Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 19, 2020

False Claims About The Novel Coronavirus And How To Debunk Them

Today China reported zero new domestic cases of novel coronavirus infections. It has beaten the epidemic just as we predicted early on. Other countries with still expanding epidemics will have to adopt all the measures China has taken to also win the fight.

Our extensive reporting about the novel cornonavirus has attracted many new commentators to this site. Unfortunately some of these, as well as some of the regulars, continue to spread disinformation and myths about the current pandemic and its causes.

To keep some level of quality at this site requires an aggressive countering of such comments. But our capacity to do so is limited. We do delete comments that are nonsensical or have been debunked and we do block people who insist on posting or reposting nonsense. But there are now many more comments per day than we can read. We therefore have to ask other commentators to counter the bad false ones.

Here are some of the false claims that are made about the pandemic and the facts needed to debunk them.

Myth:

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is a Chinese virus that comes from bats. It infected people because Chinese people eat bats.

Facts:

The source of the virus is actually not known. The patient number 1, the person who first carried the virus, has not been found. The Wuhan wet market where exotic animals are sold was not the source of the outbreak:

The paper, written by a large group of Chinese researchers from several institutions, offers details about the first 41 hospitalized patients who had confirmed infections with what has been dubbed 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). In the earliest case, the patient became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market, the authors report. “No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases,” they state. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace. “That’s a big number, 13, with no link,” says Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University.

While the novel corona virus might be one that was originally carried by bats it is unlikely to have jumped from a bat to a human. The older SARS virus, which is somewhat similar to the novel coronavirus, originated from bats but first spread to other animals before mutating from there into a form that infects humans.

The only place where bats are regularly used as food is the Pacific island Palau which is more or less a U.S. colony. Videos showing Chinese citizens eating fruit bat soup were actually filmed on that island.

Myth:

The virus is related to HIV, the virus that causes aids.

Facts:

Some Indian researchers found four genome sequences in the novel coronavirus that can also be found in the HIV virus. They self published their findings in a paper that was not peer reviewed. We discussed that paper in detail on February 1 in our second post on the virus and we strongly expressed our doubt about its veracity. A few days later the paper was retracted by its authors after other scientists had pointed out that the lengths of each of the four sequences they had compared were way too small to be of statistical significance.

Myth:

Asian people are genetically more receptive for the novel coronavirus.

Fact:

The virus enters human cells by binding to the ACE-2 receptor on the cells hull. There were assertions that people in Asia have more ACE-2 receptors than people elsewhere. But detailed studies of various genome sequence databases have found no statistical basis for such claims. People of Asian, Caucasian or African heritage all have the same numbers of ACE-2 building elements and receptors. The virus will effect them equally.

Myth:

The virus originated from a military weapon research laboratory.

Facts:

There is zero evidence that the virus is from a Chinese or U.S. or other (weapon) laboratory and the claim actually makes no sense. The genome of the virus consists of more then 23,000 'letters'. It is significantly different than the genome of other known viruses. (Added:) It is not lab made:

We offer a perspective on the notable features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and discuss scenarios by which they could have arisen. Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.

To artificially create such a complex entity and to test all its variants would have been a program of the size of the Manhattan project and would have cost billions.

Weapon researchers are sane people with a limited budget. They look for methods to defeat an enemy. A virus that affects all humans indiscriminately but kills mostly very old ones would have no military value.

Myth:

Moon of Alabama has downplayed the danger of the virus.

Facts:

Our first post on the issue was headlined The Coronavirus - No Need To Panic. It discussed the infectiousness and fatality rate of the novel coronavirus disease in comparison to other virus caused diseases. We pointed out that it is less infectious and less deadly than for example SARS but never said that it is not dangerous at all. In fact the numbers we pointed out said the opposite.

The piece simple put the current epidemic into perspective. We have since posted a total of 15 detailed pieces on the pandemic. To claim that this is a downplaying of the issue is nonsensical.

---
Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the issue:

Posted by b on March 19, 2020 at 12:19 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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I think China showed what an effective state action is, but the west seems to be acting now, and I doubt the number of cases will surpass 1 million in most European countries.. Which, given China's relative 10x size, would mean China would have performed 100x better by the end of this probably.

Posted by: Ilya G Poimandres | Mar 19 2020 12:28 utc | 1

Freedom-lovers here, are you happy now?

Admonition letter to Dr. Li Wenliang 'improper': investigation

The letter of admonition that deceased doctor Li Wenliang received from police after he warned about a SARS-like virus in the central Chinese city of Wuhan was an "improper law enforcement procedure," an investigation into Li's case has found.

The investigation was carried out by the National Supervisory Commission, an anti-corruption body.The results were published on Thursday.

The ophthalmologist raise an early alarm in social media platform and the messages were widely circulated online. He was reprimanded by police, who accused him of spreading rumors.

Li later tested positive for the new coronavirus and passed away of the infection on February 7. His story prompted public outrage and an investigation into the case.

The commission advised supervisory authorities in Wuhan to guide the public security organ to punish officers involved in the case and withdraw the letter.

Justice is done, rule of law was applied.

However, as we delve deeper into the story, the case for a "CCP covered the epidemic for two months" gets weaker and weaker: as the article states, dr. Li Wenliang was an ophtalmologist. Ophtalmologists are not pulmonologists, therefore not experts in exotic respiratory diseases. Earlier news highlighted the fact that he thought it was common SARS, and he didn't seek the authorities. Instead, he chated with ten friends and told them not to tell anybody.

This was far from the hollywoodian doctor crying out loud ignored by the evil authorities cliché.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19 2020 12:40 utc | 2

recent tweet from Kim Dotcom
https://twitter.com/KimDotcom/status/1240353306234376192

This study says: “...the evidence shows that Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is not a purposefully manipulated virus...”
it refers to very recent (as in now) article from Nature mag
The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9?sf231596998=1

to which i replied:
there is much obfuscation currently going on regarding this virus, so it is nice to see you referring to an article where we can cut through the disinformation currently doing the rounds.

Posted by: chris m | Mar 19 2020 12:44 utc | 3

ps i think we can all hope and say that Nature magazine is the nearest we can get to acting as a reputable source of information (fingers crossed)

Posted by: chris m | Mar 19 2020 12:48 utc | 4

Correction - bats are also eaten in Seychelles.

Posted by: teeb | Mar 19 2020 12:52 utc | 5

Thanks b for posting that link. My take is not to discount any possibility no matter how crazy or sinister it might seem. Especially in a time of crisis like we're in now most people naturally expect and want to know the truth, that they're not being fooled or propagandized. Whatever the source of SARS CV1 that led to the global health crisis and rapid financial meltdown in a mere matter of weeks, it was inevitable that it would generate a hotbed of non-mainstream theories. I like to keep an open mind and am prepared to buy the farm if the evidence becomes overwhelming.

Both the intelligent sceptic and the conspiracy theorist start from the very same place: with an awareness that things may well not be what they seem, and that what is widely believed may be patently false. This is – in itself – no sign of madness or delusion. It’s the basis of some of humanity’s greatest discoveries and insights.

Makes sense

Posted by: Carciofi | Mar 19 2020 13:01 utc | 6

I came to MOA this morning and felt relief. I had waded through many websites with stale half truths and political messaging rather than needed real facts. Then here, you are cleaning house to present the most verifiable facts and round filing the trash. Thank you b.

Posted by: Myopic Longshot | Mar 19 2020 13:02 utc | 7

As I understand it, research laboratories can create new strains of known viruses when looking for or researching vaccines. With SARS and MERS much research into various strains of the bat coronavirus has been conducted in laboratories around the world.
Why does the US military have infectious disease laboratories or research centers in so many of the ex soviet states. They appear to have ben kicked off around 2010 2011

"A group of 101 Iranian doctors has penned a letter addressed to the leaders of Afghanistan, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan to take ‘immediate action’ to destroy “all of the US biological laboratories” in their countries amid fears that the coronavirus pandemic may have been spread deliberately as a form of biological warfare, Press TV has reported, citing the letter."
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/202003191078623300-iranian-doctors-urge-neighbours-to-liquidate-any-us-biological-labs-amid-coronavirus-fears/


https://health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Combat-Support/Armed-Forces-Health-Surveillance-Branch/Global-Emerging-Infections-Surveillance-and-Response
Department of Defense (DoD) Global Emerging Infections Surveillance (GEIS) was established in 1997 following the release of Presidential Decision Directive, National Science and Technology Council-7, which tasked DoD to improve infectious disease surveillance, prevention, and response.

The strategic goals of the GEIS Section include:
.Supporting GCC infectious disease and theater campaign priorities through strengthening surveillance, outbreak response, collaboration, and coordination of the global DoD laboratory network
.Informing FHP decision and policy making through timely dissemination of surveillance information to key stakeholders
.Enhancing national and global health security by preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats
.Informing DoD and interagency research and development of infectious disease countermeasures such as diagnostic tools, prophylaxes, therapeutics, insecticides, and personal protective equipment


Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 13:03 utc | 8

Myth: The virus originated from a military weapon research laboratory.

Facts: There is zero evidence that the virus is from a Chinese or U.S. or other (weapon) laboratory and the claim actually makes no sense
--------------------
Advocate of the Devil: no so-called evidence BECAUSE the designers hide their work so well.

Smart Alec: there was an article "Revenge of pangolins" claiming that the virus has 90% similarity with a pangolin virus. Pangolins are rather frequent critters in southern China and Indochina, a bit like possums where I live: shy, nocturnal, smallish (like a small cat?), but delicacy to some people. The remaining 10% indicates more hopes from species to species. In any cases, there are thousands of mammalian species and it is not like a virus is specific to one or two. Symptoms differ, but the virus only needs to trick the hosts to make its copies and spread them.

Actually, how eating an animal can lead to an infection? It is not all that simple. Say that you live in a village with bats and pangolins that hop or fly around while having some sniffles. You can inhale snuffled out droplets, touch a surface where the droplets landed, or catch a critter and eat it. Which type of contact is more frequent? INDIRECT CONTACT. This is the common "evolutionary strategy" of this class of viruses: direct contact with the previous host is not necessary.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 19 2020 13:08 utc | 9

I have said and I repeat that a coronavirus would be a mind bogglingly stupid choice as a bioweapon. All bioweapons are stupid but sneezeborne viruses the worst of all in terms of gibbering idiocy.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Mar 19 2020 13:11 utc | 10

Myth or Fact?
This is a consequence of 5G deployment.

Fact: Wuhan first city blanketed with 5G.

See here:

https://youtu.be/jh1T4c3wP8I

Posted by: Lozion | Mar 19 2020 13:16 utc | 11

Most of Asia and other places eat everything and anything including bats. Why are these coronovirus diseases only coming out of China..
I had a bit of a thing for awhile watching videos of local cuisine in various parts of the world.
Indonesia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-8zcBogaKY
India https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5pdHqDnCO8
Vietnam. No bats in this one, but everything else that walks hps wriggles crawls and swims.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyjKcWFV0sw
Papua New Guinea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImfTlurKDVE

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 13:17 utc | 12

Myth:

Myth: The virus originated from a military weapon research laboratory.

Facts:

There is zero evidence that the virus is from a Chinese or U.S. or other (weapon) laboratory and the claim actually makes no sense. The genome of the virus consists of more then 23,000 'letters'. It is significantly different that the genome of other known viruses. To artificially create such a complex entity and to test all its variants would have been a program of the size of the Manhattan project and would have cost billions.

Weapon researchers are sane people with a limited budget.

That, at least, is hard-core false. We already know the evidence record going back to the 1940s that they always have deliberated a bio-attack on their own people, along with the world's people. Coupled with this they've always had their agribusiness campaign though which they deliberately destroy all ecological safeguards along with the usual environmental destruction, every step of the way denying that they're sawing off the very limb which allows them their precarious perch.

Posted by: Russ | Mar 19 2020 13:25 utc | 13

In US CBW and Nuclear Doctrine as I recall it from cadet times and ROTC instruction was, in those days, to inoculate the target population with disease prior to atomic attack. Fallout then makes them dead like flies drop.

"Stupid"? Yes... Now let's go to the Casino and lose our money. This is stupid. But the Casino is smart. They win.

Stupid depends on position.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 19 2020 13:26 utc | 14

Checking up on it I see SARS was traced to the civit in China and MERS was found in camels. And this - "A strain of MERS-CoV known as HCoV-EMC/2012 found in the first infected person in London in 2012 was found to have a 100% match to Egyptian tomb bats." (wikipedia).

Those diseases were traced to animal hosts. As yet no one knows where this one came from, nor for that matter can it be determined what country it kicked off in as there is no patient one...
But after MERS and SARS, plenty of labs tinkering with various strains... one strain, MERS I think, from Vietnam was even patented. I doubt it was the current virus but why the fuck would somebody patent a virus.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 13:38 utc | 15

My hypothesis about South Korea seems to be correct:

New virus cases climb as new infection clusters emerge

Korea continued to see a daily increase in new COVID-19 cases as cluster infections appeared in Daegu, the epicenter of the outbreak here, and other regions, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), Thursday.

This paragraph in particular reinforces my argument that S. Korea's testing capacity, albeit somewhat high (for non-Chinese standards), is mainly concentrated in the Daegu region (plus the Incheon Airport, which is just a single infrastructure). They don't know if there are other clusters, and are not prepared for a second wave (which will come).

The same case is Taiwan's:

Taiwan facing risk of infection wave due to flawed control effort: experts

The island of Taiwan's epidemic control efforts against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are seriously flawed and Taiwan is facing the risk of another wave of COVID-19 infections, as the island's authority previously only focused on preventing cases from the Chinese mainland but not those from the rest of the world, multiple experts from the island said on Wednesday.

It was easy for the Taiwanese local government to quarantine itself from the Mainland for the simple reason they already had a ready infrastructure to block itself from the mainland. But it is not prepared to block itself from the rest of the world, and this is its weak point.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19 2020 13:41 utc | 16

Looking up my own question #16 it seems that live vaccines are patented.
Taking a patent on a virus would imply it is modified rather than something found in the wild.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 19 2020 13:50 utc | 17

Thank you for this and all your hard work.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 19 2020 13:53 utc | 18

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2020/3/19/mossad-buys-100-000-unusable-coronavirus-testing-kits
the same US kits? sold elsewhere? til when?

Posted by: Mina | Mar 19 2020 13:56 utc | 19

"Egyptian tomb bats"? The revenge of the pharaohs? The Tutankhamun exhibition last year?

Posted by: Mina | Mar 19 2020 13:59 utc | 20

I'm a big fan of most of your work, b, but this:

">Myth:
>
>The virus originated from a military weapon research laboratory.
>
>Facts:
>
>There is zero evidence that the virus is from a Chinese or U.S. or other (weapon) laboratory
>and the claim actually makes no sense. The genome of the virus consists of more then 23,000
>'letters'. It is significantly different that the genome of other known viruses. To artificially
>create such a complex entity and to test all its variants would have been a program of the size
>of the Manhattan project and would have cost billions.
>
>Weapon researchers are sane people with a limited budget. They look for methods to
>defeat an enemy. A virus that affects all humans indiscriminately but kills mostly
>very old ones would have no military value."

makes zero sense to me. The US Army has been working on bioweapons for a long time, and have a documented history of deploying them on adversaries, and even their own citizens.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/biological-weapons-useful-timely-factual-overview/5702842

It seems highly unlikely to me that the Chinese didn't conduct similar research, if only to counter US efforts and develop vaccines.

What's more, we know Wuhan researchers were splicing together "chimeric" coronaviruses; they wrote an article in Nature warning about their increased pathogenicity!

https://www.nature.com/news/engineered-bat-virus-stirs-debate-over-risky-research-1.18787

(I especially like the brief, evidence-free, argumentum ad verecundiam paragraph the editors inserted in March telling people "nothing to see here!")

As you pointed out, there's good reason not to believe eating bats or frequenting the Wuhan wet market led to this pathogen jumping the species barrier. I think most of the evidence points to this virus being engineered for research purposes, and then released by accident.

I mean, would you want to live anywhere near a Chinese lab researching "chimeric coronaviruses" that showed "increased pathogenicity"?

Posted by: BJ | Mar 19 2020 14:00 utc | 21

Amerikanski | Mar 19 2020 13:44 utc | 18 (research tool)

Is semantic happy term "research tool".

Luckup Corp designs and builds a research facility and makes hydrogen bomb to test on Bikini...The are not weapons, but "research tools".

Is simply naming. If it's made it is always a research tool, if you like.

Fatcop pulls out his cannon and blows a hole through a blackfella...
"Wallhowabout That!" He says, "I have confirmed the effectiveness of a .45." and "I have confirmed the previous science."

They call this peer-review.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 19 2020 14:00 utc | 22

B if your number 4 myth is indeed a myth, we are left with coincidence theory. (thanks to a commenter for that)
Way to many to make that a possabilty Sorry !!

Posted by: Mark2 | Mar 19 2020 14:01 utc | 23


Today China reported zero new domestic cases of novel coronavirus infections

ok, they didn't report any, but am i expected to believe that none occurred?

Posted by: john | Mar 19 2020 14:07 utc | 24

Have to disagree on your last assertion. This virus is absolutely “need to panic” without panic you can nd up like Italy or Spain. By using those words you downplayed it. I did call it out in my comments.

The images of seizures, people dropping on streets, wheeled in bubbles, and evidence of this being much more contagious than flu, hospitals overrun in Wuhan showed this was a huge deal and absolutely a “need to panic”

Again without panic we end up like Italy/Spain. Chinese most definitely did panic thus why they quarantined millions.

You have a great news site but you were wrong on this one at the start.

Posted by: Comandante | Mar 19 2020 14:20 utc | 25

China rebuts accusation of cover-up, says it first notified U.S. of coronavirus on Jan. 3

Now we know whose government covered up the epidemic for two months...

Posted by: vk | Mar 19 2020 14:22 utc | 26

The pandemic panic is for war on Iran, in my view.

New sanctions on Iran started.

Posted by: SharonM | Mar 19 2020 14:24 utc | 27

People have completely lost their minds here and that is due to decades of social engineering which has created a culture devoid of critical thinking skills and a frighteningly docile populace. Accepting the narrative of so-called (and ideologically and often financially) experts is demanded of everyone lest you be cited as a "conspiracy monger." We could cite literally all day the number of "whacked out" conspiracies that ended up being factual but that's for another time.

Having said that it is the case that at present all of what b is saying in this post is almost certainly the case- excepting the bio weapons narrative which is virtually impossible to prove and if this is the case it was a very poor job of utilizing those bio-weapons. And there is most definitely a racist element to this amongst the right-wingers which will be played up.

Now moving on to the COVID-19 virus and the reactions. At present it is without question, based on the statistical evidence, an overreaction of historical proportions. The only option that changes this is if there is something further that we do not know and for this we are to place our faith in governments and institutions that have consistently lied to us and manipulated the public for decades. Someone tell me that we are actually suppose to hold our noses and this time believe the "official narrative." It would actually go against the proven evidence, that these entities are proven liars, for us to do so.

The virus itself is just that- a virus even if it is particularly virulent which is still up for debate. The notions of how to address this, at least the ones peddled to us, are simply wrongheaded and fit a certain model of the medical establishment that BTW is part and parcel of the same system that has brought us to the point of massive ecological collapse. Let's not separate that out.

The three areas, so far, where the virus has been the worst, N Italy, N China and Iran each have one thing in common- some of the worst air pollution on the planet which has been widely cited and as much as a decade ago it was noted that the results would be compromised immune systems, diminished lung functions and outbreaks of related health issues. So what we have essentially is an environment which was ripe for such viruses to proliferate and population that is vulnerable to such things.

Keep in mind that viruses constantly mutate and there are myriad viruses that are unknown and never to be known until something like this occurs. So all talk of some "silver bullet"- be it vaccine or other medical discovery- is at best short-term if not a Trojan Horse. The solution is to have an economic social order that creates environments where the external environment is such that the inhabitants are less likely to be impacted by such contagions. Right now we have the exact opposite. So say what you want about COVID and pretend that you can find a "fix" but once this passes if we are forced to return to the same omnicidal economic system we will be right back here a few years from now.

BTW Russ is correct on his note about bio-weapons and the funding for such things is always there even as the accounting methods serve to hide where these funds go.

Posted by: Allen | Mar 19 2020 14:27 utc | 28

While origin is an open question(*), USA response to the virus raises appears to be calculated and self-serving.

The Empire Games Covid-19

===

* I haven' seen anyone dispute China's claim that USA has 5 strains and therefore must be the source.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 19 2020 14:30 utc | 29

'b'

Excellent article.

I would just offer this: military weaponization is not the only strategy possible. In the Hybrid War against a national adversary, creating havoc by means of a bioweapon is a social destabilization that is non-military but a weaponization nonetheless.

The US is waging a massive Hybrid War against China. What restraints are they showing in this war?
They have been using every weapon in the toolkit, except . . .?

Maybe not. No proof. Must hold judgment. But I also hold the concept that havoc in society that leads to economic recession is very possible.

Waiting for science to tell us more.

And thank you again for your facts and logic.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Mar 19 2020 14:32 utc | 30

Amerikanski | Mar 19 2020 14:31 utc | 32 Wally does not dispute, but simply observes that the semantic difference between weapon and tool (research) is arbitrary. The first Hydrogen Bomb was in fact a research tool, nothing less. So were the weapons tests.

Propaganda, semantics, rhetoric, research, weapons...these come mixed.

I posited, some days ago, that Wuhan was permitted to steal samples from US. Then "agent Sam" arranged to release the germ outside Wuhan lab, thus (as all con games go) the mark would tend to blame himself. This is essential feature of all well-designed con games.

But accidental release is possible.

If accidental release, where? If US accidentally released (say, last Summer)and knew it, there is reason to cast blame on Chine. If US released deliberately, also reason to blame Chine.

Recall "vaping deaths?"

Wally made a study of confidence games...spent a year with a travelin' show of Circus and Carnies, "gypsters, tramps, and thieves. They taught him their craft..it was essentially "field research". Withal, the CV19 affair smells like a con. All expert con games must have a believable aspect, often it is also a true aspect...essential to the deception avoiding cognitive dissonance. Thus Wally agrees CV19 is real as can be...it's the center feature in a con-game. One that's part of a Strategy, and not "the" strategy".

Some may recall "Walter" in "Lebowski" telling us that the ringer can't look empty". In this matter the ringer is not empty. This is often the best kind of ringer.

But yeah, it might just be a fubar from Wuhan. Sometime, like Freud said, "A cigar is just a cigar."

Posted by: Walter | Mar 19 2020 14:51 utc | 31

@all I blocked John Chuckman and Amerikanski and deleted their comments.

Funny - I write a piece that says I will not condone nonsense and the next thing these people do is to quote some long debunked piece written weeks ago or link to Zerohedge disinformation to prove that there crack theories.

Posted by: b | Mar 19 2020 15:08 utc | 32

It's a good job they ran a simulation just before it begun eh? Event 201.

Posted by: Sean Nicholson | Mar 19 2020 15:10 utc | 33

@30 OK lets wait for science but I have a feeling any scientist who suggests Chinese wet markets might be the source will be accused of racism.

All I know is those markets are filthy places and prime locations for transmitting prions. (Yes...there are filthy places elsewhere in the world)

Posted by: dh | Mar 19 2020 15:13 utc | 34

@ Posted by: dh | Mar 19 2020 15:13 utc | 34

Wet markets are all that, but they are also very cosmopolitan places, in which goods from all over the world circulate in the same place at the same time (legal and illegal, as was the case of the pangolins).

It's perfectly possible that the virus didn't originate from Wuhan proper, but was transported there via an intense flux of exotic goods.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19 2020 15:18 utc | 35

Moon of Alabama has downplayed the danger of the virus. Facts: Our first post on the issue was headlined
We pointed out that....

Our? We?

I have seen the word "our", "we" before in blog posts on this site,
I always thought this blog was a one man project?

Posted by: Zanon | Mar 19 2020 15:18 utc | 36

Another piece of perspective. About 100 people have died so far in the US of Covid-19. 7,500 people die in the US … every day. So, about 20 minutes worth.

Oh, and zero new cases in China yesterday.

In France you are supposed to get a note from the authorities, with 5 acceptable reasons only … to leave your house! Heavy fines if you are queried by the Gestapo (I mean Police) and don’t have your ‘papers’ in order. ‘Jupiter’ is very happy for this opportunity … he may finally be able to lock up all the yellow vests. You can not talk to a neighbor now in France or have your kids play with theirs.

Here in NH there is literally no place in the State where you can sit down and have a cup of coffee in public. What’s next? When they close the beaches this summer … I’ll be ready for some civil disobedience.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Mar 19 2020 15:24 utc | 37

Paul Joseph Watson had a video about a month ago about the Chinese and their bat soup.

It is good to debunk that theory,...

But, it doesn't mean that China does not have an issue with their growing meat consumption, unregulated slaughterhouses, etc.

The CCP did ban all selling and eating of wild animals or something to that effect.

It is not a stretch to think that if not bat consumption that began this scourge, then something related as to their meat consumption.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Mar 19 2020 15:39 utc | 38

Have to disagree on your last assertion. This virus is absolutely “need to panic” without panic you can end up like Italy or Spain. By using those words you downplayed it. I did call it out in my comments. <-- I have to disagree.

The notion of panic is best studied in the context of war. Subjected to fire, explosion etc. a military unit can be reduced to an unthinking mass, fleeing, dropping weapons and massacred by the advancing opponent. This is called panic, and it is never advisable, unlike a retreat performed in a controlled manner, minimizing the losses of the material, life and territory.

On personal level, I think I witnessed a trace of panic when I visited supermarket today. There is a wide aisle with paper goods on one side and frozen goods on the other. Toilet paper seems 95% gone, and so are frozen vegetables on the other side. Frozen stuff from other aisles seem untouched. Personally, I had to substitute canned peas for frozen peas I planned to buy. In any case, few reasons to expect major shortages.

On a larger level, a number of governments in Europe reacts with panic, doing things that can seriously make things worse. When small countries close borders, there can be serious havoc. Tens of thousands of people, thousands of trucks are stuck. At least in USA, states have no authority to close borders. A smallish country like Slovakia can have severe shortages if hysterical neighbors (Poland and Hungary, I am not sure about Czechia) close borders. As supply chains cross borders to a large degree in EU, interrupting the border traffic can create unpredictable shortages.
Additionally, creating big crowds (of stranded people) is very, very stupid under the circumstances.

Rational policies would be to create the balance of needs and resources, take measures to increase critical supplies including test kits, medical equipment and medicines, find ways of humane and rational handling of travelers and so on.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 19 2020 15:43 utc | 39

Why it's better to panic early: Nassim Nicholas Taleb & Yaneer Bar-Yam
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2Kga5HeAqk

Nassim & Yaneer discuss super spreaders, optimism on lock downs, & ergodicity
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX_bqMQfWlw

Posted by: Mao | Mar 19 2020 15:48 utc | 40

Meanwhile, Japan continues in full-denial mode:

No new Great Depression, says the ‘Japan optimist’

All of this clown's projections comes from the assumption "the virus recedes" (when spring comes).

Well, by the same logic, assuming a big meteor strikes the Earth tomorrow, I can project humanity will be extinct in a few hundred years tops.

Hotels in Japan roll out unusual bids to woo tourists in COVID-19 crisis

A highly contagious virus is wreacking havoc in the world's economy. Solution for the Japanese hotels? Attract more tourists and make the pandemic even worse, of course!

Niigata opens drive-thru coronavirus test clinic amid growing demand

According to the article, the local government caved in thanks to growin panic from the local citizens (i.e. popular pressure). It's hard to buy the central government's fascist censorship when news about the imperial family fleeing Tokyo and cancelling events with the British monarchy arise in the alternative media.

Expert panel to say some Japanese schools can reopen after coronavirus closure

Hokkaido set to lift coronavirus state of emergency

EDITORIAL: Keeping the elderly in the labor market longer

As the fascists will quickly learn, you can aestheticize politics, but you can't aestheticize a force of nature. The COVID-19 will come back in waves and lay waste on the Japanese people.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19 2020 15:52 utc | 41

Spread knowledge, not the virus
https://www.endcoronavirus.org/page/guidelines

Global MediXchange for Combating COVID-19
https://covid-19.alibabacloud.com/

Posted by: Mao | Mar 19 2020 15:56 utc | 42

"At least in USA, states have no authority to close borders." may be true in a blunt sense, but States do have the power to inspect and reject agricultural products. Wally's parents when we crossed the State line and were stopped by the agro-cops (every time) for inspection, parents used to remark that when US goes fascist these will be used for the purpose of econ-controls and population control, id and so forth. Wally sees no reason to alter their opinion. "Agricultural product" is a highly plastic concept, eh?

Posted by: Walter | Mar 19 2020 15:58 utc | 43

"A virus that affects all humans indiscriminately but kills mostly very old ones would have no military value."

This is absolutely true. This is why I have never suggested that the US military deployed the virus.

"To artificially create such a complex entity and to test all its variants would have been a program of the size of the Manhattan project and would have cost billions."

I rather doubt the effort would be "Manhattan project" sized, but cost a few $billions? Certainly. But then who is claiming that the virus was tested in all of its variants before being deployed? Sure, the military would not use an untested weapon, but again, I never suggested that this was a military operation. I have maintained that this was strictly a civilian (gangster) operation.

The scenario as I imagine it unfolded:

Ft. Detrick egghead: "Who are you? This is a secure area! I'm calling security!"
Langley frat boy: "I'm from Langley. If I tell you more than that then I will have to kill you."
Egghead: "You guys are jerks, you know that?"
Frat Boy: "Yeah, I love you too. So what you got in this bottle?" [picks up ampule from shelf]
Egghead: "That's a novel coronavirus."
Frat Boy: "Deadly?"
Egghead: "Not particularly. So far our testing suggests that it would just be a nuisance. Maybe one or two percent fatality. It won't make a very good weapon."
Frat Boy: "Only one or two percent, huh? That's what the taxpayers are shelling out billions for?" [palms ampule while pretending to return it to a rack of dozens of identical little glass vials]
Egghead: "Hey, it's more productive than assassinating people like you guys do!"
Frat Boy: "Watch it, Giant Forehead, or I'll rendition you to Saudi Arabia." [saunters out the door]

[two days later]

CDC inspector: "OK, your records say you have 250 vials of lot BCV-731. I only count 249. Where is the missing vial?"
Egghead: "Wait, wut? One's missing? Maybe that Langley fellow took one..."
CDC inspector: "You cannot keep track of your deadly pathogens here? We're shutting this place down."
Egghead: "But it's just a novel coronavirus! It would suck as a weapon! Why would that Langley guy want it? Why are you making such a big deal about it? Waa! My life sucks!"

[two weeks later]

Frat Boy: "You guys are heading to China for the military games? You won't be seeing real American food for a while so I brought you some pizzas!"
Grunts: "Gee, you Langley fellows sure are swell!"
Frat Boy: "Hey, I'm just a patriot! Kick some slant-eyed asses for me, OK?"
Grunts: "You betcha!"

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 19 2020 16:02 utc | 44

this virus - like many other notable events - has brought out the more annoying sides of many otherwise readable and/or sensible people on the internet. most of it is what i call the "martin prince syndrome"; for anyone who didn't watch "the simpsons" over the years, martin was the kid who symbolized the "smartest kid in the class". picture any pedantic grammar nazi who reminds the teacher she forgot to give out homework for the day. several commentors and many authors exhibit this syndrome and want us all to know they're the one person who totally gets it.

as for the myths, agreed on most. i will say it's been odd how defensive some people are getting about the (probable) animal origins of this virus. i've seen many articles - scientific and otherwise - mention the bats as a possible origin but they always note that the virus was passed to humans through an intermediary species. the closest matches have come from bats (at 96%) with slightly lower genetic similarity among pangolins.

also, saying "this person got sick first" doesn't prove anything. we all know about the asymptomatic cases as well as the ones with mild cold-like symptoms that could have been ignored before awareness of the virus became a factor. in any case, the overly assertive objections to an animal source come across as a reflexive defense against the (factually based) idea that eating "exotic" animals dragged from the depths of some disease-ridden jungle is really, really goddamn stupid. it's not "racist" to object to this behavior as well as the increasingly irritating existence of "traditional chinese medicine". this is like the idiots (anthony bourdain comes to mind) who say it's "racist" to object to chinese and korean people skinning alive then eating dogs.

this atavistic and irrational behavior is in the same category as "female circumcision" or stoning gay people. you can call it "culture" all you like but it's really just some dumb ancient shit done by dumb ancient idiots that refuses to go away. nothing more.

or maybe i'm wrong and it's of 100% human origin. maybe the same people who interacted in the same area every day for the past few generations just spontaneously developed a disease that just coincidentally matches up ~96% with diseases carried by animals that just coincidentally were stored in filthy conditions in that area.

Posted by: the pair | Mar 19 2020 16:05 utc | 45

Stevek9 @ 37 says ‘’only 100 have died in the US from Covid-19’’
Here’s why - - -
https://twitter.com/zlj517/status/1238111898828066823

————-
Then there’s the dilberate foot draging ! On the bbc radio mid day news today - a front line doctor dealing with covid-19 stated the personal protection they are being given is woefully inadqute at the moment ! He said he had to vist a builders merchant to buy a face mask to work with infected patients ! Use the same mask all day.
It’s not just the bio-warfare virus, but the resulting confusion that is being deliberately managed.
————-
Plus we need to understand this is not an attack by one country against another. But an attack by a white supremist govenment against basicly a world wide poor and middle class who are un-needed and redundant !

Posted by: Mark2 | Mar 19 2020 16:06 utc | 46

thanks b... i appreciate the way you to all this and break it down..

i think the one point that many here are going to have a problem with is "The virus originated from a military weapon research laboratory." many of the regulars have gravitated towards this one... i think the verdict is still out, but some regulars here are very attached to this one...

@ 28 allen... do you ever stick around to have a conversation, or just post and then never come back again?? i tried talking to you on a previous post.. no luck.. reminds me of another poster saying i might not be talking to a person but a computer... my problem as before and how with your analysis is this '''flu''' is indeed different.. 425 dead in one day... and saying the air quality is bad in northern italy doesn't cut it with me... i was there a year and a half ago and noticed nothing of the sort... maybe you are a computer trying to destabilize moa...

@ mao... thanks for the links on what nassim taleb is saying......... i will watch those.. he is a good thinker!!

Posted by: james | Mar 19 2020 16:06 utc | 47

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 19 2020 16:09 utc | 48

Thank you for (attempting) to inject some sanity.
A lot of people are simply fundamentally ignorant of numbers: one, two, BIG is how they think.
nCOV as a bioweapon: the reality of genetic manipulation is a lot less than the hype. Genetically manipulated animals can occur because the animals are cheap and easy to test on and industry can then clone en mass once a lucky bullet hits (i.e. they do/find what they want). For a bioweapon: How do you test? How do you refine something that isn't working the way you want?
CRISPR is touted as a magic wand - it is only in comparison to other methods. Even for CRISPR, the ability to modify is in the 50% to 80% success range for a 1 nucleotide change - and this is accompanied by an enormous and unquantified amount of insertions in areas that aren't wanted. That's why genetic manipulation in humans is hard - the first attempt (pre-CRISPR to be clear) had 80% of the test subject develop leukemia.
Secondly: animals.
You don't get squat from eating an animal unless it is animal sushi.
However, eating animals guarantees handling animals. Handling animals means catching/raising, butchering, handling the meat. One person in this chain with a cut on their hands/arms is all that is needed for a species crossing.
This isn't the only way though. There have been cases, for example, where a person caught rabies from a bat that ran into him. No bite, but the rabid bat left microscopic scrapes on the person which got infected.
So all you morons complaining about Chinese eating everything - it doesn't even have to be the consumption that's the cause.
Mixing people with wild animals results in potential exposure. Deal with it.
For that matter, there are lots of bats in the US. The rabies case above was in Canada:

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 19 2020 16:11 utc | 49

@ 27 sharon m.... mao left a video you might enjoy watching - Why it's better to panic early: Nassim Nicholas Taleb & Yaneer Bar-Yam

Posted by: james | Mar 19 2020 16:16 utc | 50

A very incomplete table with the tests carried on. Still informative (+ links to the local sources)
https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-testing-source-data

Posted by: Mina | Mar 19 2020 16:17 utc | 51

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 19 2020 16:17 utc | 52

SteveK9 @37 [concerned about insufficient fatalities]

Oh, don't worry yourself about that! We in the US are still on the flat-looking part of the exponential curve. You're not going to miss out on any excitement because it is absolutely on its way!

Jeesh! Some people are so impatient!

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 19 2020 16:26 utc | 53

What the table shows immediately is that the richer the country, the most tests carried. Some EU countries have been surprisingly stingy. Or are they that broke?

Posted by: Mina | Mar 19 2020 16:27 utc | 54

And in other news: a tidbit showing how serious Italy is about their lockdown:
Guardian with news on Italy

Police stopped and checked 700,000 citizens between 11 and 17 March, 43,000 of whom were found to have violated the decree, which also ordered the closing of shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and swimming pools.

One of the most serious cases happened in Sciacca, Sicily, when a man who had tested positive for Covid-19 was discovered by police while out shopping, despite the strict order to self-isolate at home. Prosecutors opened an investigation and accused the man of “aiding the epidemic”. If convicted, he could face up to 12 years in prison.

On 10 March a 30-year-old man was stopped by the police in Turin at 2.30am while soliciting a sex worker.

Police near Venice pressed charges against a priest because he was officiating at a funeral. Another priest was reported for the same reason in Torre Annunziata in Campania, together with relatives of the deceased. Funeral services are banned under the decree.

The prosecutor’s office in Aosta, in north-west Italy, opened an investigation against a man for “aggravated attempt to spread the epidemic” because he had not informed his doctors of suspected coronavirus symptoms before undergoing plastic surgery on his nose. The man subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.


To put this in perspective: Italy has a population of 60M - so police stopped more than 1 in 100 people in the whole country!
This is not even at China level lockdown.
What will the US do?

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 19 2020 16:32 utc | 55

Another piece of perspective. About 100 people have died so far in the US of Covid-19. 7,500 people die in the US … every day. So, about 20 minutes worth.

I know an epidemic can grow rapidly, but …

Oh, and zero new cases in China yesterday.

In France you are supposed to get a note from the authorities, with 5 acceptable reasons only … to leave your house! Heavy fines if you are queried by the Gestapo (I mean Police) and don’t have your ‘papers’ in order. ‘Jupiter’ is very happy for this opportunity … he may finally be able to lock up all the yellow vests. You can not talk to a neighbor now in France or have your kids play with theirs.

Here in NH there is literally no place in the State where you can sit down and have a cup of coffee in public. What’s next? When they close the beaches this summer … I’ll be ready for some civil disobedience.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Mar 19 2020 16:33 utc | 56

About "origin"...in wild or wherever. Is semantic trap.
Is meaningless to claim that the source is wild. All source are necessarily from the wild. Coal, wood, water, skunks, and criminals.
Luckup Bio Division gets a contract from Sam to build BSL4 lab. They need specimens to work with. They collect animals and extract virus...

All virus work begins, essentially, foundationally, with animals, natural sources, etc. And swabs and scotch tape, more or less.

Francis Boyle, expert, flat out unequivocally states "all BSL4 labs are bioweapon labs." (and they are all illegal, he says.)

In the fullness of time perhaps we'll have certainty. But is time to consider semantic value of terms.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 19 2020 16:33 utc | 57

Chloroquine/hydrochloroquinine was determined to be effective for the treatment of the coronavirus by Chinese clinicians early in February, and the Chinese government announced this on February 17 this year. Today (March 19) Trump and his staff amazingly announced that medical personnel in American health agencies have discovered, developed and were testing these drugs without any mention of the considerable Chinese, as well as Korean, published experience and success using these closely-related and relatively safe malarial drugs. Shameful and highly deceitful, to say the least. This deceit should be revealed again and again without letup.

Posted by: Jack R | Mar 19 2020 16:33 utc | 58

British people give a sample of their colonialist, liberal ideology, ransack food bank:

‘Soul-destroying’: UK foodbank broken into and ‘ransacked’ as Covid-19 outbreak provokes panic over supplies

--//--

The situation in Wall Street is so dire right now that the NYT is reporting China's first zero-case day in a positive light in its home page. Gotta prop the markets up, no matter the PR cost.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19 2020 16:34 utc | 59

@3 chris m
I like Kimdotcom myself. The fact he isn't spreading hysteria about the US government spreading the virus is another feather in his cap. He bankrolled Assange and wikileaks at the start...if you didn't know that. That is the real reason the US wants him so bad.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Mar 19 2020 16:35 utc | 60

Thanks, contributors, for all the (mostly) good well-thought-out information and views on this blog during this unprecedented time of world-wide crisis. Another valuable source I've found is MIT's Technology Review such as their latest article: We’re not going back to normal:
Social distancing is here to stay for much more than a few weeks. It will upend our way of life, in some ways forever.
As might be expected from the source, a lot of solid technical information but also some pertinent political commentary. The way this piece ends:

The world has changed many times, and it is changing again. All of us will have to adapt to a new way of living, working, and forging relationships. But as with all change, there will be some who lose more than most, and they will be the ones who have lost far too much already. The best we can hope for is that the depth of this crisis will finally force countries—the US, in particular—to fix the yawning social inequities that make large swaths of their populations so intensely vulnerable.

Posted by: jpm | Mar 19 2020 16:35 utc | 61


The notion that COV-19 is not a biological weapon and we must accept it at face value as a myth? Not me, this could be a hy-brid war weapon designed to sow seeds of distrust towards China and its supply chains, in short to increase racism and hysteria towards China to blunt China's industrial might and Belt and Road Initiative.

The man who "wrote the book," Francis Boyle believes its a bio-weapon. Law Professor Francis Boyle drafted the US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 — signed into law by GHW Bush, revoked by Bush/Cheney. Professor Boyle states that after 9-11 Bush/Cheney poured hundres of millions if not billions into bio-weapons; in fact Professor Boyle compared the level of expenditures on bio-weapons under Bush/Cheney to the sums spent on the Manhattan Project.

Here's language on biological weapons taken from "The Project for a New American Century," the centerpiece of Bush/Cheney and Neocon thought. Note: Damn near everything written in that document has come to fruition, so now I am suppose to dismiss this excerpt from Project for a New American Century?:

Information systems will become an important focus of attack, particularly for US enemies seeking to short-circuit sophisticated American forces. And advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool" (p. 60).

If we watch the documentary Antrax War we know that South Africa was working on a biological weapon targeting (specific genotypes), i.e. Blacks. Dr. Francis Boyle further states that there is no use for Level 4 BSL Labs other than the testing and creation of biological weapons. Yes, COV-19 is border less and infects all races and ethnicities. Having said that I remain skeptical that it's not a bio-weapon. I'm sorry but like many other posters here I almost NEVER accept official narratives, especially in this day and age, based upon history not conspiracy. The irony is that I typically come to this website for PRECISELY the reason that I don't accept official narratives.

Posted by: Louis | Mar 19 2020 16:37 utc | 62

The fixation on bats distracts from the important fact, which is that China primarily has one haplotype (with instances of three others in small counts, including those brought in from from abroad). The China haplotype is distinct from the Iran one, and the Italy one. Therefore none of these locations can be the origin, because where the 'parent' of the virus comes from would also be a place that would have multiple 'children' or haplotypes of the virus. The only place place that has all five haplotypes is the US. You can talk all day about bats but that is to ignore the scientific data about haplotypes and the parent-child relationship it implies.

On the ideological level, I see many comments saying its not racist to talk about Asians and weird foods. Let me point out that racism is not just discrimination, but discrimination from a position of power. A black slave cannot be racist against his plantation master no matter how much he hates him, because his individual 'prejudice' against the master does not alter the world and its system of prejudice. Racism issues from power, so viruses that originate from the US or western countries are NOT stigmatized as linked to white people or white culture, but viruses that originate from Africa or Asia are racially stigmatized. In any place, there are some people who eat 'weird' food, whether it be gator meat in Florida or bats in Palau. But only non-white countries get branded as places of 'disease'. That's because racism is the perpetuation of structures of power.

Black slaves were prized in southern plantations because they were resistant to diseases like malaria. That is a fact, but it is also a historical reality that how people talk about diseases is part of racial and racist discourse.

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 19 2020 16:38 utc | 63

Why are there still so many Western idiots who think China's COVID numbers are fake? These geniuses really believe China would sacrifice a month's worth of its GDP to fake something that would have very quickly made the sacrifice entirely worthless.

Posted by: JW | Mar 19 2020 16:42 utc | 64

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 19 2020 16:11 utc | 54

Thank you for that, I've heard it described as "gene splattering" more than once. We're in the Alchemy stage there, and most of what is written about it is hype. It is important research, but they ought not be trying to make lots of money off it.

---

Without surveillance, you don't know where you are.
So you have to test widely to know where you are.
You use the best test you have handy (temperature, antibodys, as may be)
If you don't know where you are, you don't know what to do.
If you don't know where you are, and you don't know what to do, you assume the worst.
This is what the Chinese faced, and what they did. They chose well.
We, on the other hand, with wide surveillance, might have been able to do much better, be less "draconian", but wasted the opportunity. A self-own for our "elites" if I ever saw one.

---

I quite like Mr. Taleb and share his opinions about the misuse of statistics for PR purposes, which is the rule rather than the exception, in science as in politics.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 19 2020 16:42 utc | 65

@all - another cleanup round ended with deleting some ten comments and blocking 3 additional commentators.

To those above who insist on "weapon lab made". I have now added a study and a quote to the above post. The study finds that SARS-Cov-2 is NOT manmade but a natural mutation. I read through it and the arguments make sense.

So please stop the "escaped from lab" or "weaponized" assertions. They have no basis and unless you provide real scientific evidence such claims will in future get your comment deleted and may even get you banned.

Posted by: b | Mar 19 2020 16:45 utc | 66

@ Posted by: occupatio | Mar 19 2020 16:38 utc | 63

The haplotype argument is irrelevant because, as this post already states, we already now how the virus binds with the human cell (ACE-2), and there's no correlation between haplotype and more or less ACE-2 receptors in the human cell.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19 2020 16:45 utc | 67

Jack R @58: Shameful and highly deceitful, to say the least.

That's why I write @29 that the Empire gamed Covid-19.

They knew what China's experience was. EMPIRE asshats WANTED a crisis that they could use for their own purposes.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 19 2020 16:46 utc | 68

There is a common idea behind all the various theories that attribute the pandemic to government action, ruling class planning or financial manipulators.
And that is the idea that the ruling class/establishment/tptb,1%-call them what you will- are all powerful, wise, though evil, and capable of defeating any popular resistance.

The people claiming now that the virus was unloosed to enable an attack on Iran, those who claim that it was produced as a smokescreen to obscure the collapse of the financial system, those who see it as a means to steal away our last liberties and to knock a dying democracy on the head, even those who see it as an out of control experiment , if you look at their posts in the past, are generally going to be found to be the same people who thought that the US military could not be defeated, that Syria was bound to fall, that Venezuela and Cuba were toast. And that Hezbollah and Ansarullah stood no chance against the vast forces arrayed against them.

The idea is always the same: the Empire is indefatigable, the greedy mediocrities who run it (many of them public figures whose characters are daily open to examination) have foreseen all possibilities. Resistance is useless. We are all doomed.

In fact, as people who don't have the leisure to indulge themselves in these gloomy excuses for inaction and apathy are always demonstrating, the imperial regime is not only brittle and riven through with corruption but run by talents selected in an anti-meritocratic way. The reason that Petraeus, for example, rose to the top of the US military machine was that he was a slimy careerist of the sort we have all come across, and, if we have been doing our duty, trod on, in our lives: as a General he was clueless, unoriginal and, because he was immoral and cynical, quite unable to understand how Iraqis would react to his crude terrorist methods. Unfortunately he was caught out by his lust; had he maintained a respectable image he would probably, by now, be into his second term as President and making Trump look competent.
And what is true of the Pentagon is equally true of those running the US economy, Wall St and the banking system: they are utterly witless. Look around you for the fruits of their wisdom.
In fact the entire political class of the US, ably assisted by its clownish puppets elsewhere, has brought the system that they worship to the brink of dissolution. Class rule teeters on the edge of massive uprisings.

And this is not-I have already taken up too much space and time- because the pandemic was planned but because despite its predictability, the near certainty that the seven good years would be followed by plagues and famines, they could not restrain themselves from dismantling the safety nets-from flood controls to food reserves to healthcare services designed to be able to expand when needed to deal with emergencies.
(In the Canadian county in which I live the Public Health Unit founded in the aftermath of the First World War and the 'flu epidemics, was shut down, to save money, last year. Most of its functions were left to chance and the marketplace to fulfil. And now we have a pandemic.)
Instead the entire system is riddled with the weaknesses that usurious practises impose: there are empty hospitals in the Pennines because local health authorities cannot both pay interest on PPP loans and meet the payrolls of medical staff. So, following the logic of capitalism-first pay interest- local taxes, designed to maintain public health, are diverted to the money lenders. And then there is the cost of monopolised drug purchases.
And that is symptomatic of the entire system, in all its aspects: education, including the work needed to provide scientific and medical personnel, is crippled in the same way, by high fees, by capital costs swollen by interest payments, by professions designed to hoard rather than spread knowledge.
The entire system is corrupt and collapsing. And that is why,particularly in the "West"
where mass indoctrination has long been part of the culture, it is necessary to recognise that it is not going to take much in the way of mass energy to bring the whole thing down. And to replace it with real democracy.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 19 2020 16:47 utc | 69

@41 vk The COVID-19 will come back in waves and lay waste on the Japanese people. Knock it off. You are ridiculous

Posted by: goldhoarder | Mar 19 2020 16:52 utc | 70

Why are there still so many Western idiots who think China's COVID numbers are fake? These geniuses really believe China would sacrifice a month's worth of its GDP to fake something that would have very quickly made the sacrifice entirely worthless.

Posted by: JW | Mar 19 2020 16:42 utc | 64

When China's post-quarantine manufacturing data came out, there were headlines from WSJ and others about how the economic damage from the lockdown was greater than anyone anticipated. Yet the data-deniers didn't call this Chinese economic data fake. Essentially, anything bad about China is believed and believable, and anything good about it is denied. These people live in their own bubble, putting walls around their world and blinders on their eyes. The arrival of the multi-polar world won't dawn on them, still be clutching to their sense of exceptionalism.

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 19 2020 16:52 utc | 71

The virus may not have been created in a laboratory but as a minimum it should be studied to learn more about its origin and spread. At the present time we only hace circumstantial evidence but it point in one direction. Certain facts are worth considering:

2)The Wuhan wet-market is not the first source of the coronavirus;

2) SARS-CoV virus was being studied and experimented on at a US Bioweapons lab at Fort Detrick. In August 2019, it was cited for unsafe conditions that may have led to contamination of wastewater;

3) The US sent over 300 military personnel to the World Military Games in Wuhan in late October 2019;

4) Four foreign military participants came down with an unknown respiratory illness during the games;

5) Genetic studies conducted in Taiwan and Japan indicate that the ancestral form of SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 coronavirus does not occur in China but is found in the US and elsewhere.

Posted by: Rob20 | Mar 19 2020 16:55 utc | 72

I disagree with your last point b! You have certainly been biased on the side that it is not a pandemic and there is no need to worry. Many of your posts point to false Chinese propaganda statistics. Despite your incredible military knowledge you are behind information wise on this subject. The fact alone that the first post is Jan 25 a full month after the first cases shows enough that you are maybe a month behind other researchers on the subject. You claim China is fine but there not, go on YouTube and look up wuhan live cams, the city is dead no signs of life other than those in hazmat suits.

In military analysis posts you often state likely scenarios or different options that could happen, with this virus you think you have all the facts based on CCP numbers. The CCP is the most ruthless group in the world, they would happily do whatever it takes to survive, think of all the Chinese famines while their storehouses were full of grain. The CCP will try to blame this on anyone else and will attempt to rewrite history. Trump is correct in calling it wuhan virus or Chinese virus otherwise I’m afraid in 20-30 years there will be no mention that this started in China, next to a bioweapons facility that had been researching Coronavirus and publishing papers as far back as 2013. China has culpability in this and has an obligation to help the other nations that they will have destroyed by allowing this to spread.

Posted by: Garrett | Mar 19 2020 16:56 utc | 73

Posted by: bevin | Mar 19 2020 16:47 utc | 70

Thank you for that, the government is indeed corrupt as can be, but competent they are not. That's only in the movies. For many, their only real expertise is how the government "works", and bullshitting with turgid prose ad infinitum. Petraeus is great example in all respects. A tool.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 19 2020 16:58 utc | 74

Why assume a bio-weapon designer is smart? Assume instead that most military people are dumb as rocks. Rocks with large budgets.

Posted by: oldhippie | Mar 19 2020 17:02 utc | 75

All Chinese numbers gdp, credit, stocks, electricity usage, solar production and mass production are doctored and fake. China has proven itself unreliable even in a life or death situation. Bad and good Chinese numbers are fake, 100 deaths? How many in the same period died of pneumonia, heart failure, ards, or kidney failure due to virus complications, how many died in there homes to never be counted. Loss of 25% of gdp? Double that based on the stories of empty factories with the lights on. The only reliable statistic I believe from China is oil consumption/usage since the inventory holding amount cannot change without massive infrastructure , worldwide air pollution monitors, and traffic comparisons from us gps companies. Don’t believe Chinese government lies but do heed the warnings of Chinese civilians, they are not our enemy we need to stand together with the Chinese people fighting this, follow their advice, wear masks, quarantine, wear gloves even goggles and adapt to survive.

Posted by: Garrett | Mar 19 2020 17:05 utc | 76

Posted by: oldhippie | Mar 19 2020 17:02 utc | 77

I bet you had this guy in mind,

Wise man of US Foreign Policy

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 19 2020 17:06 utc | 77

Not a single post to infirm, confirm or debate my assumption this could be related to 5G deployment.

Waiting..

Posted by: Lozion | Mar 19 2020 17:06 utc | 78

Thank you, b, for your excellent posts.

In regards to the origin of the virus, no need to speculate about biolabs etc. Ever since the agricultural revolution, the explosive aggregation of humans and livestock - China being a perfect example - has formed a perfect petri dish for chronic and acute infectious diseases that devastate the populations, over and over again.

Posted by: Trisha | Mar 19 2020 17:07 utc | 79

It is a daily struggle to separate the wheat from the chaff. Every claim must be closely scrutinized. For example, RT has a story that claims


Convoy of Italian army trucks haul away corpses as local crematorium flooded with coronavirus dead

There's even a photo of a long line of trucks. Sounds bad. But what is actually in the trucks? Who knows. But media always saves the closest-to-truth for the last paragraph:

The city [of Bergamo, metro area pop. 500,000] has recorded at least 93 Covid-19 deaths

And for that they need an endless line of trucks?

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Mar 19 2020 17:10 utc | 80

@vk #68

The point about the ACE-2 receptors is that the virus seems to affect all races equally. That issue is separate from the distribution of haplotypes around the world, and the relationships of the haplotypes with each other.

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 19 2020 17:10 utc | 81

And at the risk of belabouring the point, what are those US laboratories doing in Central Asia in the first place? There has been speculation about them for years so can we agree at least that they exist?

Posted by: Jonathan W | Mar 19 2020 17:10 utc | 82

Favorite questions: would they if they could? who benefits? follow the money... The theory of the 'soft landing' for the market, currently on a global destruction course, leads to the TPTB. Who also have the $ to profit from this buying opportunity... as we know they did in 2008 etc. And the taxpayer bailouts that are following.. win, win, win. If anyone, they can afford to ride out the temporary down side, unlike the 99%. Someone please tell me why this isn't obvious?

Posted by: Nancy | Mar 19 2020 17:15 utc | 83

... have to add... the virus may or may not have been a deliberate tactic, but while we thrash that out, the hysterical panic certainly seems to be. And who owns the MSM? Am I totally off base, oh wise ones?

Posted by: Nancy | Mar 19 2020 17:18 utc | 84

@49 c1ue

This is not true that you can not contract infection from eating animals.

The bacteria in mad cow disease comes to mind. The bacteria is impervious to cooking.

But you are correct that zoologic disease is probably the culprit here.

As many here have said, you put pop. Density+increasing meat demand+variety of animals sharing tight quarters in unregulated slaughterhouses=clusterf***.

...

Re: the "racism" of China slaughtering dogs and cats. If anyone has seen footage of these acts where cats and dogs are boiled and skinned alive, it might change your opinion on the matter.

However, the shock of this practice could be mitigated by regulating and outlawing the torture of these animals before death (i.e. quick death).

The trauma an animal feels being locked up in a cage with no movement available and led to slaughter in the foulest and most blood-drenched pits imaginable can not be solely blamed on the Chinese. This is a fact of modern life and technology that needs addressing.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Mar 19 2020 17:20 utc | 85

Mina @ 54: Yes. Most Western nations are THAT broke.


@b: I appreciate all the work you've done. But, it's still too early to casually dismiss CoVID-19 as being, or used as, a bioweapon. There are simply too many unanswered questions, and I have no doubt the investigation of the source will continue for years to come. Unfortunately, peoples memories are short like a goldfish, and would ignore what investigators found. Don't you know, the NFL is on?

The question on the probability of one nation getting hit with all those "outbreaks" within the past decade has yet to be answered to my satisfaction. These occurrences aren't natural. Don't forget, Reuters reported last month of another outbreak of Bird Flu in China.

Anyway, it's good to read that China is near at the end of the tunnel. But, we still have the next wave coming this fall.

Posted by: Ian2 | Mar 19 2020 17:21 utc | 86

Posted by: Nancy | Mar 19 2020 17:18 utc | 84

Yep, you are correct, they are all clickfarms now, not a socially responsible bone in their bodies. Hype is what they do. They will even hype about other people not hyping things, any things.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 19 2020 17:22 utc | 87

On a larger level, a number of governments in Europe reacts with panic, doing things that can seriously make things worse. When small countries close borders, there can be serious havoc. Tens of thousands of people, thousands of trucks are stuck.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 19 2020 15:43 utc | 39

I think you've misunderstood the closure of frontiers in Europe. The border is closed for people (but not the citizens of the country concerned - e.g. Britain/France, both British and French citizens have the right to go home, or if you work on the other side of the border, you can cross daily to work). But the borders are definitely not closed for freight on trucks, rather completely open.

Yes, there's some slow-down, which didn't exist before, but I doubt whether it's a big pain, compared to other problems at the moment.

Posted by: Laguerre | Mar 19 2020 17:24 utc | 88

Trailer Trash #80:

But what is actually in the trucks? Who knows.

Who knows? Apparently, Matteo Salvini, the head of one of the largest Italian parties. Did you read his tweet embedded in the article? It says:

The Army takes the coffins out of Bergamo for cremation out of Lombardy, a land put to the test, which fights relentlessly against evil.
It is a heartbreaking image, which hits with the force of one hundred, one thousand punches. (1/3)

Trailer Trash #80:

And for that they need an endless line of trucks?

I imagine there are 2–3 coffins per truck. I don’t think they would stack them—not yet.

Posted by: S | Mar 19 2020 17:25 utc | 89

African swine fever is also spread by man-made means even if it is not in itself man-made. Criminal elements spread it with drones The longer it takes to track down the origin even if the Chinese reportedly monitor everything, the more suspicious it becomes.

Posted by: Jonathan W | Mar 19 2020 17:28 utc | 90

@ Posted by: Nancy | Mar 19 2020 17:18 utc | 84

Sure, now that the lemon is out, they are making a lemonade.

But that's definitely not the ideal scenario the global elites envisioned for the recovery of the capitalist economy after the 2008 meltdown. All the soft data from the IMF, World Bank et al from the beginning of the year predicted growth.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19 2020 17:29 utc | 91

@Nemesiscalling #85
I had actually typed in a mention about mad cow - it was lost due to one of the links I was trying to post breaking MoA and my attempts to find/fix the problem.
And Mad Cow isn't bacterial - it is a prion: a misformed protein. So is Kuru - mad people disease. So is the deer equivalent.
nCOV isn't a prion.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 19 2020 17:42 utc | 92

All the funny videos about Chinese making masks out of women's bras, tampons, water bottles: not so funny now: Washington hospital making masks out of office supplies
And people are really saying there weren't racist currents?

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 19 2020 17:44 utc | 93

: Louis | Mar 19 2020 16:37 utc | 62 and generally.

I agree with b's decision to limit speculation about weapon intent/weapon lab. Not because I think he seems to be in error about the source, (I do) but because it is not useful to discuss at this time, and this "place" on an exponential "curve".

As Wally said, is semantic trap. One way or another one can claim and prove "natural". It's God's world, all is natural, even man.

Thus: vilen Danke amigo. Good curation. Wally applauds.

Let us consider, however, that Conflict naturally "colonizes" the "ground". Thus if "it" came from Mars the exploitation of the new ground would look, if not identical, at least plausibly similar. We had conflict before the virus. We have conflict after virus. Agents of conflict, the latent incipient forces would naturally adapt to the new ground. It would look about the same.

The Strategy for "der nutzlose Esser und die Menschen der Welt" would be the same.

That would be to, generally, to obey, be cautious, to survive the first and secondary assaults, events, waves.

After that, then we may profitably discuss any evidence of criminality or design, and the matter of malice, if any, in the matter of CV19.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 19 2020 17:46 utc | 94

Propublica has published a model showing hospital bed availability vs. nCOV infection rates, nationwide: bed vs. infection rate
It actually isn't bad: there are spots where 20% infection in 12 months is bad, but overall the US seems in decent shape. 20% in 6 months - significant red coverage.
But interestingly - my Eyeball Mark I shows the negative effects mostly in the liberal zones = cities.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 19 2020 17:48 utc | 95

Sorry for the longish post, but commenting on an actual scientific article does take some words.

From the Nature article posted by b:

1. Mutations in the receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2

The following statement is the results of the analysis in this section:

"While the analyses above suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may bind human ACE2 with high affinity, computational analyses predict that the interaction is not ideal and that the RBD sequence is different from those shown in SARS-CoV to be optimal for receptor binding."

The following statement is the conclusion the authors draw from the results of the analysis in this section.

"Thus, the high-affinity binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to human ACE2 is most likely the result of natural selection on a human or human-like ACE2 that permits another optimal binding solution to arise. This is strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is not the product of purposeful manipulation."

The conclusion assumes that if someone designed the virus, the person would have tried to design an "ideal" interaction of SARS-CoV-2 with human ACE2. I find this assumption to be flawed. If it is technically possible to design into the virus an "ideal" interaction, a clever designer who did not want to make it obvious that the virus was man-made would have designed an "improved" interaction without designing an "ideal" interaction.


2. Polybasic furin cleavage site and O-linked glycans

I have read this section a number of times, and find nothing definitive that would lead me to believe that the virus must be naturally occurring. The article says the following:

"The second notable feature of SARS-CoV-2 is a polybasic cleavage site (RRAR) at the junction of S1 and S2, the two subunits of the spike (Fig. 1b)."

and

"Given the level of genetic variation in the spike, it is likely that SARS-CoV-2-like viruses with partial or full polybasic cleavage sites will be discovered in other species."

This last statement seems to be the authors' conclusion, but it is merely speculative. If SARS-CoV-2-like viruses with partial or full polybasic cleavage sites are eventually discovered in other species, one may just as well wonder whether there was a human to other species transmission after the fact of the present outbreak.


Theories of SARS-CoV-2 origins

The authors conclude in this section that:

"It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus. As noted above, the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 is optimized for binding to human ACE2 with an efficient solution different from those previously predicted. Furthermore, if genetic manipulation had been performed, one of the several reverse-genetic systems available for betacoronaviruses would probably have been used."

I have already commented on the first reason the authors give for the virus not being man-made. The second reason is based on the "probable" use of "one of the several reverse-genetic systems available for betacoronaviruses". Once again, a clever designer who did not want to make it obvious that the virus was man-made would have designed the virus without using known reverse-genetic systems available for betacoronaviruses.

Finally, even if the authors' conclusions are correct about the virus not being recombinantly made in a "test tube", a clever designer who did not want to make it obvious that the virus was made deliberately would use a development strategy that mimics the way these viruses are made in nature. This would involve using humans as hosts to provide the "selection during passage" to give rise to SARS-CoV-2.

The cited paper simply does not prove that the virus was not man-made, only that it is plausible for the virus to have occurred by mutation from an animal coronavirus.

Posted by: JasonT | Mar 19 2020 17:50 utc | 96

@JasonT -

The conpiracy theory was debunked.

Now you come up and say maybe if I make the conspiracy theory more complicate than it might not be completely debunked.

That is bullshit. Stop it.

Posted by: b | Mar 19 2020 17:54 utc | 97

The Nature article, claiming to prove that SARS-CoV-2 is not man-made, does not seem very definitive to me. For example, it states "SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone". How can that be known for certain if the relevant research were classified? Also, the article talks about similarities to bat and pangolin coronaviruses, but then states "the diversity of coronaviruses in bats and other species is massively undersampled". So it may have nothing to do with bats or pangolins.

I don't think this article should be the final word on whether or not SARS-CoV-2 was engineered.

Furthermore, even if it were not engineered, that does not prove that it wasn't collected and released intentionally. There are several naturally occurring pathogens that have been studied for use (and even used) as bioweapons.

Posted by: Antiwar7 | Mar 19 2020 17:58 utc | 98

@ Posted by: JasonT | Mar 19 2020 17:50 utc | 96

The burden of proof is on you. If you just treat hypotheses without evidence as they were true outright, then you're not that different from the religious fanatics your country is bombing in the ME.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19 2020 18:03 utc | 99

A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data

by J. Ioannides, in STAT.

a smart guy, is worth reading. (?)

https://bit.ly/33tqTmr

He argues that we don’t have enough .. reliable / good / clear / consequent etc. data to make informed judgments, e.g. based on ‘lethality’, ‘rate of infection’, etc. My pov since the start… though of course ppl in positions of authority must take the info at hand, shoddy as it is, and make decisions, that is another story. (They will unfortunately represent some type of interests, mostly financial, not the ‘ppl’, etc.)

J. I. then goes on to make some basic calculations, thereby contradicting his own main point! Weird, surprising. (Piece downplays the impact, danger.)

—> the origins: the Nature paper posted by chris m at 3 is good (not conclusive) evidence for Nature bats last.

We humans like to consider ourselves as super-masterful and consequently see happenings as directed, created by humans who have motives, often of a nefarious kind. For ex. China seems to be touting the idea that Cov19 was introduced to China by the US dopey military at the Wuhan military games. Trump has deliberately spoken about the Chinese virus, etc. Or, that kind of blame game is cynically spewed out for some ‘advantage.’

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 19 2020 18:04 utc | 100

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