Covid is China’s Vietnam War

Almost 3 years ago, on Feb. 10, 2020, I published my first note on Covid, or nCov2019 as it was call

Want to continue reading this and the other 1,500+ essays you won't find anywhere else?

Already a subscriber? log in here

To learn more about Epsilon Theory and be notified when we release new content sign up here. You’ll receive an email every week and your information will never be shared with anyone else.


  1. Avatar for O.P.A O.P.A says:

    Nice synthesis, as always Ben!

    You highlight medicine shortages and ICU bed availability, which is spot on. I would also say it’s worth noting the nursing shortage. It was a problem even before COVID, the strain and burnout of the past two years have exacerbated the shortfall, and it’s not expected to get better until at least the end of this decade

  2. “ **The current Covid outbreak will fundamentally weaken the Chinese**government, because now every Chinese citizen knows that every Chinese citizen knows that the CCP is not just a liar, but an incompetent, failed liar.**”

    You are wrong. Esteem for the Central government is going up now that they have reversed course and are prioritizing the economy. I have lived in China 9 years and can tell you that you are projecting your own western values onto Chinese people, and they just don’t think that way. This is an extremely common problem in western analysis of Chinese culture and governance, and it is a root cause of the adversarial relationship between the two countries.

  3. Wow, that’s an interesting perspective. This’ll be fascinating to watch play out…

  4. Avatar for Zenzei Zenzei says:

    Anatoly - How do you arrive at the conclusion that China did the impossible and stopped Covid when the data coming out of China appears rather untrustworthy? China’s problem with truth in statistics is particularly acute.

  5. Avatar for Zenzei Zenzei says:

    Gary, this is an interesting perspective. How are you measuring esteem for the government? Is there some sort of a realistic metric that reflects this? Or is your view more from an anecdotal what folks around you are saying?

  6. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    I mean … either the Chinese gov’t was an incompetent liar then as they locked Shanghai down for months or they are an incompetent liar now as Shanghai locks itself down and hospitals/morgues overflow.

    I understand that lots of people want China to open back up and stop all of what they consider to be “the Zero Covid nonsense”, but that’s a very different thing from “esteem” or trust or competence.

  7. The CCP will manufacture a winning narrative either way.
    If deaths go up substantially and can’t be effectively hidden from the public, they might claim to have been correct all along. “We capitulated to the public protests and gave you your freedom, and you see what that is costing you now”, or some such.
    Interesting that the WHO has become mildly critical of the bodybag undercount.

  8. I couldn’t agree more. As a hospital RN in the mid ‘90s I witnessed nurses treated as widgets, and it has only become worse.
    I get incensed at the salaries which not-for-profit hospital administrators pay themselves. They increase the size of their empires and hire cronies at the same time as not wanting to pay for critical staff such as LNAs (aides), LPNs and RNs.
    Is it OK for a non-profit hospital CEO to pay him/herself $2-7 million annually, all the while constantly asking the community to givegivegive to help the “Miracle Network” or some such? Annually asking the State to allow 10-15% reimbursement increases from insurers? Cashiers asking you to “round-up” to help the hospital?
    I see it as the cousin of the for-profit companies going too far on share buybacks, management enriching themselves.
    Nothing is sacred anymore.
    My $2.00’s worth ($0.02 if it wasn’t a rant)…

  9. Avatar for Zenzei Zenzei says:

    I guess the difference for me is that I am no longer confident that anything I think about what governments are capable of doing is calibrated anymore. The only thing I know for certain is that China has a real problems with the truth and I am highly skeptical of my own conclusions about what is or isn’t going on there.

  10. Democracies are messy political arrangements , can be remarkably dysfunctional (like it appears to me today) but they have one crucial element that serves as a self-correcting mechanism and also as a safety valve to raw emotion.
    The Vote

    Ben, if you’re right that Covid is China’s Vietnam (and your arguments are cogent and sound to me) then I suspect that political regime is at risk

Continue the discussion at the Epsilon Theory Forum

13 more replies


Avatar for bhunt Avatar for psherman Avatar for Zenzei Avatar for O.P.A Avatar for Desperate_Yuppie Avatar for RobMann Avatar for PreCambrian Avatar for Protopiac Avatar for jtpocean Avatar for dvorchak Avatar for david

The Latest From Epsilon Theory


This commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market with certainty or guarantee future investment performance. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Statements in this communication are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements and other views expressed herein are as of the date of this publication. Actual future results or occurrences may differ significantly from those anticipated in any forward-looking statements, and there is no guarantee that any predictions will come to pass. The views expressed herein are subject to change at any time, due to numerous market and other factors. Epsilon Theory disclaims any obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or views expressed herein. This information is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of any offer to buy any securities. This commentary has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. Epsilon Theory recommends that investors independently evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of a financial advisor. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives.