As the world contends with the deadly pandemic of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, the Chinese embassy in the Kazakhstan capital of Almaty has issued its citizens a warning about an unknown pneumonia that has seen a spike in infection cases since last month. The novel pneumonia spikes are in Atyrau and Aktobe provinces and the city of Shymken.
The Chinese embassy has warned that the novel pneumonia is deadlier than COVID-19. An embassy statement reads: “The death rate of this disease is much higher than the novel coronavirus. The country’s health departments are conducting comparative research into the pneumonia virus but have yet to identify the virus.”
Kazakhstan, ruled by a totalitarian government, has denied the Chinese embassy report. The news about pneumonia came as the total number of COVID-19 cases in Kazakhstan reached 49,683, with 264 deaths. In response to the novel pneumonia spread and COVID-19, Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has reinstituted quarantine and lockdown measures that had been lifted on May 11.
The discovery of novel pneumonia in Kazakhstan followed news of an outbreak of bubonic plague in the town of Bayannur in Inner Mongolia. Chinese authorities instituted plague prevention restrictions in the affected area. It was the bubonic plague that resulted in the Black Death, which ravaged the world from 1346 to 1353 and killed an estimated 200 million people worldwide.
The melting of glaciers and older layers of permafrost is unleashing previously unknown viruses and bacteria from what are essentially frozen time capsules. As Professor Jean-Michel Claverie of Aix-Marseille University in France stated to the BBC, “pathogenic viruses that can infect humans or animals might be preserved in old permafrost layers, including some that have caused global epidemics in the past,” the nexuses of COVID-19, novel pneumonia, and bubonic plague in the central Asian landmass may be no coincidence. Viruses, fungi, and bacteria can remain alive in a frozen state for long periods of time. An example from 2007 is germane. Scientists were able to revive an 8-million-year-old bacterium from under the surface of a glacier in Antarctica. Bacteria that cause tetanus and botulism have also been revived from glacial ice. Viruses that were deadly for early humans, including Neanderthals and Denisovans, populations that became extinct, may spring forth from melting permafrost and glaciers.
Earlier this year, scientists examining ice core samples taken from the Guliya ice cap on the Tibet Plateau, identified viruses between 520 and 15,000 years old. Of the 31 viruses discovered in the cores, 28 were unknown. Professor Claverie has stated that some of these unknown viruses may have caused past animal and human extinctions and that modern medicine is limited in combating them. Frozen ancient plant pathogens have also been discovered and some may pose a threat to world agriculture and aquaculture.
Glacial water containing deadly pathogens can run off into streams and rivers. Tibetan glacial run-off ends up in major waterways like the Yangtze and Han, which converge in Wuhan, China. Other Tibetan glacial run-off ends up in rivers like the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus, along which live most of the population of India.
With such “zombie pathogen” apocalyptic scenarios now playing out around the world, the Donald Trump administration made the insane move of withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO), the principal global agency that monitors known and unknown disease flareups and spreads. Indonesia’s short-lived withdrawal from the United Nations in 1965 was de facto and did not affect its participation in the WHO. The United States now has the dubious distinction of being the only nation in history to formally withdraw from the WHO. This, as the world faces two novel diseases and the resurrection of the plague that caused the Black Death.
It should be remembered that the Trump administration is lousy with fundamentalist “end-timers” like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who anxiously await the end of the world because of their omnicidal and ecocidal religious beliefs.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).