As of 6th April 2020, there are 338,899 Americans confirmed infected with the Covid-19 and 9,679 deaths as a result of the infection. That is 4 times the number of infected in China. The number of confirmed cases is only constrained by the availability of test kits and medical personnel. This would mean that those infected with Covid-19 could be in the millions in US alone! One would wonder how did this number balloon from a mere double-digit cases to hundreds of thousands tested positive? How could there be hundreds of thousands of cases when America is thousands of miles from the suspected origin (China) of the Coronavirus? There are only two possibilities; 1) either America is the real sick man; or 2) the virus originated from US and has been around for quite some time. I believe that the latter is the case.
In February, Japan’s TV Asahi News fired the first shot when it questioned America’s 2019 deadly flu season. The news channel hinted that at least part of those who contracted the “flu” were actually Covid-19. Of the 26 million infected with flu in 2019, at least 14,000 were killed. Since the medical expenses in America are way too high for many, 1/3 of the Americans have no medical insurance. Anyone with flu like symptoms were declared as flu. Therefore, it was absolutely valid to question the flu figure. Doctor Robert Redfield, Director of US CDC, admitted that some of these flu victims died of Covid-19. On 27th February, a top virologist and pharmacologist from Taiwan presented his findings on national TV, that there were altogether 5 strains of the SARS-CoV-2, A, B, C, D, E and the relationships amongst the various haplotypes; A being the original or the grandfather of the 5 strains, B is a mutation of A and so on and so forth. Surprisingly, America has all the 5 strains of the virus. China, on the other hand, only has strain C, which is the son of B and grandson of A. In other words, the Taiwanese expert concluded in their findings that America is most likely the origin of the coronavirus because the location with the greatest diversity of the virus is the source.
Chinese respiratory specialist, Dr Zhong Nanshan, during his interview to the media, clearly stated that “though the COVID-19 was first discovered in China, it does not mean that it originated from China,” Dr Zhong’s words coincided with findings from the expert in Taiwan. Therefore, it is very likely that US is the origin of the coronavirus.
Let’s see what happened in the US that led to the outbreak
In August 2019, New York Times reported that the military biological weapons lab located in Fort Detrick, Maryland had a major breach in July and was instructed by the US CDC to “cease and desist”. At exactly the same time, strange cases of pneumonia were also reported and what is even stranger was that the US CDC blamed the pneumonia on vaping. No such pneumonia was found outside of US. Again, there was no conclusion to the findings as the tobacco companies were adamant to prove that the pneumonia has nothing to do with vaping. Later in October, more than 300 US soldiers and personnel travelled to Wuhan, China, to participate in the Wuhan Military World Games 2019. And during this time, the soldiers were mainly housed in a hotel within walking distance from the Wuhan Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, initially speculated to be the place that the virus first spread. At least 5 soldiers were reported sick with flu like symptoms during their stay in Wuhan. The participants of the World Games were given time to visit different places in Wuhan and interact with locals. Then, in early December, sporadic cases of pneumonia that were resistant to antibiotics began to appear in Wuhan. On the 31st December, China CDC informed WHO country office of cases of unknown pneumonia detected in Wuhan. The response by China was one of the fastest, and it led to Beijing making a decision, in January, to lockdown Wuhan and Hubei where Wuhan was located. Other major cities also executed very strict movement control of residents. Italy, one of the worst hit countries, suspended all flights to and from China immediately. US, the worst hit so far, also suspended all flights, but suspension of flights did not stop the spread the Covid-19, originally thought to be from China. The rest, as we know, is history.
From the above timeline, we could see a more probable reason why if US is the source, and in particular, Fort Detrick military lab, then it would be easy to explain why the East Coast is now the epicenter of the pandemic, with the west coast relatively untouched. It would also explain why the 2019 flu season was exceptionally deadly. And why with all the precautions taken by the west, e.g. cutting the flights, and the travel bans of Chinese into the country, did not stop the spread of the virus, because the source was never China but USA. By calling the spade a spade will we be more likely to resolve the pandemic.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
Joseph graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the National University of Singapore and is a CFA and CAIA charterholder. He enjoys geopolitics and study international politics extensively. Joseph currently lives in Hong Kong.