Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 01, 2020

Novel Coronavirus Defies Conspiracy Theories As Data Shows Its Coming Decline

There are first signs that the novel Cornoavirus  (nCoV19) epidemic will come to an end within a month or so. An analysis from the Chinese media house Caixin provides the newest numbers (machine translated):

[O]n January 31, 2020, 2102 new cases of new coronavirus were diagnosed nationwide, 46 deaths were added, and 5019 suspected cases were added which increased by 6.1%, 7.0%, and 4.3% respectively compared with the previous day, and increased by 21.8%, 29.0%, and 23.3% respectively compared with the average of the previous three days.

There are some 12.000 recognized infected persons in total. More than 99.9% of all nCoV19 cases are in China. The growth per day is still strong but not exponential. With people now traveling less from, to and within China the epidemic will likely stay contained.

We had documented in an earlier post that neither the infectiousness nor the mortality of the novel Cornoavirus are especially severe. This New York Times graphic also explains that.


More from Caixin (machine translated):

As of January 31, the cumulative number of severe cases accounted for 15.8% of the confirmed cases, and the mortality rate (accumulated death cases accounted for the cumulative confirmed cases) has remained at the level of 2.2% for 3 consecutive days.

Both numbers are relatively low and here are the first signs that the epidemic is coming to a halt:

The current situation of the new coronavirus epidemic situation is still serious, the epidemic situation is still spreading and spreading throughout the country, and the number of newly diagnosed cases has increased. At the same time, the growth rate of confirmed cases nationwide has also shown signs of decline. The number of newly cured cases on the 30th and 31st days exceeded the number of new deaths.

The declining growth rate proves that the quite extreme quarantine measure China has taken are very effective.

New test kits for the novel coronavirus have been developed and were approved by the Chinese regulator NMPA (vid). These new kits allow new patients to be tested in just 30 minutes. People who have a normal flu can now be early on distinguished from those who have caught the virus.

The graph of new suspected cases per day (yellow) is flattening while the number of newly confirmed cases per day (red) is now linear and starts to show a slight decrease.

 Source: Dxybigger

Unless something unforeseen happens we are now coming near to the top of the epidemic. The number of new infections per day may soon start to decrease.

All this is good news. The Global Times is already pushing for new economic measures to increase growth when the epidemic is over.

But there is also bad news in that some people use the epidemic to profit from it.

There have been a number of conspiracy stories which make totally unfounded claims that the virus is a bio weapon or that it escaped from a high security bio lab in Wuhan or was intentionally created or released by Chinese researchers. To use such fantasies to then dox a researcher is irresponsible.

The novel coronavirus is NOT a bioweapon. No military will develop a weapon that kills only 2% of those affected by it. A real bio weapon would also spread much faster.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory are first class medical research institutions with many global cooperation agreements. The laboratory was built after China had been hit by the SARS epidemic. It is the only one in China that has a Bio Safety Level of 4:

BSL-4 labs are rare. However some do exist in a small number of places in the US and around the world. As the highest level of biological safety, a BSL-4 lab consists of work with highly dangerous and exotic microbes. Infections caused by these types of microbes are frequently fatal, and come without treatment or vaccines. Two examples of such microbes include Ebola and Marburg viruses.

In addition to BSL-3 considerations, BSL-4 laboratories have the following containment requirements:

  • Personnel are required to change clothing before entering, shower upon exiting
  • Decontamination of all materials before exiting
  • Personnel must wear appropriate personal protective equipment from prior BSL levels, as well as a full body, air-supplied, positive pressure suit
  • A Class III biological safety cabinet

A BSL-4 laboratory is extremely isolated—often located in a separate building or in an isolated and restricted zone of the building. The laboratory also features a dedicated supply and exhaust air, as well as vacuum lines and decontamination systems.

The U.S. has at least 13 such labs. Some of those are used by the military and may be used for bio weapon research. But most are medical research facilities.

The laboratory in Wuhan is specialized on viruses that are typical for the larger area. Some of its leaders are researching why bats are not affected by the viruses that they carry and which can kill people. SARS is known to have emerged from bats. Knowing how a bat's protection mechanism works could help to create better vaccines.

To jump from those facts to unfounded speculations and to accusing the researchers of having developed the nCoV19 or of spreading it is truly nefarious.

Aside from conspiracy nutters there is one serious suggestion that the novel coronavirus may indeed be something special.

A number of Indian researchers have self-published a paper that claims that the 'building plan' of the novel coronavirus, its RNA, contains elements of the HIV-1 Aids virus RNA. The paper was NOT peer reviewed and two researchers in microbiology I have contacted have, like me, doubts about its conclusions.

The paper confirms that the novel coronavirus is related to the virus that caused the SARS epidemic:

Our phylogentic tree of full-length coronaviruses suggests that 2019-nCoV is closely related to SARS CoV [Fig 1]. In addition, other recent studies have linked the 2019-nCoV to SARS CoV.

The researchers then sequenced 6 strings which form a part of the RNA of the novel corona virus. They find that there are four short insertions that distinguish it from the SARS virus:

We then translated the aligned genome and found that these inserts are present in all Wuhan 2019-nCoV viruses except the 2019-nCoV virus of Bat as a host [Fig.S4]. Intrigued by the 4 highly conserved inserts unique to 2019-nCoV we wanted to understand their origin. For this purpose, we used the 2019-nCoV local alignment with each insert as query against all virus genomes and considered hits with 100% sequence coverage. Surprisingly, each of the four inserts aligned with short segments of the Human immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) proteins.

The inserts in the 1387 units long string which also occur in HIV-1 have a length of 6 to 8. They are in my estimate too few and too short to make a statistically viable case. But the researchers suggest, without providing a statistical model or calculations, that these are not only significant but probably artificial:

Although, the 4 inserts represent discontiguous short stretches of amino acids in spike glycoprotein of 2019-nCoV, the fact that all three of them share amino acid identity or similarity with HIV-1 gp120 and HIV-1 Gag (among all annotated virus proteins) suggests that this is not a random fortuitous finding. In other words, one may sporadically expect a fortuitous match for a stretch of 6-12 contiguous amino acid residues in an unrelated protein. However, it is unlikely that all 4 inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike glycoprotein fortuitously match with 2 key structural proteins of an unrelated virus (HIV-1).

The math that would support the assertion that it is unlikely that short sequences in parts of nConV19 and HIV-1 amino acid strings are identical is not in the paper. I doubt that the researchers made the necessary calculations.

The researchers then show that the insertions may help to form a part of the binding structure that allows the virus to attach to a host cell. They conclude:

This uncanny similarity of novel inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag is unlikely to be fortuitous.


Taken together, our findings suggest unconventional evolution of 2019-nCoV that warrants further investigation.

What those researchers found is interesting. It suggests that something modified the SARS virus RNA by adding four small elements from HIV-1 to create nCoV19. If this is proven correct it might help to find a vaccine against nCoV19.

But the conclusions are in my view too strong and not substantiated enough to make them fully acceptable. While the similarities may not be 'fortuitous' they may make evolutionary sense and may have evolved through some natural process which is not 'unconventional'. If a host (a bat or human) carries the HIV-1 virus and the SARS virus might the replications of those viruses mix?

The presented paper nowhere tests or discusses that hypothesis.

The authors may well deserve more research money for the 'warranted further investigations' but that should be decided only after other experts have discussed their proposition.

Posted by b on February 1, 2020 at 20:08 UTC | Permalink

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If there is a smoking gun to be found, it will be reserved to a few experts who add biological and mathematical expertise. On one side, average Joe will never understand it, and he will believe what pleases him. On the other side, those who made the bioweapon will not have left a clue so obvious that the HIV, nevertheless they perhaps had left non-obvious clues. I mean,even if they were experts in bioweapon design, they probably weren't experts to correctly estimate the possibility that non-obvious could be discovered. Those who are not seasoned in the use of mathematical probabilities for valuation of an hypothesis, they underestimate both 1) how it could be tricky and 2) how it could be superpowerful.

Another point is that it would take time. My "nose in the wind "tells me several months. Look how Pietri Krohn shows that the very decent expert from US academic got it wrong with p-shutlle. Of course this wrong p-shuttle idea exonerates the US and charges the Chinese... On the reverse side, the only scientist who supported a little bit the HIV theory is a Chinese... With such partisanship, you know how slow will be real progress of the controversy between experts. As Tocqueville said once:"Every possible wrong ideas will be tried before the correct one." Fortunately most scientists are less stubborn than ordinary people when the wrongness of their idea has been demonstrated.

Here is my best scenario for the bioweapon hypothesis: the Chineses knew something like that was coming. Prefabricated hospitals were ready to be deployed by military (they actually had and deployed them). At the same time they sent their best scientist in North America for him to discover which virus was prepared. The Chinese scientist got it in the Canadian laboratory. He got discovered when sending the sample to China. Of course from a US POV he was a spy. This is correct. What is not plausible is the Chineses would have leaked that sample ( or something derived from it), just after the "spy"was discovered. The odds of such a timeline coincidence are not high. On the contrarian side, the time coincidence is "natural and canny" if the virus release was part of a US plan . I mean "There is correlation between A and B because C is both the cause of A and the cause of B". Otherwise said "the US plan (C) is the cause for both the virus release (A) and the skripal-like story (B) of the Chinese spy.
Someone would perhaps say the spy story was nothing more than an anti China propaganda story which was made up from a nothingburger. In that case this propaganda would be unwise: since it tells that nCov or its precursor was in North America, the story could fireback. Therefore the choice is only between the official story and something akin to my scenario.

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Feb 7 2020 21:03 utc | 301


I saw the Tencent leak on zerohedge. Do you know of a more serious source for that story?

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Feb 7 2020 21:14 utc | 302

Thanks for the thoughtful response, Parisian Guy. Makes sense.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 7 2020 21:53 utc | 303

I dunno. For a country of almost 1.5 billion people, after a month, including the 2 weeks incubation period, only a bit more than 600 people dead - how many have died in traffic accidents or tobacco-caused lungcancer in China the last month?
I remember all the hysteria in mass media because of the bird- and swine flus (what´s "flue" in plural anyway?); it doesnt seem like such a big deal? While on the other hand, the pharmaceuthical-industrial complex have every reason for people to panic, so they can sell their products.
Or maybe I´m just uneducated.

Posted by: Dave | Feb 7 2020 21:54 utc | 304

White House asks scientists to investigate origins of coronavirus
"The director of the OSTP, Kelvin Droegemeier, wrote in the letter to the president of the National Academy of Sciences, Marcia McNutt, that a widely disputed paper on the origins -- subsequently withdrawn -- had shown the urgency for accurate information about the genesis of the outbreak...
ABC News' Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton asked the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease about concerns that stem from misinformation online that the novel coronavirus could have been engineered or deliberately released.
"There's always that concern," Dr. Anthony Fauci said. "And one of the things that people are doing right now is very carefully looking at sequences to see if there's even any possibility much less likelihood that that's going on. And you could ultimately determine that. So people are looking at it, but right now, the focus is on what are we going to do about what we have."
What are the odds the White House would open the question of possible bio-engineering of the coronavirus to the American public's imagination before they knew the answer to that question?

Posted by: Bruce | Feb 8 2020 2:11 utc | 305

Pangolins Latest Animal Identified as Intermediate Coronavirus Host

Long story short: the trafficking of pangolins infected bats, which infected humans after a series of mutations etc. etc.

If confirmed, then this is really poetic justice - a devastating blow to this anachronistic, senseless superstition which still survives from the feudal (imperial) times. The CCP is more than late in banning what is left of superstition (religion) in China - they already crack down the Christians and Muslims, I don't see why they should treat old Chinese paganism differently.

Posted by: vk | Feb 8 2020 2:55 utc | 306

Below is a ZH link that is not optimistic

Optimism Fades As Virus Deaths Jump To 724; 190K Under Observation; Drop In New Cases Reverses Higher

The take away quote

Confirmed cases rise to just shy of 35K in China and 24 other countries, deaths surge by 86 to 722, set to surpass SARS total in hours; total number of people under observation jumps to an all time high of 189,660.
Suspected cases rose to 27,657 from 26,359 the day before, with 6,107 people in in serious/critical condition. Patients who have recovered jumped to 2,050,
6,107 people are in serious/critical condition
Reporter says 'real' death toll could be closer to 20k
German scientists say coronavirus can survive for 9 days on surfaces
Chinese quarantine expanded to Guangzhou; 400 million now on lockdown
Singapore raises response level to Orange
Hong Kong confirms case No. 25
Death of Dr. Li stokes demands for more free speech in China

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 8 2020 5:13 utc | 307

Below is another ZH link and associated take away quote about their (ZH) recent banning from Twitter over this

White House Asks Scientists To Investigate Whether 2019-nCoV Was Bio-Engineered

The take away quote
Of course, when Zero Hedge suggested the same thing, highlighting key personnel in the Wuhan lab that were publicly acknowledged as responsible for that research, we were immediately banned by Twitter. We look forward to reading Buzzfeed's article decrying The White House for daring to ask questions about the origin of this deadly pandemic.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 8 2020 6:56 utc | 308

Below is a short Reuters posting I found educational

BEIJING (Reuters) - A 60-year old U.S. citizen diagnosed with coronavirus died at Jinyintan Hospital in China’s Wuhan on Feb. 6, a U.S. embassy spokesman in Beijing said on Saturday, in what appeared to be the first death of an American from the outbreak.

“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” the spokesman told Reuters. “Out of the respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment.”

As of noon Thursday, there had been 19 cases of foreigners infected with the coronavirus, of which two had been discharged from hospital and 17 were being quarantined and treated, Hua Chunying, spokeswoman at the Chinese foreign ministry, told reporters at a regular briefing last Thursday.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 8 2020 7:31 utc | 309

clickkid | Feb 6 2020 12:49 utc | 291:

China reducing tariffs on US goods is another good indicator we're dealing with bio-terrorism. Adding to psychohistorian's post @309, the US citizen is a woman (Bloomberg News) but they made no mention of ethnicity. In the end, if this only targeted a specific ethnic group, I can guarantee everyone here, there will be retribution down the road. Just like Iran, they'll chose the time and place (should they survive).

vk | Feb 8 2020 2:55 utc | 306:

Easier said than done. It's not about treating paganism differently from the Abrahamic religions. Look at Christianity as an example. Regardless of the origins of this outbreak, this incident will burn deeply into the memories of the populace. The Chinese government can use this outbreak to their advantage (never let a crisis go to waste) in convincing the populace to abandon age-old superstitions.

Posted by: Ian2 | Feb 8 2020 9:12 utc | 310

I did a year long work term in Fujian and after seeing the ridiculous stuff their media puts out I have a healthy skepticism of relying too fully on any numbers the party controlled media is releasing. How closely the mortality rate has hovered around 2.2% feels suspicious to me, with other viral outbreaks the numbers seem to have gone up and down so much that a firm mortality rate is only established after the outbreak ends... I guess this could just be a remarkably consistent killer, but it feels odd.

I think the folks quarantined on the cruise ship are really going to be telling based on how many that catch the virus end up dying, even with a small sample size like that, if the mortality rate is significantly higher than 2% I know I'm going to be keeping a 3 month supply of food and water on hand, as my Oma used to tell us kinder, esser zu haben und nicht zu brauchen, als zu brauchen und nicht zu haben.

I hope I just have some borderline paranoia going on, but if this thing was a lot more serious than it is I wouldn't put it past the Communist Party for one second to try to keep a lid on it to avoid even more damage to their economy, food inflation, etc. Sure hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: Greg G. | Feb 11 2020 7:16 utc | 311

@Greg G. 311

esser zu haben und nicht zu brauchen, als zu brauchen und nicht zu haben

yep. I too have been stocking up, we are told to do so anyways in case of a earth quake/volcano event here where i reside, so i guess its just good sense to do so.

i feart he economical crash caused by this 'misadventure' more then the medical one at this time. mind that can change tho over the next few days/weeks/month.

we live in interesting times.

Posted by: Sabine | Feb 11 2020 7:39 utc | 312

I'm stocking up, but on ammo instead of canned goods. A few hundred rounds of ammunition is much more portable than hundreds of cans of tuna, and the ammo will get you a better variety of canned stuff. Now I just gotta hack me a list addresses of establishment Democrat supporters (anybody who contributed to Biden or Butt-gig or Warren) and visit them after the SHTF as it will be easier to "convince" unarmed people to "share" their stockpiles of chicken soup and dried legumes.


Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 11 2020 11:09 utc | 313

@ Posted by: Greg G. | Feb 11 2020 7:16 utc | 311

Of course the number of the quarantined cruise ship are going to the through the roof (both in infected and in mortality): the Japanese government has basically condemned everybody on board to death by blockading them from exiting the ship (and I'm not readin about "Japanese authoritarism" for that).

Even the people not infected will get infected in the cruise ship. The Japanese are slow, they do not have the infrastructure to test all of those people in one day; so they are probably testing batches. Japanese inneficiency will kill a lot of people in that ship.


@ Posted by: Greg G. | Feb 11 2020 7:16 utc | 311

Fair enough. But that doesn't make the Western MSM reliable either.

Two wrongs don't make a right - they still make two wrongs. That is, unless you're a Christian, then in this case I think you can do whatever you want as long as God forgives you.

Posted by: vk | Feb 11 2020 11:30 utc | 314

Dave | Feb 7 2020 21:54 utc | 304
Yeah, why is the world freaking out over those figures when according to the CDC in the period october 1 2019 and feb 1 2020, a period of 4 months, between 12,000 and 30,000 amerikans have died of the flu.
Setting aside the fact that if those figures came outta China that "between 12,000 and 30,000 figure simply would not be tolerated, it would be translated by a crudely subjective western 'media', as 30,000 plus Chinese have died,. Therefore it behoves us normal humans to ask, "Why the hysteria?"

To which I will reply "simple but entirely unsupported by fact, my good man, I have a theory."

I offer no evidence which directly supports this, but my theory is that as any human being who has more than half a wit knows, the borrow, boom, bust, us dollar-powered western economic system is about to go down the gurgler.

Blind Freddie only has to look at the drop in retail sales over the holiday season, sales which include all the 'black Fridays' etc, plus amazon and other 'e-retailers' all show a seriously wounded market, to conclude, 'send lawyers, guns & money, the shit has hit the fan'.

Now it takes very little wit to comprehend when the bourgeois west wakes up to the mess banks plus crooked politicians have foisted on them, that neither breed of unrepentant arsehole will be allowed to live rich and/or free any longer. The sick 'austerity' programs which had Jo/Joe Shitkicker providing life support to the greedy monkey on every bourgeois human's back couldn't be given a re-run without riots & possibly revolution - maybe not in the heavily indoctrinated amerika, but certainly in other less propagandized whitefella territories - and it would spread.

Coronavirus is the solution to that. For the last few days all the media has been running stories about how coronavirus will knock economies for six.

see here, here and here. The NYT, had many such stories like this but I got bored emptying cookies, by all means check it out yerself.

I have no idea whether the disease was planted on China by amerika as so many have been in the past or whether this is just typical bankster opportunism.

In my mind it doesn't matter, for me the most important thing is to get the squeaky wheels of the tumbrels shrieking again. Many thousands of decent humans will be sentenced to death by those greedies and their virus beat-up just so some worthless fuck doesn't have to give up their special spot in the line.

Posted by: A User | Feb 11 2020 11:52 utc | 315

William Gruff | Feb 11 2020 11:09 utc | 313

When it's gone, it's gone. It's gone, it never Pinter's Nobel Speech...

Build a powder mill?... the non-sparking screen is the tricky part...

Stock up on dried urine, stainless screen, sulfur, and basic old bess - flints. Learn how to make beer... They say Putin likes it.

Then there's sticks and stones...bow does not give away your position.

Seriously amigo - try maintaining life with "5 elements". No workie. No 'lectricity, no gas...

And a mine-shaft gap!

Consent Factory>

"One of the most complicated and frustrating aspects of operating a global capitalist empire is maintaining the fiction that it doesn’t exist. Virtually every action you take has to be carefully recontextualized or otherwise spun for public consumption. Every time you want to bomb or invade some country to further your interests, you have to mount a whole PR campaign. You can’t even appoint a sadistic torture freak to run your own coup-fomenting agency, or shoot a few thousand unarmed people you’ve imprisoned in a de facto ghetto, without having to do a big song and dance about “defending democracy” and “democratic values.” "

The TUC (time of useful consciousness) ended at Trinity.

Posted by: Walter | Feb 11 2020 13:21 utc | 316

Walter @316

Mine shafts are not really an option when the water table is six inches below the tops of the grass on your lawn (Gen. Buck would be disappointed in my fatalistic lack of can-do spirit in that regard) and what passes for bedrock is the limestone equivalent of Swiss cheese. Suspect by next year the lawn will have to be let go a bit to keep the grass tips that high above the water table, but then we all know that sea level rise is a figment of our collective imaginations.

No sulfur deposits in the neighborhood, unfortunately, so I'll have to rely upon my not-insignificant atlatl skills once the slug caster goes slugless. Prior efforts to grind up my own bang powder even with store-bought ingredients yielded less than perfect results anyway.

With that being said, there is this old sugar shack way up in the Great White North where I once spent a summer (and a fall and a winter) doing the HD Thoreau thing. Getting there would likely be several moons of travel in a post-civilization environment, but it would be a good destination to aim for since I left a survival cache nearby. That cache included reloading gear and a lifetime supply of smokeless and primers sealed in plastic crates filled with hundreds of pounds of wax. I'm pretty sure that stuff doesn't have a shelf life. Unfortunately, there would be nobody nearby to use the freshly pressed cartridges for robbing of canned goods, so the whole effort to get there would be wasted unless I were to stoop to actually hunting. If I were willing to put that much effort into surviving then why not just stay here and get my protein from the sea?

Jocularity aside, my point was that most people's planning for the Apocalypse is based upon assumptions that won't survive the end of civilization.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 11 2020 15:06 utc | 317

Do you still stand by this crap? Over in 1 month and the disease is on the decline?

Posted by: Shane LEVENE | Feb 16 2020 7:24 utc | 318

William Gruff | Feb 11 2020 15:06 utc | 317 (just a reply in spirit)

Yup. Lean times. I recall a US submarine skipper's story - he'd obey and launch, then surface and invite the crew topside with fishing equipment.

Which reminds me of the FAR SIDE cartoon of the guys fishing and seeing the mushroom clouds on the horizon,,,"you know what this means, Norm?" sez one fella. He goes on..."No limit and no license!"

When they did Trinity they FUBARED big time...opened Pandora's Magic Box.

Posted by: Walter | Feb 16 2020 13:16 utc | 319

A User @315 says:

I offer no evidence which directly supports this, but my theory is that as any human being who has more than half a wit knows, the borrow, boom, bust, us dollar-powered western economic system is about to go down the gurgler

the latest 'evidence' is apparently for those with less than half a wit...

China, the world's second largest economy, pretty much everyone else's number one trading partner, has in the last few weeks ground to a halt economically. literally.

in that same span of time the DOW hit record highs, i believe twice.


Posted by: john | Feb 16 2020 13:53 utc | 320

"I cleaned out a number of trash comments and responses to them."

Why would you do that? You are talking here about the lack of transparency and the cover-up of information an yet you are doing the same: culling the words you don't like or have no response to and leaving those that please you. That is no different to the corruption and the whitewashing of information that we see in our governments. Once again it shows, that even with the most pathetic an petty of power, people are eager to use it. What the hell would you do if you had any real power? You'd be as tyrannical and conceited as the best of them. Shame on you. If it's trash and nonsense then I think people here will have the intelligence to dismiss it themselves. But who are you to decide what people get to see or read or not? Yep, you're just as rotten as anyone else, just you've never had a position of authority to really show how deep rooted it is.

Posted by: Shane LEVENE | Feb 16 2020 15:19 utc | 321

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