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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/26/20

Coronavirus Update: Following the Money

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Message Kit Knightly
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Republished from OffGuardian

'Zombie'-Coronavirus  Flu Hysteria
'Zombie'-Coronavirus Flu Hysteria
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The Coronavirus is still the big-ticket news item, with confirmed cases now covering 11 countries. ELEVEN!

Most of the mainstream media are doing that, saying the number of countries rather than the number of people. I suppose because it carries the implication that, somehow, everyone in all those 11 countries is under some kind of imminent threat.

As of the time of writing, the real (or at least reportedly real) numbers stand at 1407 cases, 41 deaths. Which means the mortality rate is now actually below 3%.

For comparison's sake the death rate of the Ebola virus is 90%, Bubonic plague 40-60%, Smallpox was ~30%, and the 1918 Spanish flu between 10 and 20%. So we're hardly dealing with a big-hitter here.

Even the hysterical-nothing burger that was SARS had a (reported) death rate approaching 10%. [For more on the links between SARS and the Wuhan outbreak see John Rappoport's excellent work on the subject].

For anyone doubting that, whatever the truth of the situation on the ground, this is being hyped to spread fear: The Guardian has a big red "LIVE BLOG" for the disease today. Counting up the death toll very slowly, and with what I would call a rather unseemly amount of enthusiasm.

China are building a whole new hospital, we're being told. There are "bodies in the streets", apparently:

Videos coming out of Wuhan, China bodies on the street and hospitals jam packed the Coronavirus epidemic is spreading
Videos coming out of Wuhan, China bodies on the street and hospitals jam packed the Coronavirus epidemic is spreading
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The Daily Mail is reporting that an Australian research team is "racing against the clock" to engineer a vaccine. The researchers claim it will take them 6 months (a very fast turnaround for vaccine development, which usually takes years).

If the disease carries on its current trajectory, by the end of that six months roughly 7200 people will have been infected, around 250 of whom will have died.

In the same timeframe, about 15,000 people will have been injured in car accidents, and around 900 of them will have died"in the UK alone.

Based on that, you could argue the resources poured into the "race against time" would be better spent inventing stronger seat-belts or funding an anti-drink driving campaign.

After all, any good this hypothetical vaccine might do needs to be off-set against the potential dangers of injecting thousands even millions of people with a vaccine that will have had no long term safety studies whatsoever.

Of course, the Daily Mail doesn't mention that.

Another thing The Daily Mail doesn't mention is that the vaccine being developed by Queensland University is a cooperative project with Philadelphia-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals, who received a grant of $9 million to combat the Wuhan outbreak.

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[Republished from Off-Guardian] 

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

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