Coronavirus Rapidly Spreading, Already Jumped Out Of China

It now appears this epidemic started in a Wuhan fishmarket.  It left ground zero about two weeks ago and is already popping up all over the place.  This isn’t like Maoist China where travel of any sort was nearly impossible.  Today, the Chinese are extremely mobile and enjoy moving about but this means the traditional diseases are moving very rapidly, too.  As I feared, this all is happening too fast to stop.

Time to visit Wuhan:

Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan is one of the iconic sites in this Chinese province.  The map above shows the region is very wet and the Google pictures often show heavy clouds.  What I find interesting in old Chinese architecture is how it is rather menacing as well as grandiose.  Here is a typical Japanese temple that is less menacing:

Japan has a much more sheltered history, the mainland Chinese have been invaded repeatedly and hammered hard.  Thus, I suspect, the more intimidating styles of buildings.  Back to the pestilent disease: China is home base and has been taking this very seriously.  They do really try to stop these epidemics but it is often hopeless.  The country is simply too big, the landscape too friendly for diseases.  For the last 5,000 years, this has been a constant throb of diseases moving out of China and across to Europe and then, the entire earth.

It is now even reaching Australia via jet passengers.  From what I can see, the victims are nearly all under 50 years of age, that is, post-Hong Kong flu age.  This is very odd but quite easy to see in action.  The other big issue here is how nearly all of these occur first in China or the borders of China along the Mongol frontier.

The Daily Mail is reporting that this virus could have escaped from a lab but I doubt this.  It is not an old virus, it is a novel, new type:

Like the Hong Kong flu which flew in on a jet into San Francisco, this epidemic is coming to the West Coast and one sick person traveled from Tacoma, Washington to the border of Canada, not far from where Prince Harry and his wife moved to get away from the royals.  I will also note that the sick man was under the age of 50.  This is like previous major epidemics.

At this point in time, it is now spread pretty far and wide.  Stopping it is now impossible.


And another scientific journal article has suggested the virus first infected snakes, which may then have transmitted it to people at the market in Wuhan.


Peking University researchers analysed the genes of the coronavirus and said they most closely matched viruses which are known to affect snakes. They said: ‘Results derived from our evolutionary analysis suggest for the first time that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV,’ in the Journal of Medical Virology.


Snakes or bats, both are eaten by the Chinese who seem to eat everything.


Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.


Speaking at a briefing yesterday, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.


‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than 1 in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’


A 2 percent death rate is a lot of people when we are talking about billions of people.  This virus causes pneumonia but then…this is why the Hong Kong flu was so deadly! I remember vividly the pneumonia I had from it, my upper left lung was badly damaged, for example.  I told people my breathing was like a broken bellows.  I wheezed.  I coughed up phlegm for weeks and weeks, had to keep a container near my hospital bed for this.  Yuck.  I used to be able to sing quite well but after the Hong Kong flu, I could never sing soprano opera again.  This really upset me badly.


It was a horrible change, all sorts of bad side effects.  My heart goes out to the victims of this new epidemic.  I pray they survive, too and I feel their pain from afar.


Filed under .money matters

22 responses to “Coronavirus Rapidly Spreading, Already Jumped Out Of China

  1. Zeke

    Futurist have been saying for quite a while now that – one of these days – there’ll be a germ that makes the leap, le grand jeté, to do horrific worldwide damage. Maybe not SARS, or AIDS, or MERS …… I wonder if this is it. Is this the one they warned us about?
    Adding fuel to fire are worldwide travel by air (about 10,000 planes or 1 Million people in the air at any given time) and worldwide abuse of antibiotics rendering them ineffective.

  2. Hell Soonish

    Really don’t see what all the panic is about.
    This is a virus that enters through the nose and mouth, so a face mask provides all the needed protection. Can’t be too hard to make a chewing mint that kills this virus either.
    Flu kills a few thousand in USA every year, no one seems to care much.

  3. Nina

    With 1,4 billion, China has way too many people. The city of Wuhan, who few has ever heard of until now, has 11 million people. China is a large country, but 95% of the population is crammed together in the eastern half of the country. The western part is mostly dessert and mountains.

    In such a massive and dense population it must be an almost impossible task to curb the spread of an epidemic. Then you have a government that hides information from its people. One can only hope that China manages to stop this epidemic.

  4. It is impossible. China is a dictatorship so they can try. About ‘few deaths’: surviving this sort of disease is horrible, hard, takes more than a YEAR and you can lose your teeth, part of your brains, part of your lungs, etc. No laughing matter.

  5. ed

    Most of those masks you see are 40-60% effective, less so for airborne virus. Problem is when you touch the mask to take it off or parts not covered by the masks like the eyes and hands. Good news is it should be over in 6-24 months.

  6. Jim R

    The mask is an almost meaningless gesture. It doesn’t really have an air-tight seal around your face. And the size of a virus is much much smaller than the pores in the mask.

    You can avoid airports and other places where travelers arrive.

    And you can eat healthy local food.

    And that’s about it. If there’s going to be a pnademic, you will be exposed unless you are in the moon colony.

  7. Healthy food doesn’t matter. As I pointed out, this sort of epidemic hits the healthy and strong, not the elderly or weak. It comes on fast and it is horrible, it happened to me many years ago.

  8. lou

    As I pointed out, this sort of epidemic hits the healthy and strong, not the elderly or weak.

  9. Kenogami

    In fact, the median age of the victims of this coronavirus in China is 75 years old. That means it attacks those who already have a weakened immune system.

  10. Zeke

    8 – explanation:

    My guess is, as Elaine alluded to, is that it’s not that the virus is hunting for “young and healthy” people but rather that the virus gets a foothold in people who do not already have an established immune response from past exposures to similar viruses.

    It is these people who just so happen to be young. And younger people are generally healthier in their overall general health. Just lack an immune response irrespective of age and health.

  11. Not everyone got the Hong Kong flu. I did. Never had a flu since except for the novel norovirus which was not a flu.

  12. Jim R

    Healthy food matters if you’re a baby.

    When babies are not fed properly, they get tuberculosis and other opportunistic diseases.

    But if they have enough to eat, enough protein and enough vitamin C etc., their immune systems are like those of wolverines. Polio is nothing. Various strains of flu might make ’em sneeze a time or two (and spread it all over), but they will shrug it off.

  13. Jim, that is utterly insane. I was alive and running around when polio was destroying children left and right including one of my playmates. My father was working at the University in Chicago back then when Salk created the vaccine and wanted the first volunteers.

    MOST of the professors lined up us kids! I got it way back at the very beginning. I still remember that day. We were lined up in the hallway. In the room there, kids would go in happy and come out crying so I got suspicious. Then it was my turn! OUCH. I still have that distinctive scar on my upper left arm. I showed it off at kindergarten to the other kids as a battle scar.

    Polio hit healthy kids a lot. Eating foods of various sorts was utterly worthless. Being strong was useless. There was no protections, it was random chance, who got it.

  14. Jim R

    Not talking about 5 year olds. Babies. If you haven’t been exposed by the time you are 4 or 5, polio becomes deadly.

    So, infant malnutrition is OK, you say?

  15. Jim R

    The polio vaccine they use today is a tiny sip of sweet syrup. The doctor (with rubber gloves on) gives the infant live viruses in suspension.

    If you have not been vaccinated, the syrup is actually dangerous to you.

  16. Jim R

    They are not wild viruses, they are carefully lab-grown viruses, with ‘attenuated’ virulence.

    But they are alive, and can propagate, and can do some damage if unchecked by an immune response.

  17. Living in a perfect world is impossible. Living in a BETTER world thanks to vaccinations is WONDERFUL. People who are fooled into believing that vaccinations are evil usually have nasty things happen to themselves or their children. This is sad and stupid at the same time and I have little sympathy for the parents but am very angry about the children being exposed to unnecessary diseases that are extremely dangerous and sometimes, fatal.

  18. lou

    16–could be true
    17–too much of a good thing becomes a deadly thing.

  19. How on earth does that work out??? Seriously, living in a world that screwed up is odd. Widdershins, I would suggest. I see a lot of this sort of thinking in people who live very protected lives.

  20. Jim R

    @ #13 — well, let’s try an experiment, then. You can wash down Cheetos with Boone’s Farm, and I will eat steak and potatoes and brussels sprouts. We’ll see who stays healthy longest . .

    (although it’s probably not a fair test, since I know both of us will be avoiding crowds if we can do so)

  21. Jim R

    The scar on your arm is from the old smallpox vaccine. I have one too, being the same age as you. And yes, they marched us all down to the nurse’s office at school when the Salk vaccine came out, and gave us all a shot of it. (but it didn’t leave a scar)

    They have stopped doing that one, because smallpox is thought to be extinct (apart from a few tales of secret military weapon labs brewing up batches of the stuff).

  22. lou

    20–one test I read of was…starving rats vs rats fed only sugar.
    guess which ones lived longer? the starved rats. [and I eat sugar].

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