COVID-19: China Reseeded with COVID-20
From the date of the initial outbreak in Wuhan I watched carefully on a daily basis the dispersion and progression of the coronavirus in China and then abroad, collecting as much data as were available on each location. By late May of 2020, China had been infection-free for many weeks, the concern turning to the identification and quarantine of imported cases. At the same time, the US became once again ‘the leader of the world’, this time in virus infections and deaths, producing 20,000 to 30,000 new cases and around 1,000 deaths per day. At the time, American hostility toward China’s success in stopping the virus was palpable, with many nasty media articles and White House accusations about China’s false statistics and blaming China for “spreading the virus” to the US. CNN stated, “Chinese state media has repeatedly touted China’s effective measures in containing the virus as the number of infections and deaths surged abroad, contrasting its success with the failures of Western governments, especially the United States.” Clearly there was much surprise and bitterness at China’s success and America’s failure, this coated in a sticky layer of resentment based partly on a justified suspicion that the Chinese were not overly distressed at the Americans enjoying the fruits of their own labor.
But even then I had a sense of an apparition, a version of Dickens’ ‘ghost of coronavirus past’, accompanied by an uncomfortable feeling the Americans were sufficiently bitter (and vicious) to deny the Chinese their apparently easy victory. My fear was that the Americans would try to reseed China as they did Russia, and it would seem my fears were not unjustified. The new virus that broke out at the Xinfadi market in Beijing was a different strain than any previously existing in China, one that existed only in the US and Europe and could only have been brought in from the outside. And once again at a seafood market with no identifiable patient zero, no clear epidemiology (source and distribution) of a virus that did not exist in China. It almost had to be deliberately seeded, the odds against being infinitesimally small.
In terms of what I am calling COVID-20 (to differentiate it from the initial outbreak), China may have been fortunate to detect and corral this new pathogen before it could spread. The outbreak did expand to three other provinces but in single digits and the medical authorities have taken extreme action to prevent further spread since this variety – which again did not exist in China and had to be seeded from another country, appears to be much more contagious than the original COVID-19. In response, Beijing has locked down everything and sent a group of experts to guide the fight against this new potential epidemic, so far with good success. Nucleic acid testing has been initiated on a massive scale, already many millions of people tested, and all those in contact with the Xinfadi market being in quarantine. Many residential compounds in the city strictly prohibit anyone from entering or leaving, with residents having their temperatures checked and reported on a daily basis, and their food and daily necessities delivered.
Before this new outbreak, Beijing had been virus-free for nearly 60 days, meaning there were no local viruses and that this new pathogen was definitely an import (or an American export). On June 19, China’s CDC experts, after intensive investigations of the Xinfadi market, announced what they termed “a groundbreaking virus tracing discovery”, which was that the strain of the new virus in Beijing was the same as that in much of Europe – but much older than those in Europe, and “had been around for quite some time” – and that can mean only that it came from the US because that was the source of all the original varieties many months ago.
The investigators said they obtained so many positive samples that the entire market was “severely contaminated by the virus”, but also that no one should form the conclusion that the market was the origin merely because the outbreak took place there. More importantly, they also said “Beijing’s outbreak gives us the opportunity to re-examine our previous speculation that the virus originated from wildlife”, because unlike Wuhan, “the possibility of wildlife causing Beijing’s latest outbreak is slim.” Their conclusion was that “an infected individual or object contaminated with the virus entered the wet market, and the market only gave it an environment to multiply”. The authorities have already produced the genome sequence and are now establishing when and how the virus was likely imported into China, and how long was the transmission chain. There is no question this pathogen was brought into China “by people”, the question being the identity of those people and their purpose. And, what better way to “teach those smug Chinese a lesson” and attempt to derail China’s rapid economic recovery.
There is something equally strange about the virus in Russia. For a long time, Russia had only a few infections, rising steadily by only five or ten per day, then suddenly it exploded, rising by 5,000, then 10,000 and 20,000 per day. Virus outbreaks don’t normally manifest that way. The normal process upon an outbreak is a rapid acceleration in the number of infections until it peaks, as happened with all other countries. But with Russia, the infections were minor for a long time, steady at very low numbers, with all the indications of an unsuccessful epidemic, and the Russian government took strict measures to control the spread. The US government was clearly resentful at the failure of the virus to devastate Russia and the US media bemoaned the fact that Russia’s death rate was so low. I would be very interested to see the genome sequences from the first infections in January and February, and for those happening in April and May. I haven’t any definitive
Article from LewRockwell