PROLOGUE: SARS-CoV-2 was spread throughout the world already since mid 2019. Especially in Africa this man-made contagion caused widespread sickness and death but went unobserved in most places, because in its first version the death rate was like in flu and accounted as it. But since February / March certain countries in Europe and the Middle East as well as South-Africa and now South-America suffer from a tweaked version that is much more deadly. The "2nd wave" affecting now also again China are caused by strains different from the first outbreak and not so much related to different response plans. The independent investigation and an International Tribunal on the whole pandemic is long overdue. 

ICYMI: More Studies Find Coronavirus Spread In China Much Earlier Than Beijing Admits + COVID-19 may have broken out last August, Harvard indicates + Key piece in the Wuhan puzzle, China's 'bat woman' goes dark + How the Movie “Contagion” Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

Coronavirus likely spread in China last fall, more studies find

Finding origin requires cooperation and information from Chinese government

By HANA SLEVIN OHAMA - 22. 

TOKYO -- The new coronavirus likely began spreading in China last fall, according to separate analyses of its genome by research teams in the U.K. and elsewhere.

These analyses, which cover all genetic information of the virus, indicate ongoing person-to-person transmission before the first patient was confirmed in the Chinese city of Wuhan. But no clues confirm where the virus came from or how it came to be, leaving an even deeper mystery.

Though evidence suggests the coronavirus originally came from bats, it remains unclear whether the virus was transmitted directly to humans or reached people through another animal.

The first confirmed patient with pneumonia caused by the coronavirus was identified Dec. 8, according to the city of Wuhan. Chinese doctors reported to The Lancet, a leading medical journal in the U.K., that this patient began exhibiting symptoms Dec. 1. But many question whether this was really the first case.

Teams worldwide are analyzing the genome of the virus to discover when it jumped to humans, and information is being collected in an international database. Tracing the mutations of the virus might reveal when person-to-person transmission began.

Researchers at University College London estimate that infections among people began between Oct. 6 and Dec. 11, based on genetic information of the virus drawn from more than 7,500 patients in China, Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere. The team suggests the virus spread beyond China early on and eventually triggered the pandemic.

A separate team at the U.K.'s University of Cambridge estimates that infections spread to people between mid-September and early December, based on a study of genetic material from about 1,000 people.

The Cambridge research also suggests the virus may not have originated in Wuhan.

The common ancestor to the new coronavirus, which is close to a type found in bats, seems to have originated in China, said Peter Forster, a fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge. But this ancestor had been found more often outside of Wuhan, such as much farther south in Guangdong Province, until mid-January.

The search for when and where the outbreak started also has employed other types of analysis. Harvard University recently used satellite imagery to determine that the usage rate of parking lots at large hospitals in Wuhan increased significantly last August. Experts say that while this kind of analysis is inconclusive, the parking lot imagery could be related to COVID-19.

Reports also suggest the virus reached Europe and the U.S. and began spreading earlier than thought. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an early report that said the disease may have begun spreading in the country between late January and early February.

In France, a man in his 40s was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms in late December. When a sample from him was analyzed in April, doctors confirmed he had been infected with the coronavirus. However, there was no surge in patients suffering pneumonia with an unknown origin, so this case's connection to the pandemic is unclear.

China originally said the virus began in Wuhan street markets but later issued a retraction. Beijing also has denied claims by the U.S. President Donald Trump's administration that the virus escaped from a Wuhan research facility.

The World Health Organization says it is unclear whether the virus originated in Wuhan markets. It is considering whether to dispatch a research team to assist international efforts to trace the virus to its origin, but finding the source will require the cooperation of and information from the Chinese government.

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More Studies Find Coronavirus Spread In China Much Earlier Than Beijing Admits

A study suggesting the coronavirus might have been spreading across Lombardy as early as December, months before the first cases were detected in February, was only the latest in a steady stream of research from around the world finding traces of coronavirus infection and deaths weeks or months earlier than previously known.

And on Sunday, the Nikkei Asian Review added more to this growing body of evidence in a report entitled "Coronavirus likely spread in China last fall, more studies find". It follows that if the virus appeared abroad earlier than we initially suspected, then maybe it emerged in Wuhan even earlier than Chinese public health officials have let on?

According to Nikkei, the virus likely began spreading in China last fall, according to separate analyses of the virus's genome conducted by research teams in the UK and elsewhere.

Various studies of viral genetic information have indicated that ongoing person-to-person transmission had begun before the first patient was confirmed in Wuhan on Dec. 8. However, the research offers no clues about where the virusd came from or how it began spreading among the human population in the area, leaving what Nikkei describes as "an even deeper mystery."

Even before these studies, local officials had admitted, perhaps under pressure from Beijing, that they deliberately kept the outbreak under wraps, shaking international faith in Beijing's promised transparency. Now, the WHO is supposedly preparing to begin an "independent" investigation into the origins of the outbreak.

This is far from the first piece of evidence suggesting Beijing dragged its feet on alerting the WHO about the outbreak, helping to unleash the greatest pandemic in 100 years on all of humanity. Yet, many American progressives, when confronted with this information, will simply blame President Trump, who now appears to be gloating about deliberately slowing the testing effort.

Of course, they're not wrong. But China's plan to hoard supplies while it allowed the virus to simply overwhelm the health-care system in Wuhan sounds far more nefarious.

According to the 'official' timeline, the first confirmed patient with pneumonia caused by the coronavirus was identified in Wuhan on Dec. 8. Chinese doctors reported to The Lancet, a leading medical journal in the UK, that this patient began exhibiting symptoms Dec. 1. But whether this was truly the first case has been the subject of intense skepticism.

Researchers at University College London estimate that infections among people began between Oct. 6 and Dec. 11, based on genetic information of the virus drawn from more than 7,500 patients in China, Europe, the US and elsewhere. That's a fairly wide range, and what's more, the research suggests the virus spread beyond China fairly early on.

Meanwhile, a separate team at the University of Cambridge estimates that infections spread to people between mid-September and early December,based on a study of some 1,0000 samples of viral genetic material. The research from Cambridge also suggests the virus may not have originated in Wuhan (a notion that we imagine Chinese propagandists will seize on quickly).

The notion that the virus may have been spreading in places like NYC as early as September, October or November is hardly surprising, when once considers just how widespread it was once testing finally ramped up.

The common ancestor to the new coronavirus, which is close to a type found in bats, seems to have originated in China, said Peter Forster, a fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge. But this ancestor had been found more often outside of Wuhan, such as much farther south in Guangdong Province, until mid-January.

Generally speaking, this research is consistent with findings by a team from Harvard University, relying on satellite imagery, which found that the usage rate of parking lots at large hospitals in Wuhan increased significantly last August.

There have also been confirmed one-offs, like a man who died in France of a strange pneumonia-causing syndrome back in December. After his death, tissue revealed that he had been infected. But the connection to the broader outbreak is unclear.

Author:

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Tyler Durden

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COVID-19 may have broken out last August, Harvard indicates

Satellite imagery reveals summer of steep increase in hospital parking lot use

SARS-CoV-2 (round blue objects) emerge from the surface of a lab-cultured cell. The virus may have jumped to humans months earlier than previously thought. (Handout/Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) -- The novel coronavirus might have been spreading in China as early as August 2019, according to Harvard Medical School research based on satellite images of hospital travel patterns and search engine data.

The research used high-resolution satellite imagery of hospital parking lots in Wuhan -- where the disease emerged in late 2019 -- and data for symptom-related queries on search engines for things such as "cough" and "diarrhoea".

"Increased hospital traffic and symptom search data in Wuhan preceded the documented start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in December 2019," according to the research.

"While we cannot confirm if the increased volume was directly related to the new virus, our evidence supports other recent work showing that emergence happened before identification at the Huanan Seafood market."

"These findings also corroborate the hypothesis that the virus emerged naturally in southern China and was potentially already circulating at the time of the Wuhan cluster," according to the research.

It showed a steep increase in hospital parking lot occupancy in August 2019.

"In August, we identify a unique increase in searches for diarrhoea which was neither seen in previous flu seasons or mirrored in the cough search data," according to the research.

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Key piece in the Wuhan puzzle, China's 'bat woman' goes dark

Researcher who tracked SARS origin caught in middle of US-China spat

Shi Zhengli heads the center for emerging infectious diseases at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been at the center of speculation about the coronavirus.   © Kyodo

By SHUNSUKE TABETA - 21. May 2020

BEIJING/TOKYO -- Early this month, as top U.S. officials suggested that the novel coronavirus could have leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, reports surfaced in Western media that a leading researcher at the institute had fled to France with her family and 1,000 pages of confidential research.

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How the Movie “Contagion” Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

In the midst of the coronavirus panic, the 2011 movie “Contagion” became one of the most-watched movies online. Here’s a look at the main themes of the movie and how they are becoming a reality in 2020.

 

By  - 11. March 2021

leadcontagion How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

As coronavirus spreads fear and panic across the world, streaming services have been observing a spike of interest in the 2011 movie Contagion. Starring Matt Demon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Lawrence Fishburne, the movie follows the outbreak of a deadly virus called MEV-1 and its disastrous impacts on society. Needless to say, in today’s context, Contagion is not a comforting watch. In fact, if the whole Coronavirus situation is already making you anxious, you should probably avoid Contagion. Because it will only make things worse.

In fact, the slogan of the movie is “Nothing spreads like fear” – and that is basically the goal of the movie. To scare and to educate. Over eight years ago, I wrote the article “Contagion”: How Disaster Movies “Educate” the Masses where I highlighted the main messages of this movie and the blueprint it lays it out for future epidemics.

Back in 2012, I found it important to analyze this movie because it is not simply a “scary thriller”. In fact, there is nothing entertaining about that movie. It is an educational video. It is an “ultra-realistic” depiction of a massive pandemic outbreak that takes place in real locations and that involves real organizations. Indeed, while the movie was directed by Steven Soderbergh, its narrative was shaped with input from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and various specialists.

Here’s an excerpt of an interview with Contagion writer Scott Z. Burnsabout the involvement of these organizations in the making of the movie:

CS: Were you able to get in touch with anyone from the World Health Organization (WHO)?
Burns:
 Yeah, I went to CDC in Atlanta a number of times. We actually shot part of the movie there, and we did have a lot of conversations with WHO throughout the process. Larry Brilliant and Dr. Lipkin helped us a lot in terms of reaching out to WHO, so they were very aware of the movie. In fact, we shot part of the movie there as well. The scene where Marion Cotillard walks in (to the office) in Geneva.
– Coming Soon, CS Interview: Contagion Writer Scott Z. Burns

To put things in context, the movie came out a couple of years after the H1N1 crisis in 2008. After months of panic and a mass vaccination campaign, some studies showed that the WHO and the CDC grossly overestimated the number of actual H1N1 cases and pushed a vaccine that many deemed unnecessary. A movie like Contagion was a good remedy for this tarnished credibility.

In 2020, the world faces another major epidemic scare and Contagionbecomes relevant again. Not only that, but mass media has also been casting a solid spotlight on it.

2020 03 11 10 04 53 For Me Rewatching ‘Contagion’ Was Fun Until It Wasn’t The New York Times How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

A recent headline from the New York Times about Contagion.

So, is Contagion accurate? Yes, more than ever. Let’s look at the main themes of the movie and how they are becoming a reality in 2020.

Contagion

The movie begins by showing the various ways a virus can spread across the world in a matter of days.

contagion16 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

A guy who is feeling sick in Tokyo takes public transportation. And he’s touching things. And the population of Tokyo is 36.6 million.

Soon after, the virus reaches the United States and all hell breaks loose.

contagion17 e1328050659925 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

Gwyneth Paltrow dies in a horrific matter, causing the viewers to be extra scared.

In Contagion, the public is depicted as rather idiotic and prone to panic.

contagion20 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

Panicked people raid a pharmacy.

In 2020, the coronavirus outbreak causing massive lines in stores as people stockpile various items.

coronavirus 5 e1583937946413 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

Buying tons of toilet paper in California: What people do when they’re scared but are not sure what to do.

In Contagion, as MEV-1 spreads in the United States, the American government flees to an undisclosed location and “looks for a way of working online”. In real life, the coronavirus scare has already reached the White House as several representatives (including Trump) were reportedly in contact with disease carriers. There are also plans for “working online”.

2020 03 11 10 17 27 Federal government telework could become more widespread to limit coronavirus ou e1583936471428 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

A recent headline from the Washington Post.

So, in Contagion, the American government basically goes into hiding and specific organizations take over (which happen to be the organizations that helped to create the movie): The CDC (Center for Disease Control), the WHO (the UN’s World Health Organization), FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the American Red Cross and the U.S. Army.

Soon after, the State of Minnesota is placed in quarantine.

contagion5 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

The U.S. Army controls the flow of traffic in Minnesota and blocks those who attempt to leave the state.

While, in 2011, the concept of putting entire states in quarantine was a fictional (yet plausible) scenario, it became a reality in 2020. As you might know, the entire country of Italy is currently in lockdown.

2020 03 11 10 30 26 Coronavirus Italy extends its quarantine to the entire country e1583937187226 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

It is also beginning to happen in the United States as the National Guard was sent to New Rochelle to help contain a cluster of infections.

2020 03 11 10 31 43 Coronavirus New York Creates Containment Area Around Cluster In New Rochelle How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

In Contagion, things go way further than “containment”. The government declares Martial Law and people are directed to FEMA camps.

contagion7 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

Civilians (even healthy ones) have their rights revoked and are directed to FEMA camps where they are fed and lodged. In this scene, the lack of “individual meals” to feed all of the camp’s population causes a small riot.

Mass Vaccination Campaign

After months of horror, panic, and death, a solution finally arrives: A vaccine.

contagion13 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

As soon as a vaccine is developed for MEV-1, vaccination centers pop up across the world.

In 2020, the ultimate solution to eradicate coronavirus will most likely take the form of a vaccine as well.

2020 03 11 11 12 06 Israeli made oral vaccine for coronavirus on track but testing will take months How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

A recent headline from the Times of Israel about a possible coronavirus vaccine.

In Contagion, the vaccine is not only encouraged – it is mandatory.

contagion11 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

People who get vaccinated receive a bracelet with a barcode.

Those who wear the bracelet are allowed to go to public places such as shopping malls. Those who do not get vaccinated cannot go anywhere and they ultimately die.

And some people refuse to get vaccinated.

The Conspiracy Theorist

An important part of the plot in Contagion involves a conspiracy theorist (played by Jude Law) who rants against the vaccine.

contagion3 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

The conspiracy theorist runs a blog called “Truth Serum” that is followed by millions of readers.

The blogger claims that a cure for the MEV-1 virus actually exists but it is repressed by the powers that be to sell vaccines. He also urges his readers not to take the vaccine that is given out by authorities.

In Contagion, the conspiracy theorist is depicted as a shady person with a questionable work ethic. The scientific community despises him as one scientist tells him: “Blogging is not writing, it’s graffiti with punctuation”.

The blogger is then set up by an undercover agent and gets arrested for “security fraud, conspiracy, and most likely manslaughter”.

contagion10 How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

The conspiracy theorist gets arrested due to the contents of his blog.

In the end, it is discovered that the blogger was a fraud and that he made $4.5 million dollars off this false cure for MEV-1. In short, the movie tells the viewers that the government did the right thing by arresting the blogger.

In 2020, the fight against conspiracy theories about coronavirus is definitely on the agenda. Here are some recent headlines.

2020 03 11 11 26 16 Coronavirus Fake news unit will tackle Russian conspiracy theories Business I How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

Business Insider.

2020 03 11 11 26 39 Coronavirus and the plague The disease of viral conspiracy theories Health How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

DW

 

2020 03 11 11 27 01 Coronavirus is a breeding ground for conspiracy theories – and that has serious How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

The Next Web.

2020 03 11 11 27 44 Coronavirus conspiracy theorists blame U.S. for outbreak. China is encouraging t How the Movie "Contagion" Laid the Blueprint for the Coronavirus Outbreak

Washington Post.

In Conclusion

As I explained back in 2012, the aim of Contagion was not to entertain but to educate. It lays a blueprint for the process that needs to take place when an epidemic arises: Fear and panic. Breakdown of social order. Control and lockdowns. Social distancing. Mandatory solution and repression of those who oppose it.

While, in 2020, things might not go as far as in Contagion (let’s hope not), the movie mentally prepares people for what could happen. And therein lies the awesome power of mass media to shape and mold society on a global level.