About That 'Mysterious' Pneumonia Outbreak in China...

AP Photo/Dake Kang

Are you panicked yet?

You should be. I have reliable evidence that we are all going to die!

Of course, this has always been true and will remain so for the foreseeable future. But despite the media attempts to get people worked up about a “mysterious” outbreak of pneumonia in Chinese children, there is no indication that anything mysterious is happening in China or elsewhere in the world.


It appears to be true that children in some regions of China are getting pneumonia and winding up in hospitals, as far as I can tell in a news environment where trust has been broken, especially regarding anything related to politics or disease. But Dr. Robert Malone has written a Substack essay that explains why there is little to no cause for concern.

First things first: bumps in respiratory infections are common in winter months. You don’t need an epidemiology degree to know this, because we all tend to get colds in the winter. The pathogens involved are well known, although there is a bit of dispute regarding why this happens in winter. Some say it is due to closer contact during the winter months; others attribute it to less exposure to sunshine. Whatever the case, it is normal and a pattern that has been known forever.

According to reports from China and the WHO, one of the main factors that makes this outbreak of respiratory illnesses unusual is the prevalence of mycoplasma pneumoniae, a bug that usually responds to antibiotics, to which there is considerable drug resistance in China for some reason.


Cynics such as myself, and at this point perhaps you also, will note that this is a pretty standard seasonal infectious disease pattern. Vaccination against influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and RSV will do nothing to suppress mycoplasma. In contrast, Vitamin D3 supplementation probably would, the deficit of which seems to strongly correlate or explain (depending on who you talk to) much of the seasonal variation in respiratory infections.

Sensing another infectious disease clickbait opportunity, the usual hack pharma-sponsored corporate media outlets and “journalists” posing as infectious disease specialists jumped on this story without bothering to really comprehend before banging out their pieces, spreading and amplifying fear for profit. This nicely fed the meme that China is a huge, mysterious source of threatening respiratory pathogens which will sweep the world and kill children. Which then lead multiple social media followers and activists to ask me to bring clarity to this situation, which in turn resulted in this substack essay.

Malone refers to a more responsible article from Time which avoids the scaremongering that has become common these days.

Local media have reported a steady rise in infections from a pathogen called mycoplasma among kindergarten and primary school children. While the germ tends to cause only mild colds in older kids and adults with robust immune systems, younger children are prone to develop pneumonia — with symptoms lasting for weeks.

Data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention also showed the influenza positivity rate climbing steadily in October, even as Covid rates continue to trend down following a small peak over the summer.

Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, China’s top medical center for respiratory diseases, has seen the mycoplasma positivity rate among children rising to 40% — compared to just 6% among adults — the hospital’s vice dean Tong Zhaohui said at a briefing in the city last week. Mycoplasma tends to cause major outbreaks every three to seven years, he warned.


In other words, the outbreak is hardly unusual, but the outbreaks wax and wane over time. This year, it is waxing. And one of the main reasons why hospitals are overrun is that parents have been made paranoid by the COVID hysteria that swept the world, and China in particular.

Up to 60% to 70% of adult cases and up to 80% of cases in kids don’t respond to the drug, azithromycin, and others in the same class of antibiotics, Yin Yudong, an infectious disease doctor at Chaoyang, told Beijing News earlier this month.

That’s sparked a rush by anxious parents to top children’s hospitals in some Chinese mega-cities. Local media reports have showed several prestigious pediatric medical centers in Beijing teeming with parents and sick kids, while the time it takes for families to see an emergency room doctor has in some cases stretched to more than seven hours.

Is it possible that there is some mysterious disease that will leap out of China and kill us all? Of course there is, as has been true since the beginning of time. The Black Plague did so, traveling along trade routes and wiping out half of Europe. And in modern times, China has gifted us some nasty diseases, and the Chinese biological research lab likely gave us COVID.

But not all bad things are caused by nefarious actors, and this particular panic is likely the result of clickbaiting media, not a lab release or anything sinister. It likely isn’t even anything particularly unusual. Malone himself has gotten the bug a number of times over the years, and while any bug can metastasize into something nastier than usual, for most people, the results will be some period of time feeling really crappy.


In other words, winter is here.

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