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By Victor Davis Hanson, Townhall, March 05, 2020
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
The recent spread of the coronavirus is causing a global panic. Our shared terror arises not so much from the death toll of the new flu-like disease — more than 3,000 people have died worldwide — but from what we don’t know about it.
Experts at least agree that the virus originated in China. But Beijing’s authoritarian government hid information about its origins, spread and severity for weeks.
Such duplicity only fanned the fears of a global plague — a hysteria not seen since the groundless fears of a YK2 global computer meltdown in the year 2000, or the political feeding frenzy during the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
Wild speculation followed that the coronavirus was a virulent or mutated superbug. Had it arisen naturally or escaped from a nearby military lab? Did it originate from a sick lab animal? A conspiracy theory arose that it was a manufactured virus that had escaped from scientists’ botched efforts to create either a vaccine or a biological weapon. ….