Thursday, January 30, 2020

Conspiracy theorists are making money out of the Wuhan coronavirus

I'm sick and tired of conspiracy theorists in general, and American capitalist ones in particular (those who use any and every crisis to stir up fear and uncertainty, usually in order to make money out of the gullible).  Alex Jones and his Infowars Web site are prime examples, but there are many more out there.

Vice reports that they're making hay while the Wuhan coronavirus shines, if one can put it that way.

Conspiracy peddlers make their money and retain their audiences by selling panic, and they’ve leaped onto this new epidemic with glee ... The claims are multiplying by the day. The Canadian conspiracy site Global Research falsely claimed that the virus was “tightly focused to Chinese” (meaning only Chinese people were getting it), and strongly implied it had been brought into the country by Western forces, writing that there is a “history of American universities and NGOs having come into China in recent years to conduct biological experiments that were so illegal as to leave the Chinese authorities enraged.” The site Communal News ... has claimed that the virus leaked from a Chinese “biological warfare weapons lab,” an assertion that’s also being floated in the slightly more mainstream Washington Times.

Meanwhile, the website Health Impact News, which is not a real news site, has been among many conspiracy sites peddling a video which purports to show that the coronavirus epidemic was predicted at Event 201, a forum hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. On the internet, that’s quickly transmuted into a claim that Bill Gates is somehow profiting from the coronavirus or holds a patent for its cure. The QAnon personality Jordan Sather claimed that a “patent” had been filed for the coronavirus in 2015, a claim that InfoWars’ Rob Dew has also made. One of the more fringe ideas holds that the coronavirus is being conveniently pushed out by shadowy forces in order to impose “harmful” 5G technology and radiation on an unsuspecting populace, tapping into an ongoing controversy over the use of 5G.

But sites like Health Impact News or Global Research also have another reason for promoting misinformation about the epidemic: It allows them to position themselves as being among the few trustworthy sources of information about it.

. . .

Accusations that the government isn’t doing enough to stop the spread of the disease have also been met by accusations that they’ll soon be doing too much. A site called Twisted Truth was among those spreading the claim that the government would soon impose martial law on Americans to contain the outbreak.

Adams and Jones, meanwhile—both big fans of apocalyptic claims about FEMA camps themselves—saw something special at work too; as with most human events that fall under their mutual gaze, they claimed that the coronavirus is nothing less than a global depopulation effort ... “The masses will be slaughtered,” Adams added. “The depopulation agenda cannot be stopped. Do you understand? Do you effing understand?”

There's more at the link.

I'm particularly angered by those peddling fake "cures" for coronavirus, or methods to avoid infection that cannot possibly have the desired effect.  We've seen claims that oregano oil is a sure cure, amongst others.  Efforts by "big tech" to reduce the spread of such medically impossible claims have led to claims of censorship, a "Big Brother"-style crackdown on information, and other such nonsense.  If it were possible to do so without stifling free speech, I'd gladly support efforts to imprison all those trying to profit in any way from the spread of such false information . . . but sadly, I don't see how that can be done without threatening the freedom of information in general.

If you really want solid information about how to deal with the coronavirus if it pops up in your neighborhood, look to those who deal with such things for a living.  Aesop - who works in an emergency room in California - suggests some pretty useful basics.  He also debunks the doom, gloom and disaster rumor-mongers.  I think we'll all do well to print out his two articles, put them up somewhere accessible in our homes, and follow his advice - while ignoring the conspiracy theorists.



Old NFO said...

Gah... NOT wasting my time.... And yes, Aesop!

Keyser Soze said...

Pretty common sense items;

- Wash your bleepin' hands, quit touching your face, mouth, biting your nails and sticking your booger hook up your nose.

- It's viral, that means antibiotics are pointless. However...possibly useful for secondary bacterial infection.
There are also natural anti bacterial options too. Berberine based plant products like goldenseal and Oregon grape root. Raw garlic is also very powerful. Did you know during WWII we ran out of penicillin doctors used garlic instead? Allicin is a great anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral compound. But one has to be careful, you can nuke your gut flora, or damage organs like the liver with the wrong combinations or quantity over too long of a period of time. Still, bone up on some knowledge and have on hand in the event you need them in an emergency situation and the risk of visiting an overrun hospital outweighs the reward.

- Boost your immune system. That means stop eating junk food. Load up on good, nutritious foods. Lean meats, veggies, herbs in tea form. Old time soups with a lot of herbal/spice bases and using proper bone stock for the broth is also huge. There was a reason G'ma fired up the chicken soup, cooking the bone carcass for hours and threw a bunch of oregano, sage and the like into it.

- If there is a major outbreak, isolation and ride it out. Shelter in place if at all possible. Hopefully after 2-4 weeks in a metropolitan location it will burn itself out.

- Exercise and sunlight is also important. The body is made to frequently move, not sit in a sedentary manner for long periods under the dank flickering of fluorescent lights.

- Consistent, regular sleep. It varies for everyone, but like most others, you are probably not getting enough.

- If you are sick, why don't you save a bunch of us a lot of hassle and self-quarantine. Stop being an inconsiderate p****!

Poodlehorde said...

To top it all off, this new virus is probably no more serious than a moderately severe flu season.While something t watch out for if it goes pandemic, we will almost certainly loose .more people to the flu this year (and it isn't even an especially severeoutbreak year)

DaveS said...

There's an easy fix to the peddlers of false information - and it's the same as it's always been, yep, even in the days BEFORE the internet (for those of us old enough to remember that far back in time). Don't listen to or read things from known idiots, don't trust or believe something just because someone said it or wrote it, and verify things before passing them along.

The world has and will always be full of idjits spouting nonsense. Can't stop them, but we certainly don't have to pay them heed.

kurt9 said...

Alex Jones is sub-clinical mental ill and Mike Adams is trending in that direction. However, it is the blatant political bias of the mainstream media that fuels these kind of guys in the first place. In any case, predictions are testable and, once proven wrong on a prediction, any "talking head" ought to be discredited from that point on.

Cas in point: Chris Martenson. Chris Martenson is posting a series of youtube videos on Coronavirus that many people are following. The problem is that I recognized his name but could not remember what about and when. Simple internet search of his name revealed him to be one of the major promulgators of "peak oil" theory during the oughts. Remember peak oil? Since he was proven wrong about that, why should I listen to him about Coronavirus as well?

Peter B said...

Keyser Soze's list is on the money. I'd suggest including specific foods: Astragalus root in the soup; also seaweeds. Mushrooms (cooked, or added to those soups and stews in the last half hour or so; they contain glycans that help the first line immune response, as do some of the compounds in seaweeds.) Elderberry extract and St John's Wort both seem to be able to tie up viruses of the type which includes coronavirus (and flu virus) and impair the ability of the virus to invade the cells of its prospective host. This is a physical activity which obviously requires a sufficient concentration of the chemicals involved. Some small placebo controlled studies on elderberry have been done.

St. John's Word has the downside that it affects the clearance and/or activation of many prescription drugs, so you need to be careful with it.

There actually may be something to the idea that the virus has an affinity for Asians. There's a specific piece of the cell that SARS and, it looks like, the new virus, use to invade and in eight lung tissue samples taken from organ donors (in China, shuddder) the Asian male has a lot more of the target the non-Asian male and both had more than the women.

If, and it's a big if, that holds true, it would mean that men are more susceptible than women and Asians more susceptible than at least some non-Asians. That study may well be the place the Global Researches of the world are using to jump to the conclusion that 'the virus was “tightly focused to Chinese”'.

Oregano oil, thyme oil, and some other similar oils won't do much for viral infections but may be useful adjuncts in secondary pneumonias.

The critical bottleneck should, G-d forbid, this epidemic live up to the worst fears (or if the flu pandemic everyone expects arrives) will be respirators, of which there is not a huge surplus to current needs. Without enough respirators and the staff to use them, the death rate will be much higher than we like to see in the First World.

tweell said...

This is an analysis of the coronavirus and how it works. The researchers are both working with a very small sample size and under a severe time crunch, but it describes this latest as attacking via the same pathway as SARS did. SARS was fairly nasty to their folks, much less to us.

It also points to a possible reason why, in that male Orientals have a higher percentage of susceptible cells, with females having a lower percentage, and Africans having the least problems.

kurt9 said...

The alt-right types are going over the top with the doomsday predictions on this thing. Cornoavirus is discrediting the alt-right types right now just like the purported start of WW3 from a war with Iran discredited the Ron Unz posterers three weeks ago.

Will Brown said...

For those of us who don't live within the rigorously regulated environment found in most emergency rooms (which presumably includes Aesop at least 50% of the time :)), here are some additional measures to consider:

- buy one or more small spray bottles (preferably with some type of removable cap over the plunger; I use these: ). Fill with a 50/50 mixture of unscented bleach and tap water (bottled distilled/purified water is cheap and commonplace in most markets, but within the US - excepting Detroit, possibly - municipal tap water is sufficiently purified for this purpose). ANY TIME you come into physical contact with anyone (possibly to extend to pets/animals - there seems to be some evidence this particular form of coronavirus is transmissable across-species) without gloves on your hands, ASAP spray your hands with the bleach/water solution then immediately wash your hands (with soap and water if possible, waterless handcleaner if not). Keep spray bottle on your person at all times, refill as necessary.

- take an ordinary fiber mask used for air born particles (available virtually anywhere wood working or painting supplies are sold; here is one example: ), apply two drops of unscented bleach to each half of the outer surface (I use one of these: ). Take one cloth (ie: washable/reusable) mask (here's a fun example: of the type that loops over your ears, repeat the bleach application to the outside of this mask as you did to the fiber one. Place the treated fiber mask over your mouth and nostrils. Place the treated cloth mash over the fiber mask. This combination is not quite the equal of a proper respirator, but it is widely and inexpensively available and requires no more than some occasional soap and water to clean the cloth mask and possibly enough freezer plastic bags to keep extra prepared masks in.

- nitrile gloves. I use both of these:

13 mil latex, non-powdered, sterile (salt as you think best :)), 50 pairs per box, $15 per box.

I have these on order as well (depending on situation, over the latex gloves); non-latex, white nitrile rubber layer under black nitrile rubber to more easily identify punctures):

For roughly $50, you too can have something to point and laugh at with your surviving friends and neighbors next summer (hopefully :)). This includes you too Old NFO; I like your books and want more.

Will Brown said...

One additional consideration that complicates this particular variant of coronavirus; there appears to be a 2 to 3 week initial post-exposure period during which the infected (person/pet/other?) is infectious to others, but displays no observable symptoms absent a blood (or other sera) test. IOW there is a large "I feel silly" factor to infection prevention efforts. If you, and no one around you, appears sick (and it isn't Halloween), you can expect more than a few "humorous" efforts at your expense while wandering about in your Plague Costume. No advice on how to best deal with that, but I won't be attending your funeral afterwards if you fail (don't take it personal, I'm not planning to be present at my own :)).

Will Brown said...

One last thing; one of the reasons I hold Vice in such low regard as a source is because they are so consistently agenda-driven. There actually is a US patent, issued in 2015, for a coronavirus:

The Vice article fails to point this out, leading the reader to the conclusion that this is only more conspiracy theory. I haven't bothered to put in the work necessary to discover whether or not Bill Gates owns stock in the Pirbright Institute (or its parent corporation, personally or by proxy), but if he does than presumably he actually is profiting from (some variant of) the coronavirus. Either way, I hardly think "capitalist profits from capital investment" rises to any measure of conspiracy, given the levels of transparency integral to stock market transactions in the US. Still, not an outright lie, so: Go Vice! :)

Aesop said...

More info:
Corona virus propagates twice as well as influenza. (R-naught of 2-4, vs. 1.3-1.8)
It lives 3-14 hours on surfaces.
It's 30 times more lethal than influenza. (3%, vs. 0.1%).

And yes, it can take 2-14 days to present symptoms (flu takes 1-2 days). That means dozens to hundreds of people can get it from one infected person before anyone knows it's around.

Short answer, you're going to see this near you.
That genie is out of the bottle, and no stopping it.

Flu kills 8-24K people/yr.
While generating hardly a hiccup from the media.
Now, multiply that times 20-30, and that's what you can expect from corona virus, worst likely case.

There's no vaccine, nothing "cures" it, and the only things effective are total self-quarantine, until it's completely gone, plus two weeks extra; or washing your hands scrupulously, and wearing a droplet mask.

You figure out which one is simpler.