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So what really happened with COVID-19 in China?

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Interest in COVID-19 is so high here, it makes sense to post a link/excerpt to a long, careful article by Heather Zeiger at Mind Matters News, trying to piece together what really happened (and yes, there is a big science hook):

COVID-19: Getting to the bottom of what happened in China:

China knowingly violated the terms of a World Health Organization (WHO) disclosure agreement.

It is widely recognized that medical professionals and journalists in China are being silenced if they publish any information about COVID-19 that contradicts the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s official narrative. But now mainland Chinese scientists must ensure that their research publications also toe the CCP party line. If we sift carefully, however, we can uncover real information…

The CCP’s sensitivity is due in part to the controversies that swirl around the virus’s origin. One theory says the SARS-CoV-2 virus originated in bats that were used in experiments to study SARS-CoV at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as opposed to the more conventional account that it originated in a Wuhan food market as a zoonotic disease (spread from animals to humans). The Institute had been conducting studies for several years on how SARS spreads from animal to human, with the goal of preventing future outbreaks. Some people believe sloppy practices led to a graduate student getting bitten by a bat carrying the virus, and then the student unknowingly infected other people. Others go so far as to claim that the lab was working on a bioterror weapon. … – Mind Matters News

Further reading from Heather Zeiger on the COVID-19 crisis in China:

China: Rewriting the history of COVID-19: Making the government the improbable hero of the tale

Coronavirus in world without trust In China, medical heroism thrives despite both paranoia and justified mistrust of authorities.

Censorship? But coronavirus doesn’t care! Back when SARS was a threat, social media wasn’t the giant it is today. Censorship, secrecy, and detention are less effective tools of control now.

and

Serious media in China have gone strangely silent. With a compulsory new app, the government can potentially access journalists’ phones, both for surveillance and capturing data. Liu Hu sums up the scene in a few words: “Outside of China, journalists are fired for writing false reports… Inside China, they are fired for telling the truth.”

3 Replies to “So what really happened with COVID-19 in China?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    D, this means we have to be extra careful in evaluating China-connected information. It also colours how we should understand early responses as until things were going on in less censored, less Orwellian settings, we could not trust information. This also goes to the destructive implications of lying becoming dominant in a situation: existentially vital communication is fatally compromised. KF

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Smoking gun?

    From the article: >>A recent Washington Post article on the Wuhan Institute of Virology shows that the laboratory was dinged by the U.S. Embassy in 2018 for poor management and shoddy practices:

    What the U.S. officials learned during their visits concerned them so much that they dispatched two diplomatic cables categorized as Sensitive But Unclassified back to Washington. The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help. The first cable, which I obtained, also warns that the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.
    Josh Rogin, “State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses” at Washington Post (April 14, 2020)

    So the cables indicate that the Wuhan lab was in fact doing virus research, probably intended to prevent another SARS outbreak, but also that it was poorly managed and lacked appropriate personnel for a lab with its high-level designation (BSL-4). Agence France Presse had reported very little activity inside the lab and a sign on the door that read, “Strong Prevention and Control, Don’t Panic, Listen to Official Announcements, Believe in Science, Don’t Spread Rumors.” A statement issued by the lab in February claimed, however, that the story was a rumor. ( Medical Xpress, AFP, April 17, 2020)>>

    There is more:

    >>As a member of the World Health Organization, China had signed the 2005 International Health Regulations document, which requires members to notify the WHO within 24 hours of assessment of anything that would constitute a “public health emergency of international concern.” The documents acquired by Associated Press indicate that China knowingly violated the terms of this document.

    The Washington, DC, non-profit Victims of Communism report on the coronavirus timeline shows that, even though the Chinese government (as well as the WHO) maintained that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission until January 20, for a week prior to that, China was amassing large amounts of medical supplies from other countries, with a focus on personal protective equipment. This chain of events implies that China knew that the virus was contagious and was violating the IHR in order to procure equipment from other countries.

    The Lancet study on the first patients hospitalized in Wuhan for Covid-19 also indicated that medical professionals knew about human-to-human transmission as early as December, with forty-one patients admitted to the same hospital by January 2, 2020, with symptoms that resembled SARS-CoV.>>

    Sad, and a grim warning.

    KF

    PS: See a case in point why first duties of reason are inescapable, starting with truth, right reason, prudence, sound conscience, neighbour, fairness, justice etc?

  3. 3
    BobRyan says:

    The wrong questions are being asked in regards to China. Where and when did the COVID-19 breakout occur. Wuhan is not some small village, but the 7th largest city in China. They have an international airport to cities across the globe, including major cities in China, like Beijing. Without independent testing in every major city in China, it is impossible to know where it began, let alone when. COVID-19, much like COVID-2, does not stand out and can go easily missed for years.

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