US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — 65 days changed the history of the world. In the period from November 17, 2019 to January 20, 2020, China was infected with a new type of coronavirus, baptized Sars-Cov-2, about which it withholds or does not transmit in time information that could probably change the course of the pandemic, limit its spread in global on a scale and, however, would give affected countries more time to respond, writes Italian La Repubblica.
This is a story about the key points of these 65 days. And the story, in which the official chronology of events, so far served to the press, is rewritten, with the restoration of the thread connecting Asia, Europe and the United States of America: Beijing, Paris, Berlin, London and New York. East, the main European capitals and the gates of America.
This is a story about ignored alarms, front-line doctors who were forced to remain silent, key public health information censored to protect the regime’s good name or malignly underestimated by medical science. On the search for a “zero” patient who, having left China, gradually spread the disease all over the planet, inevitably doomed to failure, because China himself lost sight of the suspects. At the same time, these searches still revolved in vain around the – erroneous – statement that infection in Europe began between the end of January and February, while, on the contrary, the virus entered the Old World in the fall of 2019.
Of course, today no one can say, even with retrospective medical evidence, to what extent this systematic “cover” of Beijing slowed down the reaction to the pandemic. And, therefore, what role he played in the spread of infection. It was established that in the month and a half from the beginning of December 2019, when the first cases of Covid-19 appeared in Wuhan, until January 20, 2020, when Chinese President Xi Jinping declared an emergency at the national level, the history of the epidemic begins to spread in official rhetoric , written in a pattern by Beijing propaganda, which is contradicted by emerging facts one after another, which now shed light on the real state of things. This series of events is paved with ignorance, cowardice, cynicism and – in some cases – malicious intent.
City on the Blue River
No one knows for sure when and where the coronavirus epidemic developed. That is, when the transition from animal to man occurred. If you believe the Chinese English-language newspaper South China Morning Post (South China Morning Post), according to some reports, which gained access to the internal documents of the regime, the first case of Covid-19 in China refers to November 17, 2019. So, it happened a month and a half before China officially informed the World Health Organization about the presence of “cases of pneumonia of unknown origin” in the country. And, on the contrary, it is clear that the first significant outbreak was recorded in the first half of December in Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei region. This city is called the “City on the River”, as it is located on the banks of the huge, majestic Blue River, an artery, crossing and irrigating the spacious plains of central China. Wuhan is a transport and trade hub between the arid north and the subtropical south, between the rich coast of the east and the developing west. Thus, this is the nerve node that Xi Jinping is betting on. So big that in previous months, China hosted the World War Games here and an important bilateral meeting between the Chinese president and Indian Prime Minister Modi.
The World War Games opened in Wuhan on October 18, 2019 and lasted until October 27. They were held a month after the World Basketball Championship and are a kind of Olympic Games for athletes in uniform. This tradition is relatively young: for the first time these competitions were held in 1995, in Rome. But the War Games are an ideal opportunity for a campaign with which China decided to build its image in the world.
In addition, Wuhan is an ideal venue for events. Huge spaces, perfect infrastructure, spacious parks with lakes. China beautifully received nine thousand athletes from 140 countries, opening on the occasion a new line of the city metro and placing them in ten and twenty-story residential complexes with sports halls and recreation areas with video games and ponds. In addition to traditional sports, medals are also played in these games in typical military disciplines: sea pentathlon, parachuting, saving people and orienteering. At a large-scale celebration, the Italian team, one of the most numerous (the delegation includes 139 athletes and about 70 accompanying people), was awarded various prizes: it received four gold medals, 12 silver and 12 bronze medals, thus taking 11th place in the overall standings,
Upon returning to Italy, 37-year-old fencer Matteo Tagliariol, 37 years old, fell ill. “The acute form of the flu,” he recalls today, “after which I recovered without having to take any special medications. The disease developed normally, it just lasted longer than usual. That flu has affected my lungs, perhaps because I’m asthmatic. It may have been a coronavirus, but I didn’t take the test. ” Tagliariol adds that in those days in October in Wuhan, “everyone had the same symptoms of a respiratory illness. Six of six people have our apartments.”
This story, however, is refuted by rapier fencer Valerio Aspromonte: “I had an intercontinental flight and after 16-18 hours I arrived in a village in Wuhan. Then I slept for a long time because of fatigue and the difference in time zones, but this is normal. I did not have any flu symptoms, neither fever, nor any characteristic cough. I lived in the same room as Tagliariol. We spent 11 days in this village, everything was clean, everything was in order. I did not see the athletes exhausted by the disease in the village, I always ate in the dining room. Everything was normal. ” The Italian General Staff of the Armed Forces also considers Tagliariol testimony differently: “The military medical staff, as prescribed, always monitored the health status of the delegation of athletes during their stay in China and did not observe any individual or collective cases of diseases upon return to Italy that would be related to infection coronavirus. ” And yet, in those nine days in China, apparently, something did happen. Unless you suspect.
Listen, for example, to two pentathletes from France, Elodie Clouvel, silver medalist in Rio, and five-time world champion Valentin Belaud: “We were in Wuhan, and everyone got sick. Valenten lost three days of training. It’s strange. I also had health problems that had never happened in my life. But for us this did not cause much concern. ” In this case, the testimonies of the athletes were also refuted by the military authorities of France: “The delegation was under the supervision of doctors before and during the Games in Wuhan, the team consisted of almost 20 people.
“The French delegation did not record cases declared during or upon return from the Games that were comparable, when analyzing after the fact, with cases of Covid-19.” A similar pattern is repeated with the Spanish delegation. The Department of Defense officially rejects suspicions that the Games have become a site of infection. Athletes remember something completely different. For example, four of them were treated with amoxicillin in China after they developed flu-like symptoms. Or that on October 27, after returning to Spain with flights on the Wuhan-Beijing-Madrid or Wuhan-Paris-Madrid routes, many fell ill. Laryngitis, prolonged fever. In one case, pneumonia.
Of course, it is encouraging that the two Swedish athletes returned home with the symptoms of Covid-19. And this is encouraging because representatives of the medical department of the Scandinavian state claim this. It is also known what fate awaits the 52-year-old “reservist” and cyclist Maatje Benassi, who participated in the War Games, upon returning to the United States. In the absence of any evidence, she is accused of allegedly contracting the coronavirus at the Games, thus becoming the American “null patient,” because of which Covid-19 ended up in the United States. Due to the fall of Benassi 15 kilometers from the finish line at a competition in Wuhan, a number of conspiracy theories are spreading. Guessing is based on the incredibly popular YouTube video. “She fell because she was out of breath, she felt bad, like the rest of the team. And upon her return, she brought into the United States a virus created in China as part of a “conspiracy organized jointly with her husband.” She and her husband work for the government: Maatier is a civil servant at the Virginia airbase, Matt works for the Pentagon. The whole family was forced to leave Fort Belvoir, the military unit where they live, in order to hide from the endless threats of murder, coming mainly to the social networks of the 52-year-old reservist of the US Army.
“It’s like you wake up from a nightmare,” Benassi says in despair, “and you find yourself in a nightmare again, day after day. I would like it to end because someone unleashed this cyberbullying and it got out of hand. ” Among the prosecutors, Maatier Benassi is the so-called investigative journalist George Webb. His video, titled Five Card Benassi, has already been watched by over ten thousand viewers, and it can still be found on YouTube. Webb will later apologize: “I am officially taking back the words spoken earlier about Ma’at Benassi. They gave me the wrong data. She did not have positive results for the test, she never worked as an incognito agent. The information provided to me in this regard was erroneous. ” Too late. But be that as it may, the shadow in the Games remains. And then what?
Mysterious Thanksgiving Report
So – and this should be taken into account – not only the War Games in Wuhan provide food for thought. Not only do they allow you to track retroactively the spread of infection. If the reconstruction that appeared in the investigation of the American ABC television network (ABC) – albeit persistently refuted by the White House and the Pentagon – is correct, then approximately on Thanksgiving, November 28, 2019, something happens in another part the planet. In the United States of America.
A few days or a few weeks earlier, the military intelligence medical unit (National Center for Medical Intelligence) did record an epidemic in China. This conclusion is confirmed by the simultaneous analysis of satellite images, interceptions of internal communications in the government and in the armed forces of China. The National Center for Medical Intelligence is most worried that the epidemic could put American soldiers stationed in Asia at risk, mainly in South Korea and Japan. An image of a “potential cataclysm” is being formed.
The report of the National Center for Medical Intelligence is first distributed among the Pentagon leadership, and then – after numerous checks – arrives at the White House, just in time for Thanksgiving. The addressee is the National Security Council, which is the director’s console for the development of military strategy and foreign policy of the Presidential Administration Donald Trump (Donald Trump). One of his tasks is just to present to the president a concentrated sample of important information received by the intelligence service. At that time, during a daily briefing by the president on the eve of Thanksgiving, an epidemic loomed on the horizon for the virus, which had not yet been given a name. This is a warning. There will be no benefit from it.
To summarize the first line. Let’s put it this way: there is no conclusive evidence that athletes participating in the War Games in October were infected with Covid-19. Although, as we understood, the symptoms manifested in some of them upon their return to Europe coincide with those that the world will learn to recognize after a while, and with the incubation period of the virus. It is also necessary to take into account the Pentagon and the White House refutation of the existence of the Thanksgiving report.
It is reliably known that in the second half of December, the epidemic ceases to be a secret in the respiratory diseases department of the Hubei Provincial Medicine Hospital, located in the very center of Wuhan. At least within the borders of China.
The hospital is beginning to receive an ever-growing wave of patients, which is no longer able to contain the first line of preventive medicine in China – small district clinics. All patients show symptoms resembling the usual flu: fever, cough, weakness. However, the season has just come. If only someone had not noticed that these flu symptoms do not respond to any medications usually used for this type of ailment. It seems that no one is interested in putting together a whole series of abnormal cases, comparing them with epidemiological data. To nobody. Except one doctor.
Her name is Zhang Jixian. She is 54 years old and is the director of the respiratory department of the Wuhan Hospital. She has an interesting professional history because, while still a young doctor, she took part in the national campaign against SARS, a large-scale epidemic that shook Asia in 2002 and 2003 and claimed nearly 800 lives.
On December 26, when examining one elderly couple, the doctor appears suspicious. Both are sick with pneumonia, they have equally unusual symptoms on CT. The doctor knows that the same symptoms rarely occur in different members of the same family, unless it is an infectious disease. Then Zhang calls the son of this couple. He has neither cough nor fever, but CT scans show the same spots on his lungs.
The next day, CT fixes the same blackout on the lungs. And this time, the patient is a market trader in Juanan, located a few hundred meters from the hospital. Zhang warns the directorate, then the Wuhan Disease Control Center, the technical body coordinating infectious disease control measures in China.
In anticipation of an answer, which, she knows, will arrive only after some time, she gives the order that the patients entering her ward should be isolated, and obliges the medical staff to wear masks. This decision will bring her a state award in a few months, and she will end up in the archives of the official history of the People’s Republic of China as the first doctor to sound an alarm about Covid-19. But Zhang was probably not the first and not the only doctor. And most importantly, it’s too late. The world is not yet aware of this. But the plague was on its way. She already knocked on the door of Bobigny, a suburb north of Paris. 8900 kilometers west of Wuhan.
Miraculous Healing at Bobigny
Amirouche Hammar lives in Bobigny, a suburb of Paris. He is 43 years old, he sells fish. On December 27, he falls ill with Covid-19, not knowing what kind of illness he was bringing to another world. Because at that time, Covid-19 simply did not exist. Neither for France (the first three cases of Covid-19 will be announced only on January 24: they are a couple of Chinese tourists and an Asian entrepreneur who are undergoing treatment between Paris and Bordeaux), neither for China, nor for the World Health Organization.
Today, when more than four months have passed since December 27, Ammar jokes, playing with the ball in the front garden of his house: “I am Ronaldo with the crown.” But this is not so. Rather, he could be called the French “zero patient.” Or, be that as it may, one of the first “zero patients” in Europe.
Ammar falls ill on December 20 after his wife had a severe dry cough. He begins to treat what he has mistaken for flu, olive oil, lemon and garlic. “This is done in my homeland, in Kabilia,” he says. However, grandmother’s funds are not enough. He begins to cough up blood, feels a sharp, “like punches,” chest pain. December 27, he decides to contact an ambulance.
“I thought it was my time,” recalls Ammar, now suffering from diabetes and asthma. But it turned out that this is not so. He spends five days in the intensive care unit until he can be pulled out of the arms of death. He returns home, where the long recovery process begins, and where he forgets or maybe doesn’t even know that the doctor who saved him, Dr. Yves Cohen from Bondi Hospital, took an analysis from him. The one that, after storage and re-examination four months later, will be the last word in this mysterious disease of the end of December. This is Covid-19.
But from whom did Ammar become infected with this virus? The last time he went abroad in August 2019 was to Algeria. So, he says today, there is only one possibility. That his wife infected him. This is a plausible hypothesis. A woman works in the fish department of the Carrefour supermarket near Roissy Airport, where planes from Wuhan land daily until January of this year. “Many tourists from Asia go to her store to buy salmon and swordfish before leaving,” says Ammar, adding that there is a sushi bar in the corner of the supermarket where the Chinese work.
Let’s stop for a moment. And put the first point.
December 27, Wuhan, Hubei Province Integrated Medicine Hospital.
December 27, Paris, Bondi Hospital.
Covid is already distributed on two continents. The world ignores him.
On December 29, based on reports from Dr. Zhang, the Wuhan Health Authority begins an epidemiological study.
After SARS, Beijing set up a quick alert system, and cases like the one in Wuhan Hospital must be reported to the center immediately.
But something else happened. The main thing is that on December 27 there was another event that we are not yet aware of. The Wuhan Central Hospital, which is also located next to the market in Huanan, receives test results from a 65-year-old patient, a frequent visitor to the market. The analyzes were done in a private laboratory in Canton. For some strange reason, their result is reported by telephone, and it provides clear evidence of a new coronavirus. This is a large family of viruses, which include commonplace pathogens like the common cold and SARS.
On December 30, another doctor from the same hospital, director of the ambulance department, Ai Feng, receives from the Beijing Capital Bio Medlab laboratory the result of a second test taken from another person. In the previous few days, Ay examined several patients who had a form of pneumonia that did not respond to the medication, and the four letters appearing in the response from the laboratory made her shudder. “TORSO”. This is a mistake, a false positive analysis. Today we know that that virus is a relative of the plague that will change the history of the world, Sars-Cov-2. However, it is precisely this mistake that convinces the doctor that no more minutes can be lost. She warns first the management of the hospital, then the local health authorities, demands that doctors and medical personnel wear masks. Epidemiological research, meanwhile, points directly to the market in Juanan. And there is a reason.
Many of the first cases, though not all, are somehow related to this place. The exact name of the market is “Huanan Seafood Market”, but not only fish is traded inside. In this “wet market” in the very center of the city, in cramped huts, standing side by side with magnificent skyscrapers, two streets from the most crowded railway station in central China also sell such wild animals as civet, which, as already identified in the past, are a repository of pathogens transmitted to humans.
“No disclosure without permission”
On December 30, the Wuhan Health Service Commission sends an internal message to all the city’s medical facilities. This is the first official document to document a spreading epidemic. Doctors are asked to take precautions by isolating patients and to report all suspected cases of pneumonia diagnosed on previous days. However, there is a second indication. It has nothing to do with protecting public health, but it is connected with the obsession with the regime of control over information. And the pedagogical principles of the people’s government. Doctors are required, as the document says, to refrain from disseminating information about the epidemic “without permission”.
The timely warning system, tested only a few months earlier and received laudatory propaganda reviews, is silent. The problem concerns, first of all, and not only doctors and medical personnel. This issue requires regulation in accordance with the numerous and diverse levels of the hierarchy of the Communist Party. No one knows, and probably does not imagine, that the countdown of the epidemic has already begun. That deadlines for China have already passed. And not only for him.
Strange Colmar Curve
Michel Schmitt leads the radiology department at the hospital in Colmar, a city located in eastern France in the Alsace region on the German border. A few weeks earlier, he had an intuitive suspicion at the end of another long day spent on a CT scan and X-ray images of Covid patients hospitalized at Colmar Hospital. He recalled that he had already seen similar images in the fall of 2019. So he put in place the hands of the hours of infection. One turn back. Maybe two. While the Wuhan hosted the War Games, France focused on demonstrations and strikes in connection with the pension reform. But in the hospital of Colmar, one by one, patients appear hospitalized with pneumonia. Pneumonia of a new type – judging by the damage, symptoms and duration.
CTs and chest x-rays are taken to hospitalized patients. Hundreds of medical reports. From which, if you reread them today, you can go crazy. Based on the three-stage research principle based on international criteria for the diagnosis of Covid-19 images, these findings indicate that 482 patients showed a positive result for the virus. 53% of the cases were men aged about 65. Colmar’s “Zero Patient,” according to a study that Republik was able to read, is a French woman who was hospitalized on November 16 and never went to China.
November 16, 2019. The day before the first established case of Covid-19 in China. This means that the epidemic began to spread in France before the end of autumn. “Yes,” says Dr. Schmitt. – At the moment, it seems plausible that in China the virus spread four or five months before the official start of the epidemic. You could say during the summer. ”
The first to sound the alarm
On December 30, 2019, the Chinese authorities forbid the spread of “without permission” information about the epidemic of the virus, the nature of which is still not fully known, does not take into account the amazing tool of the modern world – chat rooms of various messengers – and the dedication that Dr. Ai works with in the wards of the Wuhan hospital Fen.
On the same morning, December 30, announcing her opening to the hospital’s management, Ai circled the word “TORS” with a pink marker on a report received from the Capital Bio Medlab laboratory in Beijing and sent his photograph along with CT images of her patients to a medical classmate. The message begins to spread among the doctors at the Central Hospital until it is received by the young 33-year-old ophthalmologist Li Wenliang. In turn, Lee sends him to a group on the Chinese social network WeChat, where hundreds of his fellow students are composed.
“Seven cases of SARS are confirmed in the Juanan market. They are quarantined in our hospital, ”Li Wenliang writes at 17:43, confirming that at that time there is indirect evidence pointing to the market. But the frontline doctors already understood the level of danger. Someone warns Lee: “Be careful what you write, otherwise the group will be closed.” An hour later, Lee answers. He clarifies that the virus is a kind of coronavirus that is different from SARS, asks “not to disseminate information outside the group” and advises “to warn their near and dear ones that they take precautionary measures”.
In China, there is an official “Wishblower.” And a huge problem arises with him. As often happens in this country, where social networks are a powerful factor in the dissemination of information — truthful, deceitful, falsified, inaccurate — the message begins to spread at an impressive speed. In Wuhan and beyond.
Despite Lee’s clarification, the newsletter says that “SARS” is being distributed in Wuhan. This word left a deep scar in the minds of all the inhabitants of Asia. And this ghost suddenly comes back and takes on new flesh. At night and the next morning, Lee’s alarm, spread by seven other doctors, spreads to thousands of smartphones. Lorenzo Mastrotto, an Italian manager who has been living with his family in Wuhan for many years, remembers this very well. Just like he remembers the wave of panic that instantly swept the city. The hunt for masks begins, which are rapidly ending. Up to the point that it becomes simply impossible to find.
It is not clear how the Beijing authorities learn about cases of pneumonia in Wuhan. Not least because the version of the Chinese regime was and remains unconvincing. Perhaps local officials from Hubei Province warned the center, as required by the protocol. Or, on the contrary, the famous Chinese economist Hua Sheng is right. If his version of the events is correct, then it was the director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control who came across a message posted on the network by Lee and it was he who sounded the alarm, transmitting momentum to the party body – the National Health Commission, equivalent to our Ministry of Health.
The impulse worked, the machine was put into operation, and the next morning, December 31, a team of experts was sent to Wuhan. At that time, as we already know, various private laboratories confirmed the presence of coronavirus. There are also indirect indications that the virus can be transmitted from one family member to another, that is, from person to person, as follows from the precautions taken by Dr. Zheng and Dr. Ai.
However, the tone of the first public announcement presented by the Wuhan Disease Prevention Center is completely different: “The investigation did not reveal obvious cases of transmission of the disease from person to person or infection of medical personnel,” the statement said. “The disease is predictable and controllable.” If this is not a lie (the possibility of transmission of the disease from person to person will be confirmed by a pandemic), then a catastrophic scientific error. And be that as it may, the regime’s bad conscience has a sweetened message that it sends to the Beijing branch of the World Health Organization: “A number of cases of pneumonia of unknown origin have been identified in Wuhan.”
Now the news is spreading in the world. Upon careful examination, he learns quite a bit. It is not enough that this spoils the several billion people who inhabit the planet, the New Year holidays. But enough to convince the leadership of European countries that something is going wrong in China.
Wuhan is the most French city in China ever since a partnership was signed between General de Gaulle and Zhou Enlai, the Francophile Prime Minister under Mao Zedong. The headquarters of one hundred groups are located in Wuhan, such as PSA, Eurocopter, L’Oréal and Pernod-Ricard. about 40% of French investment in China.
Including for this reason, it was in the capital of Hubei that former Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve opened on February 23, 2017, the BSL-4 laboratory (BSL-4), which is associated with the Institute of Virology, and is destined to become the basis of the dossier used by the White House in charge of Beijing. The place where the Covid-19 was allegedly grown and from where it escaped as a result of a catastrophic incident. Be that as it may, BSL-4 is a French gift. After the SARS epidemic, former French President Jacques Chirac wanted to help Asian friends by putting at their disposal the sophisticated technology needed to study the most lethal pathogens. In return, France received a scientific outpost in China in the event of new epidemics.
History has evolved and will continue to evolve in a different vein. Having overcome many obstacles – from the doubts arising from the French secret services to the protests of American diplomats – more than one French government conducted this project until 2017, after which it immediately interrupted scientific cooperation. The Chinese authorities would never have accepted the 50 French researchers who should have collaborated in the formation of the projects. Five million euros allocated by Paris will remain frozen. Only one French representative will be present in the laboratory as part of a bilateral agreement, represented by the microbiologist René Courcol.
Not enough, you say. But on the days before New Year’s Eve, Paris is one of the first in Europe to understand what is happening in Wuhan. “As soon as the Chinese authorities announced a new pneumopathy, on December 31, 2019, the Consul General of Wuhan notified the Center for Crisis Situations and Support of the Ministry and the Embassy in Beijing about the alarm,” said a spokeswoman for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Since the beginning of January, the information contained in the warnings of travelers has been updated,” says an employee of the department.
Of course, on January 5, the French diplomatic service draws attention to the fact that the Chinese authorities claim 59 infected, seven of whom are in serious condition. “At that moment, the situation was not at all alarming,” the French authorities emphasized.
Nevertheless, the French Foreign Ministry informs President Emmanuel Macron of what is happening on December 30-31, as a source close to French intelligence tells Repubblica: “The president receives an alarm through two different channels – diplomatic and scientific “. The note reports “SARS with SARS symptoms,” and it is essentially identical to the message received at the same time by the World Health Organization.
The Champs Elysees – which, contrary to what a source from the intelligence circles says, dates the president’s receipt of all information only on January 23, when China announces the isolation of Wuhan – will order the repatriation of the French living in Hubei only on January 30.
“The problem with our intelligence, like many others in the West, is not the lack of information, which can be even too much, but the ability to analyze it and prioritize,” commented the Republik source. Be that as it may, direct flights between Roissy and Wuhan will continue regularly until January 30. And until early March, as the Le Monde newspaper investigation revealed, the Ministry of Health will continue to destroy stockpiles of millions of medical masks due to expiration dates or because they were left to mold in a warehouse. Those same masks that will be so sharply missed in hospitals during an emergency.
On December 30, 2019, light is also lit in Berlin. The Koch Institute, a German government agency collecting health data, receives an email one minute before midnight warning of “pneumonia of unknown origin” spreading in Wuhan. The sender of the message is ProMED-mail, a program of the International Society for the Study of Infectious Diseases. “Promed” sends an official message to the Beijing authorities, which specifically refers to four cases of mysterious pneumonia. “Patient number one,” reportedly, “worked in Wuhan’s fish market.”
Nevertheless, as the Republik was able to find out from a government source, already at the end of December the German Bundesnahrichtendinst internal intelligence service allegedly received an alarming message from Wuhan telling about the dangers of a new virus. The alarm signal – as follows from the reconstruction of our source – was sent to the Ministry of Health and to the Koch Institute, which, however, lose precious days without doing anything until December 31, when Beijing informs WHO, and then the whole world.
It will be a month before the first Covid-19 patient appears in Germany. This, if taken for granted, was the first patient.
To the death of Dr. Lee
In Wuhan and Beijing, the terrible hours set in between December 30-31. Health investigators frantically work. The cases on which they are investigating are diverse and localized in different hospitals. It is possible, and even natural, that their eyes were riveted by a thread that connects all patients with a visit to the market in Juanan. They are convinced that the root of the problem was there. And they completely conscientiously share this conviction with the central authorities.
In one, however, the center and the periphery seem to converge without any shadow of doubt: the need to keep information under control. Avoid the news leak, which can bring the country to its knees and compromise its image in the world. In two days, the Wuhan Health Commission and the National Commission indeed sent to all diagnostic centers where traces of coronavirus had already been detected at that time, a message explaining that the samples of this mysterious pneumonia should be considered as “microorganisms of the highest degree of pathogenicity, and they should all be moved to proven laboratories or destroyed. ”
Doctors Ai Fen are summoned to the hospital’s Disciplinary Inspection Committee and are toughly accountable for “spreading rumors” and “destabilizing” the healthcare system. At the same time, agents of the local police come to Dr. Li Wenlian, issuing a warning to him for “disseminating false comments on the Internet” and forcing him to sign a statement in which he officially undertakes to henceforth continue to refrain from such messages. On state television, evening news reports reported the arrest of eight doctors for spreading rumors.
A few days later, Lee will return to work. He will catch Covid-19 and die, becoming a symbol of the price of truth in a state like China. But Lee’s life, obviously, is worthless in the game that the regime leads. Having closed the doors from drafts blowing from Wuhan, the regime managed to completely destroy a potential hotbed of panic among the population. On January 1, the market in Juanan undergoes sterilization, here any traces of animal organisms are destroyed, including those that could help reconstruct the origin of the epidemic. In addition, since then, samples collected on the market have remained a mystery to the international scientific community.
The public is invited to the news that the virus does not spread among people. Beijing is convinced that time can still be beaten. After all, it has been established that the world already knows about the general “epidemic of pneumonia of unknown origin,” but he can forget about it if the development of this epidemic, as well as its origin, can be restrained and controlled.
This rate, at least for another three weeks, will apply to the whole world. But not for those with whom communist China is well acquainted and hostile. So, in Taiwan, democratic China, starting on January 3, the island authorities begin to measure the temperature of all passengers arriving from Wuhan. This is one of the first preventive measures introduced in the world. And she will be decisive. Taiwan will become one of the few countries that managed to contain the virus without introducing any lockdown.
We need to stop on December 30, because during these hours there are many events. Shi Zhengli, one of the most famous virologists in China, attends a conference in Shanghai. Someone calls her Batwoman, the master of bats – for certain reasons. A short, slender physique, Shi spent many years making her way into Yunnan’s darkest, wettest and most impenetrable caves to collect “horseshoe” bat samples and compile one of the most comprehensive coronavirus archives in the world at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Shi’s smartphone vibrates. She is looking for the head of her laboratory in Hubei, located at the Institute of Virology. He asks her to return immediately to explore the new outbreak of viral pneumonia that has spread to the city’s hospitals. She gets on the first fast train and immediately orders her team to begin work on isolating the virus and exploring its genome. She is tormented by one suspicion, which is breathtaking: that this pathogen could slip out of the incident just from there, from that very laboratory.
A few months later, she will say that she “did not sleep for several days” until, having received the genome, she checked that the new virus does not correspond to any of those that were in the archival tubes. She swears by her own life, and first of all to her fellow citizens: the pandemic did not begin at the Institute of Virology. But, as we shall see, this will not be enough for the gray cube in southern Wuhan, a gift from the French, the only laboratory of maximum biological security in China, to arouse suspicion and cease to be the basis of the indictment that the United States is preparing to file against Beijing.
China is making up for the speed with which its scientists, starting with Shi, have identified a new virus. But here, history develops on two levels – official and genuine. On January 5, despite the non-compliance with the requirements, the laboratory of the Shanghai Clinical Center for Public Health, led by Professor Zhang Yongzheng, was the first to isolate coronavirus based on a sample obtained from a hospital in Wuhan. Dr. Zhang immediately notifies the National Health Commission, recommending that “appropriate preventive and control measures be taken”.
Laboratories indicated by the authorities isolate the virus only two days later, on January 7, and the official message announcing to the world that we are dealing with a new coronavirus does not appear until January 9, after the Wall Street Journal wrote about this discovery. ) But that’s not all: on January 11, Dr. Zhang sends to the world – and therefore, open – database full of the virus’s genome. The Chinese authorities will do this only the next day. The World Health Organization notes China’s timely response, which, in its view, thus demonstrates “increased ability to control the epidemic.” A few days later, Professor Zhang’s laboratory will be closed for an “audit”.
Of course, in comparison with the gross hiding of information at the beginning of the SARS epidemic, the scientific potential of China and its willingness to cooperate are gigantic steps in early January. But it is precisely on the spot, in Wuhan, that the opaque leadership of China appears in the most obvious way, as if through a magnifying glass. Thus, we should return to December 31, when the official version worked out by the regime is repeated according to one pattern that does not allow improvisations and deviations. Two promises. First: the situation is under control. Second: the virus is not transmitted from person to person.
It’s a lie. Which side to look at. And this lie – it is still necessary to prove how consciously – for many days, contrary to all evidence, it is supported by a mixture of incompetence, prejudice and persistent observance of the priorities of the political agenda. On January 3, the number of confirmed cases of Covid rises to 41, and all are transferred to the Jintan Hospital, which specializes in infectious diseases in the city.
But from that moment, the number of new infections ceases to be updated by the day. Hiding in this way information that could give the world evidence that the situation was out of control, the Wuhan Health Commission introduced criteria to exclude many cases of infection from the calculations of new cases. The fact is that only those who visited the fish market in Juanan and those who contacted those who visited him were included in the statistics. A joke, if only it were not true.
Doctors in the wards are witnessing increasingly clear and tangible evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus. There are at least two family clusters, but this cannot be said: “I knew that infection should occur from person to person,” Ai Fen admits in an interview with Renwu magazine, which the publication will destroy in its archives, and Chinese users will “save” it in various forms, including in the emoji language. “If we had better coordinated work, we could have earlier established the fact of transmission of the virus from person to person,” even Jeong Nanshan, the head of Chinese epidemiologists, admits.
But the Wuhan leadership does not like this. They must abide by the principle of any regime: in order for something to be considered true, this must be declared. Otherwise, it is a “rumor.” So, on January 6-17, the city hosts “Two Meetings,” the most important annual meeting of the provincial parliament. All the editorials of the regime’s newspapers are dedicated to this congress. Pneumonia of unknown origin disappears from the agenda. She just ceases to exist. The regime will later report that on January 7 in Beijing, Xi Jinping first received information about the epidemic and ordered that decisive measures be taken to contain it. This is the first clove on which the official version amendment can be held, spread by the regime throughout the world and providing – and not too original – that the responsibility for delays and failures in containing the pandemic will be transferred to local officials.
Of course, it is possible that the tangerines from Hubei are really trying to underestimate the performance. The emperor is far away, he is severe, no one wants to spoil his mood with bad news. The fact is that in the chronicle of that time, a number of attempts to reassure the public are obvious, hiding the emergency situation, which is becoming more and more alarming day by day. On January 9, the first patient officially dies of the new coronavirus: he is a 61-year-old man with concomitant diseases, but his death is reported only two days later. At the same time, Wang Guangfa, a member of the second group of experts sent from Beijing, reiterates on state television that the situation is “under control”. After a few days, he, too, will become infected and undergo angry ridicule on the net.
However, China has an influential ally: the World Health Organization. On January 12, WHO again expresses full confidence in the version of the Chinese government and confidence “in the quality of ongoing investigations, the response measures introduced in Wuhan, and the desire to regularly provide all the information.” In a communiqué, the organization clarifies that “evidence suggests that the epidemic is linked to market visits (…), but there is no reliable indication of human-to-human transmission of the virus.”
Unfortunately, the next day, the Thai authorities reveal the first case of a positive result on Covid-19 outside of China. Sick – a tourist from Wuhan, who has never been at the market shelves in Juanan, however, visiting other markets of the city. Many epidemiologists consider this a serious alarm. The main thing is the decisive moment when China loses its monopoly on information about the pandemic.
Information starting to come from other parts of the world contradicts the official version of Beijing. On January 14, Minister Ma Xiaowei, an influential director of the National Health Commission, holds a meeting with provincial leaders to warn them of the need to prepare for a “massive public health event.” Undoubtedly, he knows that two days earlier, in Shenzhen, in the south of China, two patients were hospitalized with a positive result for coronavirus, members of the same family. At that time, these cases have not yet been confirmed, because under the protocol they must be evaluated by Beijing. However, for the regime, this confirms that the bet on holding the plague within Hubei’s borders, which is about to spread around the world, is lost.
On January 15, even WHO understands that before it is too late, it is better to free yourself from Beijing’s mortal embrace. One of the organization’s representatives said at a press conference that “limited infection from person to person, potentially in the family circle,” is possible, and at this stage the local health commission in Wuhan decides to support this version. Of course, encouraging voices do not disappear. From time to time it is repeated that the risk is “not high.” Indeed, in Wuhan, many wear medical masks, but in general, life goes on in the usual way.
Preparations are underway for the Chinese Lunar New Year, the most massive migration on Earth, during which millions of students and workers leave the megalopolises where they live and return to their native villages to celebrate this event in the family circle. Political meetings ended on January 17, and the next day, like every year, Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwan holds a large-scale New Year’s banquet, in which 40 thousand families take part, where everyone eats from common dishes. There was no reason to cancel it, Zhou would argue, given that transmission of the virus from person to person was considered limited. The next day, there is also an official New Year concert, as well as a more exclusive event with selected guests. A local newspaper writes that many musicians have challenged the “severe cold.”
The most sworn enemies
If the Thanksgiving report at the White House was supposed to be a warning alarm, then this task failed. In the weeks from the end of 2019 to the first half of January, the United States obviously sleeps a baby. It was only because this mysterious and distant epidemic of pneumonia of unknown origin in the heart of central China takes place at a very peculiar political moment. Washington and Beijing are negotiating a truce in a toll war. President Trump extends promises from Xi Jinping to significantly increase imports of products manufactured in the United States (this amounts to several tens of billions in agricultural products and not only). And on December 13, 2019, an armistice agreement between the two states was signed on a duty war – also called the first phase – which blocked their new increase. Details of the agreement were agreed in January.
In a word, this is a delicate moment. For Trump, this strategic outcome will be an investment, and he associates it in part with a good personal relationship with Xi Jinping. It would be a mistake to destroy the agreement due to the still “mysterious” virus in the eyes of the American and world public. In a broad sense, America – including a large part of the establishment and all medical institutions – notices the virus very carefully on January 8th. US media reported on Beijing state television CCTV: China has revealed a new virus that causes lung disease. It seems that it is not transmitted from person to person, but only from animal to person.
According to this information, dozens of people in Asia became infected with the virus, which caused concern in the regions affected by SARS in 2003. “59 sick in Wuhan,” was the name of the official Chinese media report. Two days later, on January 10, American newspapers reported on a patient who died in Wuhan, “but,” they write, “there is no evidence of the possibility of transmission of the virus from person to person.” The source of the message is the Xinhua news agency, and the American media reproduce it as it is: only those people who come in contact with live game sold on the local market become infected. The end of the story.
No one in America is suspicious of this version. The New York Times will only confine itself to stating that there are two weeks left before the holidays associated with the advent of the New Year according to the lunar calendar, when as many as three billion people go on a trip to China. The author of the note notes that the market in Wuhan is located near the railway station. And at the same time, hospitalized patients have already appeared in Hong Kong, and South Korea has placed a woman who came from Wuhan in conditions of complete isolation. The most alarming readers are reassured by the first WHO praise for China’s response.
However, one person in the apparatus of American intelligence is not sitting idly by. His name is Anthony Ruggero, and he runs the department specializing in weapons of mass destruction (and therefore bioterrorism and bacteriological wars), as part of the National Security Council. He does not agree with Trump’s laudatory comments regarding Xi Jinping, from which he obviously expects to receive the latest details about the trade concessions agreed in general in December.
Ruggiero puts the intelligence community on the ears to get more information about the exact origin of the coronavirus. He finds a valuable associate in the person of Matthew Pottinger, a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing during SARS, and now the second person on the National Security Council, and, most importantly, one of the people with the greatest influence on Chinese Trump’s policy. Pottinger instructs all U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate Wuhan’s epidemiological laboratories. He is convinced that this is where the root of the epidemic and confusion that China hides from the world lies.
These laboratories in many regions are “old acquaintances”. For many years, their research – starting with SARS – has received funding from the United States and France. And at least one of these laboratories, BSL-4, has been charged by Chinese scientists themselves: a report published by Yuan Jimin in the Journal of Biosafety and Biosecurity stated “ cases of negligence and oversights ”just during experiments with transmission of infection from animal to person. But that’s not all. Two other Chinese scientists sounded the alarm about incidents in that laboratory.
In two studies published in 2017 and 2019, a biologist from Wuhan, Tian Zunhua, reported that he was quarantined after he had contact with bat urine. Then there was a detective related to a study published and then destroyed by two Chinese scientists Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao from Guangzhou Polytechnic Institute. “The origin of the coronavirus,” this study reported, “is probably related to the Wuhan laboratory. In high-risk bacteriological laboratories, safety levels need to be strengthened. ” The entire article, which appeared on the ResearchGate website, was deleted by the authors themselves.
The National Security Council is not the only institution investigating what is happening in Wuhan. Five Eyes, the union of intelligence services of English-speaking countries, are also turned to China. And if what Trump says only in April-May is true, then the evidence they have received regarding China should be exhaustive. “They tried,” Trump said, “to hush up the data, hide it. It is like trying to put out a fire. But they did not succeed. ”
The White House, therefore, must have evidence of how China began to delay the export of its basic medical supplies and accumulate health supplies without yet reporting the infection to the World Health Organization. At the same time, the thesis about the origin of the virus is associated not with a fabricated pathogen in the laboratory, but with negligence during a series of experiments, which led to infection from animal to human. Be that as it may, these testimonies will wait a while. They are waiting in the wings to be shown as a “smoking gun,” which many will recall as a similar weapon in the war against Saddam Hussein, falsified evidence presented by the administration of George W. Bush,
It is unlikely that we will ever get evidence of this. However, what is happening in Wuhan in January 2020 is certainly known.
In Wuhan, as in Beijing, the version that the epidemic is under control is scattering from all sides. It can no longer withstand the pressure carried out both from abroad and in China itself. On Friday, January 17th, at the end of the Two Sessions, the number reflecting the spread of infection suddenly starts to update. It grows, reaching 198 patients during the weekend. This figure can be much larger. If the data contained in the report of the London Imperial College, prepared by a number of the world’s largest experts in epidemiology based on the first three infections abroad – in Thailand and Japan – is correct, then in Wuhan there may already be 1,700 cases of infection. It also states that “essentially infection from person to person cannot be ruled out.”
The source of the latest denial of official truth is a new team of experts, the third of those sent by the Beijing authorities. The national pride of China, 83-year-old pulmonologist Jeong Nanshan, who was in the forefront in the fight against SARS, leads her. He knows about cases in Shenzhen, and he only needs a few hours in Wuhan to understand what was already obvious to many and which is now impossible to hide. In the hospitals of the city during surgical procedures, 14 representatives of medical personnel became infected. The city has many family foci of the disease and patients who are not related to the market in Wuhan. The report of Jung and other experts submitted to the National Health Commission, which suggests strict quarantine restrictions, leaves no doubt about the seriousness of the situation:
We will probably never know if the elderly Jeong Nanshan saved the world from even more deaths. And whether he should be thanked. Someone claims that only an expert of his scale, with his charisma and age, could look into the eyes of Xi Jinping to tell him what he did not want to hear. Others believe that an elderly scientist became a fig leaf for an apparatus that already realized the scale of the disaster. Although, perhaps, not the entire device. Considering that from January 17 to 19, even in Beijing, a series of receptions were organized on the occasion of the Chinese New Year, including a reception hosted by Foreign Minister Wang Yi for hundreds of representatives of the international diplomatic community. Among those invited that evening were people from Hubei Province. Would he go for it, knowing how much he risks?
Of course, on January 20, for China, and then for the whole world, the day of truth comes without any guile. For the first time, President Xi Jinping has spoken publicly about the virus, ordering “decisive steps” to curb its spread. The epidemic is the first news in all news releases, it obsessed with all communist officials in every corner of China. A few hours later, speaking on national television, the same Zhong Nanshan must confirm the fact of the spread of the virus from person to person.
Wuhan is panicky. One of the most famous writers in China, Wang Fan, lives in this city. From this day on, she will publish the Quarantine Diary online. In one of her publications, she describes shock and rage over messages that appeared on January 20, “completely contradicting what we were told up to that point.” But there are those who still do not want to either believe in the epidemic or come to terms with its fact. On the evening of January 22, a few hours before the city’s borders were completely closed, while in hospitals approaching a critical state, many people line up for an examination, couples of elderly people still dance in parks to the rhythms of traditional music, being close to each other and without masks.
The next morning the city is closed, 27 days after the first official alarm, 18 days after isolation of the coronavirus, a few days after the first indirect indications of the spread of infection in families. And most importantly, after five million residents have already left the metropolis for New Year’s celebration. A study by the University of Southampton calculates from which it follows that when measures were taken to contain one, two, three weeks earlier, infection could be reduced by 66%, 86% and 95%, respectively. Even Jeong Nanshan admitted in an interview with the government-owned Global Times that there was a “delay” in the absence of which the number of victims of the epidemic would be lower.
Meanwhile, the regime is rewriting the story. Purges are taking place in the leadership of the Wuhan and Hubei party: two officials, very closely associated with Xi Jinping, are paying for everyone. Doctors Li Wenliang are being rehabilitated as a state martyr, an indicative flogging of persons who ordered him to remain silent was carried out. The only thing that the regime does not and cannot do is to respond to the notes appearing in Wang Fan’s Diary, on one of the pages of which she dreams of opening Wuhan. This call then becomes a prayer of the whole world. “All we have is endless waiting,” she writes. “The expectation that the city will be opened again, that they will give us an explanation.” And so, the city was opened, but no explanation was given.
China will not give an answer. The West continues to achieve its goal. “If it is considered true that the virus was imported directly from China in 2019, I conclude that it could not have spread enough. This thesis is based on a different conclusion. Today’s infections in the United Kingdom and in the West are correlated with the more dominant type of Covid-19 “, that is, we are talking about a more lethal European version of” G614 “, which could have developed in Europe, evolving from the basic type of virus” D614 “, more moderate and existing in China at the beginning of the epidemic.
Professor Rep. Peter Forster, a geneticist at the University of Cambridge and author of a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, tells about the moment of the first transfer of Covid-19 to people about this “Republika”. China “between the time of September 13 and December 7.”
Professor Forster explains how he did this: “We studied about a thousand excellent quality virus genomes collected from December 24 to March 24 in three months: we identified the SARS-CoV-2 mutations and the number of mutations that occurred during the month. And so, we found out that there is a significant difference between Asia and the rest of the world. In East Asia, 1.5 mutations of the virus were recorded per month, while in Europe and the United States, two mutations per month. So, here he mutates much faster.”
Why? “We do not know this yet. Theoretically, this may indicate laboratory manipulations with the virus, but this is a less likely hypothesis. More likely, the DNA reproduction system in Asia works better than among Europeans. Or, perhaps even more likely, the virus must mutate in order to spread as widely as possible. Perhaps, he does not need changes in the Asian immune system, while in the USA and Europe, countries more heterogeneous at the anthropological and ethnic level, the virus must adapt in different forms. ” Be that as it may, Forster continues, counting “linear regression of the virus, that is, turning the clock back, we can return to the moment when the virus has not yet undergone any mutations, that is, when it first infected a person. According to our estimates, and we are 95% sure of them.
Amazing “No, not really,” Professor Forster objects. – We know that the first patient recorded in China appeared on December 1 or even November 17, according to a local study, it was a woman. And in my opinion, it is likely that the first human infection of Covid-19 occurred between the end of October and the beginning of November in China. Let’s see: there is one problem in my calculations. They imply constant mutations of the virus, while in reality we observed that often they are not significant. But at the moment we have no other data to conduct more accurate research. An American professor, W. Ian Lipkin, of Columbia University, who is likely to achieve greater accuracy in this regard, is currently conducting his research. Results should appear in a few weeks.”
Professor Forster is also skeptical of the fact that Covid-19 appeared in Wuhan: “Unfortunately, we do not have enough information. But of the 23 virus samples collected in Wuhan that I studied, only three are of the original type “A”. While, for example, in Guangdong, type “A” refers to five of the nine samples. And in Hunan, that’s it. Obviously, the number of samples is limited. But even these few data make me think that the Covid-19 appeared, perhaps not in Wuhan. ” Which may serve as a refutation, including the hypothesis that the virus “escaped” from the laboratory.
Yes, this is not the end. Neither hunting nor she is finished – the plague of 2020.
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