How the reporting over the Bubonic Plague occurrence in China is another example of systemic racism

You can’t have failed to see the news – a case of Bubonic Plague has been recorded in Inner Mongolia – the Chinese side of the border with the country of Mongolia. At first glance this could be worrying to many but the fact that it’s front page news anywhere can only be attributed to systemic racism.

Firstly, there are multiple bubonic plague outbreaks every single year with Colorado in America being a hotspot for the bacterial infection. In the US the illness is carried and spread by fleas on prairie dogs and squirrels in that state. None of these cases hit the front pages of newspapers anywhere – even locally, and treatment of the illness is handled with standard antibiotics.

The only reason the China outbreak – which right now has infected between 1 and 22 people – has made the front pages is because the country was believed to be the source of Covid-19 and therefore it sells newspapers to people who want to be outraged at another potential epidemic originating in the country.

Bubonic Plague itself was initially attributed to the ‘Black Death’ that killed millions of Europeans in the 14th Century but recent research has cast doubt on that theory – the illness spread across Europe far more quickly than it should have done if it originated from the fleas carried by rats, as is commonly thought. In fact, the spread of the disease that caused the ‘Black Death’ was far more in line with that expected from a virus spread through human-to-human contact and shared many symptoms with the Ebola virus.

The fact is, bubonic plague – or Yersinia pestis – isn’t front page news, it’s easily controlled, easily treated and occurs far more commonly in Western countries than many of us realise. The Western media using this limited outbreak as another stick to attack China and the Chinese with is designed to play of people’s fears and to stoke more anger at another nation.

Colin Polonowski

Updated: Jul 07, 2020

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