The Maoist totalitarian state is being reborn in China under Xi Jinping, who is constructing a personality cult akin to that which surrounded the late "Great Helmsman." Xi is determined to strengthen his and the Chinese Communist Party's authority. However, the response of the Chinese government to the COVID-19 virus has undermined the CCP's credibility—and ultimately may threaten the party's hold on power.
Despite the modern world's many extraordinary medical miracles, the potential of a pandemic, an easily transmitted disease with a high fatality rate, continues to worry medical professionals. Most people have heard of the Black Death, when bubonic plague killed between 75 and 200 million people in Eurasia in the mid-1300s. A century ago the Spanish Flu infected a half billion people and killed between 20 and 50 million worldwide, more than the number of deaths in World War I.
The worst pandemic in recent years was Ebola between 2014 and 2016: there were about 28,600 cases and 11,300 deaths, an average 40 death rate, though the fatality rate of specific outbreaks ranged between 25 percent and 90 percent. SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, infected almost 8,100 and killed roughly 800 people in 2002 to 2003.