Past Event

Wuhan: How the COVID-19 Outbreak in China Spiraled Out of Control

March 21, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Event time is displayed in your time zone.
School of International and Public Affairs, 420 West 118th Street, Room 918, New York, NY 10027

Speaker: Dali Yang, William Claude Reavis Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago

Opening Remarks: Qin Gao, Professor and Associate Dean for Doctoral Education, Director of China Center for Social Policy, Columbia University School of Social Work

Moderator: Junyan Jiang, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Columbia University

Discussant: Xiaobo Lü, Professor, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science, Barnard College

The Covid-19 pandemic, which began as an outbreak in Wuhan in late 2019, has claimed millions of lives and caused unprecedented disruptions. Despite its generation-defining significance, there has been a surprising lack of independent research examining the decisions and measures implemented in the weeks leading up to the Wuhan lockdown, as well as the missteps and shortcomings that allowed the novel coronavirus to spread with minimal hindrance. In this book talk, Wuhan: How the COVID-19 Outbreak in China Spiraled Out of Control, Dali L. Yang scrutinizes China's emergency response to the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, delving into the government's handling of epidemic information and the decisions that influenced the scale and scope of the outbreak. Yang's research reveals that China's health decision-makers and experts had an excellent head start when they implemented a health emergency action program to respond to the outbreak at the end of December 2019. With granular detail and compelling immediacy, Yang investigates the political and bureaucratic processes that hindered information flows and sharing, as well as the cognitive framework that limited understanding of the virus's contagiousness and hampered effective decisions and enabled the outbreak to spiral out of control. 

This event is hosted by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and co-sponsored by the China Center for Social Policy and China and the World Program,


  • To attend this event in-person, please register HERE.
  • To attend this event online, please register HERE.

Contact Information

Julie Kwan

[email protected]

2024.03.21 - Wuhan COVID 19 Event - Banner