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Italy, CDC, find Covid in 2019
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Last March Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, said that the Coronavirus might have been spreading quietly in humans for years, or even decades, without causing a detectable outbreak. A few weeks later, a British-German team led by evolutionary virologist Peter Forster published A phylogenetic network analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomes, reconstructing the early evolutionary paths of SARS-CoV-2 in humans.

By analysing the first 160 complete virus genomes to be sequenced from human patients and collected from across the world between 24 December 2019 – 4 March 2020, they mapped the early spread of the virus through viral lineages created by its mutations. Their data revealed three variants they labeled A, B, and C. Versions of Type A, ‘the original human virus genome’ was not predominant in Wuhan, and mutated versions of ‘A’ were found in the USA and Australia. Wuhan’s major virus type, ‘B’, was prevalent in patients from across East Asia. Forster conjectured, “My dating suggests sometime between September and December 2019. Some scientists said it came to Italy from China, but I am not so sure.”

Later, retrospective analyses of Spanish and French sewage suggested that the virus was present in Europe in late 2019 then, on November 11, 2020, an Italian paper[1]Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the prepandemic period in Italy. Giovanni Apolone, et al., Tumori, Nov. 11, 2020. provided dated evidence that Covid-19 was circulating in Europe no later than September, 2019:

The diagram in Table 1, below, illustrates the temporal variation in positive samples from September 2019 to February 2020. Notably, two peaks of positivity for anti-SARS-CoV-2 RBD antibodies were visible: the first one started at the end of September, reaching 18% and 17% of IgM-positive cases in the second and third weeks of October, respectively. A second occurred in February 2020, with a peak of over 30% of IgM-positive cases in the second week. Out of this cluster of 16 positive samples, 11 (68.7%) originated in Lombardy:

The Italian team found that four cases from the first week of October were positive for antibodies neutralizing the virus, meaning they became infected in September. Said co-author Giovanni Apolone, “This is our main finding: people with no symptoms not only were positive after the serological tests but had also antibodies able to kill the virus. It means that the new coronavirus can circulate among the population for long and with a low rate of lethality not because it is disappearing, but only to surge again”.

In late November, a team from the US Centers for Disease Control tested[2]Serologic testing of U.S. blood donations to identify SARS-CoV-2-reactive antibodies: December 2019-January 2020. Basavaraju,et al., residual, archived samples of 7,389 routine blood donations collected in nine states by the American Red Cross between December 13, 2019 – January 17, 2020, for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies:

Of the 7,389 samples, 106 were reactive by pan Ig. Of these 106 specimens, 90 were available for further testing. Eighty-four of 90 had neutralizing activity, 1 had S1 binding activity, and 1 had receptor binding domain/Ace2 blocking activity >50%, suggesting the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2-reactive antibodies. Donations with reactivity occurred in all nine states.

They summarized their findings in a spreadsheet, excerpted below, in which I have extrapolated their percentages to the US population in the added, highlighted rows:

If Covid’s doubling interval is 2.68 days, the CDC figures suggest that the first US case occurred in early October, 2019, which matches reports of Covid symptoms on both coasts and supports the popular idea that US infections came from Italy, whose military athletes may have also carried the virus to Wuhan.

American media largely disregarded both papers. NPR buried the CDC findings under Coronavirus Was In US Weeks Earlier Than Previously Known, Study Says. The New York Times simply ignored it, beginning its Dec. 28, 2020 article, “Here’s a timeline of the outbreak over the past year:

DEC. 31

Chinese authorities treated dozens of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause.

On Dec. 31, the government in Wuhan, China, confirmed that health authorities were treating dozens of cases. Days later, researchers in China identified a new virus that had infected dozens of people in Asia. At the time, there was no evidence that the virus was readily spread by humans. Health officials in China said they were monitoring it to prevent the outbreak from developing into something more severe.

The Times’ failure to cover the story suggests that it intends to apply standard operating procedure: tell a Big Lie (invisible WMDs, invisible massacres, invisible genocides, invisible famine deaths, invisible epidemics) early, loud, and often then, when the truth is revealed, repeat the lie.

Given the elaborate coronavirus monitoring network China established in 2013–following the SARS outbreak–and the fact that it sequences the genomes of all new cases and has retroactively sequenced all foreign ones, it is unlikely that the virus established itself there much before November 1. The first known Chinese case, a ten-year-old boy misdiagnosed with measles, dates to December 1, 2019. This chart also suggests late infection and prompt suppression:

Expect a paper in January that draws upon thousands of sequenced genomes and broadens and deepens Peter Forster’s work. Those who have seen it say it points to India as the birthplace of the novel virus.

Godfree publishes Here Comes China!, the newsletter for readers who prefer their China news shaken, not stirred.


[1] Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the prepandemic period in Italy. Giovanni Apolone, et al., Tumori, Nov. 11, 2020.

[2] Serologic testing of U.S. blood donations to identify SARS-CoV-2-reactive antibodies: December 2019-January 2020. Basavaraju,et al.,

• Category: Science • Tags: China, Conspiracy Theories, Coronavirus, Disease 
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  1. Very interesting. It goes against my idea of how the pandemic started but I would love to read it if it is not too heavy on the data and figures for a non-scientist like me.

    Wishing all reading this site a happy new year and good fortune and health for you and your families.

    • Replies: @GomezAdddams
  2. Tor597 says:

    How definitive are phylogenetic analysis?

    Suppose this paper does show the virus originated in India or elsewhere, is this proof or is this just one more interesting piece of data?

  3. Vidi says:

    Expect a paper in January that draws upon thousands of sequenced genomes and broadens and deepens Peter Forster’s work. Those who have seen it say it points to India as the birthplace of the novel virus.

    SARS-CoV-2 may have started in India? That is a surprise to me.

    One possibility that has occurred to me is that (the ancestors of) SARS-CoV-2 may have circulated for decades in the general human population, just as Francis Collins says. Then the bio-warriors at Fort Detrick picked up the virus and added gain-of-function features to it: they made it more infectious and/or more lethal. If true, this would explain a lot.

    • Agree: By-tor
  4. @GreatSocialist

    What is interesting is Barcelona, Spain March 2019 and then later 4 cancer patients Northern Italy whose blood samples October 2019 were positive indicating they were infected during September and finally a 10 year old boy Milan having Covid –in November 2019. Likewise Wuhan variant of December 27, 2019 not as aggressive as Northern Italy strain. German top Virologist H Kekule states Covid began in Northern Italy. Suspect animal and ideal trasnitter is likely mink —-hundreds of thousands of them culled in Spain-Belgium-Netherlands and Italy? Let science find the origins—-they are progressing and one day we will know for certain.

  5. When or where SARS-COV-2 started to circulate no longer matters.
    What matters is what is being done using COVID-19 as a cover story. Think Great Reset, Agenda 2030.

  6. Many suspect that China’s ‘success’ with covid is just that at a certain point they stopped publicly-recorded testing for it, Chinese older and sick people now going back to being merely older and sick people who often die for more ‘regular’ reasons

    China perhaps joined in launching the New World Order programme of covid hysteria and lockdowns, partnering in a primary agenda to destroy the white European-heritage West using this covid tool

    China then perhaps hit the brakes on covid-mongering so they could appear the victor, as seems to have been part of the NWO agenda on many accounts, it being suitable for Chinese leaders as well to have the West implode through its own actions

    So we have a bunch of media and government figures in often-foolish China-bashing, but also we have a number of especially alt-media figures – several here on Unz – engaged in China-pumping-and-promoting

    But maybe the deeper game is a Chinese leadership aligned with the more ‘deeper state’ of the Western oligarchy, e.g., Klaus Schwab of the ‘Great Reset’ a big fan of China-type surveillance etc, his owns son living in China married to a Chinese

    Plus Facebook’s Zuckerberg married to a Chinese-heritage wife, US Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s Chinese wife part of a wealthy family linked to the highest places in Beijing etc

  7. NO! NO! NO!
    US National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger, says there is credible “growing body of evidence” that it was the evil Chinese.

    Let me translate for you “growing body of evidence” means “we make shit up as we go”.

    • Agree: KenR, GreatSocialist
    • Replies: @GreatSocialist
  8. KenR says:

    I was interested in the quote in the article from Giovani Apolone:

    “This is our main finding: people with no symptoms not only were positive after the serological tests but had also antibodies able to kill the virus. It means that the new coronavirus can circulate among the population for long and with a low rate of lethality not because it is disappearing, but only to surge again.”

    But the linked paper didn’t contain the quote, and I was unable to find it. I did search and find news articles with the same quote. Each one also claimed that the quote was in the paper, and many linked to the same paper. But it’s not in the paper. Whatever Apolone was saying, that discussion is not in the paper. Was it removed from the paper? Is there another paper? Dunno

    But anyway, … the notion of interest to me is mutation. Is Apolone suggesting that the virus was circulating in a low-lethality form, but then acquiring a surge form that is more lethal?

    Back last spring after initial work was done on the virus there were a flurry of articles about the study of it. They claimed that the virus has a ‘stable genome’, which was good because that means it’s not likely to mutate. They had only identified 8 strains of it.

    But then the very next week articles were flying around saying how they had identified 30 strains of it! What, from 8 strains to 30 strains in a week? For a ‘stable genome’ virus? 30 strains in a couple or three months from a ‘novel’ virus? So, is it mutating around easily or is it not?

    I would think this would be a matter of importance, well it is to me and I have been looking for it. It’s hard to come by, contradictory at times when it does come by, and then you have cases like this where statements are made and circulated but then seemingly disappeared.

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
  9. BuelahMan says:

    He wrote this as if a covid-19 virus was isolated. It has not been.

  10. @Curmudgeon

    Matty boy really hates, but also secretly admires the Chinese.

    So much so that he majored in Chinese studies and also practices speaking Mandarin every day. Given the slightest opportunity, he will spew out Mandarin to show everyone around him how clever he is, even more clever than the Chinese, hundreds of millions of which speak English better than he speaks Mandarin.

    I read that he got into an argument with Chinese police or MSS in a BurgerKing or McDonalds in China, and got slapped by a policewoman and put into armlock by her. Ohhh, the humiliation.

    Since then, he has been polishing his Mandarin everyday and working hard at thinking up how to destroy China.

  11. The feelings of schadenfreude I get while watching those stats cannot be understated. I still remember the ugly tone set by western MSM last year, but 2020 proved to have been a beautiful year to sound off a new era when China did not buckle under that pressure. 2021 is going to be even better.

  12. The thing that has always puzzled me is that Iran presumably has minimal opportunity for person-to-person contact with China, and yet it was hit hard and early in the timeline. Further, the Iranian leadership cohort seemed to contract the virus in significant numbers.

    It’s such a puzzling anomaly.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  13. Ron Unz says:
    @Marshal Marlow

    It’s such a puzzling anomaly.

    Well, the explanation is perfectly obvious, namely that Covid-19 was an American biowarfare attack against China (and Iran). I published the analysis back in April and I’ve been repeating it endlessly since then. Here are a few of the key paragraphs:

    But with the horrific consequences of our own later governmental inaction being obvious, elements within our intelligence agencies have sought to demonstrate that they were not the ones asleep at the switch.  Earlier this month, an ABC News story cited four separate government sources to reveal that as far back as late November, a special medical intelligence unit within our Defense Intelligence Agency had produced a report warning that an out-of-control disease epidemic was occurring in the Wuhan area of China, and widely distributed that document throughout the top ranks of our government, warning that steps should be taken to protect US forces based in Asia.  After the story aired, a Pentagon spokesman officially denied the existence of that November report, while various other top level government and intelligence officials refused to comment.  But a few days later, Israeli television mentioned that in November American intelligence had indeed shared such a report on the Wuhan disease outbreak with its NATO and Israeli allies, thus seeming to independently confirm the complete accuracy of the original ABC News story and its several government sources.

    It therefore appears that elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency were aware of the deadly viral outbreak in Wuhan more than a month before any officials in the Chinese government itself.  Unless our intelligence agencies have pioneered the technology of precognition, I think this may have happened for the same reason that arsonists have the earliest knowledge of future fires.

    As the coronavirus gradually began to spread beyond China’s own borders, another development occurred that greatly multiplied my suspicions.  Most of these early cases had occurred exactly where one might expect, among the East Asian countries bordering China.  But by late February Iran had become the second epicenter of the global outbreak.  Even more surprisingly, its political elites had been especially hard-hit, with a full 10% of the entire Iranian parliament soon infected and at least a dozen of its officials and politicians dying of the disease, including some who were quite senior.  Indeed, Neocon activists on Twitter began gleefully noting that their hatred Iranian enemies were now dropping like flies.

    Let us consider the implications of these facts.  Across the entire world the only political elites that have yet suffered any significant human losses have been those of Iran, and they died at a very early stage, before significant outbreaks had even occurred almost anywhere else in the world outside China.  Thus, we have America assassinating Iran’s top military commander on Jan. 2nd and then just a few weeks later large portions of the Iranian ruling elites became infected by a mysterious and deadly new virus, with many of them soon dying as a consequence.  Could any rational individual possibly regard this as a mere coincidence?

    • Replies: @Bolteric
  14. Bolteric says:
    @Ron Unz

    If the US had the access to the deployable virus, could they not have initiated waves right back on our own land?

  15. I wonder if the seemingly pointless ‘Covfefe’ typo was really a Trumpian mishearing of the otherwise unknown word ‘Covid’. The typo happened mid-2017, so around 18-months prior to the outbreak. That’s well withing a time range for a plan to be given the go ahead, and then to be implemented and then to slowly grow until it was detected by Chinese authorities.

    That said, applying occam’s razor to the typo leads me to guess that Trump was trying to type ‘coverage’.

    • Replies: @Marshal Marlow
  16. @Marshal Marlow

    oh, wait, I think my maths are wrong…

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