There is a famous, old saying: history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.
News from around the world has been gripped in a frenzy over the world’s first-ever global outbreak of monkeypox in mid-May. Interestingly enough, just one year ago, an international biosecurity conference in Munich, Germany, held a simulation about a “global pandemic involving an unusual strain of monkeypox” starting in mid-May 2022.
Monkeypox was initially discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Later, the first human case of the virus was found in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thousands of these infections are reported every year in Congo, and a few hundred cases in Nigeria in the last five years.
Until now, it was rare to learn about monkeypox cases outside the continent of Africa. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were forty-seven infected people in the United States in 2003. But more strikingly, the latest outbreak occurred in the same week of the same month that the biosecurity ‘experts’ at Munich predicted (see page 10).
Of all the professionals involved in the tabletop exercise by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) in partnership with the Munich Security Conference, the United States boasted academics Dr. William Hange from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Dr. Megan Palmer from the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University.
But oddly enough, although the first two have expressed their concerns about monkeypox, all three have seemingly kept silent about serving as “expert contributors” at the NTI event in March 2021 that predicted the global monkeypox outbreak in mid-May this year.
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How is the virus transmitted and what are the symptoms like?
Monkeypox spreads mainly through respiratory droplets or direct contact with body fluids, and one would have to be in prolonged contact with an infected person to contract monkeypox.
While the United States has observed a handful cases to date, Europe has seen more infections. The CDC has reported that “many of these global reports of monkeypox cases are occurring within sexual networks” and that “anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkeypox.”
Meanwhile, as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) advisory board, Oyewale Tomori is a virologist who formerly headed the Nigerian Academy of Science. He said:
I’m stunned by this. Every day I wake up and there are more countries infected. This is not the kind of spread we’ve seen in West Africa, so there may be something new happening in the West.
While the isolated 2003 outbreak in the United States was due to a shipment of small mammals from Ghana to Texas coming into contact with prairie dogs, everyone who contracted monkeypox had been in touch with a contaminated animal and did not become infected from another person.
Thus far, no one has died in America following infection. Differing from smallpox is that monkeypox causes swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms typically include a fever, intense headache, muscle aches and a lower than usual energy. In most cases, infected people will develop a rash on the face before spreading to other body parts. Over time, the rash will turn into blisters that will ultimately blemish after 2-3 weeks.
How is monkeypox reportedly treated?
The virus typically resolves on its own; with that said, the U.S. government has ordered millions of doses of a vaccine from a biotech company that will reportedly protect against the virus.
Bavarian Nordic has announced a $119 million order placed by the federal government with the chance to buy additional amounts worth $180 million, totaling around 13 million doses. The vaccines will be manufactured in 2023 and 2024 by freeze-drying existing smallpox vaccines to guarantee a longer shelf life.
To this end, the CDC has said that “in the event of another outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S., CDC will establish guidelines explaining who should be vaccinated.”
Remembering Event 201 before COVID-19
Let us not forget that although history may not repeat itself entirely, it certainly does rhyme. The surge in monkeypox infections, which occurred on the schedule laid out by the NIT biosecurity tabletop exercise one year ago, brings back memories of a simulation about a coronavirus pandemic just months before the reported outbreak of COVID-19.
Two months before the coronavirus was reportedly identified in Wuhan, China, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security partnered with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and hosted Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise in October 2019, in New York City.
Moreover, participants in the monkeypox tabletop exercise, just like Event 201, have kept their lips sealed about their participation in the pandemic simulations. Furthermore, a familiar figure at both events is George Fu Gao, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control. He raised a point about health care workers receiving the “right information” at Event 201 alongside Avril Haines, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence.
Circulating claims about the origin of the monkeypox virus
According to independent investigator Dr. Benjamin Braddock, a source at the European Centers For Disease Control (ECDC) revealed the following:
ECDC source tells me that the preliminary analysis of monkeypox indicates that it is “a third lab strain with unknown characteristics” and that there is chatter about this being somehow related to Moscow’s charges against U.S. biological activities in Ukraine.
Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, the WHO advised Ukrainian authorities to obliterate high-threat pathogens in bio laboratories to prevent “any potential spills” into the public sphere.
Russia’s Parliamentary Commission on Investigation of U.S. Biological Laboratories has since thrown accusations of illegal American-funded research at secretive bio laboratories in Ukraine. She reportedly told a group of reporters:
Today, we presented an analysis of which pathogens the U.S. was particularly interested in, in Ukraine. Aside from the pathogens that are territorially bound to Ukraine, [the laboratories] researched viruses and pathogens that are endemically very far from Ukraine, such as Ebola and smallpox.
With claims and suspicions flying around, over time, we may learn more about how cases of monkeypox have emerged outside of Africa—and in Europe and North America in 2022, just as predicted in an NTI tabletop exercise conducted in partnership with the Munich Security Conference last year.
By Cameron Keegan
Cameron Keegan is an independent researcher and writer on American politics, faith, and culture affecting young people through a conservative disposition. Having worked with children, teenagers, and young adults to support their learning and development, Cameron cares deeply about the trajectory of the United States. To learn more about Cameron’s work, visit https://ckeeganan.substack.com, and for comments or questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Featured photo: Md. Tareq Aziz Touhid, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons