- Walter Muller
It starts with a Whimper, not a BANG; August 2019, the pandemic begins.
The lab in Wuhan had a repeated record of procedural lapses, mishaps and security breaches. But when diplomatic representatives and international scientists visiting the level-4 lab reported to their superiors its dismal record of safety, their concerns went laregly ignored. A level-4 lab – if you aren’t aware – is a bio-safety lab with the highest levels of security protocols applied. These security protocols are designed to prevent the bad bugs studied there from ever reaching the outside world. Bugs that kill quickly and have no cures are the ones exclusively studied at level-4 labs worldwide – like Ebola, Hemorrhagic Fever, Nipah Virus, MERS and so on and so forth…And for the record, level-4 labs exist around the world; France, UK, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Korea, Canada, West Africa – all have level-4 labs, whether they acknowledge it or not. More often then you think, their security protocols fail, and the bad bugs escape.
For example, some time back, there was a major security breach in a level-4 lab in Africa that caused the release of a particularly nasty Ebola strain into a small community; my point being weak procedures and protocols are more prevalent then you realize and have in fact caused accidental releases of highly pathogenic viruses many times prior to our pandemic in 2019. You just don't know about it. But trust me, its better that way. This way, you can sleep at night. But I digress. So lets get back to the Wuhan lab in 2019.
Subject Zi finished up work at the lab and headed home on a late evening. Although it was evening now, the weather was still unbearably hot outside the lab. There are days when the heat runs high in China, and they have a nickname for these kind of days – they call them “furnace” days - days when the humidity and temperature reach over 100%.
Furnace days - how predictive a saying that is - for a few months later every single crematorium furnace in every funeral home in Wuhan would be burning bright, cremating massive amounts of human remains 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the overflow of the dead piled high in warehouses, streets and fields in a fashion no better then the photos I've seen of Auschwitz.
At one point, the dead came so hard and fast and were piled so high, that government officials were forced to bring in dozens of mobile crematoriums and bulldozers to deal with the dead. But lets get back to Wuhan in August 2019. Because the pandemic dead aren't here. Yet.
Tourists packed the streets and markets in Wuhan. On the way home, subject Zi went to market to pick up a gift before catching a bus ride to a neighboring residential district, where Zi would spend an overnight visit with extended family and friends, before some left to visit mainland Hong Kong.
Subject Zi was the first asymptomatic carrier of coronavirus.
Zi carried the disease for over 60 days, prior to the onset of symptoms. During Zi’s initial travel and family visit, those that came into close contact with Zi later presented with extreme case of diarrhea and persistent cough. And of course those that later came into contact with infected by Zi, had also came down with symptoms. While there were increased levels of hospital activity, no red flags were raised at this time, as it was simply deemed to be the cold or the flu. But that’s because the initial viral load was low. And as you probably know from reading media reports, it takes time for the viral load to develop critical mass and spread effectively. In this case, the novel virus initially spread most effectively through aerosolized droplets leaking out of disheveled raw sewage lines in poorly maintained apartment buildings; human waste present in toilet facilities and closed systems of air ducts.
The low-level symptoms presented by patients were because the viral load was low. But as you know from reading a previous post of mine, diarrhea and cough were two early documented signs of coronavirus (as presented in published studies). And it takes time for the viral load to develop critical mass. But when critical mass is reached, that’s when more serious symptoms present.
Throughout this time, subject Zi returned to work at the WIV without incident, presenting as asymptomatic and healthy.
By October, numerous employees at the WIV had fallen seriously ill. Far too late, The WIV realized something was wrong.
By October, the virus had been spreading wildly in Wuhan for weeks without detection and its viral load was building up in newly infected hosts, boomeranging higher with each new infection. But this was also the genius of this virus. It’s stealthy – presenting like a cold among the populous, until it’s viral load increases to the point where you rapidly progress from sneezing and diarrhea to ventilators and crematoriums.
To quote T.S Elliot,
"This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper"
Wuhan officials did the best they could to cover up the outbreak of sickness among the staff in the lab. And to quell the rising tide of social media posts reporting frequent outbreaks of diarrhea & rising hospital admissions in the Wuhan area. These posts were promptly buried and banned by officials via Weibo and other social media apps.
As quiet quarantine of select residences occurred in late October and hospital admissions surged, Wuhan warmly welcomed the 2019 Military World Games.
The 2019 military games will one day be recognized as the single largest super spreader Covid event in world history. Participating members reported telltale symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, difficulty breathing, and flu-like symptoms, as well as full recoveries taking multiple weeks post-event.
But Covid hadn’t appeared on the world stage yet. So game participants weren’t tested for this highly contagious and virulent disease. Instead, they simply returned to their bases, small towns and big cities in their home countries, unknowingly unknowingly sowing the seeds of the coming Covid pandemic.
But burning questions remain:
1) What happened to our asymptomatic carrier, subject Zi?
2) What happened to the others infected at the Wuhan lab?
3) Did Zi’s relatives travel to mainland Hong Kong and spread the virus there?
These burning questions and others I will do my best to answer in coming posts.