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Who’s behind the COVID-19 global pandemic

By Kevin Barrett | Press TV | March 27, 2020

The question of whether the chickens are coming home to roost was famously posed by Malcolm X. And that was shortly after the JFK assassination. Malcolm X was suggesting that the same forces that the US had deployed to attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro, among others, may have bounced back in a case of blowback and killed President Kennedy.

And of course, we know that there’s a certain amount of truth to that. Today we know that the same CIA assassination squads that were unsuccessfully attempting to kill Castro were in fact involved in killing President Kennedy. So Malcolm X’s words were quite precient. Now does that apply to today’s coronavirus situation in which the United States is now about to become the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic according to the World Health Organization?

I think it does, because there is considerable circumstantial evidence that this COVID-19 pandemic was a biological weapon that was deployed against China and Iran and has bounced back against its creators. The experts in biological warfare all say that traditionally, strategists have been skeptical about biological warfare precisely because it has that tendency to bounce back and to create blowback.

Viruses mutate, even if you create an ethnic specific kind of virus, which may have been the case here. The United States has been caught red-handed nefariously collecting genetic material from the Chinese, from Russians and from Iranians. But the problem is that genetic specific weapons mutate. The virus is constantly seeking to find a better way to infect a broader group of people.

So it will typically go after people that may not have been the original targets, and that may be what happened here. The Chinese government is saying this. The Chinese government has all but officially accused the United States of deploying a biological weapon.

The Russian media accepts this as its standard mainstream narrative. This is what happened, according to Russian mainstream media. And in Iran, top leaders including the civil defense chief, and indeed the Supreme Leader himself, have broadly hinted at the same thing. We don’t know the details for sure, we’re not even sure that this hypothesis is correct, but we need to find out.

And at this point, we just don’t have enough information about the coronavirus and about the biological weapons programs. We know that the US has a terrible track record of using biological weapons against populations.

The US dropped more than 100,000 germ bombs on Pyongyang in North Korea during the Korean War, as explained in Dave Chaddock’s book — This Must Be the Place[: How the U.S. Waged Germ Warfare in the Korean War and Denied It Ever Since]. It used the Japanese germ warfare program that had done horrible things to China and Korea during World War Two, and it hired the very experts who had done that, and they became the basis for the US germ warfare program.

The US has also repeatedly attacked Cuba with biological weapons. It actually had a plan to incapacitate the entire Cuban population and kill at least 20% of the Cuban population as a prelude to a US invasion with the US soldiers, of course, protected by vaccines and masks as they went into Cuba. And that might very well have been actually approved; it would have been done if the President Kennedy hadn’t stopped it.

So we have bad historical precedents. We have all kinds of circumstantial evidence about the possibility of this being biological warfare, that blew back and got out of hand and is now affecting the very country that most likely was behind it. But we need to find out if that’s true.

We need a full scale international investigation. If we had had that kind of investigation after September 11, 2001 we will be living in a much better world today. Unfortunately, the same neoconservatives who were behind 9/11 very likely are also behind the coronavirus outbreak. It’s time to investigate, find out the truth, and prosecute the guilty.

March 27, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Brazilian President’s son creates diplomatic crisis between Brazil and China

By Lucas Leiroz de Almeida | March 24, 2020

Federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, has started a serious diplomatic crisis between Brazil and China. On March 18, the congressman published on a social network: “Whoever watched Chernobyl will understand what happened. Replace the nuclear plant with the coronavirus and the Soviet dictatorship with the Chinese. Once again a dictatorship preferred to hide something serious rather than exposing it with wear and tear, but that would save countless lives. China is to blame and freedom would be the solution”. Then Eduardo published several accusations to the Chinese government of being responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chinese response was immediate. China’s ambassador to Brazil, Yang Wanming, said that “the Chinese side vehemently repudiates the deputy’s words, and demands that he withdraw them immediately and apologize to the Chinese people.” He also said that he would express his repudiation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chamber of Deputies. The reaction of the Chinese Embassy website itself was even more incisive: “His words are extremely irresponsible and sound familiar. They are still an imitation of your dear friends. Upon returning from Miami, he unfortunately contracted a mental virus, which is infecting friendships among our peoples”.

The mention to Miami made in the publication refers to the last official trip by President Jair Bolsonaro and his entourage, to the USA, two weeks ago, in which 22 Brazilian state officials contracted the new coronavirus. The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, responded quickly to the Chinese demand, posting on his social network profile: “On behalf of the Chamber of Deputies, I apologize to China and Ambassador @wanmingyang for the thoughtless words of the deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro”.

However, the attitude of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Araújo, was not the same as that of Rodrigo Maia. The head of Brazilian diplomacy spoke out in defense of the Bolsonaro family and sharply criticized the Chinese response: “It is unacceptable for the Chinese ambassador to endorse or share an offensive post to the head of state of Brazil and its voters. (…) We expect a retraction for his offense to the head of state. Brazil wants to maintain the best relations with the government and the Chinese people, promoting business and cooperation for mutual benefit, without ever leaving aside mutual respect”.

Clearly, Ernesto Araújo tries in his speech to reverse the logic of the discussion between Eduardo and the Chinese ambassador. Instead of appeasing the situation by acknowledging the parliamentarian’s mistake and advising him to retract, the Minister demands an apology from the ambassador of the country which Eduardo Bolsonaro publicly offended. Due to the nature of his position, as head of Brazilian diplomacy, Ernesto Araújo should seek to reestablish good relations between countries, without prejudice to either side. However, in the opposite direction, the minister intensified the discussions and deepened a crisis between Brazil and its biggest trading partner, proving its complete inability for the diplomatic exercise.

The Brazilian vice-president himself, General Hamilton Mourão, expressed himself more appropriately, claiming that the views of Eduardo Bolsonaro do not represent the official views of the government. Subsequently, Eduardo spoke again: “I’ve never intended to speak for the Brazilian government, but, due to all this repercussion, I leave here crystal clear that my intention, once again, was never to offend the Chinese people or to hurt the good relationship between our countries (…) I have never offended the Chinese people, such an interpretation is totally unreasonable. I clarify that I shared a post that criticizes the Chinese government’s action in preventing the pandemic mainly in sharing information that would have been useful on a global scale”.

We can see here a good example of the political praxis of the current Brazilian government. A parliamentarian offends China; China responds to offenses; the head of Brazilian diplomacy starts to demand excuses from China and; the parliamentarian returns to say that he did not offend China, distorting his own speech instead of acknowledging his mistake and asking for forgiveness. The case reveals the total unpreparedness and the most complete malpractice with which the Brazilian government deals with its main relations. The result is simple: now, not only the strategic relations between Brazil and China are shaken, but also their own diplomatic ties.

Making the situation even worse, the crisis comes amid a global pandemic scenario. Unlike Brazil, where the number of cases grows every day and the State remains silent in the face of social chaos, China knew how to deal with the situation very well and already has COVID-19 under control. Stable, Beijing seeks to help other countries affected by the virus, stimulating international cooperation. One of those countries that China had committed to helping was Brazil. In response to a desperate request from the Brazilian Ministry of Health, China was sending medical equipment to Brazil to help fighting the coronavirus. This relationship now does not give any certainty about the future, which, in the event of a cancellation, will represent a great loss for Brazil.

Finally, the Brazilian president himself, Jair Bolsonaro, tried to contact personally with Chinese President Xi Jinping in order to resolve the situation and justify his son’s irresponsible attitude. Xi, however, ignored him and refused to answer, making it clear that China is not willing to “forget” Eduardo’s offense. A new note from the Chinese Embassy was published, this time criticizing and rejecting the administration carried out by Ernesto Araújo.

The attitude of Brazilian politicians is only a reflection of the neoliberal and pro-US ideology behind Jair Bolsonaro. Other similar testimonies have already been made by Brazilian public figures, even stating that COVID-19 may be a biological weapon produced by China itself – the biggest country affected by the pandemic. In addition, sinophobia is growing in the country, with an insurgent hatred against Asians, who are being seen as “propagators of COVID-19”. The collective madness implanted by the Bolsonaro phenomenon is already causing Brazilians to refer to the coronavirus as “Chinese flu” or “Asian virus”. The fact is that the biggest loser in all this is Brazil itself, which is in serious danger of breaking ties with its biggest economic partner.

Lucas Leiroz de Almeida is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

China censures US for ‘clumsy trick’ to smear others with rumors amid COVID-19 pandemic

Press TV – March 23, 2020

China censures the United States for playing a ‘clumsy trick’ on other countries by smearing them with rumors aimed at accusing those countries with having a hand in the global spread of the deadly coronavirus.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday that Washington “on the one hand required federal organizations to speak with one voice to smear China; and on the other hand criticized China, Russia and Iran for spreading false information.”

“I just want to ask, who on earth is spreading false information, misleading the public and calling white black? Such trick of smearing others with rumors and with the play of a thief crying ‘stop the thief’ are just too clumsy.”

China, he added, has always been “open, transparent and responsible.”

“In the past two months and more, the Chinese people have united as one to fight the epidemic and earned precious time for the rest of the world to take necessary precautionary measures. We have made great contribution. WHO has recently pointed out that countries like Singapore and South Korea made good use of the precious time earned by China and took measures. Their moves have curbed the epidemic spread. What has the US done during this period?”

The Chinese official also stated that since January 3 the government in Beijing had been providing “regular briefings” to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries, including the United States.

On January 23, he added, “China announced to shut down roads exiting Wuhan City. The US government on February 2 announced to ban entry of all foreigners who had been to China in 14 days before. By then the US just announced a dozen of confirmed COVID-19 cases.”

“Now 50 days have passed, the confirmed cases in the US have surged from less than 20 to more than 30,000. What kind of strong measures has the US taken in the 50 days? It had totally squandered the time China earned for the world.”

The Chinese official further noted that Washington is seeking to “defame” others and “find a scapegoat” instead of admitting its own mistake, “which is totally immoral and irresponsible, and will do nothing good to the US epidemic control work and to the international cooperation in fighting the epidemic.”

“All it should do is concentrating on its own business and play a constructive role in working with all countries to fight the epidemic and protecting global public health security,” the Chinese official said of the US government.

The COVID-19 disease, caused by the new coronavirus, emerged in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, in December. It has been reportedly contained in China, but is spreading rapidly around the globe.

UN to set up global coronavirus fund: Norway

Meanwhile, Norway said on Monday that the United Nations will set up a fund to prevent the spread of coronavirus and support the treatment of patients worldwide.

The purpose of the fund, proposed by the Norwegian government, is to assist developing countries with weak health systems in coping with the pandemic as well as to tackle the long-term consequences.

The initiative is similar to a 2014 United Nations Ebola Response Fund.

“We want to make sure that the efforts are as unified as possible and as early as possible so that we can answer up to the demands that countries will have, especially the poorest countries,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide told Reuters.

In Africa, Angola, Eritrea and Uganda have confirmed their first cases, while Mauritius recorded its first death as the virus spreads across the continent despite efforts by governments to hold it back.

Elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, the first two cases were confirmed on Sunday.

Coronavirus aid to Italy not a ploy to get EU sanctions lifted: Russia

The Kremlin said Monday that medical assistance Russia is providing to Italy is not part of an attempt to get Rome help lift EU sanctions on Moscow.

The Russian army on Sunday began flying medical help to Italy after receiving an order from President Vladimir Putin, a goodwill gesture that Moscow labeled “From Russia with Love.”

Italy is the European country hardest hit by the viral crisis.

When asked if Russia expected Italy to return the favor by trying to get EU sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine lifted, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the notion as absurd.

“We’re not talking about any conditions or calculations or hopes here,” Peskov said.

“Italy is really in need of much more wide scale help and what Russia does is manageable.”

Russia to use mobile phones to track people at risk

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has given the authorities five days to develop a system to track people who have come into contact with anyone with coronavirus by using mobile phone geolocation data.

Under the new system, people would be sent information if they came into contact with someone who was infected and the same information would be passed on to special regional headquarters set up to fight the respiratory disease pandemic.

The Kremlin said the measure was legal and part of a raft of measures Russia is taking to try to halt the spread.

Postponement of Olympics should be considered: Japan

The head of the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) said he had to consider postponing the Games among his options amid increasing calls from committees around the world to delay the Olympics due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“From the athletes’ point of view of safety and security, we have to come to a stage where we cannot help but consider things including postponement,” JOC President Yasuhiro Yamashita told reporters on Monday.

However, he said too long a delay would be a burden to athletes given the possibility of having to qualify again, for example.

Spain death toll tops 2,000 after 462 deaths in 24 hours

The coronavirus death toll in Spain has surged to 2,182 after 462 people died within 24 hours, the health ministry says.

The death rate showed a 27-percent increase on the figures released a day earlier, with the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rising to 33,089 in Spain, one of the worst-hit countries in the world after China and Italy.

Despite an unprecedented national lockdown which was put in place on March 14, the number of deaths and infections have spiraled in Spain, with the figures growing as the country steps up its capacity for testing.

And the lockdown, which was initially put in place for two weeks, will be extended until April 11 to try to curb the spread, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said — in a measure which will be put to parliament on Tuesday.

The rise in infections in this country of 46 million people has brought Spain’s healthcare system to the brink of collapse, particularly in Madrid, the worst-hit area, which has registered 10,575 cases, and where 1,263 people have died — accounting for 58 percent of the national death toll.

Some 3,910 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus, or around 12 percent of those infected, the health ministry’s emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon said.

Officials have repeatedly warned that the number of deaths and infections would continue to rise this week and that the worst was yet to come.

Greece bans flights from UK, Turkey as coronavirus cases rise

Greece has suspended flights from Britain and Turkey to curb the spread of coronavirus, as a lockdown took effect in the country.

The ban came into effect at 0400 GMT — 6:00 a.m. in Athens — on March 23 and ends at 1300 GMT on April 15.

It was a temporary and preemptive measure, a ministerial decree said, as part of further efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Greece saw its largest single-day jump in confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday, a rise of 94 infections which brought the total to 624, with fatalities increasing to 15.

The prime minister announced a curfew with few exceptions restricting the movement of people, the latest in a series of measures to fight the virus. Greece has already sealed its borders to non-EU citizens, and those from Italy and Spain.

Police officers were deployed on the streets of Athens on Monday to enforce the lockdown, which allows people out only with special permits. The lockdown order came into effect at 0400 GMT.

Two more doctors die from coronavirus in France

Two more doctors have died after contracting the coronavirus in France, officials said on Monday, a day after the country reported the first death of a doctor treating COVID-19 patients.

One of the doctors, a 66-year-old gynaecologist in Mulhouse near the border with Switzerland and Germany, was infected by a patient during a consultation, according to his clinic.

The other was a 60-year-old general practitioner at a hospital in Saint-Avold near Metz, further north along the German frontier, according to the town’s mayor.

Both died on Sunday when officials announced the death of a 67-year-old doctor who was among the first to treat coronavirus cases in the northern Oise department, which has been badly hit by the outbreak.

Health experts warn that many French hospitals are already overflowing with coronavirus cases even as the government races to set up military field hospitals to help cope with a shortage of beds.

Mulhouse has imposed its own nighttime curfew in addition to nationwide home-confinement rules seeking to curtail the virus, which has spread rapidly in France’s eastern regions.

France is also experiencing a shortfall of ventilators to care for seriously ill patients and face masks and other protective equipment for health workers.

France’s National Health Service reported Sunday that 674 people had died in the country so far — an increase of 112 in 24 hours.

March 23, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , | 2 Comments

WUHAN OUTBREAK: CHINA DEMANDS AN HONEST ACCOUNTING

By Thomas Hon Wing Polin | March 22, 2020
  • It is now virtually certain that COVID-19 was brought to Wuhan by American troops taking part in the city’s World Military Games last Oct. 18-27.
  • The 300-strong US contingent stayed 300 meters from the Huanan Seafood Market where China’s outbreak began (see map below) at the Wuhan Oriental Hotel.
  • Five of the US troops developed a fever on Oct. 25 and were taken to an infectious-diseases hospital for treatment.
  • 42 employees of the Oriental Hotel were diagnosed with COVID-19, becoming the first cluster in Wuhan. At the time only 7 people from the market had been thus diagnosed (and treated before the hotel staff). All 7 had contact with the 42 from the hotel. From this source, the virus spread to the rest of China.
  • The American Military Games team trained at a location near Fort Detrick, the military’s viral lab closed down by the CDC in July for various deficiencies.
  • The big question now is whether the transmission was planned, or accidental.
  • Chinese authorities are awaiting an explanation from US authorities.

  • A few days ago, Mike Pompeo phoned Yang Jiechi, Chinese State Councillor for Foreign Affairs. Pompeo’s counterpart is actually Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Yang is Wang’s boss, so Pompeo wanted to talk about something urgent and important.
  • Pompeo wanted the Chinese not to publicize what they had found.
  • Yang’s reply: “We await your solemn explanation, especially about Patient Zero.”

China’s leaders have long suspected US military involvement in the Wuhan outbreak but were determined to stop the disease before pursuing the Americans for an honest accounting.

March 22, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 13 Comments

Australia assigned to be the U.S. Policeman in the Pacific

By Paul Antonopoulos | March 19, 2020

The U.S. is ramping up pressure on Australia to support hostilities against China in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Last week in Sydney, the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Arthur Culvahouse, said that “We’ll be pushing Australia to expand its step-up from the Pacific islands region to south-east Asia and to look north as well.” The U.S., Australia and like-minded countries need to win in this strategic competition, the diplomat said. The Ambassador emphasized that in consultations between American and Australian foreign and defense ministers, the two sides will focus their efforts to further strengthen the Pacific step-up strategy.

The US Ambassador told the gathering of business leaders last Tuesday that Australia “sits on the frontline of the great strategic competition of our time.” “If the security and prosperity enjoyed by our countries and the region is to continue, this is a competition that we must win,” he said in indirect reference to China being the competition that must lose.

Australia’s Pacific strategy was adopted in 2016 under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to assert Australia’s position as the policeman for the U.S. in the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. The Pacific step-up strategy defines the Australian government’s approach to economic and strategic interaction with Pacific Island nations. However, this is just the friendly face of the strategy and rather it is primarily aimed at maintaining regional balance to counter China’s growing influence in the region. China signed an Action Program with eight Pacific Island nations at the October 2019 3rd China Economic Development Cooperation Forum and Pacific Islands held in Samoa. These countries’ support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative was confirmed.

As the U.S. is dealing with the growing influence of China and attempting to counter it all over the globe, Washington is relying on Australia to serve as a counterbalance to China in the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. However, as the coronavirus continues to grow out of control in the U.S., it is likely that Washington is going to take its focus off the South Pacific for a long while. This will give Australia autonomy to act on Washington’s behalf and it appears that U.S. President Donald Trump immensely trusts the Australians in this role, so-much-so that  he honored the fellow Anglo-settler state by naming a new navy ship the USS Canberra, the only U.S. Navy warship named after a foreign city.

Australia wilfully wants to play a role that the U.S. assigned to them in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific so that it can more strongly assert its power on the region. Australia considers the small island countries of the South Pacific as an area within its sphere of influence. Canberra has a need to expand its weight in Southeast Asia, but finds this challenging as the region includes countries of larger populations and economies, such as Thailand and Indonesia.

Although Canberra wants to serve Washington’s interests in the region, Australia is a completely deindustrialized neoliberal country that does not have the means or capacity to challenge rising Southeast Asian countries and rather serves as a raw resource marketplace for the world. The U.S. is losing influence in Southeast Asia to China, and therefore Washington is relying on Australian support, hedging its bet on a common Anglo colonial-settler history to make Canberra receptive.

In this situation, Australia faces a very difficult choice as there is a clear divide between the economic community and the political class in regards to China policy. China is Australia’s most important economic partner, while the U.S. is Canberra’s most important security partner, so-much-so that Australia followed the U.S. to adventurist wars of aggression in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. China and Australia have established free trade areas and this agreement allows them to quickly increase the volume of bilateral trade. Therefore, the political will of Canberra is certain to face resistance from capitalist interests in the country as it wholly relies on China and other Southeast Asian countries for trade.

However, Australia is bound by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy that aims to use American allies like Australia, Japan, India and others, to counter China’s increasing influence. This is done by enhancing military cooperation between these countries and does not serve any economic role like the Belt and Road Initiative. As China finds the Indo-Pacific Strategy as an aggressive force aimed against it, it is likely that under economic pressure, Australia will try to balance relations, despite the political will and determination of Canberra to act as the U.S’ policeman in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

March 19, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

No evidence shows COVID-19 originated in Wuhan: Chinese expert

Press TV – March 18, 2020

China’s leading respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan said there is no evidence to prove the origins of COVID-19 were in China, and it is irresponsible to jump to any conclusion now.

Zhong is the head of an expert group of China’s National Health Commission. He also led Chinese medical workers to beat the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndromes (SARS) back in 2003.

“The COVID-19 epidemic broke out in Wuhan, China, but it doesn’t mean that the disease originated in Wuhan. We don’t have the evidence. This is an issue of science,” said Zhong.

Zhong said the origins can only be found out after adequate research. It is too early to draw any conclusion.

“We can eventually figure out the issue through the approaches of evolution in molecular biology. But it hasn’t been figured out yet. It’s not responsible to jump to a conclusion without getting facts straight. I don’t know its origins yet. I remember I once said at a meeting that the epidemic broke out in China, but we don’t know whether the origins are here or not,” said Zhong.

Zhong also gave his take on herd immunity, saying it is an unreliable solution as there is no evidence of people developing lifelong immunity against the disease after one infection.

March 18, 2020 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

‘Reciprocal measures’: Beijing tells NYT, WSJ, WaPo journalists to hand in credentials as US-China media war rolls on

RT | March 17, 2020

China is pulling the press credentials of US journalists from outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post whose passes expire in 2020, in the latest move of an ongoing tit-for-tat with America over media access.

In a statement about China’s “countermeasures against US suppression of Chinese media organizations in the United States,” Beijing announced that American reporters working for the NYT, Wall Street Journal, Voice of America, Time and the Washington Post whose credentials are due to expire by the end of this year must hand them over within 10 days.

These reporters will also not be allowed to work in China – including Hong Kong and Macau – in the future, and other US journalists will face new visa restrictions similar to those Washington recently introduced for Chinese reporters.

“In view of the US’ discriminatory restrictions on visas, administrative review, and interviews of Chinese journalists, China will take reciprocal measures against US journalists,” it added.

The back-and-forth expulsions of journalists started in February, when Chinese authorities gave three Wall Street Journalists five days to leave the country after Beijing objected to an opinion piece in the outlet calling China the “real sick man of Asia.” The paper refused to apologize for the piece.

Shortly afterwards, the US dramatically reduced the number of journalists it would permit to work for four Chinese state-owned media companies inside the US, cutting the number allowed from 160 to 100. They also reduced the length of time those permitted entry could remain in the US.

Beijing condemned the move as reflecting a “Cold War mindset” and warned of retaliation.

March 17, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Beijing believes COVID-19 is a biological weapon

By Lucas Leiroz | March 16, 2020

From conspiracy theory to geopolitical realism, the possibility to treat COVID-19 as a biological weapon has been finally accepted in the public sphere. The recent statement by the Chinese spokesman Zhao Lijian, formally accusing the US of bringing coronavirus to China, has highlighted a series of new opinions about the pandemic.

The hypothesis of biological warfare behind the global pandemic had already been raised by Russian experts some weeks ago. Like any opinion that is slightly different from the official version of Western governments and their media agencies, the thesis was ridiculed and accused of being a “conspiracy theory”. However, as soon as the official spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the second largest economic power on the planet publishes a note attesting to this possibility, it leaves the sphere of “conspiracy theories” to enter the realm of public opinion and official government versions.

In addition to making the explanation of biological warfare official, Zhao Lijian raised important questions about the pandemic data in the USA: “When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”

The supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, ordered on the same day of the declaration of the Chinese Ministry the creation of a unified center of scientific research specialized in the fight against the coronavirus. The motivation, according to the Iranian spiritual and political leader, was motivated by evidence that the pandemic is a biological attack. These are his words: “The establishment of a headquarters to fight the outbreak [of COVID-19] occurs due to the presence of evidence that indicates the possibility of a biological attack, signaling that it is necessary that all coping services [to the coronavirus] be under the command of a unified headquarters”.

In fact, what the mainstream Western media has called a “conspiracy” has been manifested in US defense programs for a long time. We must briefly recall the official document named “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”, published by the conservative think tank “Project for a new American Century”, where we can clearly read: “(…) advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool “.

Taking into account that the document was published in 2000, we can see that the possibility of biological warfare has been carefully considered and worked on by American strategists for at least two decades. However, the projects are even older. This article published in Global Research tells a brief history of biological warfare technology, tracing the remote origins of this practice by the American armed forces. In this genealogy of biological warfare, we find reports of the use of bio-weapons in wars in great conflicts of the last century, such as the Second World War, the Korea War and the conflicts with Cuba. Even so, until last Thursday, the mere fact of mentioning this hypothesis for the new coronavirus was rejected as conspiracy.

We must attain to concrete data: Pentagon has 400 military laboratories around the world, whose activities are still obscure; the USA has not yet made a clear statement about the COVID-19 data in its territory, having not yet informed the identity of its patient zero and maintaining uncertain information about the number of infected; Chinese scientists conducted a complex study in which they concluded that the virus did not originate in China, but that it had multiple and diverse sources from the Huanan marine seafood market from where the virus subsequently spread.

In February, the Japanese media agency Asahi TV reported that the virus originated in the U.S., not China, and that Washington would be omitting its actual numbers, with some cases of death attributed to influenza being, in fact, camouflaged cases of coronavirus; on February 27, a Taiwanese virologist presented a series of flowcharts on a TV program, corroborating the thesis that the virus has an American origin, providing a scientific explanation to the flow of the virus sources devoid of any geopolitical purpose.

Another curious fact is that China has been unexpectedly affected by epidemic phenomena, particularly during the period of the trade war between Beijing and Washington. Only between 2018 and the beginning of 2020, the country recorded epidemic episodes of H7N4, H7N9 (two variations of bird flu) and African swine flu. Also, the US has not officially responded to any of these notes, remaining silent about the coronavirus situation in its territory.

Not proposing a concrete answer, but only speculations, we can consider that the circumstances of the case present us a very extensive list of possibilities about what in fact the coronavirus is. Obviously, it is possible that it is not a biological weapon – and this is the official version of most of the media agencies and governments – however, once this hypothesis has been raised and no concrete evidence to the contrary is presented, it is also possible that it is a biological weapon.

The most important thing to do is to dispel the myth that biological wars are conspiracy theories. We must begin to take this possibility seriously and analyze the evidences in search of real solutions. Biological weapons are methods that have long been used and that form a fundamental part of modern warfare, whose costs are less than the methods of direct confrontation of the old wars of mobilization – and whose benefits are greater.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 15 Comments

China Wants Iran Sanctions Lifted to Avoid Damage to ‘Economy and People’s Lives’ Amid Pandemic

Sputnik – March 16, 2020

Beijing calls for lifting Iran sanctions as the Islamic republic fiercely struggles to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

“China urges countries involved to immediately lift the relevant sanctions against Iran to avoid further damage to the Iranian economy and people’s lives,” the ministry’s spokesman Geng Shuang said.

Keeping sanctions in force at a time when the fight against the virus in Iran “has entered a crucial stage” would be antihuman, he added.

The diplomat warned that the restrictions would get in the way of the United Nations and other organisations providing assistance to virus-hit Iran.

“Beijing will continue providing assistance to Tehran based on the needs of the Iranian side and its own capabilities, and we also call on the international community to cooperate with Iran to ensure public health security at a regional and global level,” he stressed, noting that China had already sent humanitarian medical supplies and experts to help Iran.

According to the Iranian health ministry, 1,053 new cases of Covid-19 infection have been reported in the country in the past 24 hours.

In a letter to world leaders on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that crippling US sanctions had cost the national economy some $200 billion in less than two years and curbed the effective fight against the pandemic. He urged the global community to show unity in the face of the deadly viral disease and abandon any policy that hinders global efforts to combat it.

Iran is suffering from the biggest coronavirus outbreak after China and Italy, with nearly 14,000 confirmed cases and over 720 deaths.

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , | 3 Comments

Coronavirus: the Plot Thickens

A Timeline

By Godfree Roberts • Unz Review • March 13, 2020

This timeline supports the thesis that the Covid-19 outbreak is a repeat of the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. If it is proven, then the US Government’s attempt to simultaneously blame China and hide its own culpability for Covid-19, combined with the FAA’s 737Max fiasco, will damage our international standing–and boost China’s–as much as the Global Financial Crisis did.

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September 2008: The first cases of H1N1 swine flu were reported in California and Texas in late March, 2009, but subsequent genetic analysis suggests that H1N1 began in September of 2008, the start of the ‘flu season, six months before it was first detected. A similar six month lag suggests a September, 2019 birthdate for Covid-19, and for the same reasons: the CDC was asleep at the wheel and the most vulnerable Americans have limited access to health care. Like H1N1, Covid-19 cases may have gone undetected amongst the 100,000 annual deaths from ‘flu and pneumonia.

April, 2019: An outbreak of severe vaping-associated lung illness is exclusively confined to the United States.

July, 2019: The CDC halted research at Fort Detrick and cited “national security reasons” for not releasing information about its decision.

August, 2019: First Vaping Death Reported by Health Officials “Amid the lack of information, investigators scrambled to find shared links to the respiratory problems. Officials said earlier this week that many patients, most of whom were adolescents or young adults, had described difficulty breathing, chest pain, vomiting and fatigue.”

December, 2019. A Chinese medical researcher is arrested in Boston trying to take biological samples back to China. Not agricultural samples, not samples with IP value, just ‘biological’. Zheng Zaosong, from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, confessed to taking material from a lab in Boston. FBI Special Agent Kara Spice found 21 wrapped vials containing a “brown liquid” that appeared to be “biological material”. Zheng’s roommate, also a researcher, told FBI agents that two labmates of Zheng had succeeded in getting specimens to China. Were those ‘biological samples’ lung tissue, sputum and swabs? Did the Chinese researchers detect a Coronavirus outbreak and, finding the CDC as unresponsive then as it is today, both warn Chinese health authorities and hand them hard evidence that they can now use?

January 202o: Malaysian PM Matthias Chang speculates that the US is waging biological warfare on China.

January 28, 2020: Harvard Chemistry Professor Arrested, Handcuffed, And Accused Of Lying About Ties To China. Charles Lieber, Chair of Harvard’s Chemical Biology department, led a research group in China focusing on using nanotechnology to identify viruses.

February 23, 2020. Chinese scientists found genomic evidence that the seafood market in Wuhan is not the source of the novel coronavirus. Their genetic data suggests the virus was introduced from elsewhere and had already circulated widely among humans in Wuhan before December 2019, probably beginning in mid- to late November.

February 27, 2020: On Taiwan TV a prominent virologist explained flow charts suggesting that the coronavirus originated in the US.

March 6, 2020: Question: How did the virus come to the United States? Answer: “The first known patients in the U.S. contracted the virus while traveling in other countries or after exposure to someone who had been to China or one of the other affected areas. But now, a few cases here cannot be traced to these risk factors. This is concerning because it suggests the illness may be spreading across communities for which the source of infection is unknown, which we call community spread/transmission. Dr. Emily Landon, University of Chicago Medicine.

March 11, 2020: White House classifies coronavirus deliberations. The meetings at HHS were held in a secure area called a “Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility,” or SCIF, usually reserved for intelligence and military operations. HHS has SCIFs because theoretically it would play a major role in biowarfare or chemical attacks.

Mar 13, 2020: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lijian Zhao demands US authorities reveal what they’re hiding about the origins of Covid-19. “Pointing to a video of CDC director Robert Redfield admitting the US had several deaths from Covid-19 before they were able to test for it, Zhao called on the American watchdog to come clean, ‘When did patient zero begin in the US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be the US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make your data public! The US owes us an explanation!”’

Ongoing: Researchers have greatly advanced their understanding of viral evolution since H1N1 a decade ago and finding patient zero is now more science than art. Recently, a team of Chinese researchers claimed to demonstrate that Covid-19 was born in September, 2019, but British researchers (who had discovered the earlier H1N1 date) were not convinced. Note: Though the site is for virologists and evolutionary biologists, you can follow the argument from the introductions and conclusions of each paper.

Larry Romanoff’s Essential Context:

March 14, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

China does not rule out US role in coronavirus outbreak

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (Photo by AFP )
Press TV – March 13, 2020

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has not ruled out the possibility that the United States was to blame for the spread of the new coronavirus in the Asian country.

Geng Shuang, the ministry spokesman, sidestepped questions on Friday about whether Beijing viewed Washington as responsible for the deadly virus outbreak in China, a day after another spokesman suggested the US army could have engineered it.

Speaking at a news conference in the Chinese capital, Geng refused to directly comment when asked whether his colleague Zhao Lijian’s comments were consistent with Beijing’s official stance on the virus.

“In fact, the international community, including people within the US, have different opinions about the origin of the virus,” Geng told reporters at the presser.

“As I have been saying for a few days, China has always seen this as a matter of science, and scientific and professional opinions must be heard.”

Geng went on to say, “You’re very interested to know if Zhao Lijian’s views represent the views of the Chinese government.”

“I believe that perhaps you would be better off first asking whether or not recent comments from a number of senior US officials attacking or smearing China represent the US government’s position.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian

In a strongly-worded tweet, written in English, Zhao blasted the US on Thursday for what he called lack of transparency in official reports regarding the coronavirus outbreak in the US.

He suggested that the US military might have brought the new coronavirus to the Chinese city of Wuhan, the birthplace of the current global pandemic.

“When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” Zhao wrote.

The Chinese government had been criticized by Western media and particularly by US officials for what was alleged to be a slow response to the outbreak and of not being sufficiently transparent.

Beijing has, however, been taking strict measures since the outbreak began, including locking down Wuhan, a city of roughly 11 million people, which appears to have paid off.

The COVID-19 disease, caused by the new coronavirus, emerged in the provincial capital of Hubei late last year and is currently affecting 131 countries and territories across the globe. It has so far infected over 137,000 people and killed more than 5,000 others.

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

March 13, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Corona & the Cost of Doing Nothing

By Anatoly Karlin • Unz Review • March 12, 2020

There is a three in a million chance that a Boeing 737 MAX won’t arrive at its destination in one piece. At the end of the day, this isn’t that big of a deal – as late as the 1980s, this was the average for the commercial airline industry, and risks were twice as high in 1970. But people don’t tolerate such numbers such risks these days, as the value attached to human life has gone up. As a result, this model has been grounded across the world, with attendant consequences for Boeing’s bottom line.

But while it may not be that big of a deal, it is still probably not a great idea to take 500 flights in a Boeing 737 MAX within a year if one can possibly help it. Why 500 Boeing 737 MAX flights? Because even though it is a disease that overwhelmingly affects the elderly, that happens to be the equivalent risk of dying from COVID-19 for people in their 30s. Moreover, when you board a plane, you are only risking your own life. People with a cavalier “iT’S JuSt lIkE ThE FlU” are presumably more likely to spread it to elderly people, for whom a brush with COVID-19 is equivalent to a round of Russian roulette (mortality is ~1/6 for over 80 year olds). Moreover, it would even be reasonable to pay money to avoid such risks, even if it involves some inconveniences.

For this novel coronavirus threatens to fundamentally degrade the global demographics of human mortality, the effects of which may last years or decades.

This graph shows q(x), or the probability of dying at any age “x”. It is calculated by taking a hypothetical cohort, usually fixed at 100,000 at the age of 0, and dividing the number of deaths by the number of survivors by age group.

The green line represents the probability of dying in the US as of 2017.

The other lines represent the effects of various epidemic shocks: An approximate doubling in severity of the average flu season (yellow); a 10% COVID-19 infection rate (orange); and a 70% COVID-19 infection rate (red).

These figures were obtained by taking the percentage chances of dying from the flu/COVID-19 and adding them to the q(x) percentages for the US in 2017 at the mortality.org database.

The mortality stats for the flu were taken from the CDC, as reported in Business Insider. They also helpfully compare the age-specific death rates to COVID-19 mortality, as derived from an investigation earlier this month by Russell et al. based on numbers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The extrapolated total CFR (case fatality rate) was pegged at 1.1%, but note that this applied to situation where quality healthcare was readily available (ventilators, IV drops, antibiotics, etc.). In situations where the epidemic overwhelms the healthcare system, things are going to be much worse.

Note from the outset the near insignificance of flu as a cause of mortality; under 65’s are basically two orders of magnitude as likely to die from COVID-19 as from the flu. In other words, for the younger generations, “the flu” is just 2-3x Boeing 737 MAX flights per year, as opposed to 500x for COVID-19. While the absolute numbers for the elderly are horrific, the disparity between flu and COVID-19 mortality for them is actually considerably less – just about a single order of magnitude – though even so, that’s still the difference between a ride on the Space Shuttle (flu) versus a round of Russian roulette (COVID-19). I’d rather take the Space Shuttle, thank you.

In another study by Riou et al. 2020 analyzing data from Wuhan, a total CFR of 1.6% was estimated, with a larger sample allowing for a more precise breakdowns by age (see above). As such, I will be using the numbers from this study to adjust q(x) in the different COVID-19 scenarios. Apart from that, the Wuhan scenario is likely to be more typical than the Diamond Princess scenario, if we are talking about large-scale outbreaks that partially overwhelm the capacity of healthcare cities.

There isn’t much evidence that we can hope for substantially lower mortality rates, even in developed OECD countries; contra Western stereotypes, medical care in Wuhan seems to have been highly sophisticated, with dozens of people being ventilated in the average hospital, and complex procedures such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (“removing blood from a person’s body and oxygenating their red blood cells”) through ECMO machines being available in cases where ventilation didn’t work. Consequently, it can’t be excluded that mortality in most of the rest of the world – even in the OECD – may well end up higher than in China. For instance, England only has 28 and the US has 250 of these ECMO machines, whereas even provincial hospitals in China have been reported to have 5 of them each.

The healthcare system in Lombardy – one of the most developed regions in the world – is already on the cusp of collapse. Unless there are draconian quarantines implemented right about now, most of the rest of Western Europe and the US seem set to join it in its misery in another 10 days to two weeks. Cost-cutting “optimization” in healthcare has drastically reduced the number of hospital beds per capita throughout the West in the past two decades. At this point, I would certainly not wager on “the West” mounting a better or more competent response to COVID-19 than the Chinese.

Another cardinal difference between “the flu” and COVID-19 is that the latter is far more contagious. The standard measure of how many other people each person with a given disease infects in turn, r0, seems to be ~4 under “normal” conditions, versus just 1.3 for the flu. Moreover, as a novel coronavirus, people do not have any preexisting immunity to COVID-19 that might mitigate its virulence, and it has far greater contagiousness. Consequently, professional epidemiologists have predicted that as much as 70% of the world population may eventually become infected with COVID-19, a number which has been repeated by Angela Merkel and the British government in recent days. As such, I will be modeling a 70% COVID-19 infection rate – which presupposes millions of deaths – as a “worst case” scenario.

One final “blackpill” about COVID-19 is that, should we fail to control it, many epidemiologists expect it to become a new seasonal disease – that is, a fifth endemic coronavirus, just like the common cold. But far deadlier. The flu infects about a tenth of the population every year. What would be the impact if COVID-19 was to reach similar intensities?

This graph shows l(x), or the number of survivors at any age “x”. It can be calculated by recursively applying the aforementioned q(x) to the initial, hypothetical cohort of 100,000 newborns.

As before, we can see that even doubling the flu season – adding mortality from an average flu season to the existing probability of dying – barely nudges the curve.

However, even a 10% COVID-19 infection rate moves the curve visibly left, and the change is extremely traumatic once you get to 70% infection rates – the sort of numbers that multiple European governments are now bandying about.

This graph shows the changes in life expectancy at different ages. It is calculated from two values derived from the above data: The total number of person-years lived by any particular cohort, or T(x), divided by the number of survivors, or l(x), in that cohort. T(x) is the sum total of person-years, or L(x), lived by any particular cohort up until all its members have died. That, in turn, is given by the following formula: L(x) = l(x+1)*d(x)*a(x), where l(x+1) refers to the quantity of that cohort’s survivors in the next year, d(x) refers to the number of deaths during that interval (or, in other words, l(x+1) – l(x) ), and a(x) is a constant that is usually equal to 0.5 (except in the very first and the very last year of life).

Here is a summary of the results:

  • US life expectancy at birth was 78.86 years in 2017 (via mortality.org). There is a minor discrepancy with the official CDC figure of 78.6 years.
  • Modeling a typical flu epidemic “on top” of that (so, in practice, a ~doubling of the flu season severity) would reduce US life expectancy to 78.63 years, translating to a reduction of ~0.25 years (three months).
  • Modeling a 10% COVID-19 infection scenario with Riou et al. (2020) age-specific mortality rates – the sort of numbers we may expect should it become endemic – reduces US life expectancy to 76.15 years , translating to a reduction of ~2.5 years.
  • Modeling a 70% COVID-19 infection scenario with Riou et al. (2020) age-specific mortality rates reduces US life expectancy to 66.79 years, translating to a reduction of a cool ~12 years.

Now this is not the end of the world, as I make sure to emphasize by including the historical mortality profiles for Russia in 1994 and Sweden in 1751 across all three of these graphs.

The year 1994 marked the single worst time for Russian mortality in its post-1956 history, when rampant alcohol abuse, violence, and the despair of the 1990s reduced life expectancy to a local minimum at 63.93 years; during that time, middle-aged male mortality was equivalent to that of Imperial Russia and Sub-Saharan Africa. This is probably the worst mortality profile ever observed in a major industrialized nation outside of wartime.

Mortality rates in the preindustrial world – Sweden has the earliest comprehensive records dating back to 1751 – jumped wildly year to year, depending on the state of the harvest and the virulence of the bugs going around in that particular year. The biggest difference relative to industrialized societies, though, even ones as collapsed as Russia in the 1990s, is that deaths during infancy and childhood were mundane, not freak occurrences. Hence why life expectancy actually goes up as children live through (survive) their infanthood.

As we can see, in terms of mortality, a serious COVID-19 epidemic should be broadly equivalent to living in 1990’s Russia – and for people under the age of 50, it would be notably safer than living in a preindustrial society, such as 18th century Sweden. It will be a shock relative to current expectations colored by more than a century of “Pinkerian” progress in safety and survivability, but there were people who lived their entire lives under similar or worse mortality profiles, and that didn’t prevent many of them from finding joy and meaning in them.

However, even though the pandemic “shock” will pass, if the epidemiologists are correct and COVID-19 becomes an endemic, seasonal disease, then we may permanently lose the equivalent of about 25 years worth of progress in raising life expectancy (American life expectancy was last below 76.15 years in 1996). In this scenario, the graph of future US life expectancy may look like something above, dipping sharply this year and stabilizing at a new, lower normal in subsequent years.

In the long-term, there may be even more years lost – perhaps 3 years – in many West European countries, and perhaps in developed East Asia as well, should this pandemic veer out of control and make it impossible for them to preserve their current achievements at checking COVID-19 (I assume that even disciplined East Asian societies cannot maintain Corona-suppressing “social distancing” behaviors indefinitely). That is because, thanks mainly to America’s opiates epidemic, the West European countries now have substantially better mortality profiles than the US, so the extra “shock” of COVID-19 will depress their life expectancy to a relatively greater extent. Though, curiously enough, most of these same countries will “lose” fewer years of progress relative to the US, since American life expectancy has basically stood still for the past decade due to the opioids epidemic.

Meanwhile, industrialized countries with worse mortality profiles, such as Russia, will not actually see as big of a drop in life expectancy as the US; as of 2014, the last year for which I can find life tables for Russia, a 10% COVID-19 infection scenario translates to a 1.7 year fall in Russian life expectancy (US: 2.5 years), and a 70% infection scenario translates into a drop of 8 years in life expectancy (US: 12 years). However, due to strong gains in Russian life expectancy since 2014 – it has risen from 70.9 years in 2014 to 73.4 years in 2019 – the effects of COVID-19 will actually now be stronger (if still not as strong as in the US).

(Reminder: This is all assuming that both infection rates and the age-specific mortality rates from COVID-19 are the same across these countries – this will almost certainly not be the case due to local specifics).

Moreover, there will be multiple other factors that will either ameliorate or depress the above estimates:

  • COVID-19 is going to kill off the frailest people in this current wave, in which up to 70% of people may be infected; but this will soften its long-term impact, since you can only die once.
  • In subsequent years, when ~10% annual infection rates may become the new norm, healthcare systems will adjust and everybody should receive adequate care, lowering CFR from the ~4% currently observed when healthcare systems are overwhelmed, to the 0.5%-1.0% rates seen in South Korea and Chinese provinces outside Hubei, which have managed to keep on top of cases.
  • Conversely, people who are intubated now may suffer permanent, long-term insults on their health, making them more vulnerable to subsequent COVID-19 infections in future years.
  • Needless to say, there may well be changes in COVID-19’s contagiousness and virulence in the future.

I am not even going to attempt to model any of this. But the bottom line stands. This virus has the capability to deal a traumatic shock to the world’s population, especially to the older societies of the Global North. In the longer term, it may also permanently depress global life expectancy by about 2 years, robbing millions of future people of their planned retirements and time with their grandchildren.

There are political factions that cynically, and unironically, pray for Corona-chan to do her magic. The Chapo Trap House folks bask in the idea of COVID-19 killing off Drumpf-voting boomers who are keeping them from electing Bernie, instituting M4A, and rescuing the planet, while elements of the Alt Right anticipate the West rediscovering its youthful vigor in the wake of the “boomerpox”. But I would caution both factions against premature Schadenfreude – political trends rarely work out the way anyone expects them to. They may get more than they bargained for.

OK, summing up: We should really, really try to avoid COVID-19 veering out of control and becoming endemic.

China has demonstrated that Corona-chan can be contained; its r0 has plummeted by an order of magnitude from 4 to just 0.32, even if it had to bring its economy to a near standstill to do it. As Steve Sailer notes, China hasn’t merely “flattened the curve”. It has crushed it. This means that its success should be replicable, at least in First World nations with epidemics on the scale of peak Hubei, as in Italy.

Even more encouragingly, the nations of East Asia – Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, even middle-income Thailand – have all managed to bring COVID-19 under control at its earliest stages without resorting to China’s drastic measures. As Tomas Pueyo explains, they did this by carefully filtering infectees’ contacts at the earliest opportunity and putting them under quarantine. The main reason that South Korea failed is because its “Patient 31” happened to be a religious “super-spreader”, yet even so, even there, the epidemic is currently under control.

But all their efforts would be in vain if just a few (or even one) defeatist, incompetent, or plain stupidly-run countries decline to take the necessary steps, and thereby cut two years off global life expectancy into the indefinite future.

This stupidity and incompetence takes different forms. In Western Europe, it is the Left’s fundamentalist commitment to open borders, accompanied by bizarre claims that quarantines do not work. In the US, it is the Right’s fundamentalist commitment to free markets, as exemplified by $5,000 copays for coronavirus tests, lack of sick leave, and Trump’s “iT’S JuSt lIkE ThE FlU” mantras to appease Mammon. Meanwhile, in what is perhaps the most “powerful” move of them all, the United Kingdom has set up a cyber-unit to combat “Russian” Corona-chan shitposters while basically admitting that it has no interest in combating, like, the actual coronavirus. Hopefully the British boomers croaking in their deathbeds in another two months’ time will be understanding of HMG’s priorities.

One is almost tempted to wish a pox on all their houses.

Anyhow, while I still hope for the best, I do not expect it.

March 12, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments