Thursday, March 05, 2020

Who Or What Started It: The Everlasting Gobstopper Account of SARS-CoV2 Outbreak

AHTribune |  The Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, is cutting a broad and deep swath though epidemiological history with uncertain impact on the viability of many families, communities, institutions, economies, and even countries starting with the most heavily populated nation on earth. Many fates are hanging in the balance, not the least of which is that of the communist government that has ruled China since the Maoist Revolution brought it to power in 1949.

The new strain of Coronavirus has added novel genetic features to the same family of pathogens that brought the world the SARS crisis in 2002-3 and, a decade later, the less lethal MERS outbreak. This Novel Coronavirus strain, COVID-19, is showing itself to be much more contagious and lethal than was SARS and MERS.

Some have anticipated that, if not dramatically countered, the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic could be headed in the direction of the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918. This prediction flows from the assessment of, for instance, Prof. Gabriel Leung, Chair of Public Health Medicine at Hong King University. Looking at the very fast rate of COVID-19’s spread from human to human through the air, Dr. Leung challenged any residual sense of complacency. He anticipated a possible 60 per cent infection rate of the world’s entire population with deaths numbering in the many tens of millions.
The so-called Spanish flu has set the bar for how severe and widespread a contagious plague can become. The pandemic of 1918 took more lives in one year than all deaths due to World War II. The Spanish flu of 1918 engendered more mortality in one year than the four peak years of the notorious Black Death Bubonic Plague that decimated Europe in the middle years of the fourteenth century. The worldwide pandemic of 1918 infected over a quarter of all people on earth. About 65 million people died from the illness.

News reports from the ground zero area of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic demonstrate that the effects of the viral infection cut far and wide. Every facet of Chinese society is being challenged to the limit by a fast-spreading plague disseminating germs of destruction disrupting many biological, political, economic, and knowledge systems simultaneously.

Questions about how to interpret the epidemic and how to explain to the public what is known or not known are quickly coming into focus. Who should be believed? Who is credible and who is not credible as the epidemic unfolds. What should be the role of social media and of whistle blowers in the process of deciding how to respond? What happens when genuine whistle blowers like Dr. Li are too quickly dismissed and reprimanded by ruling authorities as “conspiracy theorists”?
An essential task that must be faced in this initial phase of this crisis is to develop an accurate explanation of where contagion came from and how the first victims of the Novel Coronavirus came to be infected. The need for some degree of certainty about the origins of the virus and its subsequent genesis is absolutely essential to the development of sound and appropriate responses. It would be highly irresponsible to rush ahead with the development of an overall strategy for dealing with the plague without making an honest attempt to get at the truth of how the contagion first came into existence.

The importance of getting to the factual roots of what happened to put humanity on this epidemiological trajectory should be especially clear after the debacle of September 11, 2001. Without any sustained investigation of the 9/11 crimes, Americans were rushed into cycles of seemingly perpetual warfare abroad, police state and surveillance state interventions at home. This cycle of fast responses began within a month of 9/11 with a full-fledge military invasion of Afghanistan, an invasion that continues yet.

When two US Senators, Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle, sought to slow the rush of the US executive into emergency measures and war, they and the US Congress they served were hit hard by a military grade bioweapon, anthrax. The violent tactic of the saboteurs proved effective in easing aside close scrutiny that might have slowed down the fast approval by the end of October of Congress’s massive Patriot Act. 

Since then a seemingly endless cycle of military invasions has been pushed forward in the Middle East and Eurasia. The emergency measure powers claimed by the executive branch of the US government extended to widespread illegal torture, domestic spying, media censorship and a meteoric rise in extrajudicial murders especially by drones. This list is far from complete.

All of these crimes against humanity were justified on the basis of an unproven official explanation of 9/11.  Subsequent scholarly investigations have demonstrated unequivocally for the attentive that officialdom’s explanations of what transpired on the fateful day in September were wrong, severely wrong. The initial interpretations are strongly at variance with the evidentiary record available on the public record.

We must not allow ourselves to be hoodwinked in the same manner once again. The stakes are too large, maybe even larger than was the case in 2001. The misinterpreted and misrepresented events of 9/11 were exploited in conformity with the “Shock Doctrine,” a strategy for instituting litanies of invasive state actions that the public would not otherwise have accepted.

The conscientious portion of humanity, many of whose members have done independent homework of their own on the events of 9/11, will well understand the importance of identifying the actual originating source of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic.

Beijing Hospital Confirms SARS-CoV2 Attacks Central Nervous System

cntechpost |  Beijing Ditan Hospital affiliated to the Capital Medical University said on March 4 that the first patient with novel coronavirus pneumonia complicated with encephalitis was discharged from the hospital on February 25.

Liu Jingyuan, director of the ICU at the Hospital, presided over the treatment of the patient. He reminded that patients with conscious disturbances must consider the possibility that the virus may attack the central nervous system.

At present, patients with new type of coronavirus pneumonia can be combined with multiple organ damages such as severe respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), myocardial damage, abnormal coagulation function, kidney damage, liver damage, etc. However, no central nervous system involvement has been reported. The case report is the first in the world.

Previous studies on SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) have also shown that the coronaviruses that cause these two diseases also cause cases of central nervous system damage.

 According to the introduction of Beijing Ditan Hospital, two suspected cases of new-type coronavirus pneumonia have been treated since January 12 this year (confirmed on January 20). As of 7:00 on March 4, the hospital has accumulatively received 150 patients with new-type coronavirus pneumonia, of which 150 The above patient is the only patient with new type of coronavirus pneumonia and encephalitis.

The 56-year-old patient was admitted to the hospital on January 24 with new coronavirus pneumonia, critical illness, and respiratory failure. After admission, he was given a combination of interferon nebulization, antiviral treatment, prevention of bacterial infection, and TCM syndrome differentiation. No improvement, high fever, fatigue, and dyspnea gradually increased.

America Exceptionally Vulnerable to SARS-CoV 2

theweek |  All over the world, governments are scrambling to defend their citizenry from COVID-19, the disease caused by the outbreak of novel coronavirus. So far it seems levels of success have varied; countries like Italy and Iran have struggled so far, while Vietnam and Taiwan have seemingly put forth an efficient and effective response.

The United States, where a major outbreak is clearly developing, however, is in a class by itself. America's atrociously inadequate welfare state makes it by far the most vulnerable rich country to a viral pandemic, and the vicious, right-wing ideology of the Republican Party has wrecked the government's ability to manage crises of any kind.

The national health care system is of course the most important tool for any country trying to fight off an epidemic — all citizens need to be able to get tested, receive treatment, or be quarantined if necessary. If and when a vaccine is developed, the system needs to distribute it to everyone as fast as possible. That means handing it out for free in locations across the country, and perhaps making it mandatory if uptake is insufficient.

The American health care system fails at every one of these tasks. Nearly 30 million Americans are uninsured, and a further 44 million are underinsured — meaning they will likely hesitate to go to the doctor if they start developing COVID-19 symptoms. This problem is seriously exacerbated by the rampant predatory profiteering that infects every corner of the health care system. Indeed, responsible citizens who have gone in for tests have already started getting slammed with multi-thousand dollar bills. A father and daughter who were evacuated from China and then forcibly quarantined for several days (luckily they were not infected) went home to find $3,918 in bills.

If you are working-class person with a $10,000 deductible (not at all uncommon), going to the doctor simply because you have flu-like symptoms (which is how most cases of COVID-19 are experienced) could very easily send you into bankruptcy. If infected, millions of Americans are likely going to take their chances — and keep spreading the virus.

Indeed, U.S. health care is not only by far the worst system among rich countries, it is much worse than that of many middle-income or poorer countries when it comes to confronting a fast-moving epidemic.

American Epidemic Control Won't Be Any Different Than American Criminal Justice

lpeblog |  It is now clear that we are entering a new phase of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The virus appears in new countries around the world each day. New cases are now regularly reported in the United States, and as testing is scaled up, that number will increase, probably substantially. It is clear now that the virus will spread in a sustained way in the community here. The estimated mortality rate derived from the data from China resembles that of the 1919 flu, which killed 50-100 million people around the world. As we are better able to track mild cases, we may find that it is substantially, even an order of magnitude, less deadly. Under every plausible scenario, however, this outbreak is likely to be extraordinarily disruptive. It will surprise no reader of this blog that the US is ill-prepared for this, and that the harms of this pandemic will not be equally visited on all. Yesterday, I worked with a group of more than 450 law and public health experts to put out a public letter addressed to federal, state, and local leaders, to identify essential aspects of an effective and fair response. It may be worth a read for those thinking about the political economy of pandemics. It illustrates some familiar LPE themes, and shows how features of our socio-legal context that drive injustice and inequality will undermine the COVID-19 response.

Slowing the spread of the disease, for example, will be extraordinarily hard without major surge of social support and a commitment to something like basic social solidarity. Measures like contact tracing and isolation and other forms of “social distancing” (closing schools and minimizing public events) are the main mitigation tools we have. But as the letter points out, whether they are effective depends on whether they are enacted fairly, and we put people in a position to cooperate. We cannot expect people to stay home, identify contacts, or seek recommended care and testing, if it throws them or their loved ones into harm’s way. Staying home may create an existential threat for millions of low-wage and gig-economy workers. If we send children home from schools and ask families to care for the mildly ill at home, how will the millions now juggling paid work and care work manage? Immigrants will be discouraged from seeking care and disclosing contacts if they fear immigration enforcement.

The letter calls for direct interventions to try to reduce the precarity in which so many workers, carers, and migrants today in the US live, so that everyone is in a position to cooperate with recommendations that will benefit us all. This includes direct payments or other compensation to individuals who are affected, sick pay, and immediate assurances that the COVID-19 response will not be linked to, or trigger, immigration enforcement. It notes that we need to consider the impact of policing on health, given how jails can drive epidemics. It sets out the legal requirements and risks of carceral measures like quarantine (building in part on earlier work I did with others on the disastrous Ebola quarantines), and makes clear that voluntary measures are more likely to earn cooperation and trust. The letter also demands that our leaders address the potentially catastrophic ways that our for-profit healthcare system intersects with what may be rapidly mounting need for testing and care.

Medical Industrial Complex Moved QUICK To Protect Its Interests

WSJ |  The Trump administration is considering using a national disaster program to pay hospitals and doctors for their care of uninsured people infected with the new coronavirus as concerns rise over costs of treating some of the 27 million Americans without health coverage, a person familiar with the conversations said.

In natural disasters such as hurricanes, hospitals and medical facilities can be reimbursed under a federal program that pays them about 110% of Medicare rates for treating patients such as those evacuated from hard-hit areas.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been in discussions about using that program to pay providers who treat uninsured patients with coronavirus, the person said.

Dr. Robert Kadlec, who is the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, said Tuesday at a congressional hearing that discussions are being held about using the National Disaster Medical System reimbursement program.

n 2018, 8.5% of people, or 27.5 million, didn’t have insurance at any point during the year. It was an increase from 2017, when 7.9% of the population, or 25.6 million, were uninsured, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Should the Rentier Class Pay the Costs to Control SARS-CoV2?

taxresearch |  I have already discussed the potential economic implications of coronavirus this morning. The purpose of this blog is to summarise the underlying economic logic of what I have said.

We will have an economic crisis in 2020 as a result of coronavirus. There can now be no doubt of that; the likelihood that this epidemic can now be contained seems to be very low indeed. The evidence from China is that the impact on productivity and the economy at large is enormous. Whether we can survive the impact of this epidemic without major economic consequences arising is largely dependent upon the effectiveness of the planning that the government undertakes now. What is apparent is that at present there are a few signs that this planning is taking place. We can hope for it in the forthcoming budget, but the signs are, so far, not good.

The key issue that the government has to decide upon is who will bear the economic consequences of what is to happen. I have already indicated in my first post on this issue that I think that the consequences of this epidemic will fall upon three clearly identifiable groups, which are individuals, businesses and government. However, when appraising who will bear the cost the criteria are slightly different.

It is unacceptable that individuals bear the cost of this crisis. There is simply too little economic resilience within the population as a whole for that to be the case. Far too many people have too few savings to survive major periods of economic inactivity without massive prejudice to their short-term and long-term well-being.

In addition, it is unacceptable that many businesses should fail through no fault of their own but that is what will happen unless the government steps in to prevent the major economic downturn that might happen this year. Cash flow issues will cripple many companies.

In that case it would seem that consequences of what might happen will fall, in the first instance, on the government.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Han Elite Demonstrated Efficacy of Its Pan-Optic Surveillance Suppressing SARS-CoV2

asiatimes |  China used locational and other data from hundreds of millions of smartphones to contain the spread of Covid-19, according to Chinese sources familiar with the program. 

In addition to draconian quarantine procedures, which kept more than 150 million Chinese in place at the February peak of the coronavirus epidemic, China used sophisticated computational methods on a scale never attempted in the West.

With more than 80,000 cases registered, China reported only 126 new cases yesterday, compared to 851 in South Korea and 835 in Iran, out of a total of 1,969 new cases worldwide. Chinese sources emphasize that the artificial intelligence initiative supplemented basic public health measures, which centered on quarantines and aggressive efforts to convince Chinese citizens to change their behavior.

Chinese government algorithms can estimate the probability that a given neighborhood or even an individual has exposure to Covid-19 by matching the location of smartphones to known locations of infected individuals or groups. The authorities use this information to use limited medical resources more efficiently by, for example, directing tests for the virus to high-risk subjects identified by the artificial intelligence algorithm.

All smartphones with enabled GPS give telecom providers a precise record of the user’s itinerary. Smartphone users in the United States and Europe can access their own data, but privacy laws prevent the government from collecting this data. China has no such privacy constraints, and telecom providers have used locational data for years for advertising. 

A Chinese bank executive reports that his company purchases locational data from telecom providers. “If you have walked by an auto dealership three times in the last few weeks, we send you a text advertising an auto loan,” the executive said. “We wouldn’t be allowed to do that in the West.

If We're Lucky, the L-Type Is So Savage It'll Burn Itself Out (Kill Hosts/Limit Spread)

asiatimes |  Chinese research scientists have released a paper that says the novel coronavirus known as Covid 19 has mutated into two subtypes.

The latest findings of Chinese scientific researchers allegedly show that new coronavirus has recently generated 149 mutation points and has evolved into an L subtype and an S subtype (see map below).
The study found that the two subtypes showed significant differences in geographical distribution and population spread.

The S subtype is a relatively older version, while the L subtype is “more aggressive and more contagious”.

An in-depth understanding of different subtypes will help differentiate treatment and help prevention of a new strain of pneumonia, the scientists said.

‘Differ in transmission ability, severity’ 
The research comes from the paper “On the origin and continuing evolution of SARS-CoV” published on Tuesday March 3 by the National Science Review. It was sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Authors of the thesis are researcher Lu Jian, at the Bioinformatics Center at Peking University’s School of Life Sciences, and researcher Cui Jie at the Shanghai Pasteur Institute at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The authors believe that, based on the evolution of the new coronavirus, there may be a large difference in the transmission ability and severity of disease of the L and S subtypes.

The paper said the difference between the two subtypes is at the 28144 position of the viral RNA genome.

SARS-CoV2 is Neuroinvasive (That Explains Re-infection and Severity)

wiley |  Following the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS‐CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV), another highly pathogenic coronavirus named SARS‐CoV‐2 (previously known as 2019‐nCoV) emerged in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and rapidly spreads around the world. This virus shares highly homological sequence with SARS‐CoV, and causes acute, highly lethal pneumonia (COVID‐19) with clinical symptoms similar to those reported for SARS‐CoV and MERS‐CoV. The most characteristic symptom of COVID‐19 patients is respiratory distress, and most of the patients admitted to the intensive care could not breathe spontaneously. Additionally, some COVID‐19 patients also showed neurologic signs such as headache, nausea and vomiting. Increasing evidence shows that coronavriruses are not always confined to the respiratory tract and that they may also invade the central nervous system inducing neurological diseases. The infection of SARS‐CoV has been reported in the brains from both patients and experimental animals, where the brainstem was heavily infected. Furthermore, some coronaviruses have been demonstrated able to spread via a synapse‐connected route to the medullary cardiorespiratory center from the mechano‐ and chemoreceptors in the lung and lower respiratory airways. In light of the high similarity between SARS‐CoV and SARS‐CoV2, it is quite likely that the potential invasion of SARS‐CoV2 is partially responsible for the acute respiratory failure of COVID‐19 patients. Awareness of this will have important guiding significance for the prevention and treatment of the SARS‐CoV‐2‐induced respiratory failure. 

Cancelled Games and Empty Stadiums Might Move Trumps Big Ass Off the Pot!

WSJ  |   The NCAA tournament. Major League Baseball opening day. The Masters golf tournament. The NFL draft, the NBA and NHL playoffs, the Boston Marathon and Olympic qualifiers all over the U.S.

The busiest time of the American sports calendar is coming—if the coronavirus doesn’t come first.
As the global economy braces for the potentially devastating effects of a novel coronavirus that is spreading around the world, few businesses are at greater risk of being impacted than sports. 

This is a multibillion-dollar industry built on live entertainment, easy travel and mass gatherings, and that makes it especially vulnerable if major cities begin to embrace social distancing, as they have in countries where the virus has already disrupted everyday life. The problem is that there is no work-from-home in sports. The NBA season can’t be played on Slack. 

Should games be canceled? Can they be delayed? Will they be played in empty arenas? These are the questions that leagues and governing bodies are scrambling to answer as they size up potentially the biggest disruption to the sports calendar since World War II, and they are constrained by uncertainty as they make contingency plans to keep up with this mysterious pathogen. Their behavior will be dictated by the virus’s. 

“It will give March Madness a new meaning,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University. 


Tuesday, March 03, 2020

The Trump-Pence Protocol for SARS-CoV2 Pandemic Mismangement

ourfiniteworld |  The world economy may become very different, simply because of COVID-19. The new virus doesn’t even need to directly affect the rest of the world very much to create a problem. The United States, Europe, and the rest of the world are very much dependent on the continued operation of China. The world economy has effectively put way too many eggs in one basket, and this basket is not now functioning as expected.

If China is barely producing anything for world markets, the rest of the world will suddenly discover that long supply chains weren’t such a good idea. There will be a big scramble to try to fill in the missing pieces of supply chains, but many goods are likely to be less available. We may discover quickly how much we depend upon China for everything from shoes to automobiles to furniture to electronics. World carbon dioxide emissions are likely to fall dramatically because of China’s problems, but will the accompanying issues be ones that the world economy can tolerate?

The thing that is ironic is that it is possible that the West’s fear of the new coronavirus may be overblown–we really won’t know what the impact will be with respect to people of European or of African descent until we have had a better chance to examine how the virus affects different populations. The next few weeks and months are likely to be quite instructive. For example, how will the Americans and Australians who caught COVID-19 on the cruise ships fare? What will the health outcomes be of non-Asians being brought back from Wuhan to their native countries on special planes?

Wuhan Institute of Virology: HATERS HURT'N MY FEELINGS! I DINDU NUFFIN!!!

SCMP |  A Chinese research institute in the city of Wuhan – ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak
– has again dismissed rumours suggesting it is linked to the public health crisis, saying it has been “badly hurt” by conspiracy theories circulating online.
“The rumours … have caused severe damage to our researchers who have been dedicated to working on the front line, and seriously interrupted the emergency research we are doing during the epidemic,” the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which is affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said in a statement.

Those rumours included that the new virus strain was “man-made”, “leaked from the WIV lab”, that “the WIV was taken over by the military”, “a WIV researcher died from the leaked virus”, “a WIV student is patient zero”, and “a WIV researcher reported to authorities that the WIV chief was responsible” for the epidemic, the statement posted on its website on Wednesday said.

The institute runs the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, the only facility in China equipped to diagnose and research easily transmitted pathogens at the highest biosafety level of four.

“Looking back on our hard work over the past month, we have nothing to be ashamed of or to regret,” the statement said.

A prominent virologist with the institute has also been targeted by the rumours. Shi Zhengli’s exploration of caves in Yunnan province discovered that another deadly coronavirus – which caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or Sars, epidemic in 2002-03 – had originated in bats. Her database of viruses found in bats provided evidence for the theory that the coronavirus at the centre of the ongoing epidemic was also linked to bats. The new virus strain was found to be 96 per cent identical to one found in bats.

I'm not a virologist and don't pretend to be. But I can read a fugging manual with the best of them, and understand what I've read. That said, slowly reread the nature paper from 2015 yourself. 
Therefore, to examine the emergence potential (that is, the potential to infect humans) of circulating bat CoVs, we built a chimeric virus encoding a novel, zoonotic CoV spike protein—from the RsSHC014-CoV sequence that was isolated from Chinese horseshoe bats1—in the context of the SARS-CoV mouse-adapted backbone. The hybrid virus allowed us to evaluate the ability of the novel spike protein to cause disease independently of other necessary adaptive mutations in its natural backbone. Using this approach, we characterized CoV infection mediated by the SHC014 spike protein in primary human airway cells and in vivo, and tested the efficacy of available immune therapeutics against SHC014-CoV. Together, the strategy translates metagenomics data to help predict and prepare for future emergent viruses.


You See, What Happened Wuz..., Isht Just Up and Mutated and Whatnot!

SCMP |  The new coronavirus has an HIV-like mutation that means its ability to bind with human cells could be up to 1,000 times as strong as the Sars virus, according to new research by scientists in China and Europe.

The discovery could help to explain not only how the infection has spread but also where it came from and how best to fight it.

Scientists showed that Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) entered the human body by binding with a receptor protein called ACE2 on a cell membrane. And some early studies suggested that the new coronavirus, which shares about 80 per cent of the genetic structure of Sars, might follow a similar path.

But the ACE2 protein does not exist in large quantities in healthy people, and this partly helped to limit the scale of the Sars outbreak of 2002-03, in which infected about 8,000 people around the world.

Other highly contagious viruses, including HIV and Ebola, target an enzyme called furin, which works as a protein activator in the human body. Many proteins are inactive or dormant when they are produced and have to be “cut” at specific points to activate their various functions.

When looking at the genome sequence of the new coronavirus, Professor Ruan Jishou and his team at Nankai University in Tianjin found a section of mutated genes that did not exist in Sars, but were similar to those found in HIV and Ebola.

“This finding suggests that 2019-nCoV [the new coronavirus] may be significantly different from the Sars coronavirus in the infection pathway,” the scientists said in a paper published this month on, a platform used by the Chinese Academy of Sciences to release scientific research papers before they have been peer-reviewed.

“This virus may use the packing mechanisms of other viruses such as HIV.”

According to the study, the mutation can generate a structure known as a cleavage site in the new coronavirus’ spike protein.

The virus uses the outreaching spike protein to hook on to the host cell, but normally this protein is inactive. The cleavage site structure’s job is to trick the human furin protein, so it will cut and activate the spike protein and cause a “direct fusion” of the viral and cellular membranes.

Compared to the Sars’ way of entry, this binding method is “100 to 1,000 times” as efficient, according to the study.

Just two weeks after its release, the paper is already the most viewed ever on Chinarxiv.

We Made The Coronavirus Epidemic: NYTimes Called Out Shi Zhengli A Month Ago

NYTimes |  Despite the new virus’s name, though, and as the people who christened it well know, nCoV-2019 isn’t as novel as you might think.

Something very much like it was found several years ago in a cave in Yunnan, a province roughly a thousand miles southwest of Wuhan, by a team of perspicacious researchers, who noted its existence with concern. The fast spread of nCoV-2019 — more than 4,500 confirmed cases, including at least 106 deaths, as of Tuesday morning, and the figures will have risen by the time you read this — is startling but not unforeseeable. That the virus emerged from a nonhuman animal, probably a bat, and possibly after passing through another creature, may seem spooky, yet it is utterly unsurprising to scientists who study these things.

One such scientist is Zheng-Li Shi, of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a senior author of the draft paper (not yet peer reviewed and so far available only in preprint) that gave nCoV-2019 its identity and name. It was Ms. Shi and her collaborators who, back in 2005, showed that the SARS pathogen was a bat virus that had spilled over into people. Ms. Shi and colleagues have been tracing coronaviruses in bats since then, warning that some of them are uniquely suited to cause human pandemics.

In a 2017 paper, they set out how, after nearly five years of collecting fecal samples from bats in the Yunnan cave, they had found coronaviruses in multiple individuals of four different species of bats, including one called the intermediate horseshoe bat, because of the half-oval flap of skin protruding like a saucer around its nostrils. The genome of that virus, Ms. Shi and her colleagues have now announced, is 96 percent identical to the Wuhan virus that has recently been found in humans. And those two constitute a pair distinct from all other known coronaviruses, including the one that causes SARS. In this sense, nCoV-2019 is novel — and possibly even more dangerous to humans than the other coronaviruses.

KC Can't Fix Potholes - In a Pandemic, We're Wholly On Our Own!!!

nextdoor | City Communications Office

"Ready in 3" Community Guide to Help Educate and Prepare for Pandemic Flu

Check out the "Ready in 3" community guide to help educate & prepare you for pandemic flu. LEARN more about influenza, PLAN how to respond to the next major flu pandemic, & find the best ways to PROTECT yourself against this serious health threat here

Discussion closed 2 hr ago. Learn more »

Monday, March 02, 2020

Stacey Abrams Stayed Grinning, But Real Negroes Turned Their Backs On Bloomberg

independent |  Churchgoers in Alabama turned their backs on Michael Bloomberg as the billionaire former mayor of New York and presidential hopeful joined Democrats vying for the party's nomination in Selma, where memorial events have been commemorating the 55th anniversary of a landmark moment of political violence in the Civil Rights movement.

Mr Bloomberg has faced mounting criticism for a range of controversies while in office and as a company chief, from sexual harassment allegations and settlements to his continued defence for his police department's practice of racially profiling through "stop and frisk" measures, which he only publicly apologised for as he entered the presidential race.

He failed to satisfy his critics and other Democratic opponents during his first-ever debate appearance last month, when he fumbled his explanation for allowing the policy in the first place.

During a church service in Alabama on Sunday, a group of black worshippers inside the historic Brown Chapel AME Church silently stood and turned their backs on Mr Bloomberg as he delivered his remarks recognising "Bloody Sunday", when white police brutally attacked hundreds of voting rights activists marching through town at the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement on 7 March 1965.

SARS-CoV2 Timeline: All Kinds of Mad Dot-Connecting in Full Effect

SARS-CoV2: What About the Children?

harvard |  LIPSITCH: One of the most important unanswered questions is what role do children play in transmission? The go-to intervention in flu pandemic planning is closing schools, and that may be very effective or it may be totally ineffective. It’s a costly and disruptive thing to do, especially in the United States, because many people rely on school breakfast and lunch for nutrition. So we really need evidence that closing schools would help. We need detailed studies in households of children who are exposed to an infected person. We need to find out if the children get infected, if they shed virus, and if that virus is infectious. The second issue that we should be trying to get ahead of is the extent of infection in communities and in places that aren’t doing extensive testing.

GAZETTE: What do we know about for sure about how children are affected by this virus?

LIPSITCH: We know that the cases of children sick enough to get tested is much lower per capita than those of adults. And we also know that, in China outside of Hubei province, the difference between children and adults is smaller. Children are still underrepresented, but they’re a larger part of the total than inside Hubei province. That would suggest that part of the equation is that they are getting infected but they’re not that sick — it’s easier to identify less-severe cases in a system that’s not overwhelmed as it is in Hubei. But we don’t know whether they’re infected and not as sick or whether there are a lot of kids that aren’t getting infected even when they’re exposed.

Broke N****s and SARS-CoV2

guardian |  Like 27.5 million other Americans, I don’t have health insurance. It’s not for a lack of trying – I make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to buy a private health insurance plan on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Since I can’t afford to see a doctor, my healthcare strategy as a 32-year-old uninsured American has been simply to sleep eight hours, eat vegetables, and get daily exercise. But now that there are confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, the deadly virus could spread rapidly, thanks to others like me who have no feasible way to get the care we need if we start exhibiting symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are confirmed coronavirus cases in at least 50 countries on six continents, and more than 2,800 patients have died from the virus. This certainly qualifies as a pandemic under the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of the term, which, under a typical presidency, should necessitate a swift response from US health officials. However, the Trump administration appears to still be prioritizing the profit margin of the healthcare industry over preventing the spread of a deadly pandemic.

Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services secretary, Alex Azar, (a former senior executive at pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly) refused to commit to implementing price controls on a coronavirus vaccine “because we need the private sector to invest … price controls won’t get us there”. Even the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, notably didn’t use the word “free” when referring to a coronavirus vaccine, and instead used the word “affordable”. What may be considered affordable for the third-most powerful person in the US government with an estimated net worth of $16m may not be affordable for someone who can’t afford a basic private health insurance plan that still requires a patient to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Given the high cost of healthcare in the US, I haven’t seen a doctor since 2013, when I visited an emergency room after being run off the road while riding my bike. After waiting for four hours, the doctor put my arm in a sling, prescribed pain medication and sent me home. That visit cost more than $4,000, and the unpaid balance eventually went to collections and still haunts my credit to this day, making it needlessly difficult to rent an apartment or buy a car. But even a low-premium bronze plan on the exchange comes with a sky-high deductible in the thousands of dollars, meaning even if I was insured, I’d have still paid for that ER visit entirely out of pocket.

Yet Another Reason Donny and Mike So Tight-Lipped About SARS-CoV2?

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Center for Strategic and International Studies Gamed Out SARS-CoV2 Last October

Download a locked  pdf here. Fist tap my man John. Accept no substitutes...,

Remember Americans - Body Count Doesn't Matter Until/Unless It Effects the Economy

China took and is taking massive economic hits in its drastic martial/medieval response to the SARS-CoV2 outbreak. 

China reacted to this like it was a bio-weapons attack. (not saying that it was, but we've established to an acceptable level of confidence that it was at the very least a "gain of function" accident.)

Neither wing of the one party American system is psychologically capable of conceiving the kinds of measures the situation may demand. The U.S. is grossly under prepared on any level to deal with either an objective biological threat, or, the mass hysterical infodemic threat that SARS-CoV2 has already clearly demonstrated itself to be.

Ensuring profit is the one and only goal of any response American governance is capable of mustering. So what it comes down to is this. American political leadership MUST pretend that this outbreak is nothing worse than a bad strain of the cold or flu, period. 

Now, we've already established in Washington state and in Illinois - that community spread with no known travel is underway. So it's here and it's propagating. 

Knowing America as you do, do you expect American infection rates to mirror cruise ship levels ~20% or Korean Tard levels ~80% infection rates?

If you get 50% of the population infected all at once, we're done.

We don't have the means to do bulk testing.

We have limited capacity to treat people who go past flu-like symptoms.

If you try and force everybody to stay at home you may as well just switch off the lights. The real problem - however - will be the number of poor people still well enough to crawl to work.

For tens of millions it is show up for work or sleep in the car. 

Not to mention the ones who show up for work everyday but are still forced to sleep in the car. 

If the most severe aspects of the outbreak run like wildfire through the elderly, poor, and homeless demographics - American elites will consider this an unanticipated windfall and begin proclaiming their exceptionalism. 

It would be too sweet if the rich, elderly attendees of an elite cocktail/dinner party came in contact with servant peasants infected with SARS-CoV2  and they spread it around to all the sleek party attendees.  A fair number of the rich and affluent getting sick and/or dying might shake things up a bit.

So the trick now is to try and draw out the process.

Though it will be a hard slog, if you can keep the infection rate below 5% - you may have the resources to manage care rationing and prevent more massive outbreak and economic disruption.

We shall all soon see. The chickens have surely come home to roost!

Ironically Black Death Also Arose in Hubei Thence to Iran and Italy

wired |  Nearly 750 years ago, Marco Polo famously undertook several voyages from Venice across the Mediterranean Sea, overland through Persia and Central Asia to the court of the great Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan and founder of the Yuan dynasty, which presided over perhaps the largest empire in world history. The Mongols nurtured the Silk Roads of commerce that spanned the medieval world from China to Italy—until the Black Death spread along them in the same direction, wiping out nearly half the world’s population.

It is, of course, far too soon to make such dire predictions about Covid-19. But a striking overlap exists between the path of today's viral spread and the path that emerged in the 1300s. These parallels tell us something crucial about the present state of geopolitics. Trade routes and infrastructure expand imperial influence; interruptions along them heighten awareness of our vulnerabilities. If we’re smart, we respond by creating sensible frictions to avoid being dominated by a single hegemon.

The 14th-century plague is said to have originated in northwestern China, with bacteria contracted from marmots. Hebei Province bore the brunt of China’s plague fatalities, with 5 million of its residents perishing in the 1330s. Making its way westward via Silk Road merchants and caravans, the plague took several years to reach Persia, where it killed the Khan overlord Abu Said as well as half the population. In 1347, it entered Europe via Italy’s port of Genoa.

Now compare that to what we’re seeing today with Covid-19. This time around, the source of illness may have been pangolins or bats instead of marmots. It started in Wuhan, which just happens to be Hebei's capital. The coronavirus reached Iran in a couple of weeks, and so far has infected hundreds of people, even the country’s deputy health minister. Next to Iran, the next worst outbreak is in Italy, with more than 300 cases and rising quickly—and likely spreading through Europe exactly as the plague did centuries ago.

It is, perhaps no coincidence that, in the past two decades, China has been the origin of SARS, the swine flu, and now the Covid-19 coronavirus. Nor should we be surprised that Iran and Italy have emerged, once more, as waypoints for pandemic spread. What do Iran and Italy have in common today? They are two major anchors of China’s Belt and Road Initiative—also known as the 21st century’s new Silk Roads.

We Built a Chimeric Virus Encoding a Novel, Zoonotic CoV Spike Protein

I'm not a virologist and don't pretend to be. But I can read a fugging manual with the best of them, and understand what I've read. That said, slowly reread the nature paper from 2015 yourself. 

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

Shi Zhengli - you know you done f'd up...., 

Mebbe what I'm watching from other "gain of function" virologists is a poster-child instance of the Weinstein's Distributed Information Suppression Complex?

The Proximal Origin of SARS-C0V2

virological |   Since the first reports of a novel pneumonia (COVID-19) in Wuhan city, Hubei province, China there has been considerable discussion and uncertainty over the origin of the causative virus, SARS-CoV-2. Infections with SARS-CoV-2 are now widespread in China, with cases in every province. As of 14 February 2020, 64,473 such cases have been confirmed, with 1,384 deaths attributed to the virus. These official case numbers are likely an underestimate because of limited reporting of mild and asymptomatic cases, and the virus is clearly capable of efficient human-to-human transmission. Based on the possibility of spread to countries with weaker healthcare systems, the World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). There are currently neither vaccines nor specific treatments for this disease.

SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh member of the Coronaviridae known to infect humans. Three of these viruses, SARS CoV-1, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2, can cause severe disease; four, HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229E, are associated with mild respiratory symptoms. Herein, we review what can be deduced about the origin and early evolution of SARS-CoV-2 from the comparative analysis of available genome sequence data. In particular, we offer a perspective on the notable features in the SARS-CoV-2 genome and discuss scenarios by which these features could have arisen. Importantly, this analysis provides evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct nor a purposefully manipulated virus.

Say What?

The genomic comparison of both alpha- and betacoronaviruses (family Coronaviridae ) described below identifies two notable features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome: (i) based on structural modelling and early biochemical experiments, SARS-CoV-2 appears to be optimized for binding to the human ACE2 receptor; (ii) the highly variable spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 has a polybasic (furin) cleavage site at the S1 and S2 boundary via the insertion of twelve nucleotides. Additionally, this event led to the acquisition of three predicted O-linked glycans around the polybasic cleavage site.

Almost Like It Was Optimized to Clip Tards...., (sarc)