News and Commentary

LA Times: The Real Victims Here Are The Bats
Greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) in flight at night, Luxembourg
Photo by Marko Konig/Getty Images

You would expect that with its leftist proclivities and penchant for identity politics The Los Angeles Times would write an article defending what they perceive to be a victim group, but on Tuesday, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis threatening the stability of the world and the human race, the Times published an article defending one supposed victim group from humans:


Yup, while the coronavirus COVID-19 that has inflicted worldwide trauma is indelibly associated with bats, the Times took space to argue that the creatures are really the victims, titling the piece, “Bats get blamed for the coronavirus. But bats face their own virus risk — from humans.”

The article begins with a rather bland paragraph, considering the voluminous evidence supporting it: “As forensic virologists search to uncover the origins of COVID-19, bats have been fingered as a likely source. Genetic analyses show the virus is very similar to one harbored by Chinese horseshoe bats, and researchers think it’s possible it jumped from those winged mammals to people.”

But then, the Times swiftly reverses direction: “But some bat lovers and chiropterologists — scientists who study the flying mammals — are adamant there is no proof. Instead, they’re wringing their hands about the reverse: That people with COVID-19 could spread the disease to their furry, nocturnal housemates.”

How does the Times support this nebulous claim? With speculative proof, writing, “There is no evidence indicating that bats can get the coronavirus from people, said Alice Chung-MacCoubrey, a bat biologist for the National Park Service, and an affiliate faculty at South Oregon University. ‘But it’s something we’re concerned about.’”

Well, why not? Surely the human race is dastardly enough to target such helpless creatures.

But wait — if there’s a paucity of scientific evidence supporting such a contention, what would suffice to act as evidence that humans are a danger to bats?

This: “Reports indicate that COVID-19 has the ability to jump from humans to other species, including pet cats and a Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo. And because people can live in close proximity to bats — the flying mammals often live in attics and crawl spaces — common sense suggests it could jump to them too.”

Ahhhh. Common sense.

The Times notes that on Saturday evening, underneath the Yolo Bypass just west of Sacramento, “a half-dozen amateur photographers appeared by the bridge, hoping to get good shots of the swarm.” Then the Times laments, “None of the photographers seemed concerned about passing the virus to the bats.”

LiveScience noted how dangerous bats can be in 2013:

When it comes to carrying viruses that can jump to other species — so-called “zoonotic” viruses — bats may be in a class of their own. The flying mammals are reservoirs for more than 60 viruses that can infect humans, and host more viruses per species than even rodents do, new research shows.

Discover Magazine wrote in February:

Essentially, some of the same adaptations that let bats take to the skies also endowed them with a high-functioning immune system, according to the study, published earlier this month in the journal eLife. That powerful immune response thwarts invading viruses, driving them to adapt more rapidly than they would in other hosts. This tends to produce viruses far deadlier than the pathogens found in other creatures. So when one of them does leap to humans, the consequences are often alarming.

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