Saturday, February 29, 2020

Here is what we officially know, and what we really know, about the Covid 19 pandemic

By Timothy Gamble

Note: Information in this article has been updated as of 6:00 PM. 

2-29-2020 - At this point its pretty much useless to give "official" numbers for the coronavirus outbreak. We know China has been greatly understating its official numbers. Iran has likely been doing so, too. Now, there is reason to believe Italy, worried about its tourism business, has been less than honest with its numbers. The World Health Organization (WHO), beholden to China on many levels, seems intent on touting the CPC party line regarding the outbreak, rather than providing accurate information. It is a mess. Here is what we do know (or think we know) at this point:

** The outbreak of Covid 19 "officially" started in December of 2019. The is evidence to believe it actually started in November or even October.

** The outbreak's "official" cause is tainted meat (probably bat) sold at a Wuhan market. The BBC reports that Patient Zero, the first person to be infected, had no contact, direct or indirect, with that Wuhan market. This is in line with research published in the medical journal The Lancet, which found that 14 of the first 41 patients had no contact, direct or indirect, with that market.

** The is some reason to believe that the virus actually came from a bioweapons lab in Wuhan. This is dismissed as a conspiracy theory by China, WHO, and the mainstream media. However, many independent experts have voiced this opinion. Most notably, Dr. Francis Boyle, an expert on biological warfare who helped write the US Biological Weapons Act, believes that the Wuhan coronavirus is a biological weapon. "The coronavirus that we’re dealing with here is an offensive biological warfare weapon," according to Boyle, who points out that the Wuhan’s Institute of Virology is known to Western intelligence services as a bioweapons lab, with previous containment problems with other viruses.  

** There is no hard evidence for the biolab origins theory. However, there is equally no hard evidence for the tainted bat meat theory.

** China has not and is not cooperating with non-Chinese experts and organizations. They have allowed a small WHO team into China, but have greatly restricted their access to needed information and, in  particular, are not allowing them to research the origins of Covid 19. 

** China "officially" admits to 79,000 confirmed cases of Covid 19, resulting in over 2,700 deaths. China "officially" claims that the outbreak has decline sharply, with only a trickle of new cases each day.

**  Information leaking out of China, including testimony of medical professionals along with photos and videos, indicates the real numbers of cases and deaths are likely 4X-5X the "official" numbers. A study released last week claims the outbreak in China is up to 10X worse than Chinese officials are reporting.

** South Korea, which refused to close its doors to Chinese travellers early on, is experiencing a major outbreak of  Covid 19, including sustained local transmission of the disease. South Korea reports 3,150 cases, including 17 deaths, as of this morning. The South Korean numbers are likely accurate.

** Italy also is experiencing a major outbreak, including sustained local transmission, with 1,128 "official" cases, and 29 deaths. However, several news outlets are reporting that Italy appears to be downplaying the true extent of their outbreak over fears of losing tourism. Italy, which is a part of the open borders of the EU, has spread the disease to many European countries.

** Iran has become the epicenter for the spread of Covid 19 throughout the Middle East, "officially" claiming 593 confirmed cases. The real number of cases is likely much higher.  Iran reports 43 deaths so far. 

** Japan is also experiencing sustained local transmission of Covid 19, with 210 of 242 cases being domestic. There are three deaths due to the virus in Japan.

** In the United States, there are currently 70 confirmed cases - 44 of those are returnees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, 3 are evacuees from Wuhan, 12 are other travel related, 3 are person-to-person spread (from travel related cases), and 8 are currently of unknown origin (and represent the first community spread of Covid 19 in the US if their origins cannot be traced). This includes the first death of a Covid 19 patient in the United States earlier today. The death was of a patient in Seattle, Washington.

** Economically, this outbreak has exposed major vulnerabilities in the US supply chain, making abundantly clear our over-reliance on China for many basic goods, parts, and components. These supply chain problems, along with uncertainty over the spread, duration, and severity of this global pandemic, was largely responsible for this past week's massive stock market sell-off.

** Those wishing to understand more about the US over-reliance on China for bio-tech, pharmaceutical, and medical supplies, should check out the 2018 book China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America's Dependence on China for Medicine.

** This is a chaotic and fast-paced breaking news event. As such, all information is subject to rapid change.

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