The Coronavirus Consciousness
Take Prepping to a New Level: Be Ready to Save Yourself
It is hard to believe that it has been one month since the coronavirus outbreak entered the news cycle. How the world can change in four weeks! As we reach the one month mark of public awareness of this pandemic, it is time for deeper reflection.
Unprecedented in Public Health History
The first official death occurred on 11 January 2020. The novel coronavirus spread actually started in late November 2019, but Chinese and other authorities have obscured the travel and illness that ensued since then, masking the outbreak behind the regular flu season. They did this - and are still playing down the seriousness of the epidemic - to prevent panic and protect the global economy.
This situation has provoked some to ask whether the WHO is stalling a pandemic declaration due to internal corruption and conflicts of interest. Critics draw connections between the WHO's top officials and Chinese investments in Africa, as below.
The first reports of the airborne virus reached the international media on 20 January 2020 and Wuhan was closed off by the Chinese government on 23 January 2020. The WHO described this act as "unprecedented in public health history."
The outbreak started before Christmas, but in our hall of mirrors, nothing starts until we are 'officially' told it has started, through statements made by international bodies, governments, and the mainstream media. This top-down information hierarchy means that this epidemic is defined by bureaucrats and politicians instead of by scientists and physicians. As a result, we have within one month seen an explosion of censorship, a global pandemic (due to obfuscation and misinformation by trusted authorities about the seriousness of the crisis), and deaths of doctors, nurses, interns, and medical support staff.
Medics in the Vanguard
This epidemic could persist for months and months. If we count from 1 December 2019, we are just over eleven weeks into this crisis, and the Chinese medical staff who are still dealing with the first onslaught are exhausted, infected and dying.
Similar reports about infected physicians are already coming out of Iran. There are unconfirmed reports that Iran's Minister of Health and Medical Education, Saeed Namaki, has asked to resign. Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, has denied rumors that there is a huge outbreak which started three weeks ago in the holy city and pilgrimage destination of Qom, 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Tehran. The Iranian government refused to quarantine Qom.
A law-maker from Qom, Ahmad Amirabadi-Farahani, has emerged as the loudest voice against official cover-up on social media. He tweeted on 23 February 2020 that the Chancellor of Qom's Medical Sciences University, Dr. Mohammad-Reza Ghadir, had tested positive for the virus and was quarantined that day: "Qom University of Medical Sciences chief test positive that our commander is injured and we have no commander."
In what is becoming an all-too-familiar pattern, Iranian officials tried to silence Amirabadi-Farahani and denied his tweet storm; this shows a growing conflict between high-level and local officials when the coronavirus hits communities:
"At a joint press conference with administration Spokesman Ali Rabiee, however, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi refuted Amirabadi-Farahani's claim and said the only body authorized by the National Security Council (SNC) to give out information and statistics about the situation is the Health Ministry. ...
A day before being quarantined, in a live program on the state-run television Dr. Ghadir had said that the situation in Qom was 'critical' and disclosed that higher government officials had ordered local officials not to announce any numbers to the public and control when and how news about the epidemic are released."
As with China, we also see a troubling trend of quarantining truth-tellers, critics, whistle-blowers and dissenters who may or may not be sick, but who definitely end up sick. On 17 February 2020? (reports state 'Monday'), Farahani attended a closed session of parliament - along with two other feverish MPs - and they may have infected members of Iran's government. Farahani was told to enter quarantine; he declined, left the closed session early and went home. From France 24, reporting on 24 February 2020:
"Farahani was wearing a face mask during the closed session of parliament but left after speaking, as he felt unwell, state news agency IRNA reported, adding sanitary workers then cleaned his seat."
Incidentally, the coronavirus outbreak in Iran seems to spread faster; it affects children; and it appears to be more virulent than the Chinese variety. All of this suggests mutation.
In light of the outbreak in Iran, Internet chatter has revisited the downed Ukrainian airliner, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which the Iranians shot down by mistake on 8 January 2020. The footage was posted on Instagram, where one commenter wondered why someone would be out randomly filming the night sky to catch the crash in perfect focus. The plane was carrying dozens of Canadian scientists. Most reports state they were engineers, but some articles say they were geneticists, chemists and biochemical engineers. In addition, the scientists were listed as Canadians who were based at several Canadian universities, but their names reveal Iranian ancestry; that is, they were Iranians resident in Canada or Iranian-Canadians (see links in this article). One Youtuber wondered if there was a connection between this 'accident' and the coronavirus outbreak.
These are the dark potential theatrics behind overloaded hospitals. There are accounts in Wuhan that the sick cannot get a bed and must stay at home to either recover or die. Patients who need treatment for other conditions and injuries cannot get medical attention. There is talk of the hospitals releasing coronavirus patients before they recover, because these institutions cannot cope.
In areas of China beyond Hubei province, checkpoints and road blocks cause nightmares for travelers and people attempting to return to their jobs or homes. They know about the epidemic, of course, but still have trouble understanding why their egress is blocked. They do not grasp that everything is now different. They cannot travel because travel corresponds to spread, and the virus is generating new epicenters. The same level of confusion and cognitive dissonance is in store for citizens of other countries as normal life dissolves. At this rate, where will we be in twelve months? In twenty-four months?
Public understanding of this outbreak varies. It falls on a spectrum between parroting of MSM catchphrases ('the flu is worse than the coronavirus') to hysteria ('it's the end of the world'). No matter where you fall on the spectrum, everyone should worry when one of the most respectable of Youtubers, Dr. John Campbell, makes videos like the ones he made this past week (above).
Like a Movie
It's hard to believe this coronavirus outbreak is real, because scenes in Wuhan (almost all leaked video sources, times and locations are unconfirmed) look like fiction or film. The pandemic resembles Stephen King's novel, The Stand (1978). In The Stand, a weaponized strain of flu is accidentally released from a secret military lab and the outbreak is covered up by authorities:
"The Stand is a postapocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King. It expands upon the scenario of his earlier short story 'Night Surf', and presents a detailed vision of the total breakdown of society after the accidental release of a strain of influenza that had been modified for biological warfare causes an apocalyptic pandemic, killing off over 99% of the world's population."
A Dean Koontz novel from 1981, The Eyes of Darkness, predicted a pandemic originating from a man-made killer virus in Wuhan. This coincidental fact was dismissed and 'debunked' by MSM outlets. Perhaps pop culture has so hypnotized us that when the fiction becomes real, everyone has trouble accepting the new reality. It is easier to believe that it's like the flu, right? Maybe it is milder than it seems; or the death rate is lower than expected; or the number of cases is magically falling. We don't know enough about the outbreak yet; and we'll have a vaccine soon. This will settle down by next month.
Looking through the Lens of Crisis: Authority and the Individual
It is more difficult to face the truth. The nightmare of the pandemic connects to our lives through lightning moments of fear and grim realization. It is a catalyst which highlights systemic problems and shortcomings in ourselves. It does so in unexpected ways.
For example, the pandemic's hammer blow hits hardest and strikes first at the medical profession. Medics have achieved scientific objectivity at the terrible cost of disconnecting from the heart, the seat of compassion and emotions. That level of feeling relates to the conscience and deeper awareness. How can medics heal themselves and others when they must make this sacrifice, no matter what damage they personally incur? It's like living half a life, based only upon computed data, physical instrumentality, statistical probabilities, and manifested effectiveness.
Now, the medics face a real, old-fashioned health crisis, something biblical, something potentially worse from their operational standpoint, than a world war. It will be impossible to defeat the pandemic without bringing all their powers to bear. In that effort, the emotional realm is not negligible and not negotiable. It has been dismissed as a viable source of serious action in modern societies. But in fact, it rules all.
This problem applies not just to the way medicine is practiced but to the individual practitioners. The toll on medics will be emotional and psychological as well as physical. If the doctors and nurses work themselves into the ground in the opening weeks of this nightmare, they will not survive. We will lose that whole stratum of qualified professionals, while the pandemic rages on into a future undefined time frame. I suspect, however, that there is no time left now to reappraise conditions for front line medical staff, and the soul-searching will come later, after the disaster has run its course.
Another example of the problem with authority emerges from the establishment. The establishment's hope is a vaccine. For those with faith in this silver bullet, this virus will bring new lessons. We may be able to counteract COVID19 with vaccines or drugs, and the companies which score the contracts will make an unimaginable amount of money. In the United States, Democrats asked President Trump not to award exclusive contracts for a coronavirus vaccine on 20 February 2020. Regardless, the larger issue is that there was something very wrong with the whole pharma-military-medical complex in the first place.
The virus is like a ghost mirror, which reveals the pacts and methods of those who hold power. Whether the coronavirus was lab-made or a bioweapon or not, the rumor that this was its real origin has shone a light on those practices. We need an in-depth reexamination and shake-up of that whole sector. No scientist, anywhere, should be making bioweapons of mass destruction.
Further problems with authority are evident as the WHO, politicians and mainstream media are preoccupied with how best to spin this mess. They want to cement their control over an uncontrollable natural process through rhetoric and labels, cover-ups, administrative red tape, slow-stepping and sloppy actions. They seem more interested in managing the way people discuss the coronavirus than managing the actual COVID19 outbreak.
This is the WHO's line. The pandemic is bad. The potential panic and "infodemic" during a pandemic makes everything worse. With the WHO's blessing, big tech giants are censoring the alternative media. With the WHO's support, the Chinese government has already abused quarantine procedures to mishandle people brutally in the streets and in their homes in affected areas. Victims doubtlessly include critics of the Chinese Communist Party. In the name of preserving public health, a shadowy oppression is born.
Why doesn't the WHO spend more time thinking about the epidemic itself? By what right do these authorities manage the epidemic, if their priorities are so skewed? They are clearly playing down the seriousness of the situation, or exploiting it to reinforce their own positions. For them, their ability to frame how and why and whether we panic is more important than stopping the epidemic. Their muted depictions of the viral spread mean that many, many people are going to die. In short, they are seeking to dominate discussion of the coronavirus as a narrative of power. They want their press conferences about the virus to be more real than the reality of the virus outside our doors. As a result, trusting members of the public think that the outbreak is not that serious. As long as that is the public's state of mind, business can continue as usual. They run the economy at the expense of mass deaths; this is not the attitude of people who deserve to hold power.
Yet another example hails from the alternative media. For people already alienated from establishment systems, the virus deepens their alienation. Conspiracy theorists use the pandemic to confirm their views. Their failure lies in the fact that they automatically attack authorities without questioning themselves.
More than any other political faction, radical conservatives are convinced that this is a do-or-die moment. They are also the least impressed by the existing global system. They dislike communism and the Chinese Communist Party. They are anti-liberal, and therefore anti-globalist. They believe that the pandemic has a political dimension, which upholds their darkest alt-right suspicions. They argue that neo-Malthusian globalist domination will be advanced by this virus as it fulfills genocidal plans to reduce the world population and improve the environment.
But the point is that these rebels already believed that the whole political and economic system was a grand illusion. For these massive malcontents, the globalists' seemingly positive effort to protect civil society, negotiate free trade, and build open democratic societies is a big lie. Trolls, anons and renegades don't dislike open democratic societies, they just don't think that globalists are actually promoting them. They think globalists state these positive slogans but are really basing their New World Order on corruption, oppression and genocide.
From this perspective, the coronavirus is just more proof of rampant, sick, twisted Illuminati evil. An example comes from one vlogger with veterinary training who dropped everything when she heard about the novel coronavirus. Starting in late January, she began studying all information she could find about it. Her catastrophic conclusions are here and here. She believes it is a bioweapon, cobbled together in the Wuhan lab to become a form of "airborne HIV." She is convinced that there are two stages of infection. The first is mild for most people, except the elderly or sick, and can be mistaken for the flu or a cold. However, after an apparent recovery, and even with negative test results, the illness returns and the second bout is more deadly.
In this view, imagine the implications for patients, especially if medics have been infected while treating the first wave. The vlogger combined this medical speculation with conspiracy theories about globalism (see similar views about this epidemic here, here, here, here, here). She stated under a video entitled, This is the end lads:
"It’s really starting to hit me now. We have known for a long time that the globalists want to knock out 90% of the population. This virus has a 100% mortality rate within 3-6 months of infection. It’s a 1-2 knockout. First your lung cells are overwhelmed with infection. Then your T cells are attacked. It’s too much for your immune system to handle while your T cells are being attacked.
They are saying all the laboratory technicians at the Wuhan lab are dead, not just the whistle blower[, Li Wenliang]. They dropped this perfected bio weapon, in the perfect place, at the perfect time, under the perfect cover. It's racist to be concerned. The globalists['] way. They already have the vaccine of course. Everyone who will survive is already vaccinated. It’s over for the rest of us. Everyone you know will be dead within a year."
This vlogger has entered Stephen King's The Stand territory. It is easy to criticize and hard to draw the line between her beliefs and imperfect knowledge. She admitted that she made these assumptions based on limited access to scientific research and only some basic training. Nevertheless, she did delve into the medical literature as thoroughly as she could - and far more than most - and her conclusions were sobering.
Here too, there is a shortcoming of perspective. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they are founded on a fundamental logic of disempowerment on the part of the believer. In this world view, there are outside actors who victimize the conspiracy theorist. The conspiracist fights back with weaponized truth and becomes self-empowered. Even when that line of thought actually holds water (there are actual conspiracies in the world) it still depends on a state of defensiveness and reaction against more powerful agents. The starting point is helplessness.
Over the past month, videos circulated of a pretty Chinese blogger. She was or is 23 years old and she wrote about the virus on the weibo social media platform before succumbing to COVID19. Prior to her illness, she and her family were harassed by the Chinese authorities because she blogged about the coronavirus. She claimed that medical staff refused to treat her until she issued a pro-CCP retraction of her earlier statements.
The blogger had previously posted dire farewell messages on weibo wishing her parents and brother well because she was dying. There are conflicting rumours as to whether she died or is still alive. As one commenter put it: "A lot of people turning around and thanking their 'benevolent' communist leaders right before they disappear off ... the fucking internet entirely."
In this epidemic, people can and will disappear, and you will just not know what happened to them. Whether that is due to infection or oppression, you may never find out. If you need to track people down, to say what you need to say, or anything else, now is the time to do it.
This range of coronavirus facts, spin, and belief demands that we step back and reflect on what is unfolding. Look at the dying girl, the desperate doctors, the WHO officials talking out of both sides of their mouths, the sloppily managed Diamond Princess and MS Westerdam quarantine and evacuations, and the concealed cases of children dying in Iran.
Under these circumstances, prepping does not just involve basic survival by stocking up on food and necessities (a US FEMA guideline on how to do that is here).
In a previous blog post, I stated that prepping should include focusing and being more mindful of your surroundings, and becoming hyper-aware of your reality. Reports from Italy and Iran indicate how quickly this virus can spread.
Prepping additionally requires self-consciousness and awareness of who you are and your place in the world. No matter what your opinion about is about the coronavirus pandemic, this is a memento mori moment: remember that you must die. This worry will be absurd to people who are vaguely paying attention, but not to those who are. Consider what you would do today, tomorrow, the day after - if you had no more time.
Prepping involves getting one's priorities straight and taking responsibility for oneself. A glance at Twitter reveals a wave of public anger at authorities over the coronavirus outbreak. There are thousands upon thousands of tweets like this one appearing every minute. People are fearful and they accuse officials of falling short. Media coverage of this pandemic fixates on the role of leading actors in the field of governance and public health. Meanwhile, members of the public observe this unfolding disaster mainly as passive or defensive observers, who are crying, "Save us!" We are like children, waiting to be told what to think or do about this sudden threat. If we are stuck in a broken system, part of the reason it was broken was the role we played. The Wuhan experience suggests that it is possible that no one may be able to save us from this virus. Even if that is not the case, we have to do what we can to save ourselves.
In China over the past month, the Communist Party began oppressing citizens. Critics blamed the Party, but that blame won't last long once the virus gains a foothold in other countries. We will see the oppression repeated elsewhere. The pandemic - especially quarantine management - will be exploited to dominate the public. That oppression is a human quality, not just a Chinese Communist problem. It will be displayed in every political and governmental system, although the oppressors in other places may emerge from different corners, or under different auspices, than they have in China.
This is why it is important for people to stop relying passively on authorities for their cues on how to think about, and respond to, this outbreak. I don't mean ignore officials' information or disobey their recommendations. But we must respond as citizens who are resourceful, aware, resilient, and standing in full integrity as much as possible. Regardless of the circumstances, one cannot be oppressed if one knows who one is and one knows one's aim and purpose in life.