Many people including myself have had the worst “flu” of their lives near the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. I’m 30 years old with no underlying medical issues, healthy, active, and a strong immune system. I rarely get sick, get a fever, vomit, or anything not considered normal.
Starting around December 30th, 2019 I got so sick I couldn’t even get out of bed. It felt unlike anything I’ve experienced before but I just attributed it to a bad case of the “flu”. I had major respiratory issues, a high fever, aching pains throughout my body, pain in my upper left side abdomen, and could barely find the energy to stay awake. I couldn’t take deep breaths, walking would almost instantly make me so fatigued that I had to lay down. I had tremors so extreme my body would violently convulse, and I had a really bad cough. After about 6 days of experiencing the symptoms noted above my family convinced me that I needed to go see my doctor as there were no signs of improvement.
After seeing my family doctor and having him listen to my chest he had a strong inclination that I had pneumonia. Requisitions for blood work and X-rays were issued.
I was bedridden for nearly 2 weeks. Around the same time and staggered by only a few days, my wife, my business partner, my brother, and a few friends fell terribly ill. All of whom I’ve been in contact with on a daily or weekly basis for months. All of them reported similar symptoms and said it was the worst “flu” they’ve ever had. I didn’t think much of it at the time asides from an aggressive strain of influenza but in mid to late January when the concerns of an epidemic outbreak in Wuhan, China were making headline news I started to speculate that this virus had possibly already made it’s way to North America as early as November 2019.
I had all of the known symptoms of the disease COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and there could have been no way to know for certain as there was no testing or any official statements about the outbreak in my area. I eventually started to get better after about two weeks but my cough lingered for nearly a month afterward. I would lose my breath just walking up and down the stairs and had to take short shallow breaths to avoid sharp pains in my lungs.
There are many reasons why I’m hesitant to believe the official timeline narrative. The first and most dominating reason is I have a hard time believing facts about anything that might paint a bad picture of China coming directly from the Chinese government. They’ve historically proven not to be transparent and the Hong Kong protests being the most recent example of censorship for residents on the mainland and the original SARS-CoV outbreak in 2002. The Chinese officials did not notify the W.H.O until February 2003. Not that the US government is any more reliable when it comes to telling the truth; however, there’s certainly more accountability and transparency in a democracy whose foundation is built on freedom of speech and civil liberties as opposed to a communist government that will censor its people and thrives off secrecy.
Doctor Li Wenliang, otherwise known as the COVID-19 whistleblower, posted in his medical school alumni Chinese chat app – WeChat in late December 2019 that he believed there was a SARS-like illness that was seen in 7 patients that were admitted to the Wuhan central hospital where Li worked. Shortly after his post, Dr. Li Wenliang was accused by Wuhan police for spreading false rumors and was reprimanded and silenced. Li was infected with SARS-CoV-2 working on the front lines and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on January 12th, 2020 and died on February 7th, 2020 at the young age of 34.
Li was not the only one who has stood up for free speech. At least 5 journalists, critics, doctors, and even law professors have been silenced, detained, went missing, or under strict surveillance since the outbreak.
Xu Zhangrun, is a Chinese law professor who teaches at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, published an article condemning the government of China for not taking appropriate actions to stop the outbreak and added:
“The cause of all of this lies with The Axelrod [that is, Xi Jinping] and the cabal that surrounds him.”
XU published an article online, February 10th and it was immediately taken down by officials to censor him. Xu was placed under house arrest, cut off from internet access, and was scrubbed from all social media as reported by, The Guardian
Chen Qiushi, a Chinese lawyer, and citizen journalist has been missing since February 6th, 2020 after posting more than 100 videos and comments on social media and youtube. His Weibo account was shut down with more than 740,000 followers
Activist and civil rights lawyer, Xu Zhiyong, was arrested on February 15th, 2020 according to an article published by NPR after being on the run for 2 months. His last blog post was mourning the loss of Dr. Li Wenliang who is known for blowing the whistle on the novel coronavirus. His blog post said:
“This nationwide calamity could only happen without democracy and freedom of speech,”
it also read:
“While the public is distressed for Dr. Li and their country, the Communist Party hides in the shadows and acts as eyes and ears. In their hearts, there is no right and wrong, no conscience, no bottom line, no humanity.”
Fang Bin, an online blogger, was questioned by the police and had his laptop confiscated. He filmed his encounter and was told to stop spreading rumors that would spread panic on the internet. Fang recorded a video that went viral showing body bags being stacked in the back of a bus and a hospital that was overloaded. After his release, Fang continued to record and post videos about the virus spreading throughout Wuhan. He released a video on youtube where he said:
“All citizens resist, hand power back to the people!”
Fang, was ultimately arrested one day later on February 10th, 2020
It’s no secret that the Chinese government controls and monitors all the internet traffic going in and out of China. It’s even been given a name – The great firewall of China. It wasn’t until December 31st, 2019 that Chinese officials decided to contact the World Health Organization and inform them that cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology have been detected in Wuhan, China.
The epidemic in China was growing so rapidly that it couldn’t be contained or silenced any longer and they had no choice but to alert the W.H.O. In a report released on March 13th, 2020 by official Chinese government sources it has been confirmed that the earliest case of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus emerged on November, 17th, 2019 and it even suggests that there may have been earlier patients. Given the long incubation period of the virus, I would say there could have been many earlier cases that went undetected.
Abnormally high flu season or something else?
The incubation time for this virus is long, with an average median of 5 days and symptoms on average taking 11.5 days to develop, and according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information and U.S. National Library of Medicine, approximately 101 of 10,000 won’t show signs until after the 14 day recommended quarantine time. It’s possible that the first confirmed infected case was walking around asymptomatic since early December 2019 in Wuhan so, it makes me wonder, is it possible that this virus was silently spreading before this confirmed case and if so for how long?
Washington state was the first U.S state to confirm a coronavirus COVID-19 case in America on January 21st, 2020. The Researchers sequenced the second virus genome in Washington state from a teen who was diagnosed with COVID-19 on February 27th and it looked like a direct descendant of the first genome, a case discovered 6 weeks earlier, that had acquired three more mutations.
According to the data provided by the Washington state department of health on week 11(March 8th – March 11th, 2020), Washington state had an abnormally high report of ILI(influenza-like illnesses).
You can see in the figure below the high percentage of ILI data compared to the last 4 years. It starts much sooner and more aggressively and it seems to taper off right around the time testing begins for COVID-19
In the figure below you can see that the percentage of ILI data spikes well above the epidemic threshold starting around mid-December 2019. For 12 consecutive weeks
More anomalies in booming respiratory and lung illnesses from July 2019 to December 2019 in America
The Department Of Defense lead laboratory – USAMRIID specifically working with Ebola, SARS-CoV, MERS, and other high-level dangerous viruses in Fort Detrick was forced to shut down July 2019 after it failed inspections by the CDC. They found 6 failures in their inspection that went against the federal regulations for handling select agents and toxins for biosafety levels 3 and 4. The CDC noted that the USAMRIID demonstrated a failure of the laboratory to:
“implement and maintain containment procedures sufficient to contain select agents or toxins”
This isn’t the first issue either. In 2009 Research at the institute in Fort Detrick was suspended because they were caught storing pathogens not listed in their database.
Approximately 40 miles south of Fort Detrick in Fairfax County there was a mysterious respiratory outbreak. The cause of the illness was not identified by the CDC that caused 63 illnesses and 3 death.
Around the same time, we start seeing a rise in vaping respiratory illnesses.
The CDC has been tracking and reporting on Vaping illnesses that were causing major respiratory illnesses with very similar symptoms to what we now know is COVID-19. It may seem odd that we’re talking about vaping illness at all but what’s even more bizarre is that it fits perfectly in the timeline of when the Lab was shut down and when other mysterious respiratory illnesses start appearing. You can see in the figure below it really starts ramping up July 2019, peaking in September 2019, and entering remission around November 2019 until it’s suddenly nonexistent around February 2020. Since the CDC starting tracking vaping illnesses there has never been an outbreak like what was seen in America during the summer of 2019. In fact, no other country with the exception of Canada that tracks statistical data for vaping related illnesses has reported anything even remotely similar such as the UK and France.
Around the time of this outbreak, we notice clusters of other vaping related illnesses reported in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, and California.
Although this is not definitive proof of anything, I do find it odd and worth investigating further. There’s no doubt that the users of vaping relating illnesses were vape users and inhaling vapor that potentially contained vitamin-e acetate and other harmful chemicals as found in the studies conducted by the CDC however if there was an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 in the Americas months before it was detected in Wuhan may be the users of vaporizers were more at risk of pnemonia.
Only time and scientific studies will tell us the truth
Studies are being conducted by scientists all around the world and are starting to shed light on the origins of this virus, how it is transmitted, and tracking its mutations. Data presented on virological.org shows some interesting data.
The first post that caught my attention was on January 27, 2020, from Kristian Andersen, a computational biologist at Scripps Research. He is estimating the evolutionary rate and timing of the epidemic based on 27 publicly shared SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences and provides a Phylogenetic analysis of these sequenced genomes.
Andersen concludes that:
“This introduction was likely via either a single infected animal or a small cluster of recently infected animals directly into either a single human individual or a small cluster of human individuals. All subsequent cases are the result of human-to-human transmission with no further evidence of zoonotic transmissions.”
Fast forward nearly two months and there are now 1500+ genomes in the GISAID’s Database and further phylogenetic analysis is providing more insight on how this virus moves and the rate of mutation. It seems that mutations occur 1-3 times per month which is approximately 2-4 times slower than influenza.
We currently have two strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Strain-S and strain-L. There is not enough sufficient evidence that a cluster or higher concentration of a particular strain means that it is more aggressive or can be transmitted easier.
There is also no evidence to support that further mutations will make it more deadly. In some cases, mutations can make it less transmittable and less aggressive. I will cover in more detail how this virus works, the importance of tracking its origins, and what is being done to combat the virus in a future story.
One thing is for certain, there has been a drastic increase in efficiency for epidemic response, pathogenic analysis, and genome sequencing technology since the original coronavirus SARS-CoV outbreak from China in 2002. Until more evidence is uncovered and studies conducted we can’t know for certain exactly when this virus started spreading and where it originated from and it doesn’t hurt to speculate but we can only form conclusions based on research and fact-based evidence.
Until a solution is discovered to this pandemic we must all continue to take precautions however we possibly can. Social distancing and consistent disinfection cleaning routines haven proven to be effective ways to combat this virus. For some tips on how you can be better-protected check out some of our other coronavirus related articles.
If you or anyone you know got really sick this year, with the worst “flu” like illness you’ve ever had we would love to hear about it in the comments below.