OMG! Another coronavirus conspiracy theory! Block it! Kill it with fire!
Sorry, folks. This isn’t a call for mass hysteria, but it’s a cautionary analysis of what’s going on with Covid-19, the novel coronavirus that has been spreading across China, around the world, and aboard cruise ships that are supposed to be properly quarantined. At least one, the Diamond Princess, is having major challenges keeping its passengers and crew from getting sick despite a strict quarantine that, by all measures, should have contained the disease to a few dozen people at most.
As of this morning, the total hit 454 infected.
How is it spreading so quickly despite the quarantine being in place? Experts are attributing it to a long incubation period. I can buy that, especially considering 70% of those testing positive for the disease have been asymptomatic. But even as it seems to calm questions about why it spread so quickly, it doesn’t jibe with the fact that measures were taken at the beginning of the month to keep people from catching it. Even given a two-week window, the sharp rise in infections seems to indicate something was at work here beyond a man who left the ship over three weeks ago. If all the infections happened prior to quarantine, one would expect the total number of infected to be much lower and the percentage of people showing symptoms to be higher. What went wrong? Something did, but authorities aren’t sure what it could be.
Despite every American being tested three days ago, 14 turned out to be infected once evacuations started. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health said he would not be surprised if more American evacuees get sick and that it’s clear quarantine on the Diamond Princess didn’t work.
“I mean, I’d like to sugarcoat it and try to be diplomatic about it, but it failed,” he said. “People were getting infected on that ship. Something went awry in the process of the quarantining on that ship. I don’t know what it was, but a lot of people got infected on that ship.”
Let’s be clear. Based on the information the various governments and health organizations are putting out, a basic quarantine should work. The disease is supposed to be spread by close contact—sharing someone’s air, so to speak—or direct contact. If someone sneezes or coughs in front of us, we can catch it. If we touch something that was recently touched by an infected person and then we rub our eyes or touch our mouths or noses, we can catch it. It’s very much like the flu, or so we’re told. Defending against these events is relatively easy if everyone stays in their rooms and remains a safe distance from others when in open air. In other words, the quarantine process should have worked unless other things are in play.
It’s very concerning that the United States decided to evacuate people from the quarantined ship early. In fact, it makes absolutely no sense unless they feared something they’re not telling us. Otherwise, the proper course of action is to maintain the integrity of the quarantine and wait it out until everyone can be tested after a two week period. Pulling people off early tells us unambiguously that they had other fears, that the quarantine was not effective and they knew it.
There are three possibilities popping around mainstream and conspiracy news sites over the past few days.
- The infection was initially much larger than anyone knew with dozens already infected before the quarantine went into effect.
- Someone is spreading the disease through indirect contact such as meals or delivered messages.
- The disease is spreading through the ventilation system.
Here’s the problem. None of these are supposed to be possible based on the information the public is being given. For the virus to be widespread before the quarantine means a lot more people would be showing symptoms; the incubation period is 4-14 days.
Paranoia is thick enough on the ship that most everyone should be washing their hands thoroughly before and after handling anything such as plates or envelopes. The diseases is supposed to have about a 15-minute window from the time it’s transferred to a surface before it must find a new host. Indirect transmission seems very unlikely to have caused such a widespread outbreak.
That leaves the ventilation system. According to the CDC, “there is no current evidence to suggest that the virus spreads through air-handling systems. Staying in your room and limiting contact with other people are the best ways to minimize exposure.”
The words “no current evidence” should stand out when considering the move by the U.S. to evacuate. What if there is evidence? Would they tell us? Probably not yet. Doing so would cause widespread concerns, even panic, while not actually being beneficial towards finding a solution. But knowing there was an issue with the quarantine would demand their action of pulling people off the ship as quickly as possible.
It’s taboo to ask certain questions about the coronavirus because doing so runs the risk of causing panic. But as it’s becoming increasingly clear this disease is unlike anything our world has ever faced, a little panic seems to be in order.
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They’re Trying to Shut Us Down
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