Empty streets, empty stores, shuttered restaurants and bars, empty playgrounds, and empty schools. Much of the world has gone missing in the face of a plague that is sweeping the globe at terrifying speed. And America is more and more rapidly, bit by bit, also shutting down.
It’s the Chinese Virus. The one that began in China and that the Chinese government tried to hide from us – for six weeks after it had begun ravaging China’s own people.
It appears that it was more important for the Chinese government to punish its own people in China for revealing the existence of the virus and the havoc it was causing, than to reach out to the world for help that might have stopped the plague before it became a pandemic. What China did was criminal, for which there is no excuse and no forgiveness.
The term “Chinese virus” is not racist. Not even close. It is descriptive. Because the virus originated in China. And just like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), it describes the place where the virus began its scourge. Like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, German Measles, and Spanish Flu.
Simple! Not only did the virus originate in China, but in Wuhan, China, which is why some people call it the Wuhan virus. That is also not racist, just descriptive. So the virus originated in Wuhan, China, and the next question is, “Yes, but where in Wuhan, and how did it happen?”
The first person to identify the virus as new and dangerous was a young doctor, Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital. On December 30, 2019 he warned his colleagues on a private WeChat group about a possible outbreak of an illness that resembled SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). In his posting, he wrote (translated from the Chinese), “Seven confirmed cases of SARS were reported from Huanan Seafood Market.” Along with his comments, he posted a patient’s examination report and a scanned image of a CT test. And then he added, “The latest news is, it has been confirmed that they are coronavirus infections, but the exact virus strain is being subtyped”.
Li asked his colleagues in their WeChat group to ensure that their families and friends would take protective measures so they would not also contract the virus. When someone shared the messages to a wider WeChat audience, Li was blamed for leaking the information.
Four days later, instead of supporting his efforts to call attention to this potential epidemic, the police demanded that he and seven of his colleagues appear before them. The doctors were made to sign a letter admitting to “making false comments on the Internet”, and warned that if they did this again, they would face harsh punishment.
By the end of January, Dr. Li himself contracted the virus, and on February 7, he died.
Even if the government had not taken such an uncompromising line, it was already too late. The virus was spreading faster than they could contain it. So rather than trying to fix it, the Chinese found it convenient to punish anyone who talked about the virus. Instead, they blamed its source on an open air, live animal market in Wuhan, which was full of countless pathogens and was best characterized by its extremely unhygienic conditions.
The Chinese government was quick to jump on the bandwagon and blame the rising epidemic on the open air market, which they closed shortly after it had been identified.
But the best intelligence from Wuhan pointed to another source entirely. It was not coincidental, only convenient, that the live animal market was only a short distance from another building, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a level-4 biohazard laboratory, opened in 2017. It was here, according to the best intelligence sources, that COVID-19 was born.
According to the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper, the Chinese now claim to have identified Patient Zero, the first person to have contracted the virus who, they said, was a 55-year-old man from China’s Hubei province. But the newspaper noted, the evidence is not conclusive. And at least two other studies suggest that the first person to show signs of the virus did so on December 1, and December 8. So the controversy continues.
But our own intelligence sources were more revealing, and were consistent from the beginning. They reported that Patient Zero was a technician working in, what a 2015 Radio Free Asia broadcast called, China’s most advanced virus research laboratory. According to Israeli biological warfare expert, Dany Shoham, this laboratory is linked to China’s secret biological weapons program. It is known as the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and on November 17, 2019, the man who became Patient Zero dropped a vial containing the virus and it shattered, contaminating everyone and everything nearby.
Between November 17 and December 31, when the Chinese government finally admitted to having a problem with a “pheumonia-like” illness, the virus spread throughout Wuhan and the Hubei province, and beyond.
Photographs began to emerge showing crowded hospital corridors, with body bags lining the halls. A shocking video was released showing a man walking along a sidewalk and suddenly falling forward onto the ground, and just lying where he fell, barely able to move, no less to get back up (see video here).
And yet, as the epidemic grew alarmingly fast, China refused to ask for assistance, and kept the scope of the epidemic a secret from the rest of the world. At one point, more than 56 million people in the center of this country of over 1.4 billion people, were under strict quarantine. And yet, in spite of all these growing statistics, the Chinese would not let American scientists from the CDC come into China to help identify the cause and, possibly take the first steps to finding a vaccine and a cure.
Why would they do that?
Maybe because they did not want to expose the work they had been doing on a powerful bio-weapons program, and maybe just because they did not want to lose whatever advantage they thought they had in the U.S.-China trade talks that were still going on and were only signed on January 15th.
Whatever the reason, the results were catastrophic. China has admitted to ‘only’ 81,307 confirmed cases of the virus, 3,254 deaths, and 71,291 recoveries. All well and good, as statistics go, but they don’t jibe with the realities on the ground.
In the midst of the worst of the Wuhan epidemic, when the city’s mortuaries could no long handle the large number of burials, the city’s estimated 74 crematoria took over, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with each handling at least 100 bodies a day. At least three of them broke down, because of the overload on their furnaces.
So great was the demand to burn the bodies of those who had died from the virus, that the city was covered with a pall of smoke that emanated from the burning of so many bodies and could be seen from space. If they had done this for only a week (and it’s pretty clear that it lasted longer), then that would account for the cremation of 51,800 people, or sixteen times the “confirmed” number provided by the Chinese government. And that is only the beginning.
From the first case in the middle of November, the Chinese have been fudging the numbers, calling unexplained respiratory deaths “pneumonia” or worse, not naming the cause at all. Their records were sloppy, or under-counted, or non-existent.
How is that even possible? It’s simple, really. The Chinese have lied to us from the very beginning. And they are still lying. Only last week they blamed the U.S. military for planting the virus in Wuhan, as if that lie would somehow absolve them of all responsibility. And Chinese leader Xi Jinping took a victory lap around Wuhan to celebrate the outstanding job he did ending the epidemic in China! There seems to be no end to his hubris and total connection to reality.
In the end, if we ever find out how many people really died in China, it may turn out to be in the millions, and become an eternal blot on the history of that communist nation.
And that is why it is okay for the President to call this the “Chinese virus”. That’s what it is, and diplomacy be damned, when the lives of so many have been put in jeopardy by power hungry tyrants, when so many thousands of people have already died, and all because of the perfidy of the Chinese government, because of their disregard for their own people, and the pride that enabled them to perpetrate the enormous evil that has already killed thousands, if not millions. Racism is hardly an issue.
But there is also a bright side to this terrible tragedy. Because here in America, this is a national problem, and in the face of this major epidemic, most Americans are eager to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
On Friday, March 13, President Trump declared a national state of emergency, freeing up $50 billion for states to address some of the most pressing issues relating to the spreading virus. He also expanded the travel ban from Europe to include the U.K. and Ireland. By the weekend, the NCAA March Madness tournaments, the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball had all suspended their seasons. Colleges and universities around the country sent their students home, and public and private elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools closed their doors for weeks and maybe months.
And state by state, restaurants and bars are being compelled to close or to offer only take out or delivery services. Supermarkets are being forced to ration certain products like toilet paper and hand sanitizers, and in some cities and states, like California, residents have been ordered to stay at home.
Americans are, for the most part, all in. Some supermarkets are offering special hours to the elderly who are may be more susceptible to the virus. And other industries are also participating in helping their communities, like the liquor company that is now producing massive amounts of hand sanitizer and giving it away for free. And just ordinary people are cooperating, staying at home when they can, washing their hands – a lot – and assisting the government by being part of the solution.
Of course, there are exceptions, like the reckless teenagers on spring break, who disregarded all the warnings, and frolicked mindlessly on the beaches of Florida until Governor shut them down.
As we face the weeks of lockdown, staying at home for an indefinite period of time, and tremendous economic disruption, we have China to blame, for its total disregard for the consequences of its selfish and greedy need for power and unaccountability.
Over the last week, President Trump has held daily briefings for the American people on national television, so that we can all be informed about what the government is doing on our behalf. Things may be going to slowly for some, there are shortages of critical medical supplies, equipment, and tests, but the nation is gearing up rapidly and we are already seeing the results.
We can be grateful that we live in America, that our President and the people who make up his government are willing and determined to go the extra mile and defend our nation against one of the greatest evils in human history, and that our future is in the hands of people who care about what happens to “We the People”, and will continue to fight every day to protect us and the future of America.