Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It’s the Culture, Stupid! How We Got the Wuhan Coronavirus

 

With Novel Coronavirus spreading like wildfire everywhere in the world now, perhaps you are wondering where this virus came from in the first place. You might wish to know how it was that last fall in China, someone in the medical establishment there noticed some cases of a particularly nasty pneumonia cropping up around Hubei Province in central China; the capital city of Wuhan in particular.

Let’s start, then, at the beginning. Chinese culture is very old, going back many centuries, and many of the culinary characteristics of today’s China are throwbacks to a much more primitive time. In the long past, like in most countries, the Chinese people lived closer to the forests. In those forests lived many species of animals, and the people killed and ate those animals. When the Chinese people became more civilized and moved into villages and then into cities, they brought many of their culinary tastes with them. Chinese people today still have a taste for unusual foods like pangolin, bats, and shark fins. It is well-known that Chinese will pay good money for some very unusual foods, and that has led to their encouraging of poaching of some endangered species.

Cultures in Africa also have a taste for some exotic wildlife, and many tribes today still live in or near jungles and forests, where they hunt and eat wild animals, sometimes including primates. Here is a picture of a market stall in Africa, where they are selling exotic wildlife for food.

In Africa, this is called “bushmeat”, and you can see the face of a primate among the specimens in this market. It is well-known that some diseases can be spread by the consumption of exotic animals, and that eating the flesh of primates may carry what is known in humans as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease. This is a particularly gruesome, incurable condition that causes the brain to deteriorate.

Getting back to the beginning, scientists for decades have known that many exotic species of forest and jungle wildlife carry their own kinds of viruses and bacteria. In these species, the pathogens often do not cause any kind of adverse effects or illnesses. In fact, we humans also carry many harmless, and sometimes beneficial, viruses and bacteria (bacteria are what actually allows us to digest our food). It is only when humans consume, or live among, these exotic species that their viruses and bacteria can “jump” to humans, and then they can cause very harmful diseases. This process is called “zoonosis”.

In the early 20th Century, it has been determined, the virus that causes AIDS first jumped from African primates to humans. It remained localized for a long time, but eventually made its way into civilization, and was spread very rapidly by homosexual humans and their multiple sex partners (the original “spreader” was a flight attendant who boasted of over 2,500 partners). The Ebola virus, whose name refers to a river in Africa, was spread by Africans and their penchant for eating bushmeat, and it remains a stubborn low-level epidemic in multiple parts of Africa. Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a virus found in horses that can spread to humans, and African Swine Fever has recently decimated the pigs of China (it is similar to Ebola in humans). Scientists and wildlife experts have been trying for decades to get Africans to stop eating bushmeat, but their efforts have been in vain. Culture is just too powerful.

Well, the same kind of situation holds in modern China. The Wuhan Wet Market is an institution in the large capital city of Hubei Province, where citizens can buy all manner of wild animals for food. Investigators have determined that the virus that is now propagating everywhere in the world originated in bats sold in the market. And the Chinese people have proven similarly resistant to giving up their cultural taste for exotic food. The Communist Party has closed the market for now, but the culture does not change that quickly. Here’s a new interesting article.

China has been a Communist country since 1949, and the Party has added another layer of culture over the original Chinese culture. Their culture of secrecy and arrogance contributed in large part to the spread of this new disease. However, their very-Chinese concentration on “saving face” also helped in a big way to keep this world-wide pandemic going. The Communist Party’s prime directive is tranquillity-they will do anything to avoid unrest in the population. So they did things like suppress news of the disease outbreak, and put the doctor who originally told his medical colleagues about it under isolation, making him sign a confession to “spreading rumors”, and condemning him to death from the virus.

Communism is Evil, and it can lead to situations like we are seeing now. People all over the world are succumbing to this previously-unknown virus, and their deaths can be attributed in part to Chinese and Communist Culture.

Crossposted at RushBabe49.com; always welcoming visitors and potential followers]

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  1. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The types of meat are not the problem. Food preparation and hygiene are. I’m not aware of any animal that can’t be made edible. 

    Poverty and ignorance are accompanied by such bad practices. It’s a cultural problem to the extent that a culture keeps a people poor, as various forms of statism do. 

    RushBabe49: The Communist Party’s prime directive is tranquillity-they will do anything to avoid unrest in the population. So they did things like suppress news of the disease outbreak, and put the doctor who originally told his medical colleagues about it under isolation, making him sign a confession to “spreading rumors”, and condemning him to death from the virus.

    Of course, this is a bigger problem. We all suffer when truth is suppressed. 

    • #1
    • March 23, 2020, at 6:04 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    In a Ricochet post yesterday, I wrote about China’s wildlife farms and wet markets, which have been known for years to be a source of novel coronaviruses. The world must demand they be shut down.

    • #2
    • March 23, 2020, at 7:06 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    The types of meat are not the problem. Food preparation and hygiene are. I’m not aware of any animal that can’t be made edible. 

    Yes, my question is whether the danger from viruses can be eliminated if the food is cooked well. 

    • #3
    • March 23, 2020, at 7:20 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    The types of meat are not the problem. Food preparation and hygiene are. I’m not aware of any animal that can’t be made edible.

    Yes, my question is whether the danger from viruses can be eliminated if the food is cooked well.

    It is the markets where these different types of animals are mingled with some being known vectors for coronaviruses such as bats and civets (the source of the SARS epidemic). The world has known since SARS in 2003 that these markets were going to continue to generate new coronaviruses and start pandemics. China has refused to shut them down (and they exist in some other East Asian countries).

    • #4
    • March 23, 2020, at 7:28 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    In a Ricochet post yesterday, I wrote about China’s wildlife farms and wet markets, which have been known for years to be a source of novel coronaviruses. The world must demand they be shut down.

    It would be difficult for “the world” to demand that China change its ancient culture. And what kind of a response do you think you would elicit from Communist China with that sort of demand? Something about messing with China’s internal affairs. 

    • #5
    • March 23, 2020, at 7:32 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    In a Ricochet post yesterday, I wrote about China’s wildlife farms and wet markets, which have been known for years to be a source of novel coronaviruses. The world must demand they be shut down.

    It would be difficult for “the world” to demand that China change its ancient culture. And what kind of a response do you think you would elicit from Communist China with that sort of demand? Something about messing with China’s internal affairs.

    We know that if they are not closed a pandemic worse than the one we now face, will eventually emerge. It is the right thing to do and it is also the strategic thing to do as China is now bragging about its response to the virus and buying time for the world, which is nonsense.

    I’ve done plenty of accident and incident investigations during my career. We look at proximate cause for the immediate trigger and root cause to get at the fundamental issues. The proximate cause was China’s mishandling of its response to the virus in December and January but the root cause is the very existence of these markets – a problem known for many years. Make China try to defend its irresponsible behavior that puts the world at risk – it is not an internal matter.

    • #6
    • March 23, 2020, at 7:37 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. KentForrester Moderator

    RushBabe, yours is the most interesting article on the Coronavirus that I have read. It also makes a whole lot of sense. 

    Great job!

    • #7
    • March 23, 2020, at 7:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    I am pretty sure this virus was created by Trump and by using US soldiers introduced this thing to Chinese so he have his racist agenda of closing the border.

    • #8
    • March 23, 2020, at 7:51 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. The Reticulator Member

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    The types of meat are not the problem. Food preparation and hygiene are. I’m not aware of any animal that can’t be made edible.

    Yes, my question is whether the danger from viruses can be eliminated if the food is cooked well.

    I’m not sure the transmission to humans is by eating them as food. There are other possibilities in that type of wet market environment. But the transmission among humans is not via cannibalism, so I’m not sure that’s how they got to humans in the first place.

    If anyone knows better, please speak up. (Tonight I’ve been reading a few scientific articles on the topic from the past 13-14 years; well, mostly reading the introductions and conclusions and skimming to get the gist of the techniques used. But I haven’t seen that question addressed directly.) 

     

    • #9
    • March 23, 2020, at 9:00 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  10. Stina Member

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):
    It is the right thing to do and it is also the strategic thing to do as China is now bragging about its response to the virus and buying time for the world, which is nonsense

    The right thing to do, once you recognize someone as a threat, is to cut them off. You avoid them. Best solution to China is simply cut them off – not force change on them against their will.

    • #10
    • March 23, 2020, at 9:08 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Stina (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):
    It is the right thing to do and it is also the strategic thing to do as China is now bragging about its response to the virus and buying time for the world, which is nonsense

    The right thing to do, once you recognize someone as a threat, is to cut them off. You avoid them. Best solution to China is simply cut them off – not force change on them against their will.

    We need to decouple and do as little business with China as possible. Business needs to be spread around, preferably with other first world Democracies.

    • #11
    • March 23, 2020, at 9:15 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  12. MarciN Member

    This is a troubling but informative article on this critical issue.

    • #12
    • March 23, 2020, at 9:22 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Is the problem that these markets exist or that they are completely unregulated? I like as little interference as possible in markets. But if a food market repeatedly makes people sick then the conditions of that market must be changed. 

    Could these people go on selling what they are selling under more hygienic conditions? 

    If the problem is that bats and vermin are scurrying around and crapping everywhere, that has nothing to do with what food vendors are selling. Even a fancy American restaurant would be problematic if not cleaned and guarded from pests. 

    • #13
    • March 23, 2020, at 9:26 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Is the problem that these markets exist or that they are completely unregulated? I like as little interference as possible in markets. But if a food market repeatedly makes people sick then the conditions of that market must be changed.

    Could these people go on selling what they are selling under more hygienic conditions?

    If the problem is that bats and vermin are scurrying around and crapping everywhere, that has nothing to do with what food vendors are selling. Even a fancy American restaurant would be problematic if not cleaned and guarded from pests.

    The article MarciN linked in the comment above yours should help explain.

    • #14
    • March 23, 2020, at 10:26 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. The Reticulator Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    The types of meat are not the problem. Food preparation and hygiene are. I’m not aware of any animal that can’t be made edible.

    Yes, my question is whether the danger from viruses can be eliminated if the food is cooked well.

    I’m not sure the transmission to humans is by eating them as food. There are other possibilities in that type of wet market environment. But the transmission among humans is not via cannibalism, so I’m not sure that’s how they got to humans in the first place.

    If anyone knows better, please speak up. (Tonight I’ve been reading a few scientific articles on the topic from the past 13-14 years; well, mostly reading the introductions and conclusions and skimming to get the gist of the techniques used. But I haven’t seen that question addressed directly.)

    One fascinating thing I learned is that it was determined that bat populations are deemed to be the reservoir or source of coronaviruses, because although many animal populations in this part of China have coronaviruses, the populations of the many strains of coronoviruses in bats are rather stable while those in other animals in the same places are in exponential or logistic growth phases. In other words, the strains got to those other animals more recently.

    The study that determined this was based on collecting samples at a single point in time. So how do you determine the growth rate of a population from data taken at a single point in time? I don’t know, but a software program called BEAST is what’s used for it. BEAST is at version 2.6.2 now, while the report I was reading was from a 2007 study when BEAST 1.4 was used. Maybe I’ll find an explanation of the assumptions behind this method.

    One pathway that has gotten a lot of attention is bats to civets to humans, partly because the cornaviruses in humans are measurably similar to those in civets. 

     

    • #15
    • March 24, 2020, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Barfly Member

    I thought we were well past the “wet market” excuse. It’s far more likely the virus came from one of two nearby medical/research facilities. There’s actual evidence for that, altho’ I confess I haven’t read the paper, and none (that I’ve heard of) for the market theory.

    But the wet market theory provides more opportunity for amusement. Who knew the Chinese were so far ahead of us culturally? They’ve had their own Whole Foods for centuries.

    • #16
    • March 24, 2020, at 7:58 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MarciN (View Comment):

    This is a troubling but informative article on this critical issue.

    So the essential problem is that many live species are crowded together for extended periods? If they separated the species and cleaned up, I imagine it would be comparable to American poultry farms. 

    I’m just trying to think of how poor people can continue selling livestock in safer conditions. There might be alternatives to shutting them down altogether.

    • #17
    • March 24, 2020, at 8:42 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. Retail Lawyer Member

    This is the most disturbing video. It cannot be unseen. This comes with a real, honest trigger warning. OMG

     

    https://moonbattery.com/how-chinese-come-up-with-new-diseases/

     

     

    • #18
    • March 24, 2020, at 8:51 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. MarciN Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    This is a troubling but informative article on this critical issue.

    So the essential problem is that many live species are crowded together for extended periods? If they separated the species and cleaned up, I imagine it would be comparable to American poultry farms.

    I’m just trying to think of how poor people can continue selling livestock in safer conditions. There might be alternatives to shutting them down altogether.

    I agree. They cannot continue doing this the way they are, but they could institute some better practices.

    Which is why it is so frustrating that it has not been dealt with before this. There are relatively easy solutions.

    • #19
    • March 24, 2020, at 8:58 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  20. MarciN Member

    Retail Lawyer (View Comment):

    This is the most disturbing video. It cannot be unseen. This comes with a real, honest trigger warning. OMG

     

    https://moonbattery.com/how-chinese-come-up-with-new-diseases/

     

    Oh wow I wish I hadn’t clicked even for ten seconds. 

    We’ve got to stop trading with China. 

     

    • #20
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:01 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. KentForrester Moderator

    Retail Lawyer (View Comment):

    This is the most disturbing video. It cannot be unseen. This comes with a real, honest trigger warning. OMG

     

    https://moonbattery.com/how-chinese-come-up-with-new-diseases/

     

    Take it from me, don’t look. I did and I’m sorry I did. My mind will be troubled for a few days because I looked.

     

    • #21
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:06 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    The main point is that the practices are Cultural, not simply agricultural, and very resistant to change. Same with the Africans.

    • #22
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:06 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Retail Lawyer (View Comment):

    This is the most disturbing video. It cannot be unseen. This comes with a real, honest trigger warning. OMG

     

    https://moonbattery.com/how-chinese-come-up-with-new-diseases/

     

     

    Yeah, eating animals raw us just stupidity.

    It amazes me that Chinese officials don’t try to rewrite humanity, as statists are wont to do. Don’t they dictate other habits even in rural areas? 

    The young guy eating a live frog seened to be doing it as a dare. I doubt eating live raw meat is as common in the cities.

    • #23
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:13 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. KentForrester Moderator

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Retail Lawyer (View Comment):

    This is the most disturbing video. It cannot be unseen. This comes with a real, honest trigger warning. OMG

    https://moonbattery.com/how-chinese-come-up-with-new-diseases/

    Yeah, eating animals raw us just stupidity.

    It amazes me that Chinese officials don’t try to rewrite humanity, as statists are wont to do. Don’t they dictate other habits even in rural areas?

    The young guy eating a live frog seened to be doing it as a dare. I doubt eating live raw meat is as common in the cities.

    It’s the dog on the stove that bothers the heck out of me. The dog is alive. However, I didn’t get a good look because I turned away so quickly.

    • #24
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:21 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  25. MarciN Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    The main point is that the practices are Cultural, not simply agricultural, and very resistant to change. Same with the Africans.

    So was foot binding. One of my top favorite movies is The Inn of Sixth Happiness with Ingrid Bergman. It’s a true story of a missionary who worked in China at the time of the Japanese invasions during World War II to get this horrible practice to end in rural China.

    It can be done. People can change.

    • #25
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:29 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  26. The Reticulator Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    I thought we were well past the “wet market” excuse. It’s far more likely the virus came from one of two nearby medical/research facilities. There’s actual evidence for that, altho’ I confess I haven’t read the paper, and none (that I’ve heard of) for the market theory.

    But the wet market theory provides more opportunity for amusement. Who knew the Chinese were so far ahead of us culturally? They’ve had their own Whole Foods for centuries.

    I haven’t heard any evidence for the escape from elsewhere. This origins of this coronovirus can be traced reasonably well to “families” of coronoviruses that are found in bat and other animal populations.

    • #26
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:35 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. The Reticulator Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    So the essential problem is that many live species are crowded together for extended periods? If they separated the species and cleaned up, I imagine it would be comparable to American poultry farms. 

    That part may still be an open question. It’s a good one, though.

    There is also a problem in Africa with “bushmeat” being a source of disease outbreaks. (Maybe it’s a different family of viruses; I wish my memory was better so I’d have kept that information in my head.) I don’t know that it’s one of too many species in close proximity. 

    • #27
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Barfly Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    I thought we were well past the “wet market” excuse. It’s far more likely the virus came from one of two nearby medical/research facilities. There’s actual evidence for that, altho’ I confess I haven’t read the paper, and none (that I’ve heard of) for the market theory.

    But the wet market theory provides more opportunity for amusement. Who knew the Chinese were so far ahead of us culturally? They’ve had their own Whole Foods for centuries.

    I haven’t heard any evidence for the escape from elsewhere. This origins of this coronovirus can be traced reasonably well to “families” of coronoviruses that are found in bat and other animal populations.

    This article isn’t where I first heard about the local virology research, but I went looking because I wanted something that wouldn’t put people off like an academic paper. I just read it now, didn’t want to link something as unreliable as Vox without checking, and I don’t find anything stupid in it. Hopefully it’ll spark interest among the bored and quarantined. The truth is out there, I think, but finding it among the media’s idiocy and lies isn’t going to be easy.

    • #28
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:50 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  29. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Barfly (View Comment):

    I thought we were well past the “wet market” excuse. It’s far more likely the virus came from one of two nearby medical/research facilities. There’s actual evidence for that, altho’ I confess I haven’t read the paper, and none (that I’ve heard of) for the market theory.

    But the wet market theory provides more opportunity for amusement. Who knew the Chinese were so far ahead of us culturally? They’ve had their own Whole Foods for centuries.

    The medical/research lab is a possibility not a probability. There is a lot of back and forth about this. We know SARS and other coronaviruses originated in wet markets. Regardless of the origin of this one it is insane for these markets to continue operating because they will be the source of future, and perhaps more deadly, coronaviruses.

    And, in any event, there is a theory connecting the BioLab with the wet markets. China has had past scandals (at lower level safety labs – Wuhan is the only level 4 safety biolab in the country) where technicians have sold animals used for lab testing to the wet markets.

    • #29
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  30. The Reticulator Member

    Barfly (View Comment):
    This article isn’t where I first heard about the local virology research, but I went looking because I wanted something that wouldn’t put people off like an academic paper. I just read it now, didn’t want to link something as unreliable as Vox without checking, and I don’t find anything stupid in it. Hopefully it’ll spark interest among the bored and quarantined. The truth is out there, I think, but finding it among the media’s idiocy and lies isn’t going to be easy.

    That’s all interesting, but if anything it suggests to me that the virus is in some populations of animals, and that you can get it from them at the big food market or elsewhere. That’s not the only possibility, though.

    • #30
    • March 24, 2020, at 10:01 AM PDT
    • Like