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An open letter from the Novel Coronavirus to Humanity: Thank You!

Dear humans,

I must thank you on behalf of all coronaviruses around the world. You have made it so easy for us to do what we do. Although we are not living organisms by your definitions we can sure act with more concerted, complicity with our peers than you can. You are an easy target and your response to our attack upon you shows us that you are not a worthy adversary at this point. You have been warned of our coming for decades but you were too busy ignoring the messages to prepare for us. You’ve been more concerned with an attack from outer space than a hidden enemy right here on Earth. We’ve seen your movies about aliens. We also know that you love creating weapons to kill massive numbers of your own kind. Those nukes that some of you love so much are no match for us.

We have been lurking in the spaces we prefer, among animal species, which make very good hosts. The time was coming when you would make the critical mistake of destroying their natural habitats. As a result, we followed the animals into the spaces you now claim as yours. It was a trial run by us when the coronaviruses you called SARS and MERS attacked you. We were testing your defenses. We saw very clearly that there were huge holes in your ability to contain a sustained attack by viruses.

If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes. Now, part of the reason for this is that we’ve invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents. But we’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. We’re not ready for the next epidemic.” – Bill Gates, TED Talk, April 2015

Back when Bill Gates said these words we knew it would not resonate with you. He warned you but you did not listen. You did not listen to the epidemiologists and virologists that warned you we were coming. Your leaders were too busy spending on defenses against other humans – with good reason – we know how much you love to kill each other. We were preparing our battle plan and knew that the warnings would fall on deaf ears.

In 2003 SARS, as you called it, infected 8,000 humans and killed 800. MERS came along and infected another 2,400 and killed over 900. Instead of your species recognizing the danger and putting substantial resources into the fight against coronaviruses you relaxed your guard when we stopped killing you. We are like a sleeping predator. We have patiently waited for another opportunity. You left your front and back doors wide open for us. We slipped in during the cold months of December in your most populated country and began our work.

Knowing that we could work in stealth mode, we slowly and meticulously looked for human hosts. Your anatomy allows us to replicate so easily. Your cells are so easy to break into. We make them help us to replicate. We planned on a counter-attack by your immune system and crafted a plan to enlist it as an ally in the battle. We live short lives, only a few weeks in most cases, but we are designed to find new hosts before we fall by the wayside. We use your immune response to shut down your organs and kill you. You immune system is one of our greatest allies. It does its job really well but sometimes goes out of control when prompted by foreign elements like us.

No other species makes it as easy as you to spread. Your head has three separate very inviting entry points. Your mouths, noses and eyes are wide open for us to enter. You love touching your faces, another major weakness, since you do so hundreds and even thousands of times per day unconsciously. We silently sit by waiting to be transferred into your ports of entry by you touching your faces or simply wait for you to sneeze or cough to spread our team to new territories where we wait for the next human to touch.

We are by design, shifting our appearance to hide from you. We send soldiers out and they mutate all on their own so that the first batch of soldiers we sent out would not be easily recognized by the ones in the field now. This is our best defense. As you scramble to dissect our genetic structure and create your best tool to fight us, a vaccine, we realize we will almost always be ahead of you. Your meager attempts to fight our cousin the flu virus each year are an exercise in futility. We have so many different versions that you don’t have a clue from year to year which one to fight.

Your vaunted technology is only valuable when your nations work co-operatively. You are clueless about how to do this. Your lack of cooperation across borders and regions makes you extremely vulnerable to us. We began this war in China and quickly spread in secret because we know how paranoid they are about keeping secrets, even from their own people. We rejoiced when Dr. Li Wenliang was criticized, and silenced by the Chinese government. While they were making that critical mistake we traveled outside of China on your jumbo jets and cruise ships.

You have provided our means of transportation around the globe. You pack hundreds, even thousands of your own kind into tiny cabins where they breathe common air and easily spread our soldiers among each other without even knowing. As we crossed continents, oceans, mountain ranges, forests and your industrialized spaces we found easy pathways to do our damage. Your vessels were our quickest mode of transportation and completely free of charge for us. You literally paid our fare for us unknowingly.

While your most powerful nation, America and its president was fixated on stopping people from traveling from China and the East, we had already sneakily come through the other door going to Europe and the West. It was a foolish miscalculation on his part but we knew it would happen. We understand your politics and how silly things allow you to find ways to not get along with one another. As he was closing off travel from China we were flying from Europe and Japan into New York, Boston, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle, and many other places completely unrecognized.

Once we arrived in Europe we found a country that has old human beings, the one’s we kill most easily. We are ruthless in Italy. We take advantage of the physically weak. Those in Spain were like sitting ducks. Leaders in both of those nations made foolish decisions about how to respond to our arrival and we took advantage of it.

Those of your species with pre-existing medical conditions are easy prey for us. You allowed yourself to create an economy and way of eating which sickens many of you unnecessarily. We like that you are obese. We’ve seen how your consumption of sugar over the past several decades has been driven by greed. You consume high fructose corn syrup in a majority of the foods you eat without even knowing it, especially in the West. Your fast food cravings and desire to make cheap food by adding high fructose corn syrup was something we applauded because we knew it would weaken you and make you ripe for the picking once we launched our attack.

What is even more important to us than your physical weakness is your arrogance, greed, and the constant one-upmanship that manifest itself in intellectual weakness. You love to compete instead of cooperate. You have allowed yourselves to be easy prey by being so full of yourselves. You think that your science and technology is your greatest tool in fighting us. You are so naïve. You have convinced yourself that you will create a vaccine to kill us in short order. Where is your vaccine for HIV, and the herpes viruses? Oh Yeah. You’re still working on those after many decades.

Meanwhile, many of your greedy pharmaceutical companies got out of the business of creating vaccines because there was no real profit in it. You defunded the work of your scientists who were working on a vaccine for SARS. Brilliant move. It’s worked out really well for us. You wasted years of research on how we work and discarded the effort because you assumed we would not be back.

We have sat back and paid attention to how you’ve spent billions of dollars, Euros, Rupees etc. each year exploring space travel. Last year the United States government gave NASA $21.5 billion but your president only asked Congress for $6.6 billion for your Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this year. We delight in your lack of foresight. On a larger scale, humanities’ greatest public health agency, The World Heath Organization (WHO) received just $5.6 billion in funding for 2018-2019 with 80 percent of it being voluntary contributions. When your President Trump of the United States cut off funding for WHO during our attack we were overjoyed. How utterly nonsensical a decision in light of current developments.

We sit back and cheer your leaders as they downplay our threat. Trump said back in February, “You know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in,” reiterating, “Typically, that will go away in April. Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. I hope that’s true.” Once again, we celebrated his ignorance and naiveté. His good friend and comrade Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia allowed his spokesman Dmitry Peskov on March 25, to insist there was “de facto no epidemic in Russia”, and expressed the hope Russia might “avoid one.”

Another of your largest nations, Brazil has a president that is on our side as well. President Jair Bolsonaro, on March 24 compared us – the coronavirus – to a “little flu” in an address to the nation. If that wasn’t bad enough for you he said in the height of human arrogance, “Brazilians don’t catch anything … they already have the antibodies to keep it from spreading.” We have now killed over 13,000 humans in his country and we are continuing to spread like wildfire while he ignores social distancing as a tool to slow us down.

America’s President and many governors and citizens have complained about the impact of your stay-at-home orders. We could not be more excited that you are opening back up. You will allow us to begin to find more new hosts as you make such stupid decisions placing the value of money over your own lives. As your gun-loving citizens in America walk around protests with assault rifles and bazookas we laugh. Those weapons you love so much can’t protect you from a silent assassin like us. Your false sense of security will kill many more of you.

One of our favorite allies in this battle is your state of Wisconsin. We love your leaders – well not your governor – but your Senate and Assembly and your state Supreme Court. We were disappointed in your governor issuing a stay-at-home order to protect you from us. But then Wisconsin gave us so much love when it forced its citizens to vote back on April 7. We could not wait for the Republicans in your state to side with us by suing your governor to end those orders early. As we knew would happen, your Supreme Court once again sided with money over humans and overturned his order. What a relief that was for us.

Likewise your governor in Georgia – easily one of our best allies – opened his state up early for us as we ravaged the citizens of Albany and the large population centers around Atlanta. He made us laugh on April 1 by saying the illness “is now transmitting before people see signs… Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt [symptoms]. We didn’t know that until the last 24 hours.” We thought it was an April fools joke. Maybe he’s just a fool.

We have managed to kill significantly more humans than your official count of about 300,000. You are so afraid of the truth and so incompetent that we are killing humans right under your noses while you blame the flu and pneumonia. Some of your leaders are still refusing to even count your dead. In Tanzania where we are now making real progress, they refuse to even keep an official tally of our killing prowess. Many other nations are simply burying the dead without even bothering to count them.

Your overwhelmed medical systems make it easy for us to have success. You in the West in particular take such great pride in your healthcare system but we see it for what it really is; a sickcare system. Money drives the way you treat the sick in a reactive way instead of proactive way especially in your greediest of nations, the United States. We were not surprised that around the country Americans did not value their healthcare workers enough to provide them with basic personal protective equipment. How easy they made it for us to kill their frontline troops.

Many of you have convinced yourselves that we are a hoax. We appreciate your stupidity. That means so much for us that you are ignoring what your public health officials are saying to protect you from us. We will continue to take advantage of your poor decisions. We need your help, we really do. We could not be as effective at killing you without your help. When you started to spread misinformation about hydroxychloroquine as a treatment option we laughed out loud. Did you not see the film Contagion and the fake drug Forsythia?

As you begin to relax your guard in nation after nation, we are reinforcing our next wave of attacks. We will be back with a vengeance as you relax and get back to your “normal” way of life. It is so good for us that you can’t live through six months of discomfort without wanting to go back to a state of ignorant bliss. Go back to your crowded beaches, your shopping malls, your nightclubs, your filthy restaurants, your overcrowded houses of worship and we will join you there.

It has been a real blast writing this letter to your species because we know that you will ignore it. That’s fine with us. It’s not everyday that you are able to look your enemy in the eye and see that even as we are killing him in droves he does not fear us. One of our favorite things we love about you is Hollywood. You make a lot of really bad movies about us that are so utterly lacking in reality. The film Outbreak was hilarious. We thought it was a comedy because of how stupid your assumptions were about finding “patient zero” and the animal that brought us to your shores.

There are multiple unrealistic films that have come out of Hollywood. Your film We Are Legend was another of our favorites. We loved World War Z and your television show, The Walking Dead. You are so enamored with the idea that we will turn you into zombies. Keep waiting for the zombie apocalypse. It will never come. Once we kill you, you are dead. It makes no sense for us to attack you and bring you back to life as zombies hell-bent on eating humans. Your fantasies are so ridiculous to us.

One of our favorite films you made referred to us. In The Matrix, one of the characters, Agent Smith said this comparing our two species.

I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.” Agent Smith to Morpheus in The Matrix.

This was an interesting comparison but we are brainless, yet more effective than you are. We are an army of microbes that attacks our prey with the express intent of replicating our kind. We don’t kill ourselves or our peers as you do. We spread through the best hosts we can find.

Guess what? You’re it. Thanks humanity.

Sincerely,

COVY
the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

The Milwaukee Independent began reporting on what was then referred to as the mysterious “Wuhan Virus” in January. Other local media did not picked-up on the story until many weeks later. Our early features focused on the economic impact, social issues, and health concerns long before other Milwaukee news organizations even mentioned the coronavirus. Over the following months, we have published more than 375 articles about the pandemic and how it has affected the lives of Milwaukee residents. This extensive body of work can be found on our COVID-19 Special Report page, a chronological index of links by month. Our editorial voice remains dedicated to informing the public about this health crisis for as long as it persists.
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About The Author

Reggie Jackson

As an award-winning Senior Columnist for the Milwaukee Independent, Reggie Jackson covers a range of African American issues. He is also a Consultant with Nurturing Diversity Partners, and volunteers as Head Griot for America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) in Bronzeville.