this Washington Post article from that date: “Officials in Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines said in recent days they will begin setting up quarantine zones or scanning passengers.”

Our word of the day is National Health Commission (国家卫生健康委员会 guójiā wèishēng jiànkāng wěiyuánhuì).

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief