Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s retweet of an article blaming the U.S. for infecting Wuhan with coronavirus went viral, viewed 160 million times within hours. But where did the story come from?
American televangelist Kenneth Copeland, who recently claimed that the coronavirus pandemic will be "over much sooner you think" because "Christian people all over this country praying have overwhelmed it," has summoned the "wind of God" to destroy the novel coronavirus during a recent sermon.Before blowing at the camera, he said: "I blow the wind of God on you. You are destroyed forever, and you'll never be back. Thank you, God. Let it happen. Cause it to happen."
America’s surgeon general raised the specter of the gravest attacks against the nation in modern times to steel an anxious country Sunday for the impending and immeasurable sorrow he said would touch untold numbers of families in the age of the coronavirus. The blunt assessments show just how much has changed in the weeks since President Donald Trump’s predictions that the virus would soon pass, and his suggestions that much of the economy could be up and running by Easter, April 12. The nation’s top doctor, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, said Americans should brace for levels of tragedy reminiscent of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Just a little over a month after saying there was no need for the community at large to wear masks in public, the CDC has changed its mind, recommending that all Americans should wear some sort of face covering when venturing outside.
The U.S. government on Friday sounded alarm about the surge in coronavirus cases in Japan, adding to a chorus of prominent domestic voices – including the governor of Tokyo – who have called for decisive action to avoid an explosive outbreak. Amid growing clamour for tighter curbs on people’s movements to stem a rising tide of infections, the government has so far been reluctant to pull the trigger, warning of the heavy damage that could ensue in the world’s third-biggest economy, already close to recession. Instead, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urged school closures and called on citizens to avoid unnecessary and non-urgent gatherings and outings while preparing to roll out an economic stimulus plan next week – even as he acknowledged the country was barely avoiding a major jump in infections.
A document circulated by the health department of Catalonia recommends that emergency teams and health care workers stop using ventilators for patients older than 80, and further recommends that extremely ill victims of COVID-19 be allowed to die at home rather than being taken to the hospital.
Rep. Adam Schiff’s proposal for a 9/11-style commission to study the nation’s response to the coronavirus outbreak "is not an exercise in casting blame or scoring political points, but something that the American people should rightly expect from their government as an exercise in accountability," he said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday named former Dallas police Chief David Brown to head the police force in the nation’s third largest city, touting his humility and calling him “a leader who commands respect.” Lightfoot introduced Brown as the next superintendent of the Chicago Police Department during a news conference, saying he’s the right man for the job.
US politicians have voiced fury over Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus crisis but they face a harsh truth — the United States desperately needs China’s supplies. China before the crisis produced nearly half of the face masks imported into the United States — which in normal times cost less than a dollar but have disappeared from shelves amid growing calls for ordinary Americans wear them when outside. As China appears to have contained its own outbreak of SARS-CoV-1, which has infected more than one million people worldwide since first emerging late last year in Wuhan, it is now the first resort for protective gear sought across the world.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday gave the green light for soldiers to be deployed in a mostly ultra-Orthodox Jewish city considered the centre of Israel’s novel coronavirus outbreak. “In light of the special situation in Bnei Brak following the restrictions due to the coronavirus, the IDF (army) will immediately present the necessary civil assistance to Bnei Brak municipality in fulfilling its responsibilities,” Netanyahu’s office said after talks with security and health officials. Authorities have enforced restrictions on access to Bnei Brak, a majority ultra-Orthodox city near Tel Aviv that is home to around 200,000 people.
It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that he presents, obtained from public records posted on the Internet, checks out.The Wuhan Institute of Virology in China indeed posted a job opening on November 18, 2019, “asking for scientists to come research the relationship between the coronavirus and bats.”The Google translation of the job posting is: “Taking bats as the research object, I will answer the molecular mechanism that can coexist with Ebola and SARS- associated coronavirus for a long time without disease, and its relationship with flight and longevity. Virology, immunology, cell biology, and multiple omics are used to compare the differences between humans and other mammals.” (“Omics” is a term for a subfield within biology, such as genomics or glycomics.)On December 24, 2019, the Wuhan Institute of Virology posted a second job posting. The translation of that posting includes the declaration, “long-term research on the pathogenic biology of bats carrying important viruses has confirmed the origin of bats of major new human and livestock infectious diseases such as SARS and SADS, and a large number of new bat and rodent new viruses have been discovered and identified.”Tye contends that that posting meant, “we’ve discovered a new and terrible virus, and would like to recruit people to come deal with it.” He also contends that “news didn't come out about coronavirus until ages after that.” Doctors in Wuhan knew that they were dealing with a cluster of pneumonia cases as December progressed, but it is accurate to say that a very limited number of people knew about this particular strain of coronavirus and its severity at the time of that job posting. By December 31, about three weeks after doctors first noticed the cases, the Chinese government notified the World Health Organization and the first media reports about a “mystery pneumonia” appeared outside China.Scientific American verifies much of the information Tye mentions about Shi Zhengli, the Chinese virologist nicknamed “Bat Woman” for her work with that species.> Shi — a virologist who is often called China’s “bat woman” by her colleagues because of her virus-hunting expeditions in bat caves over the past 16 years — walked out of the conference she was attending in Shanghai and hopped on the next train back to Wuhan. “I wondered if [the municipal health authority] got it wrong,” she says. “I had never expected this kind of thing to happen in Wuhan, in central China.” Her studies had shown that the southern, subtropical areas of Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan have the greatest risk of coronaviruses jumping to humans from animals — particularly bats, a known reservoir for many viruses. If coronaviruses were the culprit, she remembers thinking, “could they have come from our lab?”> > . . . By January 7 the Wuhan team determined that the new virus had indeed caused the disease those patients suffered — a conclusion based on results from polymerase chain reaction analysis, full genome sequencing, antibody tests of blood samples and the virus’s ability to infect human lung cells in a petri dish. The genomic sequence of the virus — now officially called SARS-CoV-2 because it is related to the SARS pathogen — was 96 percent identical to that of a coronavirus the researchers had identified in horseshoe bats in Yunnan, they reported in a paper published last month in Nature. “It’s crystal clear that bats, once again, are the natural reservoir,” says Daszak, who was not involved in the study. > Some scientists aren’t convinced that the virus jumped straight from bats to human beings, but there are a few problems with the theory that some other animal was an intermediate transmitter of COVID-19 from bats to humans:> Analyses of the SARS-CoV-2 genome indicate a single spillover event, meaning the virus jumped only once from an animal to a person, which makes it likely that the virus was circulating among people before December. Unless more information about the animals at the Wuhan market is released, the transmission chain may never be clear. There are, however, numerous possibilities. A bat hunter or a wildlife trafficker might have brought the virus to the market. Pangolins happen to carry a coronavirus, which they might have picked up from bats years ago, and which is, in one crucial part of its genome, virtually identical to SARS-CoV-2. But no one has yet found evidence that pangolins were at the Wuhan market, or even that venders there trafficked pangolins.On February 4 — one week before the World Health Organization decided to officially name this virus “COVID-19” — the journal Cell Research posted a notice written by scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology about the virus, concluding, “our findings reveal that remdesivir and chloroquine are highly effective in the control of 2019-nCoV infection in vitro. Since these compounds have been used in human patients with a safety track record and shown to be effective against various ailments, we suggest that they should be assessed in human patients suffering from the novel coronavirus disease.” One of the authors of that notice was the “bat woman,” Shi Zhengli.In his YouTube video, Tye focuses his attention on a researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology named Huang Yanling: “Most people believe her to be patient zero, and most people believe she is dead.”There was enough discussion of rumors about Huang Yanling online in China to spur an official denial. On February 16, the Wuhan Institute of Virology denied that patient zero was one of their employees, and interestingly named her specifically: “Recently there has been fake information about Huang Yanling, a graduate from our institute, claiming that she was patient zero in the novel coronavirus.” Press accounts quote the institute as saying, “Huang was a graduate student at the institute until 2015, when she left the province and had not returned since. Huang was in good health and had not been diagnosed with disease, it added.” None of her publicly available research papers are dated after 2015.The web page for the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Lab of Diagnostic Microbiology does indeed still have “Huang Yanling” listed as a 2012 graduate student, and her picture and biography appear to have been recently removed — as have those of two other graduate students from 2013, Wang Mengyue and Wei Cuihua.Her name still has a hyperlink, but the linked page is blank. The pages for Wang Mengyue and Wei Cuihua are blank as well.(For what it is worth, the South China Morning Post — a newspaper seen as being generally pro-Beijing — reported on March 13 that “according to the government data seen by the Post, a 55 year-old from Hubei province could have been the first person to have contracted Covid-19 on November 17.”)On February 17, Zhen Shuji, a Hong Kong correspondent from the French public-radio service Radio France Internationale, reported: “when a reporter from the Beijing News of the Mainland asked the institute for rumors about patient zero, the institute first denied that there was a researcher Huang Yanling, but after learning that the name of the person on the Internet did exist, acknowledged that the person had worked at the firm but has now left the office and is unaccounted for.”Tye says, “everyone on the Chinese internet is searching for [Huang Yanling] but most believe that her body was quickly cremated and the people working at the crematorium were perhaps infected as they were not given any information about the virus.” (The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that handling the body of someone who has died of coronavirus is safe — including embalming and cremation — as long as the standard safety protocols for handing a decedent are used. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether those safety protocols were sufficiently used in China before the outbreak’s scope was known.)As Tye observes, a public appearance by Huang Yanling would dispel a lot of the public rumors, and is the sort of thing the Chinese government would quickly arrange in normal circumstances — presuming that Huang Yanling was still alive. Several officials at the Wuhan Institute of Virology issued public statements that Huang was in good health and that no one at the institute has been infected with COVID-19. In any case, the mystery around Huang Yanling may be moot, but it does point to the lab covering up something about her.China Global Television Network, a state-owned television broadcaster, illuminated another rumor while attempting to dispel it in a February 23 report entitled “Rumors Stop With the Wise”:> On February 17, a Weibo user who claimed herself to be Chen Quanjiao, a researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, reported to the public that the Director of the Institute was responsible for leaking the novel coronavirus. The Weibo post threw a bomb in the cyberspace and the public was shocked. Soon Chen herself stepped out and declared that she had never released any report information and expressed great indignation at such identity fraud on Weibo. It has been confirmed that that particular Weibo account had been shut down several times due to the spread of misinformation about COVID-19.That Radio France Internationale report on February 17 also mentioned the next key part of the Tye’s YouTube video. “Xiaobo Tao, a scholar from South China University of Technology, recently published a report that researchers at Wuhan Virus Laboratory were splashed with bat blood and urine, and then quarantined for 14 days.” HK01, another Hong Kong-based news site, reported the same claim.This doctor’s name is spelled in English as both “Xiaobo Tao” and “Botao Xiao.” From 2011 to 2013, Botao Xiao was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, and his biography is still on the web site of the South China University of Technology.At some point in February, Botao Xiao posted a research paper onto ResearchGate.net, “The Possible Origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus.” He is listed as one author, along with Lei Xiao from Tian You Hospital, which is affiliated with the Wuhan University of Science and Technology. The paper was removed a short time after it was posted, but archived images of its pages can be found here and here.The first conclusion of Botao Xiao’s paper is that the bats suspected of carrying the virus are extremely unlikely to be found naturally in the city, and despite the stories of “bat soup,” they conclude that bats were not sold at the market and were unlikely to be deliberately ingested.> The bats carrying CoV ZC45 were originally found in Yunnan or Zhejiang province, both of which were more than 900 kilometers away from the seafood market. Bats were normally found to live in caves and trees. But the seafood market is in a densely-populated district of Wuhan, a metropolitan [area] of ~15 million people. The probability was very low for the bats to fly to the market. According to municipal reports and the testimonies of 31 residents and 28 visitors, the bat was never a food source in the city, and no bat was traded in the market.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization could not confirm if bats were present at the market. Botao Xiao’s paper theorizes that the coronavirus originated from bats being used for research at either one of two research laboratories in Wuhan.> We screened the area around the seafood market and identified two laboratories conducting research on bat coronavirus. Within ~ 280 meters from the market, there was the Wuhan Center for Disease Control & Prevention. WHCDC hosted animals in laboratories for research purpose, one of which was specialized in pathogens collection and identification. In one of their studies, 155 bats including Rhinolophus affinis were captured in Hubei province, and other 450 bats were captured in Zhejiang province. The expert in Collection was noted in the Author Contributions (JHT). Moreover, he was broadcasted for collecting viruses on nation-wide newspapers and websites in 2017 and 2019. He described that he was once by attacked by bats and the blood of a bat shot on his skin. He knew the extreme danger of the infection so he quarantined himself for 14 days. In another accident, he quarantined himself again because bats peed on him.> > Surgery was performed on the caged animals and the tissue samples were collected for DNA and RNA extraction and sequencing. The tissue samples and contaminated trashes were source of pathogens. They were only ~280 meters from the seafood market. The WHCDC was also adjacent to the Union Hospital (Figure 1, bottom) where the first group of doctors were infected during this epidemic. It is plausible that the virus leaked around and some of them contaminated the initial patients in this epidemic, though solid proofs are needed in future study.> > The second laboratory was ~12 kilometers from the seafood market and belonged to Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences . . .> > In summary, somebody was entangled with the evolution of 2019-nCoV coronavirus. In addition to origins of natural recombination and intermediate host, the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan. Safety level may need to be reinforced in high risk biohazardous laboratories. Regulations may be taken to relocate these laboratories far away from city center and other densely populated places.However, Xiao has told the Wall Street Journal that he has withdrawn his paper. “The speculation about the possible origins in the post was based on published papers and media, and was not supported by direct proofs,” he said in a brief email on February 26.The bat researcher that Xiao’s report refers to is virologist Tian Junhua, who works at the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control. In 2004, the World Health Organization determined that an outbreak of the SARS virus had been caused by two separate leaks at the Chinese Institute of Virology in Beijing. The Chinese government said that the leaks were a result of “negligence” and the responsible officials had been punished.In 2017, the Chinese state-owned Shanghai Media Group made a seven-minute documentary about Tian Junhua, entitled “Youth in the Wild: Invisible Defender.” Videographers followed Tian Junhua as he traveled deep into caves to collect bats. “Among all known creatures, the bats are rich with various viruses inside,” he says in Chinese. “You can find most viruses responsible for human diseases, like rabies virus, SARS, and Ebola. Accordingly, the caves frequented by bats became our main battlefields.” He emphasizes, “bats usually live in caves humans can hardly reach. Only in these places can we find the most ideal virus vector samples.”One of his last statements on the video is: “In the past ten-plus years, we have visited every corner of Hubei Province. We explored dozens of undeveloped caves and studied more than 300 types of virus vectors. But I do hope these virus samples will only be preserved for scientific research and will never be used in real life. Because humans need not only the vaccines, but also the protection from the nature.”The description of Tian Junhua’s self-isolation came from a May 2017 report by Xinhua News Agency, repeated by the Chinese news site JQKNews.com:> The environment for collecting bat samples is extremely bad. There is a stench in the bat cave. Bats carry a large number of viruses in their bodies. If they are not careful, they are at risk of infection. But Tian Junhua is not afraid to go to the mountain with his wife to catch Batman.> > Tian Junhua summed up the experience that the most bats can be caught by using the sky cannon and pulling the net. But in the process of operation, Tian Junhua forgot to take protective measures. Bat urine dripped on him like raindrops from the top. If he was infected, he could not find any medicine. It was written in the report.> > The wings of bats carry sharp claws. When the big bats are caught by bat tools, they can easily spray blood. Several times bat blood was sprayed directly on Tians skin, but he didn’t flinch at all. After returning home, Tian Junhua took the initiative to isolate for half a month. As long as the incubation period of 14 days does not occur, he will be lucky to escape, the report said.Bat urine and blood can carry viruses. How likely is it that bat urine or blood got onto a researcher at either Wuhan Center for Disease Control & Prevention or the Wuhan Institute of Virology? Alternatively, what are the odds that some sort of medical waste or other material from the bats was not properly disposed of, and that was the initial transmission vector to a human being?Virologists have been vehemently skeptical of the theory that COVID-19 was engineered or deliberately constructed in a laboratory; the director of the National Institutes of Health has written that recent genomic research “debunks such claims by providing scientific evidence that this novel coronavirus arose naturally.” And none of the above is definitive proof that COVID-19 originated from a bat at either the Wuhan Center for Disease Control & Prevention or the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Definitive proof would require much broader access to information about what happened in those facilities in the time period before the epidemic in the city.But it is a remarkable coincidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was researching Ebola and SARS-associated coronaviruses in bats before the pandemic outbreak, and that in the month when Wuhan doctors were treating the first patients of COVID-19, the institute announced in a hiring notice that “a large number of new bat and rodent new viruses have been discovered and identified.” And the fact that the Chinese government spent six weeks insisting that COVID-19 could not be spread from person to person means that its denials about Wuhan laboratories cannot be accepted without independent verification.
The message was lost on many students. Before leaving campus and returning to their homes and families throughout the United States and abroad, more than 100 Vanderbilt students attended parties, ignoring the school's explicit instructions not to do so. One photo of a March 11 party, posted on Instagram and seen by Reuters, shows a student in a makeshift hazmat suit, a black mask and green bowler hat with shamrocks, as a large group of students party in the background.
President Donald Trump has fired Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community who handled the whistleblower complaint that triggered Trump’s impeachment. Trump informed the Senate intelligence committee Friday of his decision to fire Atkinson, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. Trump said in the letter that it is “vital” that he has confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general, and “that is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general.”
Long before the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, and then soon spread to nearly every country on Earth, a conference in 2018 offered proof that epidemiologists at the CDC and other institutions were aware that a new pandemic was poised to strike.
Louisiana is poised to become the next epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, White House officials said Thursday, citing new data that shows that 26 percent of the tests for COVID-19 in that state in recent days have come back positive.
Exclusive: The systematic failures in the Government's pandemic strategy laid bare Exclusive: 10m tests a day needed to end lockdown and avert economic disaster Comedian Eddie Large dies aged 78 after contracting Covid-19 Follow coronavirus cases in the UK and across the world with our Live Tracker Subscribe to The Telegraph, free for one month Telegraph Coronavirus Appeal: Join us in helping those hit hardest Global coronavirus cases surpassed 1 million on Thursday with more than 51,000 deaths as the pandemic further exploded in the United States and the death toll climbed in Spain and Italy. Italy had the most deaths, more than 13,900, followed by Spain. The United States had the most confirmed cases of any country, more than 235,000, said researchers at Johns Hopkins University. In the UK, the number of coronavirus-related fatalities has risen by 569 in the last 24 hours, taking the total toll to 2,921. This is the biggest jump the UK has seen to date – just. On Wednesday 563 new fatalities were reported. Meanwhile, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said he was "setting the goal" of reaching 100,000 tests for coronavirus per day by the end of April.
Border closures and strict lockdowns have led to a steep decline in the number of migrants coming from Central AmericaWhen Angelica turned 30, she realized there was no future for her in Honduras.Although she had a college degree, she was still living paycheck to paycheck and was stuck in a neighborhood of the capital Tegucigalpa ruled by violent gangs.So, after years contemplating migration to the US where she has relatives, she finally made arrangements to depart.“I didn’t want to stay in a neighborhood where there are massacres or where the people lock themselves in their homes at six at night because the gangs impose a curfew,” she said. “I realized I was more surviving than living.”But by the time she was due to start her journey north, Honduras had closed its borders and declared a state of emergency. She could no longer leave her city – much less take a bus to northern Guatemala, to meet a coyote who would guide her through Mexico.“I had thought that only a hurricane could stop me,” she said. “But I hadn’t thought of a pandemic.”Border closures and strict lockdowns prompted by the Covid-19 crisis have disrupted the migrant trail through Central America and Mexico, forcing some would-be migrants to postpone their journeys – and stopping many others in their tracks.The result has been a deterrent more effective than any wall Donald Trump could build.Activists across the region have reported a steep decline in the number of migrants coming from Central America since the restrictions were implemented. One Mexican shelter near the Guatemalan border said it hadn’t received a new arrival in a week.“The crisis has facilitated Trump’s policies because [Central American] migrants can’t even leave their countries,” said Sister Nyzella Juliana Dondé, coordinator of a Catholic migrant aid organization in Honduras.El Salvador closed its borders on 11 March, and the governments of Guatemala and Honduras quickly followed suit. All three countries in the so-called northern triangle have since announced internal lockdowns of differing strictness.The three nations had recently signed “safe third country agreements” with the US government under which they agreed to increase enforcement on their borders, and receive migrants who had transited their country on the way to the US.Only Guatemala had begun to implement the new measures, but it announced on 17 March that it would suspend the deportations of Hondurans and Salvadorans from the US to its territory.But Guatemala and Honduras continued to receive deportation flights bringing their own citizens from the US – despite concerns that the practice could accelerate the spread of the virus. In the past week, a migrant who was deported from the US to Guatemala was diagnosed with Covid-19 and a group of deportees to Honduras escaped from the shelter where they were to be quarantined. Guatemala has now requested that the US suspend deportation flights.Meanwhile, migrants who were already en route have been left exposed by the closure of shelters and the difficulties facing humanitarian organizations which would normally attend to them.“They are in a vulnerable situation because the guidance is to stay at home – but the migrants don’t have homes,” said Dondé, who mentioned a case of a large group of Haitian and African migrants who were detained after crossing into Guatemala from Honduras amid the lockdown. “Neither Honduras or Guatemala wanted to offer them a place to stay.”Migrants who already had arrived to Mexico have been left in limbo by the US government’s decision to immediately return all migrants from Mexico and Central America who cross into the country irregularly along the south-west border.When restrictions are eventually eased, a fresh surge in migration seems likely: multiple would-be migrants who spoke with the Guardian said it was only a question of when, not if, they would set out for the US.And the economic impact of the crisis may in turn cause others to migrate.. “Before many people migrated because they lacked work and a dignified life,” said Silva de Souza. “Now there will be many more.”Migrants who have come from even farther afield, have no choice but to try to push on. Mohamed left Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, in 2018, following the well-trodden migrant path via Ecuador, Colombia and the jungles of Panama. He was burning through his savings and racking up debt, but making steady progress north.But he reached Guatemala just before the government announced a state of emergency which has made moving on impossible.“Travel has become very difficult,” he said in a brief exchange via Facebook Messenger. But he was still determined to reach the US – even if he now has to move more carefully – traveling at night and avoiding large caravans. “With God’s will, I’ll get there. I will build a life of opportunity.” * Additional reporting by Joe Parkin Daniels
A Chinese county that was largely unscathed by the novel COVID-19 coronavirus went into lockdown Wednesday, signaling fears of a possible second wave in the country where the virus originated, The South China Morning Post reports.The county of Jia in Henan province, home to 600,000 people, is now in lockdown after infections reportedly spread at a local hospital. There were previously only 12 confirmed cases in Henan, despite it being situated just north of Hubei province, where China's epicenter, Wuhan, is located. However, U.S. intelligence reportedly believes China under-reported the actual number of cases.Either way, the new lockdown, which shuts down all non-essential business and requires people to carry special permits to leave their homes, and wear face masks and have their temperature taken when out and about, comes at a time when the country clearly wants to get its economy up and running again. It's unclear if such measures will be limited to the county or if it's a sign of things to come for the rest of the world's most populous country, but President Xi Jinping has warned that China must return to normal gradually in the hopes of preventing a full-scale COVID-19 return. Read more at The South China Morning Post.More stories from theweek.com The Secret Service signed an 'emergency order' this week — for 30 golf carts Engineer arrested after allegedly trying to run train into Los Angeles hospital ship Experts warn as many as 1 in 3 coronavirus test results may be incorrectly negative
If New York City wasn’t under a strict stay-at-home order right now, protesters might be marching along Central Park. That’s where an evangelical Christian organization called Samaritan’s Purse is preparing to open a makeshift COVID-19 ward. The 60-bed emergency field hospital is composed largely of tarp-wrapped tents and will function as a respiratory unit servicing overflow patients from Mount Sinai Hospital.Some New York residents have criticized Samaritan’s Purse’s presence, citing their spotty record in the field and expressing fears that the conservative religious group’s beliefs could even open the door to substandard care or discrimination. City Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted he was “very concerned” about the operation and was sending people from his office to monitor Samaritan’s Purse.As a result, conservative Christians exploded on social media, citing the controversy as further proof that their faith is under attack by intolerant liberals and coastal elites who care little about human life.Andrew Walker, a professor at Southern Baptist Seminary, tweeted, “Cultural decadence is allowing intersectionality to determine the acceptability of emergency response.” And Peter Hasson, a Catholic editor for conservative news site The Daily Caller, tweeted, “If you’re getting mad at the people taking care of the sick during a pandemic, maybe consider the fact that you’re not the good guy in this story.”As my therapist often reminds me, the human brain is capable of understanding that two things can be true at the same time. In this case, a person can believe that the brave doctors and nurses currently deploying to Central Park to help combat this terrible virus are brave and necessary and also believe that the organization chosen to manage the work of these doctors and nurses is deeply problematic. Holding both of these ideas in your mind at the same time doesn’t make you a bad person; it demonstrates that you’re a thinking person. We’re in the midst of a public-health crisis and must take an all-hands-on-deck approach to caring for the sick.And upon closer inspection, New Yorkers have plenty of good reasons to feel uncomfortable about this new coronavirus hospital.Of chief concern is the person overseeing the Central Park ward: Samaritan’s Purse’s president and CEO Franklin Graham. He is the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham and a spiritual adviser to President Donald Trump who has a surprisingly long history of controversial comments and hate speech.Graham seems to harbor a special level of disdain for followers of Islam, which he characterizes as a “wicked and evil religion” that encourages adherents to beat their wives and murder their disobedient children. In 2015, he recommended banning all Muslims from immigrating to America and suggested our government treat them like the Japanese and German during World War II. As rationale, he argued that Muslims have “the potential to be radicalized” and participate in “killing to honor their religion and Muhammed.”That’s the man running Samaritan’s Purse’s coronavirus hospital, so yes, Muslim New Yorkers are right to be skeptical.Graham’s hate speech is also often aimed at LGBTQ people. He has called same-sex marriages “detestable” and has drummed up fear toward gays and lesbians—whom he believes should burn in hell—by claiming they want to “drag an immoral agenda into our communities.” In an article that has mysteriously disappeared from the Decision Magazine website, Graham wrote that the architect of the LGBTQ rights movement was “none other than Satan himself.” And when Vladimir Putin initiated a violent crackdown on LGBTQ rights in Russia, it sparked a wave of beatings, abduction, public humiliation and other forms of violence against sexual minorities there. Graham responded by praising Putin’s policy, lauding the authoritarian leader for “[protecting] his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.”Given such history, it makes complete sense that Mount Sinai Hospital asked Samaritan’s Purse to “sign a written pledge to treat all patients equally.”Some conservative Christians have dismissed this as harassment, claiming that a scenario in which evangelicals discriminated against gays and lesbians is ridiculous to imagine. But our fair city has a long memory. We remember all the gay men who fled communities across America where evangelicals pastors condemned them as “abominations” and found safe harbor in New York. We remember that when masses of them contracted HIV/AIDS and filled our hospital beds, evangelical preachers on TV called it God’s judgment. We remember Jerry Falwell and the religious right lobbying against HIV research and relief in the '90s, leading to untold deaths.All this occurred in my lifetime, and I am only 37. So please pardon New Yorkers if they feel uneasy, given American evangelicals’ often-unacknowledged track record coupled with Graham’s comments, and want to take some minor precautions to ensure all citizens are protected. Gay, lesbian, and transgender New Yorkers are right to be skeptical.Even some conservative Christians who’ve acknowledged the disturbing nature of Graham’s comments have attacked Samaritan’s Purse’s critics for intolerance. Anyone should be able to help anyone in this time, the argument goes. It’s wrong to prevent people from serving the sick. I totally agree; but Samaritan’s Purse does not. The organization is requiring that all personnel serving in its pop-up hospital be Christians who agree to Samaritan’s Purse’s 11-point “Statement of Faith,” which includes the beliefs that non-Christians will burn in hell and that same-sex relationships are sinful.It’s unsurprising, if lamentable, that a Christian aid group would turn away a Buddhist doctor looking to help its efforts. But if a lung doctor shows up in Central Park with the knowledge and experience to save lives, she could be sent home if she happens to be a liberal Episcopalian who voted for Hillary Clinton and supports marriage equality.If it is wrong to quibble over who is fit to help save lives in the middle of a crisis, then we must admit that Samaritan’s Purse is no better than its critics. The group’s defenders are correct, however, that the organization has laudably worked to meet emergency needs in crisis regions since its founding. They have accomplished much good in places like Kosovo, Sudan, Somalia, and Darfur. But their record is not unblemished, and many in the humanitarian world have questioned the quality of some of Samaritan’s Purse’s work.After USAID gave Samaritan’s Purse a large grant to help victims of the earthquake in El Salvador, they were disturbed to learn that the Christian group “blurred the lines between church and state” by using funds to evangelize victims instead of just help them. An official with Samaritan’s Purse dismissed the criticism by claiming, “We are first a Christian organization and second an aid organization.”That wasn’t the first time such blurring occurred, however. During the first Gulf War, respected U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf publicly criticized the group for trying to coerce American troops serving in Saudi Arabia to covertly distribute Arab-language Bibles under the guise of humanitarian work. And Samaritan’s Purse’s popular “Operation Christmas Child” has recently been drawn fire when people learned that the holiday shoeboxes given to poor children in non-Christian families around the world were stuffed with Christian evangelism materials.The vast majority of New Yorkers are not Christian, and if they find themselves wheezing for air due to COVID-19, they don’t want to be proselytized while receiving treatment. They too have reason to be skeptical of the organization’s makeshift hospital.“This is what Samaritan’s Purse does—we respond in the middle of crises to help people in Jesus’ Name. Please pray for our teams and for everyone around the world affected by the virus,” Graham declared in a press release announcing the ward.None of Samaritan’s Purse’s detractors have argued that the Central Park ward should be shuttered or that the organization be barred from offering care. And no one is casting aspersions on the many courageous health-care professionals who will put their lives at risk when this hospital opens. Most agree with the letter from Mount Sinai staff and doctors—at least one of whom is LGBTQ—that concerns about Samaritan’s Purse, while valid, must be set aside at the moment because “the higher mission at present is to preserve human life.”To this, I say “yes and.” New Yorkers can admit that Samaritan’s Purse should have a role to play in this vital work, and they can also acknowledge the many valid reasons that might make vulnerable and marginalized residents a little more than nervous.—Jonathan Merritt is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words are Vanishing—And How We Can Revive Them.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. 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The global economy could shrink almost 1% this year due to the new coronavirus, a sharp reversal from the pre-pandemic forecast of 2.5% growth, the United Nations said Wednesday. The U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs warned in a report that the decline could be even deeper if restrictions on economic activities extend into the third quarter of the year and if fiscal stimulus efforts don’t support income and consumer spending. “Fears of the exponential spread of the virus — and growing uncertainties about the efficacy of various containment measures — have rocked financial markets worldwide,” the report noted, “with market volatility surpassing its peak during the global financial crisis and equity markets and oil prices plunging to multi-year lows.”
When Ronnie Krensel went in for his most recent checkup following chemotherapy on March 21, it wasn’t anything like the ones he’d had before. Upon his arrival at the Southhampton Stony Brook Hospital in Long Island, N.Y., a doctor met Krensel in a hazmat suit in a large tent outside the facility, where he was asked “a series of rapid-fire questions” and then sent to a negative-pressure room, which prevents cross-contamination, for his visit.
While the Washington State Department of Health had prepared a plan for the arrival of the virus in January, it assumed it still had weeks before the disease would reach the U.S. “In three days, the plan was trashed. We went through every step,” Marcia Goldoft, a clinical epidemiologist with the Washington State DOH, told Yahoo News. “I don’t think anyone involved has ever seen anything go this fast.”
More than 300 New Yorkers died from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, a somber-sounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday as temporary hospital beds were made available to help relieve the stress on city hospitals inundated with virus patients. City officials announced Tuesday that 250 more ambulances and 500 paramedics and EMTs are headed to New York to help manage record numbers of calls for assistance. Deaths from the coronavirus continued to climb steeply in New York, topping 1,500 by Tuesday, according to Cuomo.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese scientist carrying vials believed to contain the MERS and SARS viruses in November 2018 — just over a year before the first reported Wuhan coronavirus case, according to an FBI tactical intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News.“Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials,” the report reads. The vials were labeled “Antibodies”, and the unnamed scientist said he was asked to deliver them to a researcher at a U.S. institute.The report also lays out a pattern of Chinese interference, detailing two other cases from May 2018 and September 2019, in which different Chinese nationals tried to enter the U.S. with undeclared flu strains and suspected E. coli, respectively.“The Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate assesses foreign scientific researchers who transport undeclared and undocumented biological materials into the United States in their personal carry-on and/or checked luggage almost certainly present a US biosecurity risk,” the report states. “The WMDD makes this assessment with high confidence based on liaison reporting with direct access.”The FBI has stepped up its efforts to combat Chinese espionage operations in recent months after admitting failures in preventing the recruitment of U.S. researchers by Beijing’s “Thousand Talents Plan.”“With our present-day knowledge of the threat from Chinese plans, we wish we had taken more rapid and comprehensive action in the past,” John Brown, assistant director of the counterintelligence division at the FBI, told a Senate subcommittee in November. “The time to make up for that is now.”In January, the head of Harvard University’s chemistry department was federally charged with failing to disclose funding from the Chinese government, after he hid his involvement in the talents program, which encourages the stealing of U.S. intellectual property.China has come under fire for its handling of the coronavirus, despite pushing propaganda, which has been parroted by Western media, in an attempt to shift criticism to the U.S. A study released earlier this month detailed how the Chinese Communist Party could have prevented 95 percent of total infections if it had acted sooner to limit the spread and warn others.
President Trump on Monday criticized attempts by Democrats in Congress to expand voting access for the presidential election in the fall, saying increased voter turnout would keep Republicans from getting elected.
An FBI report about China’s involvement with scientific research in the U.S. has raised alarms. While the report refers broadly to foreign researchers, all three cases cited involve Chinese nationals.
Recordings obtained by Guardian reveal people in Ice centers in the south concerned they are not being properly cared forDetainees at immigration detention centers across the American south have alleged heavy-handed crackdowns amid increasing panic and protest over the coronavirus pandemic, according to advocates and recordings of detainees obtained by the Guardian.A number of detainees have expressed concern they are not being properly cared for in packed detention centers. Former senior immigration officials and attorneys have called for the release of nonviolent detainees. Judges in New Jersey, New York and California have ordered the release of small numbers, based on health concerns.“People are terrified for their lives and think that they’re going to die there,” said Phoebe Lytle, a law student volunteer who has spoken with detainees at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) facilities in Louisiana. “I don’t think anyone is saying it in a light or flippant way.”Jaclyn Cole, an outreach paralegal at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), said she was called on Tuesday by a Cuban asylum seeker who said officers dressed in riot gear were shooting rubber bullets and using chemical agents on detainees after a dispute with guards.During the five-minute call to Pine Prairie Ice processing center, Cole said she heard between 10 and 15 shots.Ice spokesperson Bryan D Cox did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He has previously denied that the privately operated facility possesses rubber bullets, after detainees have reported their use. Cox did confirm to Mother Jones that seven people at Pine Prairie were pepper-sprayed on Tuesday.Elsewhere in Louisiana, guards at the LaSalle Ice center allegedly sprayed a man with what he called “toxic gas” on Monday after two other detainees cautioned detainees to forgo meals because food could carry Covid-19. The man was hospitalized, said Verónica Fernández, a project coordinator with the SPLC’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative.Cox did not respond to a request for comment on that incident. He did confirm a separate use of force at LaSalle on Wednesday to Buzzfeed News.Since Covid-19 started spreading through the US, health and immigration experts have expressed concern that Ice is unequipped to deal with the crisis. The US runs the largest immigration detention system in the world and there is a well-documented record of infections ballooning into outbreaks in such facilities. Now, coronavirus has infected some of the agency’s employees and detainees, which experts said was inevitable.Two detainees in New Jersey Ice facilities and five employees at four facilities in Texas, Colorado and New Jersey have confirmed coronavirus cases, according to Ice. No cases have been publicly announced in southern states.The Trump administration has massively expanded the use of immigration detention facilities, with hardline policies that have driven the detention population to record highs. States in the deep south have opened more new facilities than anywhere else.Advocates say immigrants held in Louisiana suspect Covid-19 has reached their facilities as the state becomes a major virus hotspot. At Ice’s South Louisiana center, a woman alleged she saw officers in hazmat suits feeding someone through a slot in a door, Cole said. At LaSalle, Fernández said, a dorm has reportedly been quarantined, and detainees believe two people have the disease.“They’re not giving people what they need to protect themselves, and that is social distancing,” said Fernández. “That’s not something people can do in detention.”Ice has said detainees’ “health, welfare and safety … is one of the agency’s highest priorities”.“Since the onset of reports of Covid-19, Ice epidemiologists have been tracking the outbreak, regularly updating infection prevention and control protocols, and issuing guidance to Ice Health Service Corps (IHSC) staff for the screening and management of potential exposure among detainees,” according to the agency’s website.Some detainees believe they will not receive fair treatment in government care. In a recorded call from Richwood correctional center in Louisiana, released by the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice and shared with the Guardian, one detainee said: “They’re not going to take a facemask from anyone, from any American, to put it on an immigrant. This means we are going to die.”Advocates say anyone in detention is likely to have a compromised immune system, but some also have pre-existing conditions. Lytle said she spoke to a 61-year-old asthmatic at Jackson Parish correctional center, another facility used by Ice in Louisiana, whom she said was “very, very worried” and called to tell her people in his dorm were refusing meals.A woman named Denisse, whose husband is at Stewart detention center in Georgia, feared what might happen as new detainees arrived and guards came and went.“It’s just spreading rapidly, you know?” Denisse said. “And his immune system is already weak.”Her husband has a pre-existing condition that has become worse since he arrived at the facility in September, she said, adding that he recently underwent a procedure and uses a catheter. She shook with relief when she learned he would be released on Monday. The reason for his release was unclear.Hilda Jorge Perez, whose husband is at Richwood, said he had heart problems and high blood pressure. She worried that if he got infected, she would not be able to see him.Perez’s husband was among at least 60 people who staged a hunger strike earlier this week. The protesters were forced to end the strike after officials told them they would be put in Ice’s version of solitary confinement and have phone and television privileges removed, Perez said.Detainees at Stewart planned a similar strike. They demanded they either be released or deported instead of waiting to be infected, according to recordings of calls provided by a North Carolina advocacy group.“We’re not going to eat until Ice comes here and gives us answers, and gives us a solution,” one man said.A spokesperson for Ice accused advocates of circulating rumors about a hunger strike at Stewart, which she said never happened.
China sent a plane loaded with medical personnel and supplies Saturday to help Pakistan fight the spread of the coronavirus in one of the world’s most populous nations. In Iran, which is battling the worst outbreak in the region, state TV said Saturday another 139 people had died from the virus. China has sought to portray itself as a global leader in the fight against the outbreak, which began a few months ago in its Wuhan province.
In a world desperate for good news about the coronavirus, a dip in global carbon emissions caused by the outbreak’s economic downturn might be seen as a silver lining. But climate scientists and policy experts aren’t encouraged.
Italy on Friday recorded the most daily deaths of any country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and Spain had its deadliest day, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson became the first major world leader to test positive. Italy reported 969 new deaths, Spain 769 and France 299 as Europe reeled from a crisis that led the United States on Friday to finalise an unprecedented $ 2 trillion stimulus package. In other grim milestones, AFP tallies showed more than 26,000 deaths worldwide, and a total of 300,000 cases now recorded in Europe, after the United States overtook China as the country with the most infections.
A large majority of Americans disagree with President Trump that the nation’s battle against the coronavirus is winding down and that normal economic activity should resume sooner rather than later, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll.
The number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus rose to 1,031 in the United States on Wednesday, with 68,572 confirmed cases nationwide, a tracker run by the Johns Hopkins University showed. The United States has the third highest number of confirmed cases behind China and Italy, and the US death rate is now 1.5 percent, based on reported cases. A projection shared with Congress earlier this month said that between 70 to 150 million people could eventually be infected in the United States.
Newt Gingrich joined The View live from Rome on Thursday morning where he has been quarantined for weeks with his wife, U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Calista Gingrich. And yet despite living in the horror that could be America’s near future, the former Republican Speaker of the House had only mild criticism for the way President Donald Trump has handled the coronavirus crisis. Gingrich acknowledged that the president and his task force should probably be “social distancing” during their daily press briefings. And he threw some cold water on Trump’s promise to get the economy up and running again by Easter. “I think the president's direction is right, but probably the speed won’t happen as fast as he wants it to,” he said diplomatically. But the most contentious part of the interview came when co-host Sunny Hostin asked Gingrich to weigh in on the $ 2 trillion stimulus package passed by the Senate Wednesday night. Joe Biden Blasts Trump on ‘The View’: We Can’t Just ‘Let People Die’“Several Republican senators are worried unemployment benefits will be so enticing that people will stop working,” Hostin said. “Senator Graham even implied that the benefits would incentivize well-trained nurses to stay home and collect a check.” She was citing a joint statement from Senators Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, and Tim Scott that read, “If the federal government accidentally incentivizes layoffs, we risk life-threatening shortages in sectors where doctors, nurses, and pharmacists are trying to care for the sick, and where growers and grocers, truckers and cooks are trying to get food to families’ tables.” “Do you share their concern?” Hostin asked.“Sure, as a practical matter you have to,” Gingrich replied. “As I understand it, there's one part of this where you can actually make more money not working. That’s not a very good incentive.” Of course, the unemployment relief in the stimulus package would only benefit workers who are laid off due to the economic crisis—not doctors and nurses who are needed more than ever in this moment. As he continued talking, Whoopi Goldberg could be heard off-screen saying, “That’s so disrespectful!” She added later, “Lindsey Graham should be ashamed of himself.” “It just seems to me the suggestion that nurses who are on the front line are not going to work and sacrifice the way that they have because they're going to be making a few hundred dollars more is ludicrous,” Hostin told Gingrich, “but that's just my opinion.” “It's insulting! It's insulting!” Goldberg added. She repeated, “Lindsey Graham should be ashamed of himself to say something like that in the middle of all of this.” Fox News Host Martha MacCallum Nails Kellyanne Conway for Rewriting Trump’s Coronavirus HistoryRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
The U.S. military has decided it will stop providing some of the more granular data about coronavirus infections within its ranks out of concern that the information might be used by adversaries as the virus spreads.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, said Thursday that Italy has been impacted particularly badly by the coronavirus pandemic because the country hosted a high number of Chinese tourists in recent months."When you look at the different patterns of what happened in different countries, China versus South Korea versus what we're seeing in northern Italy, it really gives you some interesting insight into certain things, not only in the explosive nature in certain places versus others, but as you get to your peak, how do you know when you're turning the corner," Fauci said on CNN.“It’s when the new infections each day start to level off to be the same and then start going down, then you see the curve go down,” Fauci said, adding that Italy is "not there yet."Italy has reported declining numbers of new infections but still added more than 3,400 new cases on Tuesday. More than 57,500 people are currently infected with the coronavirus in Italy, and the country's death toll passed 7,500 on Wednesday."Italy got hit very badly because they had a large number of importations from China by Chinese tourists," Fauci said."Before they even knew what was going on, there was enough baseline people spreading that it essentially got out of hand, and it became difficult for them, as good as they are, and they're very good, to be able to contain it in a way that is contact-tracing. It was more mitigation," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases continued.Fauci also noted that the outbreak of the virus in Washington state differs from the outbreak in New York City, which is "getting hit terribly hard.""We're a big country, and there are different patterns," he explained.Washington state's outbreak involved the coronavirus spreading in several elder care homes, while New York City is a travel hub that experiences an "influx of travelers," Fauci said.New York City reported 100 new deaths from the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 385 as the number of infections topped 37,200.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday called for sanctions relief during the coronavirus pandemic, telling G20 leaders it was a matter “of life and death”. “Ideally we should introduce a… joint moratorium on restrictions on essential goods as well as on financial transactions for their purchase,” Putin said at a virtual meeting of G20 leaders Thursday. “These matters should be freed of any politics,” Putin added.
India’s 1.3 billion people will go under “total lockdown” for 21 days to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday, sparking panic buying with shoppers clearing out shelves. “From 12 midnight today (1830 GMT Tuesday), the entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown,” Modi said in a national television address to the world’s second most-populous nation. “To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family… every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown.”
A senior Iranian official Tuesday ruled out “foreign” help on the ground to deal with the coronavirus epidemic after an offer from a France-based medical charity, as the country’s death toll from the illness neared 2,000. “Due to Iran’s national mobilisation against the virus and the full use of the medical capacity of the armed forces, it is not necessary for now for hospital beds to be set up by foreign forces, and their presence is ruled out,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, advisor to Iran’s health minister, said on Twitter. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour earlier said a record 1,762 new cases have been confirmed in Iran over the past 24 hours and 24,811 people are now known to have been infected with the new coronavirus.
Patrick, who is an American citizen, returned back to his current home in Beijing recently and per law is being quarantined in his apartment for 14 days since his arrival back to China. “Right now, [I’m] keeping my spirits up and enjoying it. I hope to be roaming outside freely and without a face mask very soon.”
Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) and Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) on Tuesday introduced a bicameral resolution to condemn the Chinese Communist Party for its initial handling of the coronavirus outbreak, and called for an international investigation to determine how the coverup hastened the emergence of a global pandemic.“Since day one, the Chinese Communist Party intentionally lied to the world about the origin of this pandemic. The CCP was aware of the reality of the virus as early as December but ordered laboratories to destroy samples and forced doctors to keep silent,” Hawley, who first called for an investigation last week, said in a press release.“There is no doubt that China’s unconscionable decision to orchestrate an elaborate coverup of the wide-ranging and deadly implications of coronavirus led to the death of thousands of people, including hundreds of Americans and climbing,” Stefanik added. “This Resolution calls for China to provide compensation for the harm, loss, and destruction their arrogance brought upon the rest of the world. Simply put China must, and will, be held accountable.”The bill calls the international community to “quantify the harm caused” by China’s actions and to “design a mechanism for delivering compensation” from the CCP to those affected.Reports have detailed how Wuhan laboratories in December discovered that coronavirus was related to the deadly SARS virus which broke out in 2002-2003, but were subsequently gagged by government authorities, who ordered them to turn over or destroy evidence.China has also promoted a propaganda campaign to push a conspiracy theory that the virus originated in the U.S., which experts have called “a counteroffensive” and “a kind of blame-shifting.”