Covid-19's patient zero was, indeed, a woman who sold seafood, according to new Science report

Originally published at: Covid-19's patient zero was, indeed, a woman who sold seafood, according to new Science report | Boing Boing


patient zero

I remember when they sold that moniker back in the 80’s for the AIDS epidemic.


So it’s officially coming from the bats and officially from a fish market.

I’m sold.


Yeah, now everything is super clear. Got it.


It was racoon dogs all along?

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From Raccoon City, yeah.


From TFA:

‘fish market’ - nah. But you know that because you read the article, and decided to deliberately miss the point.

The descriptions I’ve read of Chinese live animal markets make it clear that all kinds of wild animals are stacked, live, in cages. That’s a huge breeding ground for pathogens, and sadly likely to contain zoonotic ones just ready to infect a human. That, and the reports of finding extremely close matches to SARS-CoV-2 in bats in southern China, make it highly likely for one of those caged animals to be the link between the bats and humans.

We really don’t need the discredited lab leak theories any more, we just need to tackle the pandemic more efficiently.


Definitely going to do nothing at all to stem all the conspiracy theories about Chinese Bioweapons and deliberate lab leaks etc…


So the evidence is now swinging back the other way and it looks like there was no lab leak. We’ll never know with 100% confidence what exactly happened. Regardless, everything I’ve read implies that an accidental lab leak could happen, and has happened (for other, less catastrophic diseases). We need to make sure this never happens again.

They never told me that the next line to “she sells seashells by the sea shore” was “5 million reported dead; 10-20 million estimated.”


Sorry, the other way from what, exactly? The rest of your post is about lab leaks but there has never been any evidence for that, just lots of talk about how shady the Chinese government seems.


Good Twitter thread about this here:

" Public health officials in Wuhan had long worried about Huanan. In 2014, they showed @edwardcholmes the market as a possible place that could trigger future outbreaks. Holmes saw caged snakes, bamboo rats, and raccoon dogs, and the place stank of urine, blood and feces."

“A 2017-2019 survey found that 4 markets in Wuhan, including Huanan, sold a total of 48,000 wild animals of 38 species. All of them were illegal and mostly sold alive, caged, and stacked in cramped & unhygienic conditions perfect for virus transmission”

" . @MichaelWorobey says he used to think super-spreading at Huanan kicked off the pandemic. Based on “a totality of evidence”—not just his latest Science article—he now thinks natural spillover at Huanan is “vastly more likely than any other scenarios based on what we now know.”"

Parallels between SARS1 and SARS2 are striking.


My point is not that there is or ever was overwhelming evidence that the virus came from a lab, but more that the evidence that it came from the Wuhan marketplace was also lacking, despite the WHO’s initial comments that it did. At the beginning of the pandemic, it was conspiratorial to even consider the idea that the virus was accidentally leaked from Wuhan Institute of Virology, but then as the flaws in the initial report started coming, calls for a new investigation came out. This gave breathing room to a lab-leak theory. Now, it seems like that idea is less likely.

To be clear, by “lab leak”, no sane person is suggesting bio-warfare. Instead, it would have been an unfortunately common and banal accident.

It still is. There was never any credible evidence for that. It’s like saying that the moon is made of cheese, then when moon rock samples are brought back, saying it could have been made of cheese and might still be made of cheese under a thin layer of rock.

The protocols used in high biosafety level labs work exceptionally well. They don’t need to be reinvented, they just need to be followed.


I think you are overstating your case. At least in May, there was a letter in Science asking for further investigation into a lab leak theory. Are you suggesting all of the signatories are conspiracy theorists? Sure, it’s looking highly unlikely now, based on further research. And as @PPK says, at least some of the scientists who signed the letter are changing their minds.

There is a very small difference between “good protocols that aren’t followed” and “bad protocols”. It’s above my pay grade to know if the leaks of Ebola, Anthrax, and Small pox in the last 10 years were due to good protocols that weren’t followed, or bad protocols. Either way, the labs need to change something.

the letter didn’t say that there was credible evidence. it said they wanted to see if they could find any.

that’s an incredibly important distinction.


No, but they walked it back or disavowed it later.


I believe it’s a commonly used term in epidemiology in general.


Chinese authorities are suspect enough, with both the interest and ability to obfuscate effectively if there was a lab leak; that unless there is near universal scientific consensus on a cause, there will always be skepticism on the origin of the pandemic.

See the current shitshow over Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai… who after claiming sexual asault, disappeared for 3 weeks and has now done video calls via the Chinese Olympic committee saying “I’m fine. I just want privacy”. Does she? Is she being blackmailed/coerced? Is there a way to know?

I’m generally not conspirational, except with autocratic regimes, especially one with these kinds of resources.