Novel Coronavirus: Is It Slowing Down?

Note: Conspiracy theories come naturally where governments lie in a reflexive manner — as in China. The shameful actions of government officials in the early weeks of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic created a climate of skepticism and doubt that will take a long time to dissipate. In the posting below we try to provide a rounded overview of recent events.

Over the weekend, the virus now threatening China and the rest of the world has spread more quickly and killed more patients than its older cousin: As of late Sunday, the Wuhan coronavirus has killed more than 900 people and infected more than 40,000 globally. Only around 3,000 people are known to have “recovered” from their infections, according a disease-mapping project at Johns Hopkins University.

That’s compared with the entire SARS pandemic, which, once over, counted 8,098 known infections and an official death toll of 774. __ Updates on Wuhan Coronavirus

Update: How China may be manipulating disease statistics

Empty Beijing Streets

Optimistic overview

Beijing officials are trying to put a good face on the novel coronavirus (2019) epidemic. But the world is getting used to being told lies by the party leadership, and it is more skeptical of China now.

Joseph Eisenberg, professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, said it was too early to say whether the epidemic was peaking.

“Even if reported cases might be peaking, we don’t know what is happening with unreported cases,” he said. __ Returning to Work?

An American physician married to a Chinese immigrant has this to say:

There have now been four occasions where I have witnessed on live Chinese national TV public officials being frog-marched out of press conferences in hand irons. Their crimes? One had his mask on upside down. One did not have a mask on at all. One was stating (translated by my wife) that he had repeatedly been telling Beijing about the problems for weeks – and there was no response. One was answering every question with obvious double-speak (not unlike listening to Nancy Pelosi or Ted Cruz). Shortly into the press conferences, young men from the PLA show up – slapped on the hand irons – and hauled them out and in all 4 cases – it was just stunned silence in the rooms. My wife just casually tells me – “no one will ever see them again.”

It is also clear to me as a physician – listening to the Chinese doctors – and viewing footage from the hospitals and clinics – that this is many orders of magnitude worse than what they are saying. Common sense will tell you that as well – are they really going to torpedo their entire industrial heartland for months – just because 300 people have died? — I think not – I think this is way worse than we can possibly imagine.

___ Plague Presses China to Breaking Point

On the other hand, some travelers in China report less apocalyptic observations. (See update #3 at bottom)

Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, has this to say:

Guo Wengui said Sunday, citing leaked information out of Wuhan, that the death toll could be as high as 50,000, as Chinese officials burn bodies to cover up the true extent of the crisis.

… Last night, we reported that Chengdu had been placed under strict lockdown, adding another 14.4 million Chinese to the 400 million+ already living under virtual house arrest across the country as Beijing struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak that has already claimed more lives than SARS did during its nearly year-long run. __ https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/were-totally-dark-japan-not-doing-enough-contain-outbreak-diamond-princess-passengers

It is difficult to get reliable, confirmed information out of China these days. The Chinese people are trying to bypass their communist party overlords, and are sometimes successful. And rumors are flying that the coronavirus somehow escaped from a government laboratory:

[Dr. James] Lyons-Weiler said the coronvirus sequences from samples isolated from infected patients in Wuhan have very similar gene sequences overall in comparison to related coronaviruses, but the 2019-nCoV has a very distinct gene sequence encoding the spike proteins. Spike proteins are the tools with which these viruses penetrate and infect host cells. He found the Wuhan virus has a spike protein that is very different than the nearest coronavirus, and he considers that a paradox.

… Lyons-Weiler feels the strongest evidence supporting a genetically engineered source for the Wuhan virus comes from a peer-reviewed article by Chinese scientists who first published the virus’ genetic sequence. ___ Reddit backup copy

Note: The original source for this article was removed from the internet roughly an hour after it was posted here: Mysterious Lab Event? No explanation given so far for the deletion.

This theory must be seen as unconfirmed speculation at this time.

So far, almost all cases — and all but two deaths — have taken place inside mainland China. Most of the world has placed travel barriers between themselves and China, and the rate of new cases outside of China is reported very slow. The one glaring exception is Ethiopia, which continues to offer an open door to Chinese travelers and others arriving from China to Bole International Airport. From there the new arrivals fan out to a wide array of other African destinations — with very minimal monitoring and screening along the way. It is possible that Africa will represent a new focus of the outbreak.

Meanwhile back in China:

Beijing has blocked a plan by Apple Inc supplier Foxconn Technology Co Ltd to resume production in China from Monday, the Nikkei business daily reported.

Gaming giant Tencent Holdings Ltd said on Sunday it had asked staff to continue working from home until Feb. 21.

Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, will keep schools shut until March 1, the People’s Daily newspaper said. Several provinces have shut schools until the end of February. __ Work and School Shutdowns

I recently asked some 10 year olds what they thought about the coronavirus. They responded that they would be concerned about the virus weakening the nation suffering the outbreak, so that outsiders might take advantage of their weakened condition. It occurs to me that China may have considered that possibility as well. Genetic scientist Dr. James Lyons-Weiler has this to say:

We need to help China get it under control to help them and the rest of the world. We must act in an unselfish manner. This is a true test for humankind. We all need to pull together. True humanitarianism requires transparency. The rest of the world needs to act as if their own nations’ fates depends on how China does with this,” he said. __ Lab Leaked Virus?

Note: Above excerpt is linked to the Reddit backup copy until the article is restored online to its original source location.

Chinese party officials have been less than honest throughout this episode. But it is in their best interest — and in the interest of the world at large — for them to show a lot more openness for once.

More:

Mysterious origins

Reddit backup of article with Dr. James Lyons-Weiler that was taken off the internet suggesting Wuhan 2019 CoV is product of a viral research laboratory.

A long excerpt from the Lyons-Weiler article is included below, but for the sake of providing further information a rebuttle of Lyons-Weiler can be found here. The bottom line is that scientifically, the argument made by Lyons-Weiler is not a slam dunk.

Senior U.S. Scientist: Wuhan Coronavirus ‘Most Likely’ Linked to Lab Event

According to a senior U.S. scientist, evidence suggests a 90 percent probability that the Wuhan 2019-nCoV virus, which has resulted in the quarantine of more than 80 Chinese cities, originated as a result of a laboratory event. He has called for transparency and an urgent international response to solve the “current humanitarian crisis in China.”

… Dr. James Lyons-Weiler, CEO and Director of The Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, an independent publicly funded not-for-profit organization in Pittsburgh, Penn., said since the outbreak of the Wuhan 2019 n-CoV coronavirus, he has been analyzing data from internationally shared databanks, and has concluded the strongest evidence for his conclusion lies with the Spike Protein (S-Protein).

Spike Protein (S-Protein) Segment Very Different Than Any Other Coronavirus Sequence Lyons-Weiler said, the coronvirus sequences from samples isolated from infected patients in Wuhan have very similar gene sequences overall in comparison to related coronaviruses, but the 2019-nCoV has a very distinct gene sequence encoding the spike proteins. Spike proteins are the tools with which these viruses penetrate and infect host cells. He found the Wuhan virus has a spike protein that is very different than the nearest coronavirus, and he considers that a paradox…

… 2019 n-CoV Unique Gap Sequence Matched to pShuttle-sn Lyons-Weilers took that unique sequence and searched databanks for a possible non-viral source and found a significantly close match to pShuttle-SN, a recombinant SARS research vector spike protein that had been created in China.

Is Wuhan Virus a Recombinant Virus Being Used in Vaccine Development? He said, the connection to pShuttle-SN led him to postulate that perhaps the serious clinical disease resulting from 2019 n-CoV infection was the result of a secondary challenge with a SARS-like coronavirus in previously vaccinated populations.

“The real reason we do not have a SARS vaccine is due to the atrocious mortality rates in animals [rats, ferrets and mice] associated with secondary exposure after vaccination with recombinant vaccines made with SARS spike proteins.” he explained.

“I am very concerned that the Chinese people might have been surreptitiously exposed to a SARS spike protein vaccine. There were Phase I clinical trials with SARS vaccines in China conducted in Wuhan. This is a testable hypothesis,” he said.

At present, mortality rates outside China are much lower than inside China. In a few weeks, if mortality rates around the world remain low, it would support the hypothesis that a public with prior exposure to the SARS protein is developing severe disease after being infected with another similar virus. If mortality rates in the rest of the world begin to match those in China, then a global pandemic could have a high mortality rate.

Lyons-Weiler pointed out that “the disease progression of the 2019 n-CoV is exactly like that of the animals that were vaccinated with SARS spike protein-based vaccines that were given a secondary challenge with SARS” and developed hypersensitized immune responses with a high mortality rate.

The hypersensitization-following-vaccine theory is lent credence by the fact that on Dec. 1, 2019, a new law went into effect making residents living in China legally obligated to be vaccinated with all state immunization program vaccines. The concern is whether there were larger human trials of a SARS vaccine in Wuhan than previously known.

With over 20 years of expertise in genomic proteomic and integromic data analysis, Dr. Lyons-Weiler is the author of 57 peer-reviewed publications and three books, including one about the Ebola virus. Since the outbreak, Dr. Lyons-Weiler has written extensively about the Wuhan virus, and has published these articles: “On the Origins of the 2019-nCoV Virus, Wuhan, China”; “Molecular Epidemiology of Spike Protein Sequences in 2019-nCoV: Origin Still Uncertain and Transparency Needed”; “2019-nCov Vaccine Recommended Readings”

The long article excerpt above is copied from a Reddit backup of an article originally published on Epoch Times website. It is re-published here only because the original article “disappeared without explanation” from the website where it was first published.

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