Something Was Off - One For the Books - CycleBlaze

January 6, 2020

Something Was Off

Clang, clang went the cutlery in the teachers cafeteria as my colleague and I sat down to eat the usual lunch.  It was exam season towards the end of first semester and winter break was soon approaching.  Things were busy.  As usual, my colleage was a nervous wreck but things seemed even more tense as he rambled on during lunch about this mysterious pneumonia ravaging around China.

I hadn't a clue what he was talking about.  Many times he says things with no evidence to back them up or they aren't reported in any official news sources.  In the fake news age we're living in, we have to be be super careful with every statement and fact check it before saying it.  So I brushed off this pneumonia talk.   “Ah cmon man, whatever this thing is you're talking about it can't be a big deal.  Why aren't we hearing anything about it?"

But he insisted.  "Oh it's happening alright.  Many people are coming down with this mysterious pneumonia in Wuhan especially."

I said, "Maybe, but don't people get sick all the time in China especially this time of year?  The weather is horrible, it's cold, cloudy, and polluted so this is just normal there would be pneumonia going around."

My colleague went on to talk about this pneumonia.  Having lived in China for so long I said, "Fine, let's say it's happening as you say.  We're all gonna be out of here in a week and enjoying our warm winter vacations in Thailand.  What's there to worry about?"  We went back to our busy routines.

Update November 2022:  The scary thing is that my colleague was right.  This pneumonia was in fact covid that had been spreading all along.  Depending on which hypothesis you believe, it could have been as early as August in 2019.  Regardless, we know this pandemic could have been stopped if early action was taken.  Having seen all the earlier success with China's zero covid in 2020, there is no reason to doubt that if they identified the problem early and contained the virus through lockdowns and stopping all flights out of Wuhan, the global pandemic would never have happened.  No such action was taken until it was too late.  But the fact that I was hearing rumors of a SARS-like pneumonia weeks or months in advance meant that the authorites had to know about it also.  On the other hand, if they did take lockdown action earlier, it might have kaiboshed this entire trip.  As it turned out, this really was one for the books.

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