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COVID-19 and beyond: World 'nowhere near' ready, expert says

9 Comments
By JAMEY KEATEN

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9 Comments
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I am repeating myself here, but maybe it is worth it.

My mother grew up in New York City, and had vivid memories of what it was like to live through the flu epidemic of 1918 and 1919. She often told me stories about those times. The horror of seeing deaths in every part of the city have not yet been matched today, although things are getting close in parts of Italy, with bodies left in homes for days because the normal system for taking care of the dead is overwhelmed.

We have a wider and better health care system in the 21st century, and a better scientific understanding of what is going on, but the lack of leadership at the national level, here in The States, is disgraceful, and is costing many lives.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Ah the “experts” again.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

“With increasing population, with increasing environmental destruction,

Talk to China and India about that.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

To what extent did diseased bats in Wuhan have to do with the introduction of this virus?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don’t believe this virus is from exotic food. We don’t have evidence of the source just possibilities.

a) virus research labs

b) military bio-weapon labs

c) animals.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@quercetum ... What about the principle of Occam's Razor? All the past coronaviruses (e.g. MERS, SARS) came from animals, so the simplest explanation for COVID-19 is that it also came from animal transmission to human.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@kazungu

Certainly possible. I am not eliminating that case. We just have statements from scientists that only say the source is possibly from animals and markets. There hasn’t been research that shows that because it’s new and effort has been devoted to containing it.

If some disease broke out in Japan, you can’t just say well it must be from eating raw fish. You’d have to show evidence of that. So say some bats in a cave have the virus. Then we need to find patient zero and find the connection to that.

During the Cold War lots of research went into bio-warfare. It is said that these labs have 1500 different kinds of viruses. I think it’s possible someone working with them got infected and infected others.

Added to this Indian scientists point to human engineering. There is a coronavirus patent in existence. This may also be the product of humans.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Then we need to find patient zero and find the connection to that.

"Patient zero" is a concept coming mostly from bad movies, for real epidemiological studies there is no special importance to find it, nor a realistic expectation that it is possible to accomplish this.

In biology everything is about probabilities, and nothing can be "proved" to absolute certainty but that does not mean the conclusions are "preliminary" for ever.

The virus is a failure as a bioweapon and it would be easy to predict it if you knew the changes before hand (as it would happen if it was designed), the mutations are perfectly coherent with the known variability of coronaviruses and would be terribly inefficient if introduced artificially (because there are much more efficient sequences that even a postgraduate student could have inserted that would make infection more efficient or the pathology much more severe). It also lacks any kind of fingerprinting that all artificially produced organisms have (restriction enzyme sequence sites for manipulation of the sequences, optimization for growth in certain cells or bacteria, etc).

On the other hand it is completely inside of what is expected from the variability inherent to RNA viruses, its closely related to other viruses and as an explanation a natural zoonosis is simply much more likely.

As a comparison, if you see a puddle of dirty water in the street after a night of rain, would you think some scientific genius invented a way to produce water at random spots of the planet?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The corona virus is a global pandemic but none of the major countries are working together to deal with it. Scientists in many countries are all doing the same research to try and find the vaccine instead of working like a global team which would produce results quicker.

Going forward, there just has to be a better way of dealing with these virus outbreaks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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