By December, military checkpoints had already been established. And hundreds of military doctors had been flown into infected areas to try and contain the virus. But the virus was already widespread in Wuhan.
The Government quickly realized they had already lost control over the strain. And its body count was horrific - 30% of those infected died quickly; partly because of a low ceiling of air and restricted air flow due to heavy levels of pollution – which kept the virus at lower levels and allowed a denser method of spread; party because of population density (Wuhan had 11 million residents); and partly because the military was not prepared for what they had wrought.
So, the government did what it could, it released a strain called Beta – a secondary strain of virus, in the hopes that the primary strain would cross with the secondary strain and become less lethal. But it didn’t have the desired effect they had hoped.
Severe lock-down measures had to be initiated. Whole apartment buildings full of residents – with only some infected with the virus - were locked down – their entrances and exits welded shut with plate steel. The most horrifying sight I saw were those whole apartment blocks lit aflame by Chinese fire brigades, with people screaming inside burning to death – while fire trucks and police cars stood by – not to put out the fire – but to make sure that the fire didn’t go out. And to make sure no one escaped alive. If they did, their orders were to shoot on sight.
When that wasn’t enough, the government built “temporary hospitals” in Wuhan that took people they thought were infected. Those “hospitals” were in effect starvation camps. Inmates were given no food or water. If you recall, those hospitals were disassembled in about 30 days – the same amount of time it takes a body to die without food or water.
Across the sea, in December, we were still too consumed with politics to see what lay before us. International travel being what it is, it was only a matter of time before it arrived on our shores. By that time in China, the deaths were already horrid – both in scope and manner. The things that happened there still aren’t knowledge here. Because the communist government does what it does best – it crushed the release of information.
Nor did it ever emerge there were 2 separate strains in China. For sake of simplicity, I’ll call them Alpha and Beta. What came to the us was the Beta strain, a highly infectious but slightly less deadly strain, with a final kill rate of about 23% in NYC, according to Gov’nor Cuomo.
By late December, I had tried to raise alarms about what I knew was a clear and present danger. But nobody paid any mind. For many, it was too incredible to believe – for others – I suspect they already knew - and didn’t want to acknowledge that the threat existed. I also presented my case to newspapers – and I was ignored.
Frustrated, I warned family and friends. I advised them to stock up, to be prepared for potential societal panic. For things like possible foods shortages, medicine shortages, etc. so they could lay low for a while and not go out to the stores until the first wave was over (although I never anticipated a toilet paper shortage). I took my kids out of school. And I stocked up on a year of goods to avoid stores, when the virus got too hot. And then a last chance move - I started an account on Twitter, frustrated that even the newspapers ignored my pleas. I deleted all my early tweets as I went along. But if you followed me then, you knew what I wrote. You may not have believed me, but you knew what I wrote. And it all bore out over time.
By February 2020, strains Alpha and Beta had merged into a new strain in China – one with the higher attack rate of the Alpha strain. And when the government started to reopen towns for manufacturing, that strain became active. Since then, the government has been working the eradicate that strain, but with no success.
Fast forward a year later, that new old-new strain has spread and become dominant strain the world.
Yet again in 2021, major cities like Beijing are locked down. And China is heading for the same set of circumstances they faced last winter. And yet, here we are a year later in America with the same problem but facing a more virulent strain now- and we still have no strategy, no true methodology to minimize the spread of this virus.
I also find it no less ironic that this January, we again have the biggest threat to our country right under our noses, while we are again consumed by politics.