Scientific research on the origin of covid-19 epidemics

Translated from: http://blog.udn.com/MengyuanWang/132337217

After the new coronavirus became a rare and serious challenge to human society in January, its origins have attracted a great deal of attention and discussion. Originally these discussions could have been purely scientific focused rational reflection, with a particular focus on how to prevent other similar new pathogens from triggering epidemics in the population in the future. However, after the epidemic spread to Europe and the United States in March, the regimes that faced the threat of a new crown at the latest, especially the United Kingdom and the United States, in order to cover up their responsibility for not making proper preparations due to arrogance and stupidity, began to bite back at China, which had already fought for a two-month buffer period for the world, and one of the main lines was to hold China “responsible” for causing the virus.

I’ve explained over and over again in the message board that the correct official response is to point to the fact that there is no international precedent for holding countries responsible for the origin of pandemics, and to use the fact that both 1918 and 2009 pandemics originated in North America as a direct shot in the face. To refute the other side with conspiracy theories or scientific research uncertainty is to first tacitly acknowledge that such responsibility exists and can be pursued, and that the battle has been largely lost before it has even begun. In addition, this way of messing with the water is in opposition to the natural course of history: as time passes, more information will be uncovered by research and more and more passive in the battlefield of public opinion. That’s why I’ve repeatedly stressed that conspiracy theories can at best be exaggerated by unofficials as a secondary counter-measure, and should never be used as a way to make angry youth feel good about themselves.

Unfortunately, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has chosen this far from optimal option. What would have been silent for the gullible people of the West is now even more inflamed. The opinion elite of the White Left could have been given solidarity, but now they can only shake their heads and stay out of it. For those in Chinese circles who care about this matter, what would have been an opportunity for science education to raise the level of public affairs discussion in the future only confirms once again what I often say, “the masses are stupid.”

I’d like to clarify the meaning of that statement here, it doesn’t mean that the members of the masses are below average in IQ. The fact that wisdom and insight are determined by talent, experience, and personal effort originally followed a statistical bell curve, distributed on both sides of the total human average, so that the intelligence of the members of the masses is by definition medium. The fact is that those who can and are interested in participating in public affairs discussions are already the higher-educated and higher-income groups, and their IQs tend to be on the higher-than-average side.

So the real meaning of “the masses are stupid” is that people, after agreeing to join a group, will say stupid things that they would not say alone and do stupid things that they would not do alone. Human beings are herd animals and are psychologically born in desperate need of group identity. If there is no suitable group around, they will even be willing to spend big money to support sports teams or become fans of actors, even if these athletes and actors don’t deserve them and don’t know or care about them. With the speechless endorsement of the group, one’s mindset suddenly changes and one begins to recklessly abandon reason, common sense and reserve and stop trying to do independent thinking or self-reflection. For example, the recent mad rush for toilet paper by consumers in Europe and the United States is a recognition of this temporary group of other rushers, thinking that since others are doing this, they should follow suit. The result of this psychological effect is that the collective thinking actions of the masses are far below the combined level of IQ of individual members.

This effect is manifested in the public forums where international affairs are discussed, when a group of people who lack deep knowledge of the politics, society, culture and customs of the rest of the world suddenly think that they have a complete and absolute grasp of the world, and in fact forget to respect the scientific attitude of facts and logic, and misinterpret the subjective projections of the group’s common likes and dislikes as objective truths of reality, thus distorting the argumentation of the best possible options. This is true of the populists in Britain and the United States; this is true of the Green camp in Taiwan; this is true of the Yellow Silk in Hong Kong; but this is also true of the angry Chinese youth who think they are tit-for-tat with these groups above.

This time the origin of the new crown virus was originally just a scientific issue and should not have been political in any way. The British and American politicians want to play the double-ballot, provoke the populists to cover up their incompetence, directly point out their fallacies and dismantle their tricks, but now it is the Chinese side that is voluntarily jumping into the cesspool, arguing against common sense on trivial and ambiguous details. These theories are completely unsupported, often contradictory, and contrary to known facts. Do you still remember the “new crown is a biochemical weapon that only works on the yellow race” that was so loudly said in January? Another example is to describe the e-cigarette case in the US as an undiagnosed new coronary infection, but only a 100% ignorant layman would not understand that both are similar to pneumonia on a CT test, and the details of the symptoms are so different that they cannot be misjudged by experts.

In fact, the new crown’s genes have long been compared in repeated detail with other known viruses, and scientists can confirm that it is definitely not man-made, but rather the end result of a series of natural evolutions that originated in bats. It may have encountered another virus in other animals and exchanged part of its genetic code, but that’s just speculation based on some of its specific mutations. Likewise, Chung’s claim that the new crown did not originate from the Hua Nanhai fresh market is also a speculation, based on the fact that the new crown is too infectious to humans, and seems to have a history of human-to-human transmission, which facilitates the slow accumulation of mutations to adapt to various human cells.

Whether or not the above speculation is correct, it does not affect the objective fact that the new crown outbreak was in Wuhan at the end of last year, which represents the time and place where the last major mutation in the virus’ ability to enhance human-to-human transmission (i.e. the new version of Spike Glycoprotein, which binds extremely well to ACE2 receptors) necessarily occurred. Even if the new crowns had been passed down versions before then, they would have to be far more faint and difficult to spread pathogens. In other words, since the Xinguan virus, which is now spreading around the world, has the same strong infectious power, and this infectious power also comes from the mutation in Wuhan, then the epidemic has nothing to do with the other side effects of the virus.

Some might say, then at least the new crown has nothing to do with the game in the South China market. I would like to point out that.

  1. That is purely speculative and cannot be said scientifically as there is no evidence yet.
  2. the Anglo-American right-wing redneck only cares that the epidemic originated in China, it doesn’t matter if it’s game or not, so it doesn’t need to be said internationally.
  3. It is true that the game market has significantly increased the chances of an epidemic caused by a virus mutation, and the ban is the right policy to prevent epidemics before they occur.

[Subsequent Note 1 ] Throughout March, the Epoch Times ads were seen online every day, the content was still the same old rumor-mongering smear, but the level of production had become professional. It actually arrived in the mailbox today (April 3, 2020) in print, dozens of pages devoted to taking responsibility for the new crown epidemic. The newspaper did not have my name and address in it; it was sent to each household by the post office. These are tens of millions of dollars more to produce, publish and distribute, and The Great Age apparently got a big infusion of money at the beginning of the year, and then more recently (granted?) Interestingly, in addition to smearing China, the rest of the Epoch Times article (basically speaking for the Republican Party) began to match the propaganda fire of right-wing populism in the US. Also today, non-political experts like Fauci are (forced?) A restatement of the argument that responsibility for the epidemic lies with China.

The effect of these propaganda fires has become apparent. Even under objective news reports about the epidemic, the messages from British and American readers were all proactive in accusing China of “responsibility”. The foreign ministry’s misguided tactic of endorsing conspiracy theories is purely to add fuel to the fire and give the enemy a better leverage to help them spin the “Chinese government lies and does harm” theory. I hope the Chinese Foreign Ministry can learn a lesson: just as the UK and the US are in control of the international discourse and will filter and take Chinese statements out of context, Chinese officials should be careful to prepare a handful of impeccable Talking Points beforehand and then repeat them again and again, forcing the UK and US media to retell them. In fact, there are only two main points on the issue of the new crown epidemic: “US responsibility for Spanish influenza and H1N1”, and “South Korea + Singapore’s timely preparation for the epidemic”; both of them can immediately reframe the issue (redefine the point of view of the topic) and change the defense to attack.

[Subsequent Note 2 ] I have just seen the English news programme of “Deutsche Welle”, which discusses China’s aid to Europe with ulterior motives, and the only empirical evidence is “the shameless lies of Zhao Lijian, a senior official of the Chinese Foreign Ministry” (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rEQ8urhuVQ). The low level of this blunder and the bad impact is truly smack in the face.

[Subsequent Note 3 ] In the last two days, Trump and the ruling party forces in several European countries have begun to direct their propaganda fire at the WHO, which is a two birds with one stone approach to dumping the pot: on the one hand, an additional backstabber and, on the other hand, the pre-emptive destruction of China’s credibility in using the WHO’s objective commentary to refute. I actually expected this to be a problem, so I’m suggesting South Korea and Singapore without WHO, a group of infectious disease experts who are clearly naive to the PR debate, and the correct rebuttal would be to point out that WHO’s slow and cautious response was a result of the US being forced to change its standards of practice after H1N1 in 2009; but I don’t expect them to be able or dare to say such a truth.

[Subsequent Note 4 ] The first paper to systematically use genetic code to retrace the history of the evolution and spread of neocoronavirus was just published in the journal PNAS on April 7 (see https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/04/07/2004999117). This Phylogenetic Network Analysis (PNA) has previously been applied mainly to the study of evolutionary history, especially human evolution. This is basically handing over the qualitative analysis I’ve been doing visually for the past two months or so to a computer program for a rigorous statistical study.

They concluded that all currently known neocoronaviruses were grouped into three generations: A, B, and C. Of these, A (estimated origin December 6, 2019) corresponds to S as defined in a Chinese research paper more than a month ago and is the earliest known human-to-human version, having spread from Wuhan to China and then across the ocean to Washington State, resulting in the earliest community-transmitted cluster of cases in the United States; B (origin December 10, 2019) corresponds to what was formerly known as L, which later took over in Wuhan and became the main local variant of the virus; it entered the United Kingdom in early February and then spread to other countries in Western Europe to some degree. But the majority of the European cases belong to another variant of C that came out of branch B. This branch occurred in Shanghai around January 8, 2020, and was introduced to ski resorts in Italy and Switzerland via Germany before spiraling out of control and becoming the culprit of an outbreak in southern Europe in late February, while the pandemic on the east coast of the United States was indirectly introduced from Europe even later.

[Subsequent Note 5] The focus of the Anglo-American media’s coverage of the new crown has shifted to the game market, where their aim seems to be to once again apply long-arm jurisdiction in order to build a public opinion base in favour of “governing” the world by domestic law. The pro-establishment and populist have a common interest in this issue, so the media, left and right, have tried hard to speak out, and none of them have mentioned that China has banned game trade on its own, resulting in popular commentary still focused on China. What’s even more abominable is that the report is laced with videos and pictures of all kinds of bats being trafficked, and the source is deliberately left out, so once again misleading their populace and vilifying China.

Anglo-American fake news, like all mass-produced lies, is bound to have self-contradictions (e.g. game and the Wuhan Biochemical Research Laboratory, or the sealing of the city to the extremes and death has underreporting) and details that can be simply verified (e.g. the Chinese market and bats). These lies are suitable for the diplomatic community to refute proactively and positively. However, refutation is not a mere “stern denial”, but rather, it should be directed at the deliberate lies and misrepresentations of the British and American media, so as to remove their credibility at root. If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to continue to respond positively to the international propaganda smear, there is no time to delay in bringing in professional public relations personnel.

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