Chinese media say the Maine lobster shipment was the ‘Pandora’s box’ behind the pandemic

A shipment of lobster from Maine has been identified by Chinese media as a likely culprit for the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, a claim one Maine official called “absurd.”

A recent article from the Sina news portal, one of the most widely read on the Chinese state-controlled internet, reported that in mid-November 2019, a lot of seafood from Maine was shipped to ‘Wuhan South China Seafood Market’, also known as Huanan Seafood Market, where the virus was first reported in late 2019.

According to Sina’s translated article, within weeks, market workers began to experience “pneumonia symptoms of unknown origin one after another.”

Sina named “The Seashell Company” in York County as the original source of the lobster. The Seashell Company does not exist, but a map in the article identifies the company’s head office as that of the York Maine Coast Shellfish lobster exporter.

The article suggests that a shipment of 55 cans of chilled lobster arrived at Shanghai Pudong Airport on November 11, 2019 and was then distributed to 26 customers across the country, including an anonymous seller at the seafood market. from Huanan.

“I’m afraid it was this batch of American lobsters that opened Pandora’s box of the epidemic,” the article said.

SeafoodSource.com, an industry media outlet, reported Chinese media reports on Friday.

Tom Adams, president of Maine Coast Shellfish, said in an interview with the Portland Press Herald that he was unsure why his company was honored, but suggested it could be an attempt to “hijack a party.” bad publicity ”from China for being the first place where the virus was reported.

“To think it came from Maine, in a 2019 shipment of lobster strikes me as pretty absurd,” he said, calling the claim “grabbing the straws”.

“We have been actively shipping all this time without more scrutiny than any other company,” he said, noting the many shipments coming in and out of China every day.

Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, doesn’t buy it either.

There is no scientific evidence to back up these absurd claims, ”he said in an email.

Adams told SeafoodSource media outlet that “Public health organizations around the world have said with certainty that imported food is not the cause of COVID-19. Maine Coast has no information to support this claim.

The US CDC said there was “no evidence” suggest that food is associated with the spread of the virus.

Adams said the news had no impact on his business with China.

Sina’s article also suggested that what he dubbed ‘e-cigarette pneumonia’ at York Hospital in July 2019 is further evidence of the origin of the virus. The hospital is close to Maine Coast Shellfish.

The outlet claims these e-cigarette pneumonia cases have been kept secret in the United States, although it also claims the cases have been reported by the Maine CDC and local media.


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