« notes from the culture wars, chapter the millionth: in which the League of Women Voters throws some shade | Main | good day, bad day »

May 25, 2021

Comments

The people responsible for uncovering this evidence are not journalists or spies or scientists. They are a group of amateur sleuths, with few resources except curiosity and a willingness to spend days combing the internet for clues.

I am indeed extremely impressed with these amateur sleuths and their ability to pierce the veil of a sophisticated, apparently years-in-the-making cover up of...something(?) by...reading published academic papers? Hmm.

Remember what I said up thread about million-and-second? This is like million-and-second through million-and-twelfth.

Just, really, really silly stuff.

Like:

DRASTIC wondered if [the pneumonia miners] marked the first cases of human beings being infected with a precursor of SARS-CoV-2—perhaps RaTG13 or something like it.

Some problems here, but ok. Let's go with it.

In a profile in Scientific American, Shi Zhengli acknowledged working in a mineshaft in Mojiang County where miners had died. But she avoided connecting it to RaTG13 (an omission she had made in her scientific papers as well), claiming that a fungus in the cave had killed the miners.

Hmm. "Avoided connecting it." That sounds suspicious! What's the bat lady hiding? Let's she what she has to to say for herself:

Although the fungus turned out to be the pathogen that had sickened the miners, she says it would have been only a matter of time before they caught the coronaviruses if the mine had not been promptly shut.

Oh. She mentions potentially infectious coronaviruses are all over the mine? Some cover up.

I find myself thinking, though, I wonder what DRASTIC makes of this!

That explanation didn't sit well with the DRASTIC group. They suspected a SARS-like virus, not a fungus, had killed the miners and that, for whatever reason, the WIV was trying to hide that fact. It was a hunch, and they had no way of proving it.

Right! I forgot! Obviously those miners really died of COVID-19 back in 2012, so WIV and Shi's have been covering up its existence this whole time, because they knew the lab would leak the virus out in 2019. Smart.

But. No doubt DRASTIC will cut through this conspiracy. Shi's definitely lying through her face hole, and I'm sure we've got incontrovertibly clear cut evidence that this was COVID-12 or a direct precursor, and no fungus in sight.

He was on the verge of calling it quits, he says, when he struck gold: a 60-page master's thesis written by a student at Kunming Medical University in 2013 titled "The Analysis of 6 Patients with Severe Pneumonia Caused by Unknown Viruses." In exhaustive detail, it described the conditions and step-by-step treatment of the miners. It named the suspected culprit: "Caused by SARS-like [coronavirus] from the Chinese horseshoe bat or other bats."

Hmm. Well, ok, let's give it a shot. My Chinese isn't worth crap these days, but I'm sure I can google translate every bit as well as "The Seeker". Let's check the diagnoses for the three who died:

Discharge diagnosis: severe pulmonary infection; sepsis; septic shock, abdominal cavity infection; breathing Sudden cardiac arrest. Discharge situation: dead.
Discharge diagnosis: respiratory and cardiac arrest; severe pneumonia; type respiratory failure; sepsis; Chronic hepatitis B. Discharge situation: death.
Discharge diagnosis: severe pneumonia; multiple organ failure; inhalation lung injury; Interstitial pneumonia (high likelihood of virulence; invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (secondary.) Discharge situation: dead.

So, these poor fellows were clearly pretty messed up. And respiratory and organ failure checks out. "Inhalation lung injury" doesn't sound very COVID like, though. Almost sounds like maybe they had an accident down there. There's also mention of "inhalation of noxious gases" in on or two of them as well. And what's that last one? Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. That's a funny name. Sounds...almost...fungal.

There were some secondary bacterial infections as well.

Any mention of viruses in there at all? Well, yes, in the followup discussion at the end:

Etiological tests (throat swabs and whole blood) related viruses return negative, but only one pathogenic test is negative....Later, after consultation and sampling by Academician Zhong Nanshan, the Wuhan Institute of Virology The patient's serum antibody is positive, which indicates that there is a virus infection. Therefore, I will meet again in the future clinical work At this point, it is similar to severe pneumonia caused by unknown viruses or aggregated severe pneumonia. It is necessary to be alert to infectious diseases.

So, that's a little garbled, but sounds like there might have been some kind of a positive, general coronavirus antibody test performed by WIV. The second thesis, which I'm not going to bother digging into, said only 4 of the 6 tested positive.

Was a coronavirus the primary infection here? Maaaaybe. It sort of sounds like these guys just about drowned in bat guano somehow, so there was a lot going on. Obviously, coronaviruses were a concern for everyone, but there's really no smoking gun, and I don't think it would have been responsible for anyone to claim there was. Certainly there's no indication any specific virus was or could be identified, and the antibody test isn't very conclusive. There might indeed have been no way to determine much of anything conclusively, not once the survivors had recovered and autopsies had been refused by all three families of the deceased. It sounds like WIV also followed up with tests around the area, to check for any kind of general outbreak or crossover. (Though DRASTIC spins this as nefarious somehow, natch.)

This is definitely kind of all hat, no cattle when it comes to backing up the dramatic claims made by DRASTIC and Newsweek about a WIV coverup. Saying they died of a fungus infection could very well be Shi's honest recollection of the affair -- and she isn't necessarily wrong.

I'll admit I was cracking up at the over the top phrases like "The Seeker revealed his research powers to the group," though.

The rest of is just more dreck along the same lines, or worse. I mean,

Other databases yielded other clues. In the WIV's grant applications and awards, The Seeker found detailed descriptions of the Institute's research plans, and they were damning:

Spoiler: none of the research plans are damning.

Same old stuff. More of the stupid insinuation and conspiratorialism that we've already been having to swat down for far too long already.

Hint for the people talking about how "circumstantial evidence is stacking up". It's not a "stack" if the bottom layers keep getting debunked and disappearing out from under you. It's true that that's the way you win at Tetris, but it's not so great for building an honest argument for anything.

The Wuhan Virology Institute is not a secret Chinese military facility or something.

Interestingly, in most of those articles there is secrecy. Denying where money came from, denying that it was for GoF projects, mostly simply not cooperating with the WHO or independent scientists. All this somehow calls into question your nothing to see here certainty. There is likely something to see here. It could be that it's instinctive for the Chinese to be uncooperative.

I understand the idea that something would not be a good starting place, but that implies knowing the purpose of the GoF project. It could be exactly the right starting place. Or just the one they had.


I find your argument against a sample being found in the wild more compelling, but still, how remarkable would another SARS virus be? Would it really demand breathless emails? Could the fact that it was found and not talked about simply be because there hadn't been adequate study prior to the lab mistake?

All of what you are claiming, point by point, is circumstantial based on your assessment of what you perceive normal behavior of research virologists is. Certainly it's reasonable to ask for evidence, so far asked and not answered.

Granting your fairly obvious personal knowledge, you keep stressing that things are unlikely, even italicizing it. We are not talking about Yugos. We are talking about a killer virus that, with all current information, had a patient zero somewhere in Wuhan. Within a stones throw of a market and lab, where information has been purposefully not shared.

That the theories are more outlandish is not surprising under those circumstances. You have people trying to construct evidence where there is none for their narrative.

As have you, based on "normal" or "likely" as your key parameters.

I would prefer evidence.


It's true that that's the way you win at Tetris, but it's not so great for building an honest argument for anything.

this bunch of people who just received their accelerated doctorates in forensic virology from Dunning-Kruger U aren't actually interested in honest argument. they're trying to rescue the GOP's reputation by convincing enough people that they weren't completely wrong about yet another something.

and no amount of debunking is going to stop them. they and their eager audience are already ignoring the fact that all they have is conjecture. and if a natural origin is eventually found, they aren't going to believe it.

they will always believe, despite any evidence to the contrary, that this was a leak. and a good number of them are going to believe it was a deliberate leak to "weaken America".

these aren't scientists. they aren't even reporters. it's motivated reasoning and infectious ignorance running wild.

a patient zero somewhere in Wuhan. Within a stones throw of a market and lab, where information has been purposefully not shared.

As noted in somebody's comment above, there are multiple virology labs, of various kinds. But the one likely to have been actually experimenting on something like this (as opposed to just running virus tests on locals or sampling the local population) is across town and on the far side of the river from the market. Damn impressive throw of a stone.

The Chinese government's lack of cooperation would be more convincing. Except that they are like that over lots of stuff. Especially when they perceive that they are being blamed, justly or not, for something. Merely having the US President (no matter what their opinion of him otherwise) ranting about "kung flu" and "Chinese virus" would be more than enough to trigger that well-honed reflex.

like the media you don't believe it because of who said it, without evidence.

“The media” has taken every imaginable position on this question. Your own opinions about all of this are based on things you have read or heard from “the media”.

There is no “media” seeking to suppress minority points of view. Most sources of information have an editorial point of view, which folks should be and generally are aware of. But there is no point of view about the origin of Covid that is not represented in “the media”.

"Merely having the US President (no matter what their opinion of him otherwise) ranting about "kung flu" and "Chinese virus" would be more than enough to trigger that well-honed reflex."

Precisely.

narratives.

only liberals follow them.

The Chinese government's lack of cooperation would be more convincing. Except that they are like that over lots of stuff.

Name one country that is transparent about the operations of bio-safety labs they host.

The Chinese are arguably worse about this than others, but it’s a matter of degree.

And the Tom Cottons of the world don’t help matters.

I would prefer evidence.

Right. So would everyone else. But the greatest burden lies on those making very specific claims that are far less likely than other broader claims.

We aren't comparing some well-covered-up-lab-leak theory with some particular bat biting a particular person. We're comparing it to some unspecified animal out of many, many possible animals somewhere around Wuhan transmitting the virus to some unspecified person out of many, many possible people somewhere around Wuhan.

If you want evidence, you should be persuaded when someone points out that the evidence for the lab-leak theory sucks.

they should at least back off the certainty. they're claiming it was a leak based on conjecture and confirmation-bias.

it might turn out to have been a leak. enough actual evidence could come out to prove it. but that hasn't happened yet.

they'd look a lot less silly, if they did that.

the fact that they don't want to do that, and instead want to convince people that possibility=confirmation, tells me that they're not in it for truth; they're in it to establish a narrative of their own.

also Trump Won.

"they should at least back off the certainty. they're claiming it was a leak based on conjecture and confirmation-bias."

Yep they should. If someone points to actual evidence a lab leak didn't happen I will certainly take that into account. There is zero of that in this thread.

Marty,

You may have missed my question from last night (12:03AM today,actually) or you may be ignoring it, so I ask again:

Which is "the" lab you're theorizing about?

Proving that a leak DIDN'T happen is hard enough when "the" lab is a particular one. Proving there was no "leak" from ANY lab seems practically impossible. How would YOU go about it?

To save you the trouble of clicking back to the previous page, here's the rest of that 12:03 comment:

If the "mistake" was careless handling of, say, blood from a bat collected in the wild, I would not hesitate to call that a case of the virus "leaking from the lab", but it would obviously be very different from the virus being concocted in "the" lab.

And if the "mistake" was of that nature, one would have to wonder: how likely is it that that the lab worker was the very first person who got infected by this natural virus?

How unlikely is it that such a virus first infected a mailman, say? And would it be fair to say, in that case, that the virus "leaked" from the Wuhan post office?

--TP

Marty seems to be responding to the imaginary person who has asserted that a lab leak was impossible.

"If someone points to actual evidence a lab leak didn't happen I will certainly take that into account."

Many things didn't happen in the world yesterday.

But I can't prove they didn't happen.

Zen Trump.

"Proving a negative" (a logical impossibility) is the new GOP cognitive framework.

"Prove it didn't happen!" - is a phrase straight out of schlocky horror movies and tabloid stories. And, now, the GOP phrasebook.

Though I have to say I'm at a loss to figure out what their endgame is. "Proving" Covid-19 came from a lab does nothing to excuse the Party's absolute failure to deal with the virus effectively once it reached the USA.

"Proving" Covid-19 came from a lab does nothing to excuse the massive negligent homicide of nearly a million Americans.

So I'm not sure if this frenzy to retrofit Covid-19 origins into their favorite fantasy world is simply to distract attention from the GOP's crimes against humanity, or if they're just cognitively impaired enough to think "proving" their favorite fantasy means nothing that came afterward is their fault.

It's always difficult to distinguish between malignance and stupidity as the GOP's prime motivators.


or if they're just cognitively impaired enough to think "proving" their favorite fantasy means nothing that came afterward is their fault.

uhyup.

plus, they would really like to prove the straw liberals who haunt their imaginations wrong.

Some people just like the flavor of international espionage and familiar enemies. It’s a favorite genre of many readers. This one is RL and they get to feel like a participant. The beats of the story are familiar and that brings comfort in unsettling times.

We are talking about a killer virus that, with all current information, had a patient zero somewhere in Wuhan.

Actually, patient zero may have been somewhere else. In Jan, I was in Korea and a recently retired colleague passed, rather suddenly. Respiratory distress. He was overweight but other than that, in relatively good health. He hadn't travelled to Wuhan, but he had travelled. I came back for the funeral, and looking at this timeline

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/interactive-timeline
31 Dec 2019
WHO’s Country Office in the People’s Republic of China picked up a media statement by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission from their website on cases of ‘viral pneumonia’ in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China.

The Country Office notified the International Health Regulations (IHR) focal point in the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office about the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission media statement of the cases and provided a translation of it.

I don't know if my colleague passed from COVID. He was Burmese and Buddhist, so he was cremated. However, I would not be surprised, given mobility and travel habits, that patient zero was from somewhere else. So the certitude you express about their being a patient zero in Wuhan belies your supposed sceptical stance. At least be honest with yourself about what you are saying.

Interestingly, in most of those articles there is secrecy. Denying where money came from, denying that it was for GoF projects, mostly simply not cooperating with the WHO or independent scientists.

Sure. And have you stopped beating your wife?

I mean, at least some of those denials are perfectly fair. If they weren't doing GoF projects (which, as far as anyone can tell, they weren't), what do you expect them to say?

And I wasn't aware that the WHO had any complaints about the level of cooperation they've received so far, at least in the origin investigation. (IIRC, there were some quibbles about timely information sharing, way back at the beginning of the pandemic, but that was apparently more about dumb bureaucratic foot-dragging than secrecy.)

DRASTIC, on the other hand...

I understand the idea that something would not be a good starting place, but that implies knowing the purpose of the GoF project.

No, not really. It's true there can be a whole slew of purposes for GoF research -- researching what causes changes in infectiousness, developing animal models, etc. etc.

But the problem is that an existing virus model like SARS-CoV would be a better starting point for all of them. There's just no apparent reason anyone would go and pick an otherwise obscure virus like RaTG13 out of their butts, just to spend months on extra ground work in order to get up to the starting line again.

We are not talking about Yugos. We are talking about a killer virus that, with all current information, had a patient zero somewhere in Wuhan. Within a stones throw of a market and lab, where information has been purposefully not shared.

The virology institute is 12km from the market, which wasn't ground zero anyway.

Like someone else said, that's a pretty impressive stone throw.

And there's no reason to think patient zero was even from Wuhan. The actual patient zero is more likely to have been a farmer or someone further out in the countryside, in a better position to be in contact with animals, who then brought it into Wuhan on a visit (or passed it to someone who did).

Finally, name me a city in China without a busy market and a virology lab. Which Chinese city wouldn't be that kind of a "stone's throw" from your post hoc suspicions?

Though I have to say I'm at a loss to figure out what their endgame is. "Proving" Covid-19 came from a lab does nothing to excuse the Party's absolute failure to deal with the virus effectively once it reached the USA.

Pretty obvious, actually. If it came from a lab, then you can further justify (not that they need help) rampant xenophobia. Because it was those nasty non-white foreigners who made us all sick. (Made themselves sick, too. But what happened to anybody else is of no interest.)

This just in: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/06/the-lab-leak-theory-inside-the-fight-to-uncover-covid-19s-origins

Finally, name me a city in China without a busy market and a virology lab. Which Chinese city wouldn't be that kind of a "stone's throw" from your post hoc suspicions?

From the Vanity Fair article:

Dr. Richard Ebright, board of governors professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University, said that from the very first reports of a novel bat-related coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, it took him “a nanosecond or a picosecond” to consider a link to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Only two other labs in the world, in Galveston, Texas, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, were doing similar research. “It’s not a dozen cities,” he said. “It’s three places.”

Seems somewhat relevant to the topic at hand.

This just in

The thing is, it’s not “just in”.

The possibility that the virus was introduced into the human population via human error at the Wuhan lab has been on the table from day 1. It’s not a new theory.

also from Ebright:

Whenever asked if this virus could have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, your answer has been: “Yes (…) This cannot and should not be dismissed”. A study on COVID origin of Dr. Steven Quay, another signer of the Open Letter, calculates the lab hypotheses to be a 99.8% probability.

At this point in time, there is no secure basis to assign relative probabilities to the natural-accident hypothesis and the laboratory-accident hypothesis.

But given the fact that lab leak is a possibility, what chance do you give for a natural zoonotic origin of this pandemic?

At this point in time, all scientific data related to the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 and the epidemiology of COVID-19 are equally consistent with a natural-accident origin or a laboratory-accident origin.

even this guy, who beyond question thinks there's evidence for a lab leak, isn't going for the certainty the people who eagerly quote him are.

ya know, if Trump hadn't turned this whole fucking thing into a partisan (and then racist) shitshow, we might have had a chance for a rational discussion about this. but now, Trump partisans and anti-Democratic partisans are dead-set on convincing everyone that this is was the Kung Flu, as Trump said it was. and other people aren't about to let those racist xenophobic morons gaslight the country into believing something that hasn't been proved.

so, good job, GOP. you've fucked this up too.

This just in:

More rehashed Nick Wade smelling garbage? And there's our friends at DRASTIC again?

Seriously, some of the stuff in there is almost verbatim, like:

The NSC investigators found ready evidence that China’s labs were not as safe as advertised. Shi Zhengli herself had publicly acknowledged that, until the pandemic, all of her team’s coronavirus research—some involving live SARS-like viruses—had been conducted in less secure BSL-3 and even BSL-2 laboratories.

And also, incidentally, previously debunked. Like the rest of the specifics AFAICT.

The stuff about internal conversations between Trump officials and their various worries might be new, but I'm not sure I could care any less.

If someone was warning them not to stick their foot in their mouths with alarmism about GoF work in Wuhan, well, that sounds like a pretty good idea, actually. They should have stuck to it -- especially because there's some pretty thorough confusion throughout about what GoF actually means. It sounds like someone's been talking to Rand Paul or something. In any case, the research they're talking about was done with a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone. It has nothing to do with COVID-19.

The thing is, it’s not “just in”.

Did you read the article? It alleges, among other things:

A months long Vanity Fair investigation, interviews with more than 40 people, and a review of hundreds of pages of U.S. government documents, including internal memos, meeting minutes, and email correspondence, found that conflicts of interest, stemming in part from large government grants supporting controversial virology research, hampered the U.S. investigation into COVID-19’s origin at every step. In one State Department meeting, officials seeking to demand transparency from the Chinese government say they were explicitly told by colleagues not to explore the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, because it would bring unwelcome attention to U.S. government funding of it.

In an internal memo obtained by Vanity Fair, Thomas DiNanno, former acting assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, wrote that staff from two bureaus, his own and the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, “warned” leaders within his bureau “not to pursue an investigation into the origin of COVID-19” because it would “‘open a can of worms’ if it continued.”

Also, this:

For most of the past year, the lab-leak scenario was treated not simply as unlikely or even inaccurate but as morally out-of-bounds. In late March, former Centers for Disease Control director Robert Redfield received death threats from fellow scientists after telling CNN that he believed COVID-19 had originated in a lab. “I was threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis,” Redfield told Vanity Fair. “I expected it from politicians. I didn’t expect it from science.”

So, I'm going to say what people were saying then and what they are saying now don't sound the same to me.

But sure, Trump's fault.

The stories about DRASTIC really remind me of the "Catching Kevin" story that Wired ran back in 1996, profiling Tsutomi Shimomura's efforts to track and apprehend infamous hacker Kevin Mitnick. It was a great story - a mix of detective fiction, cyberpunk, and wild west showdown. Shimomura came out looking like a samurai code wizard who defeated an evil mastermind.

Coming back to the story in 2006, I found that the stories of Mitnick's crimes had been exaggerated to the point of absurdity, and that Shimomura was, by all accounts, a bit of a diva. I mean, during his trial and incarceration, Mitnick was forbidden from using the prison pay phone and kept in solitary for fear that he might whistle the nuclear codes through his teeth or something (truth is that Mitnick was more of a social engineer than a code ninja).

But oh, the glory of that story. It made me want to be Shimomura, protecting my network from evil code ninjas bent on mayhem.

The lab leak story is well told and suspenseful and has a solid bad guy and mysterious heroes. It appears plausible. It hits a lot of popular tropes. It fits the curve in the right places.

I just suspect that, whatever the ultimate answer to the mystery is, this story will look a lot more mundane in hindsight, and the individuals involved in DRASTIC will have lost a lot of that heroic aura that they are currently being wrapped in.

Seems somewhat relevant to the topic at hand.

Oh, there's no question WIV is doing work on another level from a lot of others.

But they're not -- by any stretch -- the only lab in China with freezers full of weird and scary bat fluids. Are you really credulous enough to believe that, if this were a different city and a different lab, team DRASTIC wouldn't be out there right now dredging up high school prom photos for some poor lab assistant in that one, and making dark remarks about his mysterious hickeys?

But they're not -- by any stretch -- the only lab in China with freezers full of weird and scary bat fluids. Are you really credulous enough to believe that, if this were a different city and a different lab, team DRASTIC wouldn't be out there right now dredging up high school prom photos for some poor lab assistant in that one, and making dark remarks about his mysterious hickeys?

You seem to be doing a lot of heavy lifting for the Wuhan folks. As do others here. I'm not getting it. I remember a distinctly different tone, tenor and substance back in the day and it seems like there is egg on a lot of faces. But, whatever, it's not a hill I'm willing to spend any more time on.

Trump was a dumbass about CoVID, but I'm not sure he was alone. A lot of certainty back in the day is looking a lot less certain.

But sure, Trump's fault.

the politicization is 100% the GOP's fault. the irresponsible denials, the fountains of nonsense, the moronic grandstanding of Republican Congresspeople, the fact that GOP candidates ran on COVID/vax-denial, the fact that Trump's vote share in a county is inversely proportional to its vaccination rate, the sheer idiocy of GOP legislatures passing anti-mask laws and failing to take even minor precautions.

that's the GOP.

the GOP turned this into a partisan issue. and Trump led the way.

but of course they won't take responsibility for their actions. they're "conservatives", after all. fuck everyone else.

What about our situation actually changes if it did turn out to have been an accidental lab leak? How does this narrative matter? Does anything change other than having a convenient scapegoat?

cleek -

Don't forget the idiotic act of abruptly ordering Americans back to the US from whatever other country they were visiting, with no provisions made at any airport for additional staff to handle a sudden influx of tens of thousands of people. People stood in close-packed airport gates and concourses for HOURS with no screening, no masks, no nothing.

And don't forget the corrupt clusterfuck that was the PPE rollout. States bidding against one another, Trump family intercepting shipments that states had already paid for to re-sell for profit (or diverting the shipments from Blue states to states that had supported Trump), Kushner stating that the national supply was for the Trump family, not for the states. This, while HCWs had not enough PPE for themselves and were using garbage bags, there weren't enough masks or ventilators for HCWs or patients, and the resulting death rate was staggering.

(Just imagine what it would have been like if Trump had been in charge of distributing the vaccine: it would have been PPE all over again.)

The origins of Covid-19 have absolutely no bearing on any of that.

What about our situation actually changes if it did turn out to have been an accidental lab leak? How does this narrative matter? Does anything change other than having a convenient scapegoat?

I guess it depends on how friendly one feels toward the PRC. For my part, I'd have a bit of a bone to pick with them and their shitty lies. But, I'm just a crusty old reactionary.

For my part, I'd have a bit of a bone to pick with them and their shitty lies. But, I'm just a crusty old reactionary.

And this is different from how things are now, before confirmation, because...?

Assuming it turns out to be a wild outbreak and not any sort of a leak, would that give you any less of a bone to pick with China?

I guess it depends on how friendly one feels toward the PRC.

prove it or don't. it's currently unproved, regardless of how one feels about the evil PRC.

I remember a distinctly different tone, tenor and substance back in the day

You also "remembered" that the Dems were stopping Trump from banning Chinese because they couldn't admit that he was right, which wasn't the case at all, it was the concern that he was demonizing a group of people and doing things for political theatre that did nothing to deal with the actual problem. Which, well, I guess we aren't the amateur sleuths on the level of a Newsweek article or a BroBible
https://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2020/04/your-medical-speculation-thread.html#comments

https://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2020/03/what-do-you-say-to-covid-if-it-were-your-barber.html#more

https://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2020/02/wuhans-on-first-.html

https://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2020/02/we-are-all-the-corvid-19-now.html

Why weren't we speculating on the lab leak? Because maybe it didn't really matter then and doesn't really matter now? Naw, probably because we are all Maoists in love with China. Yeah, that's the ticket.

So you are right to scoot off that hill and go back to whereever you were.

i do think it would be at least interesting if this was a leak. a Time For Some Hard Thinking kind of interesting, that is.

Why weren't we speculating on the lab leak? Because maybe it didn't really matter then and doesn't really matter now? Naw, probably because we are all Maoists in love with China. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Ok, of all the truly odd things you've said over the years, the bolded is Number 1 (Number 2 is that the West caused the Holocaust). If there was a lab leak that caused 3.69M deaths as of today, that really is a thing.

What about our situation actually changes if it did turn out to have been an accidental lab leak? How does this narrative matter? Does anything change other than having a convenient scapegoat?

This is exactly how I feel. Of course, in the end it would be good to know so that if, for example, it was a lab leak then procedures could be tightened up. I know this is a huge issue in the States at the moment, fomented by the GOP for their own purposes, but I still go with russell's comment way upthread about leaving it til a) there is more evidence, and b) people who actually are in a position (via relevant expertise) to judge can examine that evidence, and judge.

I guess it depends on how friendly one feels toward the PRC.

I think we've established in the past that nobody here feels particularly friendly toward the PRC - and I certainly don't. Meanwhile, until a) and b) above are achieved, this whole thing seems like a tremendous waste of attention and energy, like so much of what the GOP's focusses on.

i'd also be in favor of tightening lab controls for these places regardless of what people find out about C19 (living 10 miles from Chapel Hill like i do).

So, further to my point that what I remembered from way back when, I found this statement:

27 top virologists published a letter in the British medical journal the Lancet that “strongly condemn[ed] conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.” That March, the American journal Nature Medicine published a letter signed by 30 scientists stating, “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct.”

This is consistent with my memory. Scientists--and everyone else--taking very categorical positions that now seem not quite so categorical. I did not run down the sources, so I stand to be corrected. For the moment, though, I'm going to assume this is correct.

Two other things: first, no one seems to have found an infected animal (which seems odd) and second, if the PRC had nothing to hide, then open the door to some other honest broker (not the US) and let the light in. That seems like a no-brainer. That they haven't and almost certainly will not is of some relevance IMO.


And, the response from some of our people here is: well, so what if CoVID 19 did come from a lab leak in Wuhan?

Again, 3.69M deaths as of today *and* why the fuck should we listen to experts if they are going to get shit like this wrong?

I’m pretty comfortable saying nobody here knows if the virus came from the Wuhan lab or from the wet market. Or, somewhere else, for that matter.

It’s completely unsurprising that the best understanding of where it came from among people who actually know what they’re talking about might shift over time. That is a pretty common result of research. You have a hypothesis based on what you know, you find out more, your understanding changes and therefore your hypothesis changes.

It’s completely unsurprising that the Chinese government is reluctant to share with the world, and especially with a hostile American administration (either Trump or Biden), the details of what goes on in a BSL-4 lab hosted in their country. It would be good if that weren’t so, but it is so. It’s not clear to me that any other country is any more candid about what happens in bio-safety research labs hosted in their countries.

What do any of us know about errors or failures in the various BSL labs located here in the US?

It’s entirely possible that we will never, ever, ever know exactly where the virus came from and/or how it made its way into the human population. A definitive answer may not be available, now or ever.

If safety protocols at the Wuhan lab need to be tightened up, then I’m sure the scientific community and the various sponsors of the lab will make that happen. It’s certainly not going to, and should not, happen in response to the latest wave of public speculation.

If anyone thinks Tom Cotton gives a rat’s @ss about where the virus came from above and beyond the opportunity it provides him to be Tough On China, I have a bridge to sell you.

It’s a freaking virus. Every now and then, a new virus is introduced into the human population, a lot of people get sick, people who have expertise in the area do their homework, and we develop vaccines or other medical approaches to dealing with it.

I say we let them do their job, and the Tom Cottons of the world can STFU.

i'm not in the "so what" camp. i'm in the "no it's not proved, so please STFU about Trump and Tom Cotton being right because it's not about them and it's not about US party politics" camp.

I guess it depends on how friendly one feels toward the PRC.

There are plenty of reasons, where we actually know something about what they are doing, to be less than enthusiastic about the PRC. No need to speculate about possible lab origins.

second, if the PRC had nothing to hide, then open the door to some other honest broker (not the US) and let the light in.

You are assuming a very different mindset on the part of the Chinese government (and the Party) than they actually have. That's just now how they think. Especially with respect to the outside world.

"What do any of us know about errors or failures in the various BSL labs located here in the US?"

Anthrax.
Sent to top Democrats in the Senate.
And members of the press.

Where is the PROOF that it wasn't Marty that did it?1??

What cleek said @02.33

so please STFU about Trump and Tom Cotton being right because it's not about them and it's not about US party politics" camp.

Who is making this statement? Seriously.

Who is making this statement? Seriously.

i must be misunderstanding.

Fox News has been saying it for 18 months. here's one night's worth from Tucker, Sean and Laura.

and now, it's Republican dogma that the lab origin has been absolutely proved beyond all doubt thus proving Trump et al were right. i see it everywhere.

77 of Republicans believe it came from a lab. 39% say it was a deliberate leak. Carlson wants Fauci investigated for "covering it up" (and the comments are full of people screaming about how this proves Trump was right to distrust him).

"Again, 3.69M deaths as of today *and* why the fuck should we listen to experts if they are going to get shit like this wrong?"

Yes, even the best get it wrong sometimes.

It comes with the human territory.

Attorneys for the prosecution and the defense call their experts in all sorts of Court cases.

So, I don't know the answer to your question.

Maybe just call in Trump and Cruz and the Marjories, Rasputins, and Pillow guys and goils and their know-nothing hordes on every subject and wing it from now on.

And then attack Asians of all nationalities on U.S. streets as Trump aficionados are led to believe the CCP "sent" infected folks over here on planes to do their worst.

A lying racist Trade representative of the Trump ilk said precisely that.

The same ilk forced Fauci's family in lockdown to escape violent threats on their lives. Health officials, experts, across the country and their families are under similar threat.

Experts weren't the motivators of that as yet unanswered and unpunished crime, committed by Fauci's bosses in the White House, though I'm not an expert, thus all the more reason to hear me out.

That's not expertise, even of the faulty variety. It's the usual shit from the usual suspects.

It's fucking nationalist racist hate, with nuclear war as the realpolitic backup position, on the level of international relations.

The Lieutenant Governor of Texas lent a word of deadly Christian expertise to older folks who came down with the Covid-19 and who were commanding perhaps too many public resources for his genocidal republican taste, that they should expire voluntarily for the sake of the children, presumably the preborn, given that he is also an expert on women's vaginas.

And yet Texans, with all of their untrained firearm expertise, did not shoot that expert filth in his head as their elderly parents succumbed to the pandemic.

But Fauci's grown kids, who don't even live with him or near him, had to go into hiding from conservatives who threatened to murder them.

And reality show Larry Kudlow remains an expert on economic trends despite his alcoholic and drug-induced track record.

3.69M deaths is a big thing. Patient Zero may have been exposed in the wild, may have been accidentally exposed to a virus that was found in the wild while in a lab that was storing the virus, or may have been working with a virus that had been altered in some way from a sample found in the wild.

Whichever of these proves true, none of that means that the government of the PRC bears sole moral responsibility for the deaths of 3.69M. Why would they?

No one here appears to be suggesting that the virus was part of some nefarious bioweapon research, which is good, because it would be the dumbest bioweapon ever.

Absent that sort of intention, I don't see how the deaths are China's sole responsibility to bear.

It's a pandemic.

i must be misunderstanding.

Ok, we may be talking past one another. I get that that there are people who believe CoVID is a PRC tailored virus and that the election is stolen. I thought you were imputing "about Trump and Tom Cotton being right" to me. If you are, I think you're misreading what I'm saying.

It's a pandemic.

and, as health experts keep trying to point out, it's one that's fairly easy to avoid, and the vaccines work.

so many deaths could have been avoided.

"No one here appears to be suggesting that the virus was part of some nefarious bioweapon research, which is good, because it would be the dumbest bioweapon ever."

It would be just like the Chinese to incinerate Wuhan first with a nuclear weapon before trying it out on us.

American experts were nice enough to "invite' their fellow Americans to view nuclear testing in the American southwest from fairly up close back in the day.

It's a wonder the invitees, being stiff-necked government haters with their own special expertise, took the advice of the nuclear officials, you know, the experts, and wore dark glasses for the viewing.

I wonder what would have happened if they had been asked to wear masks as well.

I just drove through some of those areas.

27 top virologists published a letter in the British medical journal the Lancet that “strongly condemn[ed] conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.” That March, the American journal Nature Medicine published a letter signed by 30 scientists stating, “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct.”

This all holds up pretty damn well, AFAICT.

I mean, the specific context I think they wer0e responding to there might have been some version of the early "bioweapon" rumors. That's still very much categorically stupid.

But if it's the "lab construct for nefarious experiments" versions they have in mind, well, uh, ditto.

That leaves what we might call the "(un)lucky sample" theory, where a virus that was pretty much ready to infect us in the usual way just happened to jump into a lab worker first rather than the customary rural woodsman. And I reckon those quotes give that...possibility just about as much attention as it deserves too.

Now, I suppose we should note there's always an implicit qualifier in there for "not a laboratory construct [given known techniques and reasonable resource constraints]". But you can't blame anybody for wanting an out if turns out the Chinese have Star Trek replicator tech. Or they've been patiently training a bioweapon for decades by evolving it inside Uighur prisoners so it looks more natural.

This is consistent with my memory. Scientists--and everyone else--taking very categorical positions that now seem not quite so categorical.

I too have seen some scientists saying some very silly things recently -- like "if it's natural, we should have found the intermediate host by now" (even though, somewhere in the back of their brain, I'm sure they know perfectly well that it took more than a decade of hard work to fully suss out, e.g., SARS).

What we're noticing, I think, is not any actual altering of the possibility space. Just a symptom of the fact that the same symphony of bullshit has continued to play, ceaselessly, this whole time. It's not really humanly possible to perfectly ignore every note in that symphony, I think, no matter how false and empty they might individually be. Over time the din can start to wear into even the best of us.

It's a kind of social conformity pressure, basically. Scientists aren't totally immune, even if they should know better. And it's why this kind of stuff shouldn't be coddled.

I just wrote a pretty sparky comment about confirmation bias, but instead I will note that for the most part this was an interesting discussion. I have nothing to add.

It's a pandemic.

Hopefully, with the new vaccine technology, this is the last pandemic.

27 top virologists published a letter in the British medical journal the Lancet that “strongly condemn[ed] conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.” That March, the American journal Nature Medicine published a letter signed by 30 scientists stating, “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct.”

This all holds up pretty damn well, AFAICT.

It may hold up well. But saying "We stand with our colleagues" kinda detracts from the message. It at least has the potential to suggest that group solidarity, rather than scientific analysis, is behind their position.

It may hold up well. But saying "We stand with our colleagues" kinda detracts from the message. It at least has the potential to suggest that group solidarity, rather than scientific analysis, is behind their position.

I think you're reading something that isn't there. The science can stand on its own regardless.

But if someone's making a patently baseless claim against one of your peers, "I stand with my colleague" is a perfectly admirable stance to take. It's exactly when you should stand by your colleague.

It's perhaps a particularly strong sentiment here, because anyone who knows any scientists would know the group solidarity wouldn't outlive a ρ0 meson if there was the slightest chance that the science might let one of them be more right than a colleague.

I invite people who ask questions like "why trust experts?" rhetorically to go ahead and NOT trust experts in so-called real life. Might thin out the herd a bit.

People who ask that question non-rhetorically, i.e. with a willingness to hear an answer, are more reasonable. Probably due to experience in hiring or cross-examining "expert witnesses".

Of course, there has probably never been a case where an "expert witness" changed the cross-examiner's mind. Or maybe it happens, but the cross-examiner is duty-bound to not admit it.

--TP

why the fuck should we listen to experts if they are going to get shit like this wrong?

Because they know more than we do.

Also, FWIW, the statement you cite asserts that the virus “originated in wildlife”. As opposed to having been fabricated as a bio weapon or similar. It’s not a statement that the vector into the human population either was exposure in a lab, or not. So “wrong” needs some qualification.

But long story short, I’ll take the professional assessment of people who do this stuff for a living over Bro Bible, or the data science hobbyists of DRASTIC, or Tom Cotton, or any other random talking head looking to make hay out of a public health crisis.

They know more than I do. They know more than you do. They know more than Marty does, or Tom Cotton does, or probably jack lecou, or whoever else wants to offer up their expert opinion.

Nobody appears to know the exact path the virus took from whatever critter it came from into the human population. People who know how to figure this stuff out, to the degree that it can be figured out, are doing the homework to figure it out. Some of them are probably even Chinese, and personally I welcome their participation. Not everybody in the PRC is a PRC apparatchik. It takes time to do that stuff, and I’m happy to let them do their job.

Who is making this statement? Seriously.

If I’m not mistaken, this whole thing was kicked off by Marty sharing the news that the debunking of Tom Cotton had been debunked.

So, I guess, Marty, or whoever it was he quoted.

Whichever of these proves true, none of that means that the government of the PRC bears sole moral responsibility for the deaths of 3.69M. Why would they?

Interesting reframing of the issue. Where the did the notion of "sole moral responsibility" come from? And what's wrong with saying, "The PRC ought to come clean and until they do, they are are presumed complicit, if not in the inception, then in the follow-on pandemic"? If anyone had a last clear chance to stop or minimize this thing, it was the PRC.

I think you're reading something that isn't there. The science can stand on its own regardless.

I'm not reading it in; I don't think they did it. I'm saying that the phrasing was an unnecessary encouragement for those who would prefer to discount their expert opinion. Just saying, "Based on the evidence we have seen, we don't believe it pandemic resulted from a lab leak" would be sufficient.

Tom Cotton serial liar ... who thinks Iraq helped with 9/11 ... who claimed to have served as an Army Ranger (he didn't) ... who claimed Biden was buying Harris' book to give to illegal immigrant (didn't happen).

if you belive anything that comes out of that clown's pie hole, you're dumber than Tom Cotton thinks you are.

AlaMcT screved

Number 2 is that the West caused the Holocaust

Number 2 about why I think you are an asshole is how you take a long discussion and reframe it to suit your arguments. I disagree with Marty as well, but he doesn't pull shit like this. Crusty old reactionary? More like someone who has never matured past their 1st year of law school.

Number 1 reason?
But, whatever, it's not a hill I'm willing to spend any more time on.

The only hill you are going to spend time on is the one where you get to toss stink bombs into the discussion. And then explain how 'busy' you are. I'm assuming that location is why you act like such Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz's unholy offspring.

Just saying, "Based on the evidence we have seen, we don't believe it pandemic resulted from a lab leak" would be sufficient.

Sure. If it were actually just a debate about the evidence. It never really has been though.

And what's wrong with saying, "The PRC ought to come clean and until they do, they are are presumed complicit, if not in the inception, then in the follow-on pandemic"? If anyone had a last clear chance to stop or minimize this thing, it was the PRC.

Come clean on what? Complicit in what?

Could have stopped the spread how? Where? When?

If we don't even know the origin, how can we even start to understand how it spread? If we don't know how and when it spread, how can we even start to say that China had an opportunity to stop or minimize? That "If" is a place holder for a lot of very different scenarios branching off from a lot of unknowns.

Assuming, for the moment, that China has come clean with what they knew, or assuming that they did come clean with what they know, would that be any more convincing to those who suspect China's motives than were Iraq's denials of having WMDs?

I'm not saying that China has been forthcoming, I'm just once again wondering what, if anything, in people's opinions of China's complicity changes in the wake of new information?

It's clear that people blame China for something, but I'm not convinced that this blame is actually attached to anything other than suspicion that if China is capable of [insert any one of a number of collective violations of Human Rights] then there has to be one more we can add to the pile.

Sure. If it were actually just a debate about the evidence. It never really has been though.

That's clear now. But at the time, it wasn't yet.

Cheryl Rofer weighs in.

virologist: no
scientist: yes

everybody seems to want to have an opinion about this. the folks who are actually in a position to have an opinion all appear to agree that we don't know with any degree of certainty.

I'm fine with uncertainty, especially when it is an accurate reflection of what is actually knowable. as far as I can tell, the rest is noise.

McK points out that 3.69M people are dead. I suggest we respect the dead and not use them to make political gotcha points.

and to be honest, when I see statements like "it depends on how you feel about the PRC", I'm pretty sure we've ventured into the world of political gotcha points.

it's a freaking virus. they're trying to figure it out. let them do their job. if you think you know their job better than they do, you're probably wrong.

and FWIW, Tom Cotton is a guy who looks in the mirror every day and thinks he sees the POTUS. if you think Tom Cotton gives one flying f*ck about the virus as a public health issue, you are mistaken. to Tom Cotton, COVID is an opportunity to be yet another hard ass conservative swinging d*ck. to Tom Cotton, the sun coming up in the morning is an opportunity to be yet another hard ass conservative swinging d*ck.

give the man every bit of the attention he deserves.

from Russell's Rofer link

I might as well add that there is a crappy lab-leak article in Vanity Fair that is not worth your time to read. Not linking

Fortunately, we have other amateur internet sleuths to give us those links!

"So, I guess, Marty, or whoever it was he quoted."

First, I claimed no such thing. Nor was the point of the article that Tom Cotton was right, it was that the media got it wrong.

Second, from Rofer, "but unlikely because accidents happen but people handling viruses take precautions against leaks."

This level of bias makes her opinion pretty irrelevant. All this talk of science and experts, then someone points out that people handling viruses take precautions. Like we all didn't know that in the first place. It wouldn't even hardly be an accident if they didn't.

right wing cancel culture part ∞

"This level of bias ...."

I don't know why, but I just wanted to repeat those words.

It's like Meet The Press hosting two pangolins and two bats to hash out the blame game, with Marjorie Taylor Greene doing her maskless spittle-flecked moderating.

"If anyone had a last clear chance to stop or minimize this thing, it was the PRC."

This is an uncommonly high level of positive bias toward the efficacy of top-down, centralized governmental control, considering the source.

They blew it initially, but so did South Dakota, which had plenty of heads-up warning and where folks expired at their kitchen tables where all individual initiative politics without state intervention is apparently done up there.

Have we gotten to the bottom of this yet?

https://www.aldf.com/did-lyme-disease-originate-in-the-eastern-u-s-from-borrelia-burgdorferi-infected-ticks-that-escaped-from-a-laboratory-at-the-plum-island-animal-disease-center-where-scientists-were-conducting-top-sec/

But given the "level of bias", whatever "narrative" that is, against expertise of all kinds AND our perverted culture of conspiratorial jonesing regarding all things governmental, why the complacency over the purported scientific consensus about that disease's origins?

"If anyone had a last clear chance to stop or minimize this thing, it was the PRC."

lol

That's clear now. But at the time, it wasn't yet.

Hmm.

Marty, here’s what you wrote

Not for nothing but there have been a few things lately where "debunked conspiracy theories" don't seem to be so debunked.

Followed by a link to a entitled “Tom Cotton once again makes media look foolish”. I accept that you are tossing Cotton out the window, but don’t claim it’s poor reading on everyone else’s part. If you want better discussion, bring better sources.

Further to cleek's link about the Stanford law student the Stanford Federalist Society is trying to cancel, I am so happy to see from these further satirical efforts by Stanford students, in his defence, that satire is still in excellent and rude health.

https://twitter.com/sarahjeong/status/1400216803389820928/photo/1

"I'm fine with uncertainty."

I wouldn't go as far as claiming I'm fine with it, as I still have my hands full being fine with gravity, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy, existential ennui, what comes after Death (yet more Judgement, according to the narrative claimed by those free of bias; you'd think that would be the first thing oblivion would release us from), and the tyranny of having only one choice of what to breath: oxygen.

I'm not entirely sold on water either.

"Everybody that is a socialist or a communist is anti-Jew."
María Salazar (R), FL

Karl Marx is LOLing in his grave.

it was that the media got it wrong.

so, two things.

first, nobody knows 'who got it wrong' because nobody knows if the virus came from the lab or not. people who actually have the skill set to figure that out are trying to figure it out.

second, 'the media' has presented a range of opinion on the question. so for any given point of view, you will find somebody in 'the media' who held that point of view, and somebody else who argued against it.

one month into the pandemic, we knew some things but not everything. now, a year and change into it, we know more. it's completely unsurprising that the thinking about the origins of the virus would change in that time. it doesn't prove anybody 'right' or 'wrong', it demonstrates that we know more than we did a year ago.

'the media' as a phrase is a conservative code word for anyone who says something they don't agree with.

This level of bias makes her opinion pretty irrelevant.

Rofer makes a statement that you find glaringly obvious, and you cite it as evidence of bias on her part.

Pick one.

As always, I continue to be amazed at the ambition and unfounded confidence of armchair experts.

Karl Marx is LOLing in his grave.

[well, ok. maybe he isn't. despite being born one, he wasn't all that fond of Jews later in his life.]

Hitler murdered the Communists and Socialists first, apparently only to solidify his monopoly position in the Jew-killing game, so goes the narrative.

https://www.abc.net.au/religion/nazism-socialism-and-the-falsification-of-history/10214302

Salazar is an up and coming conservative republican genocidal subhuman murderer.

Her narrative and America, the narrative it coasts on, cannot co-exist. Though probably she'll survive the reality of today's stinking hateful conservative trumpian America.

I guess we're not enough of a heavily-armed country yet to head her off at the pass.

Russian Jews escaping Communism flee to a Socialist country .... Israel .... apparently not realizing they are jumping from the pot into the fire, according to her narrative.

Having her narrative and eating it too.

https://www.jpost.com/business/business-news/business-leader-pm-netanyahu-is-extreme-socialist

There are certain words I'm coming to hate.

Like "community", because it has been deracinated of all meaning.

But "narrative" goes to the top of the list, because now in certain hands that hold themselves as utterly unbiased, innocent-faced gadfly observers of the scene, it is a synonym for "lie" and meant so, but with one pseudo-intellectual pinky raised to hopefully fend off a f*cking fistfight.

Everyone has a narrative until they are punched in the face.


that's just, like, your narrative, man.

Narrative is just a substitute for your theory and the way you construct it. It's about telling a story, mostly where our opinions and biases replace any absence of facts. They can be wildly disparate or quite nuanced.

Lots of what is discussed here in the absence of myself and McT is just nuanced differences that occasionally reveal deeper biases. When we arrive the biases are immediately more striking, and reactions more intense.

But it's not, from this utterly unbiased and innocent faced gadfly, a synonym for lying.

Lots of what is discussed here in the absence of myself and McT is just nuanced differences that occasionally reveal deeper biases.

Chopped liver retires to the peanut gallery...

libertarians... cancelled !

Let's play a game. Assign probabilities, whether quantified ("0.001%" and such) or generally characterized ("highly likely" and such).

1. Created/modified in a lab and released on purpose.
2. Created/modified in a lab and released accidentally.
3. Naturally occurring with patient zero being a lab worker. (I don't think there's a purposeful-release option needed for this one, though one might add the possibility that this was known and covered up.)
4. Naturally occurring with patient zero being someone infected by an animal outside of a lab.

It sounds like 1. and 2. are highly unlikely because people with the necessary expertise can readily identify viruses created/modified (however that is best put) in a lab and no one has done so.

It sounds like 4. is far more likely than 3. because a naturally occurring virus would have to be out in the world circulating widely before it could even get into a lab environment, meaning the number of initial-infection opportunities outside of a lab would be wildly greater than the number inside a lab. I'm also not sure anyone will ever be able to tell the difference or that there was a true "patient zero," in the sense that only one person was infected by an animal and was the sole human source of the virus in other humans thereafter. Couldn't there have been multiple animal-to-human infections before COVID-19 had spread widely enough to be identified as a distinct illness?

The trained narratologist drinks quietly in the corner.

Go on...

As an academic I would also consign 'discourse' to the flames (and consequently oblivion).
[Caveat: I am not fully sure that the word has become as loathsome in English as in German, although it is likewise possible that it came into German as an infection itself]

I am so happy to see from these further satirical efforts by Stanford students, in his defence, that satire is still in excellent and rude health.

Definitely should block these students from graduating. This kind of slur against blameless snowflakes (and what else is comparing them to the Federalist Society?) cannot be allowed to continue.

Fox headline:

"Kevin McCarthy: Democrats ignored truth about COVID origins putting politics before American lives"

Now there's a narrative. I'm not the first to make this point, but, by the time the virus had been identified, how would knowing how it started change the response needed to save American lives? I'm not talking about how to deal with the PRC politically because of what they did or didn't do, because that has nothing to do with people dying of COVID-19 in the United States. I'm talking about preventing the spread. And what exactly was it that Democrats in particular failed to do, as opposed to the former dipsh*t?

I blame the media.

I am not fully sure that the word has become as loathsome in English as in German, although it is likewise possible that it came into German as an infection itself.

Good news, Hartmut. Looks like it comes from Latin via Old French. So the Germans are blameless here.

hsh, a potential addendum to 3. would be a disgruntled lab worker that became patient zero on purpose (while 1. implies an authorized release which is a different thing).
But that would be Twelve Monkeys territory.
(Is it fortunate that Covid did not arise in a year of the monkey because we otherwise would have another conspracy theory on our hands?)

wj, I know where the word comes from. But who is responsible for its current(imo deserved) bad reputation?

If you hate "discourse" then you are not part of the discourse community that loves "discourse."

You can't make this stuff up. From my local paper. Headline Northern California Man Who Heckled US Capitol Police for Protecting Pedophiles Served Jail Time for Statutory Rape of 14-Year-Old Girl.

Do they go out of their way to accuse others of their own misdeeds? (I hesitate to suggest deliberate recruiting, but....)

Lots of what is discussed here in the absence of myself and McT is just nuanced differences that occasionally reveal deeper biases. When we arrive the biases are immediately more striking, and reactions more intense.

are you under the impression that you and McK arrive here without biases of your own?

can't have bias when you're the default.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad