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New Data Links Pandemic’s Origins to Raccoon Dogs at Wuhan Market
Genetic samples from the market were recently uploaded to an international database and then removed after scientists asked China about them.
An international team of virus experts said on Thursday that they had found genetic data from a market in Wuhan, China, linking the coronavirus with raccoon dogs for sale there, adding evidence to the case that the worst pandemic in a century could have been ignited by an infected animal that was being dealt through the illegal wildlife trade.
The genetic data was drawn from swabs taken from in and around the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market starting in January 2020, shortly after the Chinese authorities had shut down the market because of suspicions that it was linked to the outbreak of a new virus. By then, the animals had been cleared out, but researchers swabbed walls, floors, metal cages and carts often used for transporting animal cages.
In samples that came back positive for the coronavirus, the international research team found genetic material belonging to animals, including large amounts that were a match for the raccoon dog, three scientists involved in the analysis said.
The jumbling together of genetic material from the virus and the animal does not prove that a raccoon dog itself was infected. And even if a raccoon dog had been infected, it would not be clear that the animal had spread the virus to people. Another animal could have passed the virus to people, or someone infected with the virus could have spread the virus to a raccoon dog.
But the analysis did establish that raccoon dogs — fluffy animals that are related to foxes and are known to be able to transmit the coronavirus — deposited genetic signatures in the same place where genetic material from the virus was left, the three scientists said. That evidence, they said, was consistent with a scenario in which the virus had spilled into humans from a wild animal.
Reflections after 3 years with Covid-19 - By Dr. Eskild Petersen
Coronavirus update 2/22/23.
In Portal on February 15th, 2020, I presented information and warnings about this new coronavirus that was killing people in Wuhan and spreading worldwide. The forum was the Annual Infectious Retreat in Portal for the infectious disease physicians at the University of Arizona and for the public. This was followed by an open forum a month later at the Portal Store where Frances Grill and Jackie Lewis joined me.
Covid has not gone away. People still get infected, hospitalized, and end up in the graveyard.
Biologically the epidemic has not ended. The virus is alive and mutating. However, socially, and politically it has ended. Most of the public do not wear masks or minimize social interaction.
The epidemic started in 2019 in Chinaat the Wuhan live animal markethaving spilled over from infected animals to humansand by the early 2020 it had reached the US.
In February 2020 nearly all cases were in China
FEBRUARY 24, 2022, Washington Post
From the start people in Public Health knew it could be bad. A novel coronavirus had emerged in China and threatened to become a pandemic. But what would that be like? How many people might sicken and die? How long would it last? What is it like, day to day, month to month, to be in a pandemic? (We did not yet imagine “year to year.”)
February and March 2020 were the golden time for curbing the infection in the US. We failed big time. CDC had developed a test for detecting the virus that did not work and the administration was truly incompetentdownplayingthe risk and falsely assuring us it would go away by itself.
On Feb. 26, 2020, when there were 15 confirmed infections in the country, Trump told the country: “The 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.“ However, the number of test-confirmed infections in the United States is now north of 103 million.
This was followed by advocating worthless and dangerous treatment options like hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and even Clorox. As a result, we suffered many hundred thousand of unnecessary deaths and became the poster child for incompetence.
The one bright aspect of the early reaction to the epidemic was the push for rapid development of vaccines for Covid-19
However, vaccines don’t save lives, vaccinations do. You need to get the vaccines into the arm.
FEBRUARY 24, 2022, Washington Post
The virus arrived with terrible timing. In an election year, the pandemic was guaranteed to become a political wedge issue. We have become a nation that could argue from dawn to dusk about whether there is really such a thing as gravity.
We are living in the misinformation Age
No one professes to be “anti-science.” But some people adhere to their own brand of science, their own personally curated data set, which often has no relation to the universe we actually inhabit.
Typically, this misinformation is conjoined with paranoia of a sort, in which experts not only cannot be trusted to, say, protect you from a pandemic, but they might have actually created the pandemic in the first place! The purveyor of misinformation promises to save you from malign forces. You are told that it is not enough to be suspicious of expert wisdom: You must reject it entirely, and see it as a nefarious effort to rob you of your freedom,
Misinformation is a business model. The business is best when the misinformation is at its most devious, framed in the language of science so that it sounds like it might be true. And then away we go, unmoored from reality — sailing on the great Sea of Bunk.
The misinformation unfortunately has been successful as many people have refused to be vaccinated, wear masks or take antivirals. -US compared to Canada.
Where are we now in the epidemic?
Reported cases are declining nationally, as they have been since the start of the year. The pace of that decrease, though, has slowed in recent days, driven by rising cases in about half of all states.
In Western states like Montana and Wyoming, cases have increased by as much as 55 percent in the past two weeks. Hospitalizations are also increasing in many parts of the West and have leveled off nationwide.
Deaths remain persistently high. On average, around 3,000 people are dying of Covid in the U.S. each week.
Elderly at risk:
Hospital admissions remain more than five times as high among people over 70 as among those in their 50s. 90% of Covid deaths occur in people aged 65 and over.
Seniors are increasingly left to protect themselves as the rest of the country abandons precautions: “Americans do not agree about the duty to protect others, whether it’s from a virus or gun violence.”
Lesson learned to protect against disease and death from Covid:
Physical: mask, distance, hygiene and ventilation/HEPA
Treatment: antivirals and monoclonal antibodies