CODVID RHAPSODY

Somewhere in the cosmos it must be possible to detect the grand rhythm of the planet Earth emanating from its core to its jungles. Imagine the ear-to-the-seashell sound swarming up on some imaginary, very delicate measuring instrument able to detect human audial interaction from, say, the crowds at Piccadilly Circus to the bird squabble of jungles and the roar of Victoria Falls.

Then, on our side of the planet, from Time Square to the prairie where a lone rancher might, at this moment, be sitting strumming his guitar on his rickety front porch. Just imagine it! And let us not leave out the roar of the waves breaking along the ocean and gulf coasts and in the rocky shoals of Lake Superior and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Blended, it might all resemble the effusive finale of our National Anthem. Or “God Bless America.” Or, perhaps, “America the Beautiful.” We might her crickets chirping along the ridges of those “Purple Mountains majesty.”

So what sound did the virus make at the moment of its release? The release of that otherwise silent, invisible-to-the-naked eye microbe?

I speak of the virus that has, for over a year, brought the entire planet to heel and put every mortal in pandemic mode, including, for instance, occupants of any ocean-going ship who might fear one of their fellow voyagers might be transmitting this unseen microbe at the three-inch rim of the glass of Sherry they’ve just gently proffered you. My imagination envisions such unimaginable things.

Yes, what sound did it make? Was it the airy rush of a laboratory tray being opened in the wrong manner under the wrong circumstances, breaking some lab protocol at exactly 3:23 p.m. one Wuhan afternoon? Was it the faintest of sounds made by a shattering beaker?

It was that sound at that moment that has for so long hindered our civilizational interactions. There is beginning to emerge, reluctantly, a scientific consensus that, unbelievable as it seems, the billion-plus occupants of Planet Earth at this moment early in the 21st Century, have seen our lives tranformed, possibly irrecoverably, by the Goof Heard Round the World.

How might one write that in Chinese? For there seems little disagreement that the virus began in Wuhan, China.

Now we have a new report that investigators have not been able to conclude just yet that this virus didn’t somehow begin in nature, not as an accident. They cannot at this point prove it didn’t jump from an animal to man. That was the theory favored and foisted on us at the outset — by experts.

Yet, last January 4 — I write here on August 25, 2021 — New York magazine carried a cover story by Nicholson Baker that concluded that the corona-virus pandemic could well be the result of a laboratory accident in Wuhan. On January 15, the U.S. State Department released a fact sheet about the virus’s origin that drew no conclusions, either, but added one curious new detail:

The U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the (Wuhan Institute of Virology) became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses. This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli’s public claim that there was ‘zero infection’ among the WIV’s staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses.

It has been reported that “from the first days of the pandemic, the Chinese government arrested doctors, suppressed warnings, and denied that the virus could spread one person to another. We have heard that Chinese officials have dragged their feet with the World Health Organization. Xi Jinping and the rest of China’s ruling cohort clearly don’t want a full and thorough investigation.

What is the sound of lies? Of that dark, loud, repetitive, broken-rhythmed rhapsody?

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