Who should be responsible for the coronavirus pandemic?

There was a hoax stating that the US government had created and patented a vaccine for coronavirus years ago, shared with nearly 5,000 Facebook users a false claim that “coronavirus is a human-made virus in the laboratory [1].  Could the hoax came from Operation Infektion of the KGB or the China’s Communist Party’s (CCP’s) propaganda to pass the blame to other countries?

Perhaps they got the idea from the novel of Dean Koontz called The Eyes of Darkness, which was originally published in 1981, describing a killer virus from the Chinese scientist who brought a biological weapon called “Wuhan-400” to the United States that some claimed echoes the current coronavirus outbreak [2].

Lawyer Larry Klayman and his group Freedom Watch filed the complaint in federal court in Texas seeking at least $20 trillion from the Chinese government because of its “callous and reckless indifference and malicious acts [3].   “China is to blame,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas said of the virus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China [4].  That could be the reason why they call it the Chinese Virus, just like the Spanish Flu 1918.  As Dr. Wu Qiang stated that the Chinese local government concealed the truth to the public due to political concerns  [5].  Suppressing information about the virus, doing little to contain it, and allowing it to spread unchecked in the crucial early days and weeks, the regime imperiled not only its own country and its own citizens, but also more than 100 nations now facing their own potentially devastating outbreaks.  More perniciously, the Chinese government censored and detained those brave doctors and whistleblowers who attempted to sound the alarm and warn their fellow citizens when they understood the gravity of what was to come  [6].

The novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, last year and has since caused a large scale COVID-19 epidemic and spread to more than 70 other countries is the product of natural evolution [7].  Based on the timeline, a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus emerged on 17 November 2019, according to 13 March 2020 reports of official Chinese government sources [8].

Between 8 and 18 December 2019, seven cases later diagnosed with novel coronavirus were documented; two of them were linked with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market; five were not [9]. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported in a broadcast airing on 12 January 2020 that a “new viral outbreak was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China, on 12 December 2019 [10].  Shi Zhengli, the Wuhan-based virologist, also called the bat woman was called to investigate when the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention had detected a novel coronavirus in two hospital patients [11].

By January 7 the Wuhan team determined that the new virus had indeed caused the disease those patients suffered—a conclusion based on results from polymerase chain reaction analysis, full genome sequencing, antibody tests of blood samples and the virus’s ability to infect human lung cells in a petri dish.  The genomic sequence of the virus—now officially called SARS-CoV-2 because it is related to the SARS pathogen—was 96 percent identical to that of a coronavirus the researchers had identified in horseshoe bats in Yunnan, they reported in a paper published last month in Nature [11].

On February 24 the nation announced a permanent ban on wildlife consumption and trade except for research or medicinal or display purposes—which will stamp out an industry worth $76 billion and put approximately 14 million people out of jobs, according to a 2017 report commissioned by the Chinese Academy of Engineering.  Some welcome the initiative, whereas others, such as ecologist Peter Daszak worry that without efforts to change people’s traditional beliefs or provide alternative livelihoods, a blanket ban may push the business underground.  This could make disease detection even more challenging.  “Eating wildlife has been part of the cultural tradition in southern China” for thousands of years, Daszak says.  “It won’t change overnight.”  Peter Daszak is the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a New York City–based nonprofit research organization that collaborates with scientists, such as Shi, around the world to discover new viruses in wildlife.  Shi’s team discovered a coronavirus strain in 2013 that came from horseshoe bats and had a genomic sequence that was 97 percent identical to the one found in civets in Guangdong [11].

With growing human populations increasingly encroaching on wildlife habitats, with unprecedented changes in land use, with wildlife and livestock transported across countries and their products around the world, and with a sharp increase in both domestic and international travel, new disease outbreaks of pandemic scale are a near mathematical certainty. This had been keeping Shi and many other researchers awake at night—long before the mysterious samples landed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology on that ominous evening last December [11].

Zoologists and disease experts have told CNN that changes to human behavior — the destruction of natural habitats, coupled with the huge number of fast-moving people now on Earth — has enabled diseases that were once locked away in nature to cross into people fast [12].

“What we have uncovered is just the tip of an iceberg.” Daszak’s team has estimated that there are as many as 5,000 coronavirus strains waiting to be discovered in bats globally.  Shi mentioned that “bat-borne coronaviruses will cause more outbreaks, we must find them before they find us” [11].

As of today there are 339,000 coronavirus cases globally [13].   The numbers are not accurate since there are less fortunate people who just died without being tested.

The researchers, students, scientists and the medical frontliners in times of crisis should be well provided and supported by the government as we are at war against COVID-19.  The government officials have the power, resources, network to find means to provide for their citizens the basic needs (food, healthcare, shelter) in the time of crisis.  Let’s not wait for the crisis to start to listen to the expertsEveryone has the responsibility to make this crisis end and not to happen again.



1. Robert H. Shmerling. “Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus.” Harvard Health Publishing. March 16, 2020. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/be-careful-where-you-get-your-news-about-coronavirus-2020020118801

2. Harmeet Kaur. “No, Dean Koontz did not predict the coronavirus in a 1981 novel.” CNN. March 13, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/13/us/dean-koontz-novel-coronavirus-debunk-trnd/index.html

3. Melissa Quinn. “Conservative lawyer sues Chinese government over coronavirus outbreak.” CBS News. March 19, 2020. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-lawyer-larry-klayman-sues-chinese-government-over-outbreak/

4. Julian Shen-Berro. “Sen. Cornyn: China to blame for coronavirus, because ‘people eat bats.” NBC News. March 18, 2020. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/sen-cornyn-china-blame-coronavirus-because-people-eat-bats-n1163431

5. “Coronavirus: How the deadly epidemic sparked a global emergency.”  ABC News. Feb 24, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycrqXJYf1SU

6. Shadi Hamid. “China Is Avoiding Blame by Trolling the World.”  The Atlantic. March 19, 2020.  https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/china-trolling-world-and-avoiding-blame/608332/

7. Scripps Research Institute. “COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin.” ScienceDaily. March 17, 2020. https://http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200317175442.htm

8. Josephine Ma. “China’s first confirmed Covid-19 case traced back to November 17.” South China Morning Post. March 13, 2020. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3074991/coronavirus-chinas-first-confirmed-covid-19-case-traced-back

9. Qun Li, M.Med., Xuhua Guan, Ph.D., Peng Wu, Ph.D., Xiaoye Wang, M.P.H., Lei Zhou, M.Med., Yeqing Tong, Ph.D., Ruiqi Ren, M.Med., Kathy S.M. Leung, Ph.D., Eric H.Y. Lau, Ph.D., Jessica Y. Wong, Ph.D., Xuesen Xing, Ph.D., Nijuan Xiang, M.Med., Yang Wu, M.Sc., Chao Li, M.P.H., Qi Chen, M.Sc., Dan Li, M.P.H., Tian Liu, B.Med., Jing Zhao, M.Sc., Man Liu, M.Sc., Wenxiao Tu, M.Med., Chuding Chen, M.Sc., Lianmei Jin, M.Med., Rui Yang, M.Med., Qi Wang, M.P.H., Suhua Zhou, M.Med., Rui Wang, M.D., Hui Liu, M.Med., Yinbo Luo, M.Sc., Yuan Liu, M.Med., Ge Shao, B.Med., Huan Li, M.P.H., Zhongfa Tao, M.P.H., Yang Yang, M.Med., Zhiqiang Deng, M.Med., Boxi Liu, M.P.H., Zhitao Ma, M.Med., Yanping Zhang, M.Med., Guoqing Shi, M.P.H., Tommy T.Y. Lam, Ph.D., Joseph T. Wu, Ph.D., George F. Gao, D.Phil., Benjamin J. Cowling, Ph.D., Bo Yang, M.Sc., Gabriel M. Leung, M.D., and Zijian Feng, M.Med., et al. “Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia”. The New England Journal of Medicine. January 29, 2020. https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2001316

10. “Chinese scientists identify the ‘Wuhan Virus’. Screening continues on Thai-bound flights.” The Thaiger. January 9, 2020. https://thethaiger.com/hot-news/tourism/chinese-scientists-identify-the-wuhan-virus-screening-continues-on-thai-bound-flights

11. Jane Qiu. “How China’s “Bat Woman” Hunted Down Viruses from SARS to the New Coronavirus.” Scientific American. March 11. 2020. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-chinas-bat-woman-hunted-down-viruses-from-sars-to-the-new-coronavirus1/

12. Nick Paton Walsh and Vasco Cotovio. “Bats are not to blame for coronavirus. Humans are.” CNN. March 20, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/19/health/coronavirus-human-actions-intl/index.html

13. Julia Hollingsworth, James Griffiths and Adam Renton. “Coronavirus cases top 339,000 globally.” CNN. March 23, 2020.  https://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-03-23-20-intl-hnk/index.html


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