Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Regarding the Chinese government, I would say it's a story of failure and corruption at the beginning which turned the epidemic into a crisis and then a story of insane efforts to contain it. After SARS things did change very much for the better but still in this case there was the usual suppression of bad news, experts silenced, and evidence destroyed. And now that the spread has been 'officially contained' in China, I wouldn't expect to see trustworthy statistics from now on.

More than a decade ago there were warnings that the culture of consuming wild animals in South China was a ticking public health time bomb. It's these two factors, 'shoot the messenger' and exotic animal consumption [for homeopathy], that have created this crisis, a product 'Made in China' we all could have lived without. Obviously that doesn't excuse the performance of other governments and organizations.

Why Did the Coronavirus Outbreak Start in China? - Yi-Zheng Lian - NYT

... consider the fate of one of Confucius's beloved students, Zi Lu (子路) ... after he ran afoul of the precept: For trying to rebuke a usurper in a power struggle between feudal lords, he was killed and his body was minced. (It is said that Confucius never ate ground meat again.)

... Beliefs surrounding the health benefits of certain wildlife foods -- which are discussed in newspaper columns and on numerous dedicated internet sites, as well as taught in China's medical schools -- permeate the culture.

... But what is notable about China is that these beliefs about the special powers of some foods have been accepted, are now a given, even among people who do not put them into practice. They have become firmly embedded in the Chinese collective consciousness.

Regarding Italy, it seems to have had the misfortune of being one of the first international recipients of the virus. The epidemic there has probably been going on since the end of last year. A lot of younger people, infected and undetected, eventually carried it to their older compatriots. Combined with the nonlinear effect of the overwhelmed hospitals, that could explain the discrepancy in fatality rates.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon Mar 23rd, 2020 at 10:33:17 PM EST
Do we have any evidence that "exotic animal consumption" led to the Zoonotic transfer of the virus from bats to humans? Wiki
Zoonoses can be caused by a range of disease pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites; of 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans, 61% were zoonotic.[5] Most human diseases originated in other animals; however, only diseases that routinely involve non-human to human transmission, such as rabies, are considered direct zoonosis

While there is little dispute that the virus originated in China and also that China is an authoritarian state with some (to us) odd beliefs, is that a correlation or a causative factor?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Mar 23rd, 2020 at 10:47:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin - The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 - Nature Medicine
The researchers proposed bats as the most likely reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 as it is very similar to a bat coronavirus. There are no documented cases of direct bat-human transmission, however, suggesting that an intermediate host was likely involved between bats and humans.

... But the scientists found that the SARS-CoV-2 backbone differed substantially from those of already known coronaviruses and mostly resembled related viruses found in bats and pangolins.

The pangolin ("most trafficked animal in the world") whose scales are used for medicine, or some similar animal seems to be the prime candidate for the intermediate host. Analogous to SARS where it went from bats to civets.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon Mar 23rd, 2020 at 11:04:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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