Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 27, 2020

As Virus Spreads Over The Planet Governments Are Slow To React

After a uneven first response China did its very best to limit the spread of the nCov-19 virus and the Covid-19 disease the virus causes. The extreme quarantine, which began in mid January, has come at a great economic cost but bought the rest of the world time to prepare for the inevitable surfacing of the virus in other countries.

Unfortunately many governments did not use the month given to them and botched their responses. The number of newly confirmed cases per day outside of China is now bigger than the new daily number inside of China. South Korea alone reported 334 new confirmed cases today while the much larger China only reported 433.


China has shown that it is possible to successfully fight and stop the epidemic. Unfortunately other countries are not ready to follow its example. This is now making it likely that the epidemic in China will become a pandemic and will spread mostly uninhibited all over the globe.

South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy and the U.S. are now the countries which will see the next great impacts. Other countries will follow in a third wave as Brazil, Pakistan, North Macedonia, Greece, Georgia, Algeria, Norway and Romania all saw their first cases in the last 24 hours.

The wide spread in South Korea came through a religious cult which demands mandatory participation in overcrowded services. It was patient 31 and her contact with 1160 other persons that led to the wider spread:

It’s not clear where Patient 31 became infected with the virus, but in the days before her diagnosis, she travelled to crowded spots in Daegu, as well as in the capital Seoul. On February 6 she was in a minor traffic accident in Daegu, and checked herself into an Oriental medicine hospital. While at that hospital, she attended services at the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, on February 9 and again on February 16.

In between those visits, on February 15, doctors at the hospital said they first suggested she be tested for the coronavirus, as she had a high fever. Instead, the woman went to a buffet lunch with a friend at a hotel. In an interview with local newspaper JoongAng Ilbo, the woman denied that doctors had advised her to be tested. As her symptoms worsened, however, doctors say they once again advised her to be tested. On February 17, she finally went to another hospital for the test. The next day, health authorities announced she was the country’s 31st confirmed case. In only a matter of days, those numbers had soared as hundreds of people at the Shincheonji Church and surrounding areas tested positive.

The quarantine of a whole cruise ship in Japan and the incompetent bureaucratic response to it made a further spread in that country inevitable:

On Saturday, the health minister admitted that 23 passengers had been released from the ship without taking a valid recent test and had traveled by public transit after disembarking this past week.

Now that the quarantine has ended and most of the passengers have left, the concern is that they could start spreading the virus on shore.

Japan now has 200 cases and its government has decided to close all schools throughout March.

In Iran the epidemic came from China with people who went to Qom for religious training. The spiritual center of Iran has many religious schools and universities and many pilgrim visit the shrines in the city. They contributed to the further spread of the virus. Iran now has a total of 254 confirmed cases including two lawmakers, a vice president and a deputy minister.

The Iranian government first blamed foreign broadcasts in Farsi language for creating a panic. That was not without reason when one consider the racist reporting like in the New York Times: ‘Recipe for a Massive Viral Outbreak’: Iran Emerges as a Worldwide Threat. The Gulfnews even blamed Iran for all Covid-19 cases in the Middle East while the first cases in the Emirates came from contacts with Chinese tourists.

Yesterday Iran still rejected closing its shrines and to prohibited religious services. Today it canceled tomorrows Friday prayers.

Italy has some 400 cases of which 190 are confirmed. It put 55,000 residents in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto under lockdown.

The above countries have now grasped the severity of the issue. The Trump administration seems to be far behind them.

The U.S. is likely to already have a significant number of cases but a lack of testing capacity has made any realistic estimate impossible.

Chinese scientists had published the genome sequence of the virus on January 12 and, based on it, developed test kits within a few days. The U.S. Center of Disease Control and Prevention also developed a test kit but had problems with its first version and its wider distribution. More than a month later it is still not ready for the foreseeable need:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn’t yet ready to detect whether the coronavirus is spreading across the country.

Just 12 of more than 100 public health labs in the U.S. are currently able to diagnose the coronavirus because of problems with a test developed by the CDC, potentially slowing the response if the virus starts taking hold here. The faulty test has also delayed a plan to widely screen people with symptoms of respiratory illness who have tested negative for influenza to detect whether the coronavirus may be stealthily spreading.
Only six states — California, Nebraska, Illinois, Nevada, Tennessee, and Idaho — are now testing for the virus, the Association of Public Health Laboratories told POLITICO.
Under current rules, each positive test must be confirmed by a second round of testing at the CDC. [Director Robert Redfield] told lawmakers that the agency can now screen 350-500 samples per day.
“I understand very much the FDA is focused on quality control, but there’s also a need to have a system that can respond to their needs,” [Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiology professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health,] said. “China tested 320,000 people in Guangdong over a three-week period. This is the scale we need to be thinking on.”

A case in Los Angeles shows where this leads to:

It took several days to test a coronavirus patient in Northern California who might be the first to have contracted the disease through community exposure in the United States.

The individual is a resident of Solano County and is receiving medical care in Sacramento County, according to the state Department of Public Health.

UC Davis officials said the patient arrived at UC Davis Medical Center from another hospital Feb. 19. But the patient was not tested until Feb. 23.

The test results were only known three days later.

Under the U.S. medical system testing will be expensive for the patients. Insurances may not pay for it. Many people will be unable or unwilling to spend money on it. Care for serious cases will also be limited by high prices. This guarantees that the virus will spread further. China was smart enough to guarantee 100% state coverage for testing and all necessary care. The U.S. should follow that principle but is  unlikely to do so.

Trump announced that Vice-President Pence, a man who does not believe in science, will lead the response. The libertarian and neo-liberal approach to the problem will further the epidemic's growth. Only after it becomes really severe will the necessary measures be taken. 

To assess the wider global impact of the pandemic this table is most helpful:

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). This probability differs depending on the age group. The percentage shown does NOT represent in any way the share of deaths by age group. Rather, it represents, for a person in a given age group, the risk of dying if infected with COVID-19.

In an unrestricted pandemic the virus will infect between 40 to 70 percent of the population. The virus is more deadly than a normal flu but mostly for elderly people with severe preconditions. Children and grown ups in their most productive years can carry the virus without showing symptoms and will only rarely become critical cases. This guarantees that our societies will continue to function. The pandemic will have severe, but not catastrophic, economic consequences as quarantines and fear will limit production and trade on all levels.

Trump's reelection chances are sinking as Covid-19 cases rise. The incompetence of his administration will come under new light. The stock markets will continue to tumble and erase the economic gains Trump had claimed. Bernie Sanders' chances of winning, if he survives the pandemic, will increase as his prime campaign promise -Medicare for all- will become even more acceptable when the problems with the current U.S. healthcare system come under new public scrutiny.

There are only few personal measures one can take to protect oneself from exposure. One should avoid personal contacts where possible. Wearing a mask, unless it is a special N-95 respirator which also makes it difficult to breathe, does not prevent one from catching the virus. But infected persons should use masks to protect those they may come in contact with from droplet infections. Stocking up on basic foodstuff and other needs might help to avoid potential shortages.

Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the issue:

Posted by b on February 27, 2020 at 16:53 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Disaster capitalism ... now in convenient droplet form.

Coming to an unwashed hand nearest you.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Retiring "unproductive assets" = new stock market highs.



Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 27 2020 17:09 utc | 1

Thank you for this summary.
The mixture of pandemic plus medicine for profit is going to prove, in the most graphic way, that the time has come for humanity to learn how to govern itself rationally.
In the UK, where the NHS is strained to breaking point by the financial demands of the various vampire corporations fastened onto it, panels of 'wise men' are said to be ready to deny treatment to those most vulnerable.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 27 2020 17:13 utc | 2

Is this the first 'BioHack' kind of thing ? Scary enough!
Wasn't China that fist boasted a few months ago of GMO Human babies ? Is it payback ( earthly or beyond ?? )

Posted by: gofigure | Feb 27 2020 17:16 utc | 3

Hi b,
considering your list of 'Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the issue' it seems as there were not only the Governments to appease and react too slowly.
Sans rancune

Posted by: Brown Dwarf | Feb 27 2020 17:33 utc | 4

Nicely engineered little Logan's Run wannabe pension bill cutter!

Posted by: Ilya G Poimandres | Feb 27 2020 17:38 utc | 5

Bernie Sanders' chances to win, if he survives the pandemic, will increase


Posted by: radiator | Feb 27 2020 17:46 utc | 6

Hi All

Anyone want a CRISPPR/Cas9 and some samples of Yersinia Pestis to make funny DIY genomics in your garages?:

Science is opening more and more Pandora's Boxes (nuclear, thermonuclear, genomic, chemical, AI, etc...) so it is a matter of time that we, as civilization of even as species, end running out of luck

Posted by: DFC | Feb 27 2020 17:52 utc | 7

The MSM blame on Iran is concerted. A French gov radio (France Culture 12:30 news) was speaking today of the several "civil wars" in Iran that would have left the health system in a bad shape.

Posted by: Mina | Feb 27 2020 17:54 utc | 8

At CDC it is important to know how to kiss ass, administer contracts, do public relations, organize meetings, and write memos. Actual medical and research skills are far, far, far down the list. Everything they do is contracted out and takes forever to happen. It is impossible for the bureaucracy to respond to a crisis. One might as well ask a whale to walk on land.

US peons are about to find out just what it means to live in a crumbling, hollowed-out empire-shell made of corruption and incompetence. Hint: it's gonna suck.

(Here is an article that explains why I hate CDC: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the CDC: A Long, Tangled Tale)

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Feb 27 2020 18:00 utc | 9

The Revenge of the Intelligent. That is what this is. Too bad it has backfired and seems to kill the Elderly at a much higher rate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn’t yet ready to detect whether the coronavirus is spreading across the country.

Just 12 of more than 100 public health labs in the U.S. are currently able to diagnose the coronavirus because of problems with a test developed by the CDC, potentially slowing the response if the virus starts taking hold here. The faulty test has also delayed a plan to widely screen people with symptoms of respiratory illness who have tested negative for influenza to detect whether the coronavirus may be stealthily spreading.
Only six states — California, Nebraska, Illinois, Nevada, Tennessee, and Idaho — are now testing for the virus, the Association of Public Health Laboratories told POLITICO.
Under current rules, each positive test must be confirmed by a second round of testing at the CDC. [Director Robert Redfield] told lawmakers that the agency can now screen 350-500 samples per day.
“I understand very much the FDA is focused on quality control, but there’s also a need to have a system that can respond to their needs,” [Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiology professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health,] said. “China tested 320,000 people in Guangdong over a three-week period. This is the scale we need to be thinking on.”

Stupid is as Stupid does. Totally inexcusable for the lack of a test, but exactly what would be the most certain outcome with the pseudo education in the US for the last 30 years.

Posted by: Tick Tock 17 | Feb 27 2020 18:01 utc | 10

B said, in part;"The Trump administration seems to be far behind them."

Gee imagine that. For DJT and his merry band of grifters, this virus is just a liberal plot to hinder their ability to make money, and disparage DJT's admin.

When asked if, and when, a counter measure is produced, would the vaccine be affordable to everyone, they replied; We'll let the "market" decide that.

Incredible, but, consistently mercenary in today's " if you can't afford die" mentality, here in the U$A..

And, last December, they cut the budget for the CDC (center for disease control)...

Posted by: ben | Feb 27 2020 18:04 utc | 11

B: China has shown that it is possible to successfully fight and stop the epidemic. Unfortunately other countries are not ready to follow its example

Seriously, are you seriously considering that our Governments should simply put us all under lock in our flats and maybe some government camps for the homeless for weeks/month on end as a 'successful fith' and stop the epidemic.

And considering that the 'epidemic' is spreading who successful what that fight that china put up?

But seriously, are y'all having some 4 - 12 weeks of provisions at home to survive when that lock up comes down. Because to me it seems that some don't have that thought out.

Also any anything to say at all about the fact that China has locked up 600 odd million people and our 'pundits' inclusive B here seem ok with that, for a flu that literally seems to be a nothing burger, was described here as a nothing burger, but warrants the lock up of whole countries.
Good grief, but honestly we deserve the leadership we have.

As for Trump, he now has a reason to lock up the country, lock people up in their homes, declare a national emergency, cancel elections, round up people who won't comply with the 'lock yourself up for weeks in end without any income, access to food, medical supplies etc etc etc' and finally the 'fema' camps will get a work out. lol. We have reached beyond the point of stupidity and idiocy and are now simply going feral.

Posted by: Sabine | Feb 27 2020 18:07 utc | 12

all the errors above are mine, instead of preview i hit post. doh!

Posted by: Sabine | Feb 27 2020 18:08 utc | 13

@b about the survival of Bernie, how dare you!? Circeeeee... where are you... to prove He is immortal.

Posted by: albagen | Feb 27 2020 18:09 utc | 14

as for the death rate, the flu kills generally the elderly, the very young and those with less then healthy immune system.
So really, what about this illness is it that has them shitting their pants and locking up hundreds of millions of people for weeks/month on end.
Cause the rest is all bullshit.

Posted by: Sabine | Feb 27 2020 18:12 utc | 15

Bernie is more likely to survive the virus than the Dem primary

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Feb 27 2020 18:14 utc | 16

The article states that some masks are ineffective against the virus. I have an old US Navy Mark IV gas mask. Would this work or not?

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Feb 27 2020 18:25 utc | 17

Appointing Pence head of the coronavirus response may have been a smart move by Trump. When the pandemic hits big time, exposing the mass incompetence and unpreparedness of the US government, in combination with the tanking of the stock market, Trump can blame Christian Zionist neoconservative Israeli apartheid supporter Pence. He might even dump him and select someone who he thinks will bring in more votes. It won't make any difference; Trump is a goner. This time next year we will have been without the Golden Gollem of Greatness for some 37 days.

Posted by: Joseph Dillard | Feb 27 2020 18:30 utc | 18

One was wondering what could stop Trump from been elected in view of the 'fantastic' boom in USA economy.
Maybe mismanaging Covid will do the job!

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 27 2020 18:32 utc | 19

Could the World Health Organisation's reluctance to declare Covid 19 a pandemic, even though it fulfills its own definition as such, have anything to do with the World Bank holding $425 million of 'Pandemic Bonds' (I kid you not, this is how twisted our elites are..)that are due to mature in July of this year?...

Posted by: Richard | Feb 27 2020 18:35 utc | 20

Outstanding summary, thank you b.

My view:

- Less density, more nature for humans and animals. Cities and factory farms encourage dis-ease, nature encourages ease.

And a random:

I wonder if international diplomatic efforts would yield more fruit if folks barefoot walked through forests, fields, and beaches during negotiations? :)

Posted by: OutOfThinAir | Feb 27 2020 18:37 utc | 21

Trump has 8% chance ....

Posted by: murgen23 | Feb 27 2020 18:38 utc | 22

B you say under the graph that:

"*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). This probability differs depending on the age group. The percentage shown does NOT represent in any way the share of deaths by age group. Rather, it represents, for a person in a given age group, the risk of dying if infected with COVID-19."

In fact the percentage shown DOES represent the share of deaths by age group, because it is defined therein as: "Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases)............." Please tell us how this isn't so.

Posted by: Aaron | Feb 27 2020 18:38 utc | 23

Are we looking closely enough at the possibility that 5G is contributing to the enfeeblement and die off of the population? Wuhan was ground zero for China's rollout of 5G. This video explores the effects of 5G on the bodies uptake of oxygen in the blood. Also, there is evidence that the trash elements in vaccines already received by the population interacts with 5G and adds to the degradation. Lots more insight in this intelligent video by a very smart woman.

Posted by: Andy | Feb 27 2020 18:46 utc | 24

The pharma industry in the US, including the FDA, is as bloated and slow as the MIC. We had better hope that someone (probably Russia or China) will develop treatments faster. Then we will either let people die, or suffer the humiliation of getting help from outside the US ... probably rather let people die.

I also think it seems more likely by the day, that the virus escaped from the Bioresearch lab in Wuhan.

China is going to face a lot of deserved anger if this is ever confirmed, or maybe even if it isn't. If you want to be a top Science country, and play around with something as dangerous as these viruses, you had better know what you are doing. I'm pretty sure there will be some serious changes to protocols and controls in the area in China in any case, but it will be a tragedy if millions die, for China to learn this lesson.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Feb 27 2020 18:48 utc | 25

Let's just remember that Japan and other Western European countries have a disproportional rate of old people in their respective populations. The only thing they have going for them is the fact they have a much lower population density than China. However, if it manages to get into the big centers (Milan, Berlin, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, London, Paris etc.) then Europe will have a problem.

Posted by: vk | Feb 27 2020 18:50 utc | 26

Here is a more serious publication on potential origins of the coronavirus at the research lab in Wuhan ... from a Chinese researcher at the South China University of Technology.


Posted by: SteveK9 | Feb 27 2020 18:55 utc | 27

I still find it odd that the hardest hit areas (Wuhan, an economic hub with high FDI, the two Italian provinces with Presidents of Lega Nord in 2018, and Iran's hokiest city) are this disease's epicenters. South Korea's Patient 31 seems to be responsible for 1,160 contacts, but my paranoia still wonders about SK's sudden spike - President Moon was struggling mightily to be able to build a relationship with NK despite neocon/neoliberal objections, and U.S. demands that SK waste funds desired to build infrastructure to support such a relationship (i.e., rail lines thru NK, etc.) on U.S. military expenses were met with some shock and resentment . . . curious that these hardest hit areas are also "reservoirs" of disillusionment with the U.S.

Posted by: Zee | Feb 27 2020 18:59 utc | 28

Sabine gets to the heart of the issue. It's not about how many people will die. It's about how much economic destruction will happen.

A totalitarian society like China is capable of locking down its people without too much fuss. The economic cost to China will be enormous (10% of GDP, 20%, more?), but they'll get by.

Not so for Americans who will be very unhappy if a total lockdown happens where most schools close, public transit stops, etc. At the very least this will be comparable to the depression of the 1930's.

Forget the masks - I suggest everyone stock up on six months of food, lots of water filtration equipment, and ammo (which will hopefully not be necessary, but better safe than sorry).

Posted by: Don Wills | Feb 27 2020 19:00 utc | 29

Gotta love CNN's guide to what must be done that completely ignores quarantines and travel bans. They are more concerned with protecting “economic stability” than any action that would actually help deal with the coronavirus. I want to see the anchors coughing blood on the newscasts.

Posted by: Noah Way | Feb 27 2020 19:02 utc | 30

Addendum - Forgot, however, to mention support for natural causes: At the WHO international team's Monday press conference in Beijing, the Chinese expert mentioned that they are investigating the pangolin as the intermediary host from bat to human.

Posted by: Zee | Feb 27 2020 19:02 utc | 31

From the study:

Within ~280 meters from the market, there was the Wuhan Center for Disease Control & Prevention (WHCDC) (Figure 1, from Baidu and Google maps). WHCDC hosted animals in laboratories for research purpose, one of which was specialized in pathogens collection and identification 4-6. In one of their studies, 155 bats including Rhinolophus affinis were captured in Hubei province, and other 450 bats were captured in Zhejiang province 4. The expert in collection was noted in the Author Contributions (JHT). Moreover, he was broadcasted for collecting viruses on nation-wide newspapers and websites in 2017 and 2019 7,8. He described that he was once by attacked by bats and the blood of a bat shot on his skin. He knew the extreme danger of the infection so he quarantined himself for 14 days 7. In another accident, he quarantined himself again because bats peed on him. He was once thrilled for capturing a bat carrying a live tick 8. Surgery was performed on the caged animals and the tissue samples were collected for DNA and RNA extraction and sequencing 4, 5. The tissue samples and contaminated trashes were source of pathogens. They were only ~280 meters from the seafood market. The WHCDC was also adjacent to the Union Hospital (Figure 1, bottom) where the first group of doctors were infected during this epidemic. It is plausible that the virus leaked around and some of them contaminated the initial patients in this epidemic, though solid proofs are needed in future study.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Feb 27 2020 19:04 utc | 32

Trump said don't panic. It's now time to panic! 12 monkeys f*cking a football? Don't worry, be happy. When the supply chain breaks down, and we have nothing to eat, possum won't sound too bad. Donner party, table for 12!

Posted by: Shadow | Feb 27 2020 19:08 utc | 33

I did read somewhere (today) on the internet that these S.Korean Christians visited Israel recently. Not sure where, probably on Sputnik. Unfortunately my 83 year old memory is no longer any good. Rgds. willemfriso.

Posted by: Bob Visser | Feb 27 2020 19:08 utc | 34

@Sabine #15
Indeed. Far more damage has been, and will be caused by panic reactions.
The long term picture is also not clear: let's say nCOV is "contained".
Will containing it mean it is eradicated? No.
There were good reasons to attempt to limit its spread - before much was known about it, before testing became available, etc.
And there are good reasons to try and limit it - particularly in China where it is increasingly clear that the public hospital capacity - both human and equipment - isn't up to the task of taking in potentially tens or hundreds of thousands of ICU-level respiratory complication patients from nCOV.
But no one has really said it yet: nCOV is out of the bag and ultimately it is better that it is dispersed into the community in a controlled fashion, than to try and keep this novel coronavirus away from the entire pool of unexposed humanity.

The only modifier to this statement is if a reasonably effective vaccine can be developed and dispersed widely - and that is going to take at least a year, if not more, and it isn't clear that such a vaccine is possible (it historically has been very hit or miss for all the other flu type vaccines).

So by all means, nations should evaluate lockdown measures to slow down nCOV but prevention is a fool's errand.

Posted by: c1ue | Feb 27 2020 19:11 utc | 35

This is an interesting account on the origins of the coronavirus. Several countries involved per this Biowarfare author.

US Biowarfare Act Author: Studies Confirm Coronavirus Weaponized!

Posted by: lgfocus | Feb 27 2020 19:12 utc | 36

US Biowarfare Act Author: Studies Confirm Coronavirus Weaponized!

Posted by: lgfocus | Feb 27 2020 19:13 utc | 37

Yesterday reported convid-19 reaches Sonoma County CA. about 5-6 hrs from my place. Bought a package of 30masks from HF but couldn't find it now, will go out again today and buy another pack from Home Depot or Lowes. Hey man it's here and best protact yourself. Neither the freaking DMC or Rep MAGA an't going to help.

Posted by: JC | Feb 27 2020 19:17 utc | 38

I'm sorrie to no god an't to help you, of course you can pray as much as you wanna. Either you take care of yourself or prepare to dddddd..

Posted by: JC | Feb 27 2020 19:21 utc | 39

US never had a problem putting "undesirables" into camps hence FEMA camps are starting to sound quite reasonable response in the near future to this "situation".

Posted by: Tom_LX | Feb 27 2020 19:25 utc | 40

Try to look at the bright side: The long term viability America's Social Security pension system could begin to improve dramatically in the near future.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 27 2020 19:25 utc | 41

Coronavirus seems most likely just a more virulent from of influenza.
Viruses can mutate as saw during WW1 influenza epidemic. Doubt will be able to stop progression.
Virus was probably being passed around for many months before anyone even saw it as something new.
A cure for influenza/pneumonia was never found and unlikely to find one for coronavirus.
Another flu shot will probably be developed which is not foolproof fix. Just going to have to live with it.
When get older become more susceptible to disease/etc.

Posted by: Joe | Feb 27 2020 19:29 utc | 42

Well, I'm one of those wackos that prepped. Although, you can never be totally prepared. I'm lucky, I grew up in a rural place where hunting was almost mandatory. How many of you here could dress out a deer and eat it? It's guess if the shit really hits the fan, I'll miss beer the most. I can make alcohol, but it's not the same. And anyone who's ever grown a garden knows just how hard it is to grow your own food. May the spirit father have mercy on our undeserving souls. Shadow knows what evil lurks in the hearts (and minds) of men (and women). Peace be with you all in these troubled times.

Posted by: Shadow | Feb 27 2020 19:35 utc | 43

Socialism with Chinese Characteristic like China is able of locking down its people without much fuss, (the majority of Chinese support its gov.).

Posted by: JC | Feb 27 2020 19:38 utc | 44

I question the conclusion that China was "successful" - one of their priorities was to get information under control, we (public) do not really know what happened or is happening there. Spread will of course level-off once half the population is sick (not that I know that to be the case).

Other countries may not be able to replicate what China did, that is not entirely a bad thing - reflecting some measure of respect for individual rights.

While clearly the media and west in general have been harshly critical of China, I would say this analysis is fairly skewed in opposite direction. And frankly I am somewhat pissed that China released this virus on the global public - as I suspect to be the case.

Neither China nor WHO not CDC has responsiblity to inform the public as to the situation and likely outcome other that to provoke or pacify as suits their needs - which are to make preparations.

Posted by: jared | Feb 27 2020 19:42 utc | 45

@jared #46
Frankly, the basis behind your distrust of China's reporting is political.
No government is perfect anywhere in the world. If China is truly lying to an enormous extent about nCOV, that *will* come out in the end. And if there's one thing we know - it is that the government of China doesn't give a crap about what Western populations think of it.
They do give a crap about their national economics. The lockdown is clearly going to hurt the Chinese economy - so to me that means China is serious about handling nCOV.
As for the release: it is likely both racist and prejudicial to think that any nation would "release" a virus that severely hurts its population and economy, for any reason.
nCOV isn't even the only flu virus recently communicated to human populations; MERS was camel based out of the middle east while SARS was avian - likely chickens and or ducks. As I've said many times, China's increasing wealth means they eat a lot more meat. 1.4 billion people eating more meat = a whole lot of new farmers growing it. And Chinese farmers are unlikely to be any better than Chinese manufacturers in having accumulated expertise plus government oversight in how they accomplish their economic goals.
Shit happens, deal with it.

Posted by: c1ue | Feb 27 2020 19:55 utc | 46

While clearly the media and west in general have been harshly critical of China, I would say this analysis is fairly skewed in opposite direction. And frankly I am somewhat pissed that China released this virus on the global public - as I suspect to be the case.

Wrong - China NEVER, NEVER released this virus to the global public. Watch you mouth, it's the American responsible. Watch Dr. Bruce Alyward leading WHO team investigates Coronavirus in Wuhan and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, he too said China should take credit and thanks for for shutting down Hubei and preventing Convid-19 from spreading.

You watching too much ZeroHedge, Epoch News and Gordon Chang lies...

Posted by: JC | Feb 27 2020 19:56 utc | 47

Replying to aron @23,

If the table showed the share of deaths by age groups the entries would have summed to 100,

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Feb 27 2020 20:01 utc | 48

Unfortunately I have to agree with the pessimistic conclusion - that the opportunity for "containment" (like what was successfully done with Ebola) has passed. The objective will be to slow the rate of spread to buy time for makeshift emergency health care to be set up as needed. Some countries will drop this better than others.

People in my corner of the US are in complete denial - the exclusive form of discussion has been "how soon the stock market will recover". In reality, disaster response has been a weak point of the federal govt in recent years. The disorder of the Trump administration will not help. Our dysfunctional health system will not help. Anyone with an ounce of common sense will stay far away from hospitals for the next 6-12 months.

What the US has in its favor is space - lots of it - and in this case, the lack of public transportation outside of the biggest cities is a benefit.

Posted by: ptb | Feb 27 2020 20:01 utc | 49

I think an easy example of how the Trump admin could actively try to combat the virus spread is to give nightly addresses from the white house that would include rates of infection, areas of quarantine, and useful information for combattiing the virus spread naturally, such as utilizing the examples b gives at the end of his post.

Yeah, you are stopping the nightly zombie show of Lester Holt and all the other wannabe journalists on the big Networks, But I think this would go a long way toward education and be a refreshing change of pace to have this prez offer hands-on governing to stave out unrestricted spread.

If the sheeple panic, so be it, but knowledge is power, and as we have seen, the mortality rate is not that shocking, so a little sensible information could slow down a panic and a market one as well.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Feb 27 2020 20:05 utc | 50

"Bernie Sanders' chances to win, if he survives the pandemic,"
What I'm thinking as well. Add in Biden, Bloomberg and the Trump himself. That said, Trump openly acknowledges he's paranoid with germs, so he's the less likely of the lot to get infected - but that could still happen.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 27 2020 20:06 utc | 51

Posted by: c1ue | Feb 27 2020 19:55 utc | 47

Excellent post.... FYI the Chinese gov. provided FREE or subsidies healthcare. Many Chinese citizens provide free food or subsidies foods to the healthcare workers in Wuhan. No nations or capitalists countries today able to do want the Chinese did for its citizen.....

Coronavirus fight Nurse mothers at isolation points care for two children whose parents were infected with coronavirus. #FightVirus.mp4

Posted by: JC | Feb 27 2020 20:09 utc | 52

Latest WHO

Posted by: JC | Feb 27 2020 20:16 utc | 53

One problem with comparing COV19 with seasonal flu is that the CDC, which has a huge financial interest in vaccine patents and distribution, deliberately combines all pneumonia with suspected flu cases in order to make flu seem very deadly. This is part of the scare-mongering tactic to get people to take the flu vaccine. In some years, the number of lab-confirmed cases of flu in the US is in the hundreds. So, the CDC simply combines all pneumonia with suspected flu cases and get the big, scary numbers that drive people to get a flu shot that is, in the best cases, largely ineffective.

Posted by: casey | Feb 27 2020 20:34 utc | 54

Charlie Chan says alleged virus good to crash economy and Stocks, let politicians central banks look innocent.

Virus vs Flu.

Posted by: charliechan | Feb 27 2020 20:37 utc | 55

Europe is in denial and will pay a heavy toll. Just read that in Italy the pressure is for opening the normal circulation of people and activity in the extremely small closed area. Milan, which has shown as a main focus, was never closed. Macron saying that borders can't stop the infection. Sure, it's not an issue of borders, but from letting infected people infecting other people.

Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 27 2020 20:42 utc | 56

A current piece at RT..
"Chinese scientists have reported that the coronavirus ripping through populations worldwide is much more likely than its close cousin Sars to bind to human cells, as it contains unexpected genes which link it to HIV and Ebola.
The research comes from Nankai University in the north Chinese city of Tianjin"

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 27 2020 20:43 utc | 57

B, I was dissapointed to read your first articles about Coronavirus where you claimed this is not a big deal. I even suspected you were too biased towards China. Glad you are finally coming around to it. I agree USA is very unprepared for it especially because the leadership starting from Trump to his lunatics, to the democrats who are now using this events just to attack Trump. Its as if they want lots of people to die just to attack Trump. That is a recipe for disaster.

I also agree with many of your other points especially that if Bernie survives this, him and his healthcare plans should be favorite to win. I fear they will use this as excuse to postpone the US elections.

I do disagree with you that the fatalities will not be as bad. Remember that people can contract this virus multiple times. Which means even if you recover, you can immediately get it again. Also eventually the drugs will run out and we will basically be to healthcare levels of the early 1900 century and we know how many people died the . Third, anyone expecting a vaccine needs to remember many many people will just opt out of it. Similar way they opt out of regular flu vaccine. I doubt they would be able to make this vaccine mandatory. Fourth, there is a good chance this can mutate and become much deadlier.

I believe we will eventually all have to live with this virus for decades to come. We will just treat it like the flu, of course a flu on steroids 20x stronger. Maybe our only hope is our immune systems will eventually get stronger in future generations.

godspeed to everyone

Posted by: Comandante | Feb 27 2020 20:57 utc | 58

@ VK (26)

"Let's just remember that Japan and other Western European countries have a disproportional rate of old people in their respective populations. The only thing they have going for them is the fact they have a much lower population density than China."

Posted by: MarkU | Feb 27 2020 21:02 utc | 59

Chinese scientists desperately researching coronavirus discover that it shares human cell binding site with HIV, Ebola

It is well-known by now that 2019-nCoV shares over 80 percent of its DNA with Sars virus, making the cause of the 2002/3 outbreak in Southeast Asia its closest genetic relative. Sars invaded the human body by binding to a receptor protein, called ACE2, on the membranes of cells. But this was ultimately the downfall of that virus — ACE2 is rare in the cells of healthy people, which limited the spread of Sars significantly, resulting in it burning itself out by 2004. In the end, only about 8,000 people worldwide were infected, as compared to covid-19 which has already infected over 80,000 people.

Unlike Sars though, the novel Coronavirus has a section of genes that are absent from the Sars genome, according to this research. In fact, they bear resemblance to genes found in HIV and Ebola. These genes may encode for a different pathway targeting the protein furin on human cells, which is how HIV and Ebola attack. If it operates as those other viruses do, this mutation could make it up to 1,000 times better at binding to human cells than Sars.

Posted by: Barovsky | Feb 27 2020 21:03 utc | 60

So everybody knows that the Covid-19 started in Wuhan, but there is a very very important virology institute in Wuhan with the BSL-4 cathegory (the highest) and at the head of this research facility is the doctor Zhengli-Li Shi, this woman, as top researcher, wrote with his group of Wuhan in 2015 the following article:

I invite b and the commentariat to read CAREFULLY the full length article, where they say:

"Therefore, to examine the emergence potential (that is, the potential to infect humans) of circulating bat CoVs, we built a chimeric virus encoding a novel, zoonotic CoV spike protein—from the RsSHC014-CoV sequence that was isolated from Chinese horseshoe bats1—in the context of the SARS-CoV mouse-adapted backbone. The hybrid virus allowed us to evaluate the ability of the novel spike protein to cause disease independently of other necessary adaptive mutations in its natural backbone. Using this approach, we characterized CoV infection mediated by the SHC014 spike protein in primary human airway cells and in vivo, and tested the efficacy of available immune therapeutics against SHC014-CoV"

So they create a "chimeric" SARS-CoV virus that can cause disease (in humans)

They continue:

"we synthesized the SHC014 spike in the context of the replication-competent, mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone (we hereafter refer to the chimeric CoV as SHC014-MA15) to maximize the opportunity for pathogenesis and vaccine studies in mice (Supplementary Fig. 2a). Despite predictions from both structure-based modeling and pseudotyping experiments, SHC014-MA15 was viable and replicated to high titers in Vero cells"

So they "maximize the opportunity for pathogenesis". Very interesting...

And then they continue saying:

"To test the ability of the SHC014 spike to mediate infection of the human airway, we examined the sensitivity of the human epithelial airway cell line Calu-3 2B4 (ref. 9) to infection and found robust SHC014-MA15 replication, comparable to that of SARS-CoV Urbani (Fig. 1c). To extend these findings, primary human airway epithelial (HAE) cultures were infected and showed robust replication of both viruses"

So in the last paragraph they have found that the new chimeric virus they have created (they called it SHC014-MA15) "show robust replication" in human cells. A great success I guess...

But they continue with the research and say:

"We next analyzed infection in more susceptible, aged (12-month-old) animals. SARS-MA15–infected animals rapidly lost weight and succumbed to infection"

So they test the new chimeric virus (they call it SARS-MA15 and also SCH014-MA15) in mice and they saw a high pathogenicity in the lungs of the animals, more acute in older ones

Then they continue with the trials of the SHC014-MA15 chimeric virus:

"Similarly, antibodies 230.15 and 227.14, which were derived from memory B cells of SARS-CoV–infected patients13, also failed to block SHC014-MA15 replication (Fig. 2b,c). For all three antibodies, differences between the SARS and SHC014 spike amino acid sequences corresponded to direct or adjacent residue changes found in SARS-CoV escape mutants (fm6 N479R; 230.15 L443V; 227.14 K390Q/E), which probably explains the absence of the antibodies' neutralizing activity against SHC014. Finally, monoclonal antibody 109.8 was able to achieve 50% neutralization of SHC014-MA15, but only at high concentrations (10 μg/ml) (Fig. 2d). Together, the results demonstrate that broadly neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV may only have marginal efficacy against emergent SARS-like CoV strains such as SHC014."

So it seems that the new chimeric virus they created is quite resilient to the antibodies normally used to treat SARS

Still more about the risks of chimeric virus:

"the creation of chimeric viruses such as SHC014-MA15 was not expected to increase pathogenicity. Although SHC014-MA15 is attenuated relative to its parental mouse-adapted SARS-CoV, similar studies examining the pathogenicity of CoVs with the wild-type Urbani spike within the MA15 backbone showed no weight loss in mice and reduced viral replication23. Thus, relative to the Urbani spike–MA15 CoV, SHC014-MA15 shows a gain in pathogenesis (Fig. 1). On the basis of these findings, scientific review panels may deem similar studies building chimeric viruses based on circulating strains too risky to pursue, as increased pathogenicity in mammalian models cannot be excluded"

So they recognize they have created a very dangerous chimeric virus with a high pathogenesis, easily transmitted in human cells and hard to fight by antibodies, and they said at the end "building chimeric viruses based on circulating strains too risky to pursue, as increased pathegenicity in mammalian models cannot be excluded"
Do you feel a cold sweat now?

At the end of the article they finally said:

"Coupled with restrictions on mouse-adapted strains and the development of monoclonal antibodies using escape mutants, research into CoV emergence and therapeutic efficacy may be severely limited moving forward. Together, these data and restrictions represent a crossroads of GOF research concerns; the potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens. In developing policies moving forward, it is important to consider the value of the data generated by these studies and whether these types of chimeric virus studies warrant further investigation versus the inherent risks involved "

So I have some tough questions to ask:

a) What are the probabilities that an strange new SARS virus, never seen before, very easily transmitted and very pathogenic, started exactly some hundred meters from the same research lab where theses people were creating chimeric viruses one day and the following?

b) What are the probabilities that a new "wild" virus be so similar to this chimeric virus created in 2015 for this study? Could it be a self-fulfilling prophecy?

c) What are the probabilities that the Wuhan Virology Instute have developed a very accurate test for the brand "new" virus in just some days after the outbreak? Do they have some knowledge in advance of what kind of virus it was?

Somehing stinks in Denmark (Wuhan)

Posted by: DFC | Feb 27 2020 21:06 utc | 61

Pencie, you’re doing a heckuva job!
– said by Trump, some time later this year

Posted by: David G | Feb 27 2020 21:12 utc | 62

Bob Visser@35 - Two groups of Christians related to Korean outbreaks.

First was the only nominally Christian Shincheonji Church of Jesus cult and Patient 31 that b described in his article. There are no connections between this group and the Israeli tour group described below.

And from bits and pieces gathered on the intertwebs:

Second group (unrelated) were 77 S. Koreans on a Holy Land tour of Israel and Jordan, Feb. 8 - 15th, organized by a Roman Catholic Church somewhere in Korea. They were part of the 200 passengers on flight back to Seoul on the 15th. 30 of those passengers, including 18 from tour group, have since tested positive. Initially, a member of the tour group showed symptoms and tested positive so they were suspected as being the source. But later testing of all passengers showed 12 other coronavirus-positive from that Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion) - Seoul flight. One of them may have been the asymptomatic source. Nobody knows because the incubation period has such a huge range among the infected.

So far, none of the Israelis or Jordanians the tour group came into contact with on the Holy Land tour have tested positive for coronavirus, despite widespread concern in Israel and a ban on flights from Korea. It appears the Korean tour group were probably not infected before coming to Israel, and probably were not infected by anyone there. But nothing proves that.

Of Israel's three confirmed coronavirus cases so far, two were passengers on the Diamond Princess, and one just returned from Italy. Many Israelis in quarantine now, so any future cases reported may change the considerations above.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 27 2020 21:22 utc | 63

Why postpone the US elections? Elections were held in 1918, at the time of the Spanish flu. Elections were held in 1864 and 1944, during major wars.

Posted by: lysias | Feb 27 2020 21:23 utc | 64

Doubt Bernie was one of the candidates in 1918. They could use this as an excuse.

Posted by: Comandante | Feb 27 2020 21:26 utc | 65

Citizens of the U.S. are such an unhealthy lot. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I would sit with family and have my brother-in-law sitting next to me, coughing and sneezing without regard to anyone else in the room. Never once would he even go so far as to cover his mouth, or get up and excuse himself, go to another room and perhaps blow his nose, wash his hands, or better yet leave so the rest of us could enjoy our conversation. And of course, the apples don't fall far from the tree as his sons would wipe their noses with their hands while playing with my younger children on the floor.

Total disregard for the health and welfare of others and you can see this everywhere.

Posted by: thecelticwithinme | Feb 27 2020 21:38 utc | 66

I've appreciated the trustworthiness of b @ MoA since I first discovered it circa 2010, prompted by frequent and regular citations at Xymphora. Your dedication to exhaustive research and rigorous fact-checking, combined with an excellent bs detector, makes MoA a 1st Class source of reliable information.
That impression has been further amplified by your coverage of the Coronavirus epidemic which has been "ahead of the curve" from the first article in January and continues to be so.

Sincere thanks, b, for your tireless devotion to professionalism.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 27 2020 21:49 utc | 67

Somehing stinks in Denmark (Wuhan)
Posted by: DFC | Feb 27 2020 21:06 utc | 62

Would this article have elicited an eureka! reaction in any of the (several hundred?) hundred plus bio-warfare research mad-houses that the United States has operating in many countries?

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Feb 27 2020 21:58 utc | 68

@ Robert Snefjella | Feb 27 2020 21:58 utc | 69

Of course, for the military any damage is an oportunity anything that hurt is a possible weapon and anything that make catastrophic loss of lives smell to future victory; no doubt this is a change in paradigm in the genetics research (as the chain reactions in the atoms was for physics) and hundreds of labos will or are testing it. But also accident happens, and as the case of Chernobyl, nobody could say they do voluntarily.

I think it has been an accident

Posted by: DFC | Feb 27 2020 22:04 utc | 69

DW news went to great lengths to beat up the need to censor the net in order to stop the spread of 'misinformation' about COVID really pissed me off to tell the truth, that was my preferred msm source. However reading through the utter tosh being copy & pasted from right wing anti-immigration web sites I can see how DW added 2+2 and got 5.
Percentage of common DNA is a ridiculous and completely meaningless statistic see the New Scientist article which points out that mice & humans share 97.5% of the same DNA. There is only a 2.5% difference between those tiny rodents and us humans.

As for the claim it must have escaped from a Wuhan lab, I give that no credence whatsoever. If this was a manufactured virus, it is far more likely to have been planted in Wuhan by amerika or one of its many european satraps, given the sudden outbreak in Iran, but I don't consider that very likely as even selfish amerika could see that covid's inevitable spread 'back home'.

Whilst it is true that over last couple of months considerably more amerikans have died of influenza than Chinese of covid, there is one major difference to influenza. A prophylactic. Every year my son and I are given a free influenza shot at the pharmacy in town, he because he has a disability, me because I am over 60. Flu shots can be a bit hit or miss because the virus evolves rapidly, yet since we decided to take the shots neither of us have caught the flu, before that we copped it twice in three years. Supermarket shopping is the most likely vector when someone who has the flu handles a box or bag of whatever, then puts it back on the shelf.
We will switch to online ordering although it will cost an arm & a leg to get stuff sent out here.

As soon as an inoculation is developed & distributed, covid infection will recede everywhere but amerika which will allow profiteering on the inoculation for sure.

Posted by: A User | Feb 27 2020 22:09 utc | 70

Putting together the U.S. population pyramid and COVID-19 death rates:

    Age      Population      DR      Deaths

0–9 39,891,845 0.000 0
10–19 42,398,071 0.002 84,796
20–29 46,179,065 0.002 92,358
30–39 43,980,069 0.002 87,960
40–49 40,288,440 0.004 161,154
50–59 42,557,686 0.013 553,250
60–69 37,845,098 0.036 1,362,424
70–79 23,009,234 0.080 1,840,739
80+ 12,915,409 0.148 1,911,481

Total 329,064,917 6,094,162

we get 6.1 million deaths if the entire U.S. population is infected. Assuming a more realistic 40–⁠70% of the population, we get 2.4–⁠4.3 million deaths.

Posted by: S | Feb 27 2020 22:14 utc | 71

Thanks for thr follow up on the virus B

looks like you hit the neeve with american exceptionalism trolls and anti china trolls who keep repeating nonsensical bioweapon stuff and totally do not understand chinese society ..

they kept repeating narrative like evil prc , evil dictator , communist china while never even bother to check the chinese population own reaction and self isolation without much pushing from the govt.

why all this misunderstanding of the chinese from the western readers ? mostly because they swallow all the sinophobic propaganda that ridicule china as a whole and they become a sheep swallowing every single lie about china to prop up their confirmation bias..

look at the comment here , its a laugh riot when trolls constantly post lies and then his own sockpuppet praise his own posts.. some use old hasbara tactic trying to smear B..

Posted by: milomilo | Feb 27 2020 22:23 utc | 72

"Japan now has 200 cases and its government has decided to close all schools throughout March."

月曜日の3月2日から休校とするよう要請すると表明した kanji used is "要請する" it is still a request ... it is not Abe telling "scholls **must** closed" it is just as **strong suggestion** ... that is Japan for you.

Posted by: r | Feb 27 2020 22:24 utc | 73

I thought we had nothing to worry about MOA??

Posted by: Ha | Feb 27 2020 22:27 utc | 74

Let me ask the unthinkable. What if this PCR "test" is neither valid or accurate, and is as easily manipulated as a US election computer by an 11 year old hacker? How was this test, which could distinguish between the hundreds of similar and existing strains of corona virus, rolled out in days or weeks? How and who tested the test? Who distributed these "test kits" around the world by the tens of thousands? Learning from history, the HIV test was as accurate and reliable as a suicidal teenager on meth. Just bear in mind that a ***case*** (and I cannot use enough asterisks to highlight that word) is used and defined by all the media, both MSM and alternative, as a positive result for this probably bullshit test. If the test is invalid, then the entire "pandemic" instantly disappears. Millions of people on this planet die in the course of a "normal" year from pneumonia. Over 300,000 alone in China. Are these people the collective Lee Harvey Oswald or uranium yellowcake of another huge psy-op to shift the blame from the coming greatest depression from the global banksters to a here-to-fore unnamed virus.

Posted by: el gallinazo | Feb 27 2020 22:30 utc | 75

Posted by: Sabine | Feb 27 2020 18:12 utc | 15

What makes it different? Well it seems to be very infectious and the fact that it triggers a very virulent pneumonia in people with impaired immune systems and the old (and sick). Flu, in all its forms, seems to kill about half a million a year.

Posted by: Barovsky | Feb 27 2020 22:34 utc | 76

Good to see you've tuned into the zeitgeist, b. Governments have reacted too slowly because commentators have downplayed the pandemic. As the pandemic was taking shape, you were claiming the number of new cases in China was falling, so you were part of the Trumpean positivity denial of reality. You still seem inclined to believe the CCP. It's possible the number of new cases is rising more slowly, but not probable given the initial response that let the virus spread unimpeded. This is not to blame China. They have performed Herculean feats. It's the virus that refuses quarantine. Can't stop it. A blame game is not helpful.

Quarantine doesn't work. What else can we do? Talk about alternatives to China's draconian policy! I'd love to hear it, b.

Posted by: jadan | Feb 27 2020 22:38 utc | 77

Why do you assume that there are alternatives to the containment policy followed in China?
If you have no vaccine, and there are no obvious non live forms of transmission ( dirty water supply with cholera etc) then isolation is all that is left as a public health measure.

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Feb 27 2020 22:47 utc | 78

@S #72

For comparison, there were 2,813,503 deaths in the U.S. in 2017, including 647,457 from diseases of heart, 599,108 from malignant neoplasms, 169,936 from accidents (unintentional injuries), 160,201 from chronic lower respiratory diseases, 146,383 from cerebrovascular diseases, 121,404 from Alzheimer disease, 83,564 from diabetes mellitus, 55,672 from influenza and pneumonia, 50,633 from nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis, and 47,173 from intentional self-harm (top 10 causes).

So, no, COVID-19 is not “just like an ordinary flu”.

However, once SARS-CoV-2 (the new, official name for 2019-nCoV) spreads around the globe and people develop immunity to it, it will probably become relatively benign, like the four already existing coronavirii that cause a quarter of all cases of common cold.

Posted by: S | Feb 27 2020 22:50 utc | 79

@ 79
Whether it eventually becomes as mild as common cold depends on its impact on children. For the general population to acquire immunity it has to occur as an infection early in life. If its effects on children were serious, it could still be a significant cause of child mortality.

In the long term we should be thankful that the apparent mortality rate in children is small.

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Feb 27 2020 22:56 utc | 80

I put some links to some of the many research made by the Wuhan Institute of Virology about coronavirus and bats:

In this study they make again a novel chimeric viruses and particles in 2018:

Study about coronaviruses in bats in Yuhan, where ther are big amounts of wild bats, many more than in Wuhan:

Study of coronavirus infections in humans but in Yunnan where you could expect this to happens, but always very low infection rate:

But Guangdong Province is the primary region in China in which wildlife is being consumed. Since the supply of wildlife for consumption in Guangdong mainly comes from Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces; and then why the pandemic start in a place with low wild animals and a wild life market very small compare with those in Guandong province they sell many more bats and wild animals than in Wuhan. Also the population of wild bats in Wuhan is very low compared to Yunnan or Guangxi, so, why in Wuhan with so virulence?

Too many coincidences

Posted by: DFC | Feb 27 2020 23:00 utc | 81

From Science Direct, Antiviral Research
Volume 176, April 2020, 104742

The spike glycoprotein of the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV contains a furin-like cleavage site absent in CoV of the same clade

According to this report, an article published in Antiviral Research concludes that CoVid-19 coronavirus ia found to contain unique “gain-of-function” property “for efficient spreading in the human population.”

Further, the science paper finds that there is no known viral ancestry to the CoVid-19 coronavirus, meaning it did not evolve from nature. It was engineered, and the science paper authors also state that the virus contains elements from MERS, stating, “Before the emergence of the 2019-nCoV, this important feature was not observed in the lineage b of betacoronaviruses.”

In 2019, a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infecting Humans has emerged in Wuhan, China. Its genome has been sequenced and the genomic information promptly released. Despite a high similarity with the genome sequence of SARS-CoV and SARS-like CoVs, we identified a peculiar furin-like cleavage site in the Spike protein of the 2019-nCoV, lacking in the other SARS-like CoVs. In this article, we discuss the possible functional consequences of this cleavage site in the viral cycle, pathogenicity and its potential implication in the development of antivirals.

Posted by: Perimetr | Feb 27 2020 23:05 utc | 82

I have never said this virus is a bioweapon, I think it is quite probable it was made (or "tuned") by humans, and probably with good intentions, to try to find a cure or vaccines for SARS disease or similar purpose, and I think an accidental release could happens, wihout intentionallity, from the Wuhan Institute of Virology

I do not think it is a bioweapon made by the chinese or americans or anyone, because in that case probably it could be much worse and more "specific"

Posted by: DFC | Feb 27 2020 23:08 utc | 83


Why would you give no credence to the possibility that the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab? What you wrote is very illogical. We know the lab was conducting research on coronaviruses. And from DW news we know they were experimenting with the creation on ‘chimeric’ viruses. They also recognized that the value of this research had to be weighed against the risk of releasing a dangerous new pathogen. Nobody but a lunatic thinks this was released on purpose as some sort of bioweapon (that makes zero sense), But that the containment failed at the Wuhan lab does not have an incredibly low probability at all. And the epidemic started less than a kilometer from the lab! I think the most likely source is an ‘accidental’ release by the virology lab in Wuhan. China will have a lot to answer for, if this proves to be the case. I think I can guarantee that after this procedures will be changed in China, and probably everywhere.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Feb 27 2020 23:09 utc | 84

Stupid is as Stupid does. Totally inexcusable for the lack of a test, but exactly what would be the most certain outcome with the pseudo education in the US for the last 30 years.
Posted by: Tick Tock 17 | Feb 27 2020 18:01 utc | 10

A minor quibble...
We're talking about the Totalitarian Capitalist, United Shitholes of AmeriKKKa here, so perhaps...

Stupid is as Greedy does might be closer to the truth?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 27 2020 23:17 utc | 85

Ha @74: I thought we had nothing to worry about MOA??

Your charge is nonsensical. b and moa commenters responded to rampant propaganda attacks against China. When we first began to discuss the virus, info was sketchy but China was being blamed for anything and everything.

moa acknowledged that China was taking draconian action. Other countries had time to prepare. They haven't.

It's almost as though they WANT to have a pandemic - which they will naturally blame on China.

jadan @77: [b was] ... part of the Trumpean positivity denial of reality.

No. He wasn't.

b will never match the "unbelievably great" denial of reality from "stable genius" Trump. Covfefe?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 27 2020 23:18 utc | 86

Let us not forget that there's a lot of money to be made here.

(According to Common Dreams)
"Members of Congress and advocacy groups are voicing outrage after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar—a former pharmaceutical executive—repeatedly refused during House testimony Wednesday to guarantee that any coronavirus vaccine or treatment developed with taxpayer money will be affordable for all in the U.S., not just the rich.

"Under the Trump doctrine, if you are wealthy you can buy a vaccine and not succumb to the sickness," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement. "If you are poor or working class, you may have to get sick or even die. That is an outrage. That is unacceptable. We need a vaccine that is available to all."

"He's giving Big Pharma a blank check to monopolize them instead."
—Rep. Jan Schakowsky
During testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday, Azar was pressed multiple times to vow that vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus will be priced fairly and made affordable for all U.S. households.

"We would want to ensure that we'd work to make it affordable," Azar told Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), "but we can't control that price because we need the private sector to invest."

"Schakowsky tweeted following the hearing that she gave Azar "THREE chances to assure us that any coronavirus vaccines or treatments developed with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be affordable and accessible to everyone and he flat out refused to do so."

"He's giving Big Pharma a blank check to monopolize them instead," added Schakowsky.

"Progressive advocacy group Social Security Works said late Wednesday that "this is what happens when you put a Big Pharma CEO who doubled the price of insulin in charge of regulating Big Pharma," referring to Azar's tenure at Eli Lilly.

""Pharma and their friends in the Trump admin don't care how many people die," the group wrote, "as long as they get to make a profit."......"

Posted by: bevin | Feb 27 2020 23:25 utc | 87

SteveK9 #27

That is total BS: either post valid links or PO. If you have a real link to this report then publish it in the correct format. Researchgate do not have it.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 27 2020 23:28 utc | 88

Trailer Trash @ 9 That's great. Thanks. Living the dream!

Posted by: goldhoarder | Feb 27 2020 23:31 utc | 89

DFC @ 7

Oh, to be a fly in the telepod wall, traveling a few million years ahead of the present .. to see what became of this world.

Posted by: polecat | Feb 27 2020 23:31 utc | 90

More likely the virus was a US bioweapon rather than escaped from a Chinese lab.

Posted by: Dave | Feb 27 2020 23:35 utc | 91

@72 Data can be very misleading. How many infected were already sick? Did the virus spread rapidly through hospitals and medical clinics with already diseased and immune compromised patients? Be cautious about extrapolating data in such a matter. Supposedly the population explosion would have doomed Earth decades ago yet here we are.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Feb 27 2020 23:40 utc | 93

All evidence points to the virus coming from the Wuhan bioloab. Chinese scientists recently say its been spreading since November. Xi has announced tighter security laws at biolabs. China did its best to muzzle scientists and Doctors and minimize the disease by limiting testing to those who had contact with the seafood market until Jan 17. By the time they disclosed the true scope millions had dispersed in and outside of China due to the upcoming long holidays , conveniently timed to minimize business disruption, and following Chinas trade deal promising to honor patent rights and the Davos meeting of our world rulers (probably going over the final script)

So no, no pats on the back to China please. In fact they should be held accountable for damages. Lol

I still hold this is just a cold and the hype is to exploit the fear for political and economic reasons for which there are many. To the extent there seems to have been a degree of planning or anticipation due to Event 201,Netflix documentary, Chinas vaccine law, vaccine patent approvals, etc its either coincidental , or suggests an intentional release. We will never know. The propaganda psyops
machinery with deep fake video added to its arsenal is too strong

Posted by: Pft | Feb 27 2020 23:42 utc | 94

Regarding to the people infected and the provisional fatality rate, we can follow the data for example here:

Right now (28-2-2020 00:43 CET) there are 82.396 people infected and only 3,40% total fatality rate (anyway more than a normal flu), but if we consider only people who have an outcome, at the end, we have 33.215 recovered and 2.804 dead, that means we have around 8,5% fatality rate from "people who have an outcome from the disease" (or recovery or dead); and this is what we can compare with the data from the Spanish flu today. So to have the "definitive" fatality rate to compare with the Spanish flu we have to wait until the end of the epidemic, of course when the epidemic have more time we will have a more clear (close) idea what the "outcome" will be, specially outside China, because many people suspect the chinese data are fake, and are underestimating the fatality rate because the hospitals are flooded of people an many people are dying at home without too much scrutiny (or it seems now).

Also if we consider the total number of people in the serious/critical conditions right now (8.452 people) we have that more than 10% of all infected need important hospital care, but again we have starting the epidemic, this could change a lot when more people infected be more time with the infection and the hospitals be overwhelmed.

I consider this pandemic much more severe than a normal flu, but people today are better feed, better hygienic conditions and better heatlh systems (at least in some developed countries) than in 1918

Posted by: DFC | Feb 27 2020 23:48 utc | 95

That the Coronavid-19 kills mainly elderly people with previous health issues gets debunked by the fact that the two doctors who died in Wuhan were healthy relatively young people, 33 and 51 years old.

That they have died imply that the continuos exposure increases possibility of infection and a fatal outcome. For what it seems, this "new" Coronavirus engage S-proteins and spread infection so fast into cells that penumonia spreads into the lungs making them rigid tissue, a condition incompatible with life...

If they say that the masks do not serve to protect yourself from #coronavirus, and should only be used by infected people so as not to contaminate others, why is Bruce Aylward, head of WHO in #Wuhan, wearing it to report on the evolution of the illness?

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Feb 27 2020 23:54 utc | 96

Recently, it still remains a question mark whether the virus actually originated in Wuhan. More broadly, it is still unclear what the timeline is for 'patient zero', since the virus can easily hang around a while before it is identified as something new, because its symptoms resemble the flu.

If we look at the broader timeline, it's worth noting that the 2019 Military World Games took place in Wuhan from October 18th to the 27th. This was a huge international event: 9,308 athletes from 110 countries participated, including the US military.

An international event like this would be an easy pathway, whether unintentional or not. The virus may have been present earlier than first thought. E.g., in the US, it was not previously tested-for (and instead just lumped in with the CDC's flu statistics), so the US timeline is still unclear. Athletes, being young and healthy, would have only noticed flu symptoms, while acting as carriers to more vulnerable groups.

Posted by: occupatio | Feb 28 2020 0:08 utc | 97

Posted by: Comandante | Feb 27 2020 20:57 utc | 59

Guess what - people tend to have immune systems. According to German hospitals people surviving the illness have developed antibodies.

So this has the potential to stop a lot of people from working for two to four weeks and it will kill some. But it will not be the end of mankind, may even work ecologically for mankind if people get used to slow down on work (hey, we could do it for four weeks why not do it all the time).

Lockdowns will slow the spread of the virus but will not stop it. Only vaccination can get rid of diseases. And people can get immune by their body fighting the disease.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 28 2020 0:14 utc | 98

Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 27 2020 20:42 utc | 57

Macron will be glad getting rid of pensioners and about to retire people...The same for the rest of European countries with millions of boomers reaching retirement in less than a decade from now....

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Feb 28 2020 0:15 utc | 99

occupatio 97: If we look at the broader timeline ...

Yeah, lets look closer ...

1) Thankfully the ARAMCO IPO got done before December when the first patients showed up.


Oil prices have dropped substantially since the virus spread.

2) And it was really great that Trump decided to reach a limited, first-step trade deal with China just as China would be unable to fulfill it's terms.

3) Oh, and now that the virus is spreading in the West, I guess there won't be many people marching for Assange this Spring - or marching against war in the Middle East (which seems likely to happen soon).


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 28 2020 0:20 utc | 100

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