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Still 90% Chance Coronavirus Not Catastrophic—But Chinese (And Western) Censors Aren’t Helping
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Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively at

Earlier by John Derbyshire: America Catches Coronavirus Panic

I’m going to bring you right in to the Derb household, actually Tuesday evening in the quiet lull after dinner.

Mrs. Derbyshire is sitting in her favorite armchair fiddling with her smartphone. She has an account at WeChat, which is a mainland-Chinese social medium. Her relatives in China, and her high-school and college classmates, now middle-class or retired fifty- and sixty-somethings, are all on WeChat. She likes to keep up with them.

I’m in the adjacent study with my door open, sitting at my computer trying to catch up on email.

Mrs D calls out to me: “I’m sending you a link by email. Would you print it out for me right away, please?”

I leap to obey. For reasons I have never inquired into, my lady’s smartphone can’t send stuff to our printer. I open the email, click on the link, and print.

The durn thing is 13 pages, all in Chinese. To spare myself a brain aneurism trying to read the Chinese, I hit the Google “Translate” button. Headline:

Professor Tsinghua Xu Zhangrun posts: Angry people are no longer afraid.

A little shaky on the word order there, Google, but I get the idea. Xu Zhangrun—surname first, of course—is a law professor at Tsinghua University, a big and prestigious institution in Peking. These 13 pages are an essay he’s just published; a long angry diatribe against the ChiCom system of government and media control:

The political system has collapsed under the tyranny, and a governance system [made up] of bureaucrats, which has taken [the party] more than 30 years to build has floundered … The mess in Hubei [that’s the center of the coronavirus outbreak] is only the tip of the iceberg and it’s the same with every province … All chances of public discussions have been smothered, and so was the original alarm mechanism in society … The anger of the people has erupted like a volcano, and the angry people will no longer be afraid.

Chinese scholar blames Xi Jinping, Communist Party for not controlling coronavirus outbreak, by Jun Mai and Mimi Lau, February 6, 2020

I lifted the English there from the South China Morning Post, an English-language newspaper in Hong Kong. I don’t agree with “floundered” as a translation of 终结. I suppose they mean “foundered,” but I don’t even agree with that. 终结 just means “come to an end” … all right, I’m being pedantic.

Professor Xu is a brave man. He was suspended from teaching at his university back in 2018, after he publicly criticized Xi Jinping’s move to make himself President-for-Life. A law professor having classes suspended for Political IncorrectnessAmy Wax at U. Penn. might have a comment on that.

With all proper respect to Prof. Wax, though, the political environment in China is still somewhat harsher than ours. Along with losing his classes, Prof. Xu was forbidden to leave China. Now, after this latest essay, his friends fear he will be disappeared.

Oh, I forgot to explain why Mrs Derbyshire was in such a hurry to get the essay printed off. Dissident opinions like that on Chinese-language outlets get taken down as soon as the ChiCom authorities notice them. The editors at YouTube and Twitter could explain how it’s done.

Prof. Xu’s essay, as it happens, was published on an overseas-Chinese platform, so it’s harder for the censors to put the screws on, although they generally manage to sooner or later by making threats. “Nice little offshore website you’ve got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it …”

Well, that was Tuesday. Forward to Thursday. We’re in the Derb family living-room after dinner again. I’m crossing the room to get something from the kitchen. Passing Mrs Derb in her armchair, from her smartphone I hear a bagpipe band playing “Amazing Grace.”

“What’s that,” I ask, “a cop funeral?”

No, says my lady, it’s someone on WeChat mourning the death of Li Wenliang, the doctor in Wuhan who sounded the alarm over coronavirus back in December. He was arrested for his trouble and forced to sign a statement confessing he had made “false comments” that “disturbed the social order.”

Dr Li died on Wednesday or Thursday from exposure to the coronavirus. He leaves behind a pregnant wife and a young child. He is being dramatically mourned on social media sites, faster than the censors can scrub them. [Widespread Outcry in China Over Death of Coronavirus Doctor, by Li Yuan, NYT, February 7, 2020] There have even been demands he be given a state funeral.

That bagpipe band playing “Amazing Grace” that I heard while crossing my living-room was a popular nonverbal way to mourn. The censors rely on keywords in text; it takes them longer to figure out nonverbal protests.

So there is real, widespread public anger in China against the authorities.

Will it come to anything? I wish it would. I’m bound to say, though, as I enter my sixth decade of amateur China-watching, I doubt it. is not a neoliberal website; so when I quote The Economist magazine at you, please understand that I read the damn thing so you don’t have to.

Even neoliberals get things right once in a while, though. In this case I agree with The Economist’s pseudonymous China correspondent “Chaguan”:

Mr. Xi’s China is two things at once. It is a secretive, techno-authoritarian one-party state, ruled by grey men in unaccountable councils and secretive committees. It also claims to be a nation-sized family headed by a patriarch of unique wisdom and virtue, in a secular, 21st-century version of the mandate of Heaven. If forced to choose between those competing models, bet on cold, bureaucratic control to win out. For Mr. Xi and his team learned their own lesson from the Soviet Union’s fall, five years after the Chernobyl disaster. Expressions of public love for Mr. Xi, the “People’s Leader”, are all very well. But keeping power is what counts.

Xi Jinping wants to be both feared and loved by China’s people | The coronavirus may change that, January 30, 2020

As a footnote to that, let me direct your attention to our own Lance Welton’s very striking article here at last weekend, putting some race-realist spin on the coronavirus scare.


Lance noted that, so far as he could tell at that point, all the victims of the virus were East Asian—including the cases outside China. . As Lance wrote, from the point of view of evolutionary biology, it is entirely possible that the coronavirus is race-specific:

Because [different races] were exposed to different pathogens in prehistory, there are very likely to be race differences in susceptibility to the pathogens and in how well the immune system can fight them.

The No-Such-Thing-As-Race crowd are all swooning and clutching their pearls at that. But Lance references serious studies, and there is nothing scientifically implausible in what he’s saying.

Lance admits of course that at this point he doesn’t know the virus is race-specific, and it may well not be. The Black Death, back in the 14th century, had no trouble crossing from Asia to Europe.

His point is only that our absurd neurosis about race—our refusal to admit that such an obvious feature of the natural world is real—hinders us from thinking about coronavirus in ways that might help us deal with it … Or with the next new infection that comes along.

And reduce panic. Panic about AIDs sharply reduced after it became clear it would not break massively into the heterosexual community.

Willful stupidity has a price.

As a thoughtful race realist, well-educated in the sciences, and with a Chinese spouse, am I worried about coronavirus?

I still say no. It is of course difficult to know the numbers of those infected in China. The ChiComs have been putting out lots of numbers, of course; but given that every word they say is a lie, including “and” and “the,” their numbers mean nothing.

So far as I can judge from the on-site stories coming through Mrs. Derbyshire’s WeChat account, this is more a phenomenon of mass hysteria than of mass infection—more a social crisis than an epidemiological one.

Much of the hysteria has, as Prof. Xu says in his essay, been caused by the cack-handed responses and clumsy misinformation of the ChiCom authorities.

That could be all wrong, though. Mother Nature is not mocked, and she has some nasty tricks up her sleeves. There is a nonzero possibility, down at the ten percent level, that we are facing a worldwide medical crisis.

I have bought a pack of surgical face masks in case the stores run out.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Science • Tags: China, Coronavirus 
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  1. MEH 0910 says:

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    , @MEH 0910
  2. Apparently, according to the news, this caucasian Brit caught it and recovered, without too much worse for wear.

  3. MEH 0910 says:

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  4. As a thoughtful race realist, well-educated in the sciences, and with a Chinese spouse, am I worried about coronavirus? I still say no.

    So you aren’t concerned for your spouse or children?

  5. Only if you find Western media credible–about anything (as 6% of Americans do) and believe their nonsense about China. Here’s the scoop:

    Li Wenliang, a low-level physician at a hospital in Wuhan, learned at the end of that initial two weeks that some patients had been hospitalised with a coronavirus infection, impetuously presumed that virus to be SARS, then posted announcements on Chinese social media that SARS had returned to China with people in Wuhan already hospitalised.

    “No one in China has forgotten SARS, these messages sparking alarm and panic, especially since they were forwarded in volume to many other recipients. Li was picked up and questioned by the police, reprimanded, and released after an hour. This was when the Western media began their circus.

    “First, it is a crime in China to fabricate and spread rumors that disrupt the social order, a portion of Chinese culture that Westerners either cannot understand or refuse to accept. Li stated “I only wanted to remind my university classmates to be careful”, but when his startling messages went viral, he then admitted, “When I saw them circulating online, I realised that it was out of my control and I would probably be punished.” Hardly a surprise.

    If Li’s concern were for a few friends he would have called them or sent private messages. Li is not a child, and he was fully aware of the virality of online posts as well as the protocols for dealing with potential epidemics. To have posted his claims openly on social media could obtain only one possible result – in fact the result it did obtain, which was to alarm and panic countless thousands of citizens.

    Li was not reprimanded for “telling the truth” or for being a “whistleblower”, as CNN, CBS and the BBC tell us.

    “Rather, he was reprimanded for reckless public behavior and for presuming authority he did not possess. No one appointed him the spokesman for either the national health authorities or the hospital. Li had no authority to make such premature public announcements, and he would know very well the result of a WeChat post with such content. From the same CNN article, Li wrote, “I was wondering why (the government’s) official notices were still saying there was no human-to-human transmission, and there were no healthcare workers infected.”

    The medical authorities released that information as soon as it was verified and public notification became necessary, but Li appears determined to denigrate them with backhanded insinuations of lying to the public.” –From Larry Romanoff’s, ‘China’s Coronavirus – How the Western Media Spin the News’

    • Replies: @Colm
    , @Alfred
    , @Anonymous
  6. unit472 says:

    I think the videos coming out of China speak for themselves. Not so much the people collapsing in the streets or body bags in hospitals. Those could be staged anti Xi propaganda or just the normal events one could find in New York or LA if you looked hard enough. What can’t be staged is the official reaction. Cops and soldiers patrolling the street in full protective gear extracting people from their homes and taking them away. Sealing apartment towers. Publicly fumigating the streets.

    This is the most extreme and serious actions taken by any organized society in my lifetime. No government would be doing this if there was any alternative. The political and economic consequences are simply too great. In a way we are fortunate this broke out in China in the same way we were lucky Fukushima was in Japan. However you may feel about the Chinese regime ( and its attempt to conceal the outbreak) China is doing what it can to bring it under control and I have to hope they succeed no matter the human cost to the afflicted

    • Agree: clickkid
    • Replies: @Bert
  7. A tragedy our oligarchic elites sold American labor down the Yangtze river to such as these.

  8. Bert says:

    Agreed. And I am glad that Mr. Derbyshire was not the one having to make hard decisions about the epidemic. Things would be even worse if he had been.

  9. John,

    The book review you wrote last summer? About an Asian country creating a race specific virus, with a scene with a white mouse, implying a bug designed for people of pallor . What was the book?

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  10. MEH 0910 says:

  11. I’m sure this isn’t your area of expertise, but the death rate is being calculated incorrectly.
    It is being calculated from the percentage of those currently infected. 600 is roughly 2% of 32000. But the people dying are not the population that is being infected today, or even last week. It takes weeks for the novel Cornavirus to kill. The correct comparison is to the size of the population that was infected two or thee weeks ago. The infection total is exponential, roughly doubling every week. So the death rate for the population of two weeks ago is closer to 8%. It is often remarked that exponential are not intuitive and few people reason well with them.
    This 2% is all over the internet, but that does not make it right.Everyone is just repeating that number. People just switch their brains off when they see numbers.

  12. MEH 0910 says:

    The December 1967 issue of Playboy magazine (available at ran a long short story — 12,000 words — by Irwin Shaw titled “The Mannichon Solution.”

    “The Mannichon Solution” is included in Shaw’s anthology God Was Here But He Left Early.

    Then by chance Mannichon discovers a solution that kills lab mice, but only yellow ones.

  13. This article matches very well with what I’ve been hearing from my Chinese sources, both here and there. The Chinese people don’t know where to get accurate information from. It sounds like the Government would rather control information than let even very reasonable and helpful numbers and advice that they don’t can’t control be sent.

    The government messages to people to compare the deaths to American deaths from the flu (what 10,000 or so this season, or in that ballpark) are first of all, not really a government function. It’s also sleight-of-hand, because a) there is a vaccine for flu and b) those deaths are out of multiple millions who contracted the flu.

    I concur with the deal with we-chat. I wrote to Godfree on another thread that the we-chat program would not let the receiver send out one particular message about the virus. Only some people who likely have the virus are being treated in hospitals, because there weren’t enough test kits (I’m no doctor) to check everyone. If you don’t get checked with a positive result, you don’t get admitted for this, and people dying outside the hospitals from Coronavirus are not part of the stats.

    I don’t know how bad this may be, but I think the Chinese government has definitely been making the whole situation worse, as far as the information flow goes.


    PS: I never got a reply as to whether Mr. Roberts is ON we-chat, much less reads Chinese. Disclaimer – I sure as hell can’t – that written languages sucks!

  14. d dan says:

    Professor Xu Zhangrun’s original article posted abut 2 years ago was very courageous, and I agreed with him on several of his 8 requests. I found his article insightful and reflected demands of many common sense people. The arguments were reasonable, and at least worthy of some debate and further discussion. Later, I was therefore saddened that he was suspended.

    The latest 9-point article, however, changes my opinion about him. While I still agree with some of his critiques on domestic affairs, I think he really lacks perspective and understanding of practical situations. His criticism of the handling of the virus seems like rubbing salt on wound rather than constructive and good faith proposition. His intend seems more like provocation than persuasion. He is at best a philosopher, an idealist and at worse an ideologue or even a simpleton. His comment on international environment reveals shallowness of his thinking. I am disappointed.

  15. clickkid says:

    This whole ‘coronavirus episode’ has resulted in an orgy of western sinophobia, with every single event and action twisted and spun to score propaganda points against China.

    If Xi Jinping were on a boat on a lake and his hat blew off into the water, then if he retrieved it by walking acroos the water, the headlines in western media would read:

    ‘Xi Can’t Swim’

    • LOL: Parfois1
    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  16. As long as the power stays on in places like Wuhan, it is not a serious concern to me.

  17. anon[106] • Disclaimer says:

    There is a nonzero possibility, down at the ten percent level, that we are facing a worldwide medical crisis.

    That’s a nice untestable prediction. And since he is calling it a medical crisis, not very comforting.

    There is an irresistible urge to take the official Chinese figures and divide deaths by reported cases to get a mortality rate. And divide daily changes in new cases by previously reported cases to say something about contagion. Based on the desire to make inferences from the published numbers. And also the hope that a rate or ratio will allow inaccuracies to miraculously cancel out.

    The best case is that the lying Chinese are grossly under estimating unreported, less severe cases. Maybe reporting only 10% of the total. Which would produce estimates of mortality that are maybe 5x too lower, if only 1/2 the deaths are reported. More importantly, the 3,000 daily new cases is much less of a big deal if the 30,000 plus total is really 300,000.

    Which shows a paradox that misrepresenting the total cases by minimizing them only leads to assumptions that the relevant rates are catastrophically high.

  18. @clickkid

    Not really. A lot of people are diseaseaphobic, which is often called “the survival instinct”. Could you turn it around in your head, kid, and imagine if there was a potentially dangerous virus going around in the US? Would anyone in the world scream racism or Xenophobia! at the Chinese people/government for cutting off airline service to America for a few months?

    Funny joke though, but I’ve heard it before – written in America, BTW.

  19. Anon 2 says:

    What the coronavirus epidemic has already proved beyond the shadow of a doubt
    is that China is an unreliable business partner, and needs to be avoided
    when establishing product supply lines

    • Replies: @d dan
  20. d dan says:
    @Anon 2

    “What the coronavirus epidemic has already proved beyond the shadow of a doubt is that China is an unreliable business partner, and needs to be avoided when establishing product supply lines”

    No, it does NOT. Man-made disease or natural disaster can strike any country, includes US, anytime. This event actually shows that Chinese government is much more effective, efficient and determined, compare with almost any country in the world, in combating those types of situation.

    So, contrary to many anti-China troll (you?), when the dust settles, the results will be the reverse of what you wish.

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
  21. “Mother Nature is not mocked, and she has some nasty tricks up her sleeves.” You are proof of her nastiness. You married a brown Chinese female and have mediocre Chinese offspring.

    You have scribbled so many incredibly stupid articles lately that my comment will cover most of them. You scribbled something about “the first duty of intelligent men.” Charles Murray and you have been derelict in your duties. Murray’s first wife was Thai and he has Thai offspring. We know about your Chinese family. “Intelligent men” is not applicable to Murray or you. You and Murray have been bad on the race issue.

    The good news about the Cornoavirus is that it only kills the Chinese. The few Caucasians who have caught it have recovered easily from it. This also happened with the SARS disease. China’s collapse has occured even earlier than predicted.

    It is time for you to do your duty and move yourself and your Chinese family to China. China will need you and your family to help rebuild China.

    Here is a recent AmRen podcast. The last five minutes deals with what happened to a Western man who married an Asian female: This sounds like what must go on in your deranged home.

    • Troll: d dan, Alfred
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  22. Colm says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Tl. Dr: globalresearch is paid by PRC.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  23. @Colm

    Do you have evidence for that or are you trolling?

  24. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910

  25. MEH 0910 says:

  26. Adûnâi says:

    Do you recall how the USSR was damaged morally after Chernobyl? This might be it, too. If the Chinese people destroy the Communist Party, it will be the end of the Chinese race as it was over for the Russians and Small Russians in the 1990s.

    This coronavirus outbreak is nothing compared to the danger of capitalist anarchy that murdered and displaced tens of millions of Russians and Small Russians in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s, and could as well turn the Chinese into LGBT faggots of the USA.

  27. Alfred says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Li was not reprimanded for “telling the truth” or for being a “whistleblower”, as CNN, CBS and the BBC tell us

    A bit like shouting fire in a cinema.

    A prankster did his thing on the Moscow Metro. It caused a panic. He might spend some years in jail.

    Sick joke: Blogger arrested after brutal coronavirus prank on Moscow subway (VIDEO)

  28. @Adûnâi

    While the Chernobyl is mainly a man-made disaster, the coronavirus is mostly a nature one. I don’t think a government as competent as China’s will lose its legitimacy because of a nature disaster. In fact, has there ever been a government that lost its legitimacy because of a nature disaster, such as the 2009 H1N1 swine flue, which started in the U.S. and became a pandemic partly because of the gross incompetency of CDC and the Obama administration, or Hurricane Katrina? Those who think this epidemic may damage the Chinese government either underestimate Chinese’s wisdom or simply engage in wishful thinking.

  29. @Adûnâi

    China has seen far worse disasters and government screwups, and it hasn’t loosened the grip of the communist party. People will trash talk the government on the internet, of course, but once the virus runs its course and the gravy train (economic growth) continues, everyone will revert to supporting the government.

  30. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910

    Brian Resnick

    So what’s this I’m reading about pangolins?

    Jonathan Epstein

    Pangolins have been found to carry a coronavirus, and a short piece of that virus’s genome seems to match a short segment within the novel coronavirus sequence. So there’s been this suggestion that perhaps at some point this virus mixed with a pangolin virus, maybe in a pangolin, meaning the bat virus and the pangolin virus may have coexisted in a pangolin and traded genetics. [In other words, they] traded genes a little bit to the point where it’s got a piece of pangolin.

    Now just to say, I haven’t seen data on this yet. There’s been talk about it in the media. There’s been discussion of it, but until we see the studies and the data, I can’t comment on whether this is likely or not.

    Brian Resnick

    So that pangolin connection, what are they suggesting? Like this was actually a bat virus that got into a pangolin, and that infected people, or it was pangolin virus that got into a bat, and then that infected people?

    Jonathan Epstein

    What they’re suggesting is that it mostly looks like a bat virus, but there’s a little, tiny piece that looks like a pangolin virus. And so they’re suggesting that perhaps the bat virus may have gotten into pangolins and then evolved.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  31. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910


    Brian Resnick

    What do we know right now about where this novel coronavirus came from?

    Jonathan Epstein

    I think that we have very strong evidence that supports the idea that this virus ultimately comes from bats. But we don’t know what other animals may have been involved.

    Brian Resnick

    What do you mean by “what other animals may have been involved?” Is it possible this didn’t come directly from bats?

    Jonathan Epstein

    A good example here is the story of SARS. When SARS emerged in 2003, it was also in a live market in Southern China, in Guangdong. It turned out people that were handling and trading civet [cats] had a higher instance of exposure and infection to this virus. Then they tested animals within the markets, and civets were found to be infected with the same virus that was infecting people.

    So the assumption was made that people were getting it from civets, and civets were very promptly and publicly removed from markets and stamped out.

    But a very important study came out a few months after the epidemic looking at civets on farms that supplied the live animal markets, and it turned out that none of the civets that were being farmed had any evidence of exposure or infection to SARS coronavirus.

    That was important because this was not in fact a civet virus that was getting into the markets. Civets were getting infected in the markets themselves, just like people.

    Brian Resnick

    So what was giving civets SARS? Was it bats?

    Jonathan Epstein

    So this is where I come in, and my colleagues. We started working on SARS back in 2003 trying to understand what the wildlife reservoir was.

    And we found it to be bats, horseshoe bats specifically. We now know that there’s a whole group — a whole diversity — of viruses related to SARS that are circulating in horseshoe bats.

    One of the viruses we identified with our partners at the Wuhan Institute of Virology back in 2013 is 96 percent similar to this novel coronavirus. That gives us confidence that this new coronavirus also is a bat virus originally.

    These bats are hunted and eaten in China, and in fact were brought into the markets in the case of SARS, and that is how other animals including people were infected.

  32. A little late to the party, but this may be some good news, as a leading expert on Corona viruses says that it’s just a very nasty cold virus, don’t panic, it will almost assuredly burn itself out by late spring, as cold viruses cannot tolerate warmer, wetter weather:

    Hope he’s right. I’m not a virologist, and I won’t play the HK vs China games, so I’m taking his words at face value from an acknowledged world expert.

    And on China’s efforts to rein in the virus via intelligent, well-reasoned measures, here’s another positive outlook which is welcomed:

    Between our beloved Unz Review and the folks at, we can get some positive news on this tragedy that may actually be accurate and not more obvious MSM anti-China propaganda.

    Oh, and btw, thanks to Godfree Roberts and John Derbyshire trying to keep it real. You guys ROCK!

    Lastly, like John, my wife is Chinese, and she is the greatest gift I have ever received in this world, save my mother and father giving life to me, pitiful, undeserving wretch that I am….. 🙂

  33. @attilathehen

    White men no longer have the gumption to give white women the good slap in the face they are begging for. So they seek out a woman who doesn’t need it in the first place.

    Black men will not hesitate to slap a mouthy white woman, which is why they are sought out.

    Atilla sees the truth: white women really have nothing to say.

    • Replies: @attilathehen
  34. @Reg Cæsar

    You’re an example of a degenerate, cucked Western male. You’re also a functional illiterate. You must be involved with Asian females.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Truth
  35. @attilathehen

    You’re an example of a degenerate, cucked Western male. You’re also a functional illiterate. You must be involved with Asian females.

    Um, my bride is 3/4 Viking, if you include the Norman quantum. But, yes, there is that tendency for the Nordic woman to forget who’s boss. Those broad, Nordic shoulders are notorious for balancing a lot of chips.

    The Achilles heel of Western man has always been his tendency to give credence to his woman’s opinions, as if she had a right to any. You don’t see that in the rest of the world. That’s why we’re losing.

    We used to know in our bones that St Paul was right. What happened?

    • LOL: Mike Tre
  36. Truth says:

    Keep hitting these rice-burnin’, anti-white degenerates, Tillie!

    • LOL: attilathehen
  37. Anonymous[235] • Disclaimer says:

    The novel coronavirus (2019‐nCoV) is a recently emerged human pathogen that has spread widely since January 2020. Initially, the basic reproductive number, R0, was estimated to be 2.2 to 2.7. Here we provide a new estimate of this quantity. We collected extensive individual case reports and estimated key epidemiology parameters, including the incubation period. Integrating these estimates and high‐resolution real‐time human travel and infection data with mathematical models, we estimated that the number of infected individuals during early epidemic double every 2.4 days, and the R0 value is likely to be between 4.7 and 6.6. We further show that quarantine and contact tracing of symptomatic individuals alone may not be effective and early, strong control measures are needed to stop transmission of the virus.

    “The Novel Coronavirus, 2019‐nCoV, is Highly Contagious and More Infectious
    Than Initially Estimated”
    Authors: Steven Sanche1,2,†, Yen Ting Lin3,†, Chonggang Xu4, Ethan Romero‐Severson1, Nicolas W. Hengartner1, Ruian Ke1,*

    1T‐6 Theoretical Biology and Biophysics, Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM87544, USA.
    2T‐CNLS Center for Nonlinear Studies, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM87544, USA.
    3CCS‐3 Information Sciences Group, Computer, Computational and Statistical Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA
    4EES‐14 Earth Systems Observations Group, Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA

    via Investment Watch Blog, of all places (via Whatreallyhappened).

    Geez, the comments above got ugly quickly.

  38. Smith says:

    Well, whatever happens. I’m glad it’s mostly China that is affected.

    For some reasons, Vietnam seems to handle this rather well.

    It’s very weird that chinks demand every other countries to open border to them though, that’s very unreasonable. We should all follow North Korea’s response, thoughts and prayers, but border shut tight.

  39. MEH 0910 says:

  40. Anonymous[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Roberts posting his Chinese government press handouts has about as much credibility as Al Sharpton discussing black crime.

    We at UNZ would have more respect him if he’d just be honest and admit he’s a Chinese government spokesman instead of pretending he’s just a neutral observer of China.

    • Troll: Godfree Roberts
  41. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910


    Researchers at the South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou suggested pangolins as the animal source at a press conference on 7 February. Pangolins are highly sought-after in China for their meat and their scales; the latter are used in traditional medicine. Although sales of the animal are forbidden in China as part of a worldwide ban, they are still smuggled in from a handful of southeast Asian and African countries. The researchers said they had found a coronavirus in smuggled pangolins that was a 99% genetic match to the virus circulating in people.

    But the result did not actually refer to the entire genome. In fact, it related to a specific site known as the receptor-binding domain (RBD), say the study’s authors, who posted their analysis1 on the biomedical preprint server bioRxiv on 20 February. The press-conference report was the result of an “embarrassing miscommunication between the bioinformatics group and the lab group of the study”, explains Xiao Lihua, a parasitologist at the South China Agricultural University and a co-author of the paper. A whole-genome comparison found that the pangolin and human viruses share 90.3% of their DNA.

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