Coronavirus New Mutations Raise Concerns: A Historical and Cultural Perspective
(Minghui.org) In China, where the coronavirus pandemic started, there is a post circulating on the Internet, “It remains unknown which one will arrive first – tomorrow or an accident? 2020 was a tragic year which claimed so many lives around this world.” In fact, over 84 million were infected with the virus, with a death toll of more than 1.8 million as we enter 2021.
To make things worse, according to reports from the BBC, to NPR, to Aljazeera, there seems to be another wave of emerging cases.
Yuichiro Hata, former transport minister in Japan, was ill on December 24, 2020, and died three days later, making him the first sitting member of the country’s parliament to become a victim of the disease.
Four-year-old Xavier Harris in New York died of coronavirus on December 26. He was the youngest victim of the disease. Three days later, Luke Letlow, a congressman-elect from Louisiana, lost his life at 41 due to a more contagious British variant of the virus.
All these cases came suddenly and disrupted people’s understanding of the disease: high number of cases and low mortality rate with the elderly as the susceptible population.
“The coronavirus killed far fewer people in Africa than in Europe and the Americas, leading to a widespread perception that it was a disease of the West. Now, a tide of new cases on the continent is raising alarms,” reported New York Times in a December 26 article titled “As Virus Resurges in Africa, Doctors Fear the Worst Is Yet to Come.”
With eight countries, including Nigeria, Uganda, and Mali, recently recording their highest daily case counts all year, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared, “The second wave is here.”
Nostradamus, the French prophet who predicted the development of the atomic bomb and the September 11 terrorist attack, also predicted the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 in Les Prophéties. According to the New York Post and other media, he said the 2021 wave could be even worse.
Unfortunately, this seems to be in line with the surge of the disease since the winter solstice on December 21. This was the day before British Health Secretary Matt Hancock remarked that the government had imposed a strict Christmas lockdown in London and southeast England because a new strain of the coronavirus was out of control.”
Within several days, the virus with the new mutation spread to South Africa, Denmark, Japan, South Korea, India, and United States. Even Taiwan, one of the areas with the lowest coronavirus cases, was affected.
Second Wave of the 1918 Flu Pandemic
Why is another wave of the coronavirus pandemic so alarming? One major reason is the lesson learned from the 1918 influenza pandemic known as the Spanish Flu. Historians believe that the disease infected 500 million people or one-third of the world population at the time, with a total death toll between 20 and 50 million.
The Spanish flu broke out in March 1918 with normal mortality rates, making people believe it was a regular seasonal flu. But the situation changed later that year. “While the global pandemic lasted for two years, a significant number of deaths were packed into three especially cruel months in the fall of 1918. Historians now believe that the fatal severity of the Spanish flu’s “second wave” was caused by a mutated virus spread by wartime troop movements,” wrote an article in History Channel titled “Why the Second Wave of the 1918 Flu Pandemic Was So Deadly.”
The situation was devastating. In an account recorded by the U.S. National Archives, four people were playing cards one evening and they planned to do the same the following day, only to find three of them never woke up again.
Laura Spinney, author of Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World, believed the death toll was between 50 and 100 million. She also considered it the greatest human disaster in history at the time. In the book, she talked about the tragedy of Austrian figurative painter Egon Schiele. Known as a leader of expressionism, he produced many works of raw sexuality and nudity. In 1918, he was working on a painting called “The Family”: himself, his six-month-pregnant wife – both naked –along with their child. The work was never completed: his wife died on October 28, he died three days later, and the baby was never born.
The majority of fatalities in the Spanish flu were young adults between 20 and 40 years old, leaving many elderly and children unattended. Like the coronavirus in 2020, many high-ranking officials were also infected, including former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and former U.K. Primer Minister Lloyd George. Furthermore, former Brazilian President Rodrigues Alves died of the disease in January 1919.
“Reported cases of Spanish flu dropped off over the summer of 1918, and there was hope at the beginning of August that the virus had run its course. In retrospect, it was only the calm before the storm,” wrote the History Channel article, “Somewhere in Europe, a mutated strain of the Spanish flu virus had emerged that had the power to kill a perfectly healthy young man or woman within 24 hours of showing the first signs of infection.”
As mentioned above, statistics on the recent coronavirus cases and death numbers gained speed since November 3, 2020 (see the following charts based on data from the WHO). For example, it took more than five months for the disease to infect ten million people since its outbreak in December 2019, but it took merely about two weeks to go from 60 million to 75 million cases late last year. Moreover, the virus is now also targeting young people, including children.
Miracles in History
Despite the pandemics’ ferocious and infectious nature, there have been many instances of miracles throughout history. During numerous plagues in the ancient Roman Empire, for example, the situation improved once people reflected on their actions and corrected wrongdoings.
Similar things happened during the black death. When a plague occurred in Bavaria in the 1600s, the high number of deaths left residents in terror. Villagers in Oberammergau vowed that were they to be protected in the plague, they would perform a play every ten years on the life and death of Jesus.
A miracle happened and people were spared. Villagers kept their promise and performed the play every ten years since the following year in 1634. This tradition has lasted almost 400 years.
Similar things also existed in other cultures. He Xiu, a renowned scholar in the Han Dynasty, believed that illnesses and plagues arose because people had deviated from the heavenly laws. Zhang Daoling, a well-known Taoist also in the Han Dynasty, not only guided people to improve their moral values following the scripture from Laozi but also helped residents to deal with plagues.
While plagues affected the Roman Empire in Europe, similar disasters also took place in the Han Dynasty. Zhang asked those who fell ill to recall the wrongdoings they had committed in their lives and write them down one by one. These written notes were placed in water while they vowed to stop doing bad deeds from then on; otherwise, according to their promises, their lives would be ended in the plague. Many people followed this advice, and hundreds of thousands of people recovered from the plagues this way.
This was based on traditional Chinese culture in which people believed in the harmony between heaven, earth, and mankind. When people acted recklessly to defy nature, damage the land, and harm each other, disasters would follow.
Ancient Wisdom in Today’s Society
“People with faith started this country and we cannot let it go,” said Arina Grossu, a co-founder of the Jericho March during an event in Washington D.C. on December 12 that called for a fair election, “We want our voice heard... we want God to hear our voice. We are crying out to Him and asking Him to have mercy on our country, to have the truth come out, and for transparency.”
“By repenting, we can all turn to God as a nation. Because that is what our founding fathers did and that is how we won this country, because of our love for God and our faith,” she continued.
Even scientists have realized the importance of the danger of solely relying on modern science while ignoring moral issues. Robert Jastrow, American astronomer and planetary physicist, once wrote, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
Across cultures, people have been exploring numerous ways to improve their minds and bodies through alternative practices such as meditation, according to the John Hopkins Medicine website. In 2005, researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine studied such effects of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), a meditation system that consists of five sets of gentle exercises and is based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
“The changes in gene expression of FLG practitioners in contrast to normal healthy controls were characterized by enhanced immunity, downregulation of cellular metabolism, and alteration of apoptotic genes in favor of a rapid resolution of inflammation... Our pilot study provides the first evidence that Qigong practice may exert transcriptional regulation at a genomic level. New approaches are needed to study how genes are regulated by elements associated with human uniqueness, such as consciousness, cognition, and spirituality,” wrote the authors in the article titled “Genomic Profiling of Neutrophil Transcripts in Asian Qigong Practitioners: A Pilot Study in Gene Regulation by Mind–Body Interaction.”
Although Falun Gong, along with other spiritual systems, is being suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as the regime advanced its communist ideology of hatred and violence, this practice has drawn about 100 million learners across continents. In the past few months, Minghui.org has also received many reports in which people miraculously recovered from the coronavirus infection after they began to recite “Falun Dafa is good; Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.”
In one instance, Thuy Anh, a practitioner who lives in Paris, knew three people who had been infected with coronavirus: her aunt, her tenant, and her uncle’s friend. With no other ways to help them in this urgent situation, Anh explained to them what Falun Gong is, its severe persecution in China, and the practitioners’ peaceful appeal, as well persistent efforts to safeguard their faith in the past 21 years. She also recommended that they keep in mind the phrases “Falun Dafa is good” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.”All three people later recovered from the disease miraculously by reciting the phrases.
In the epicenter of Wuhan, a physician couple also benefited from the practice. “Now I know why you practitioners don’t give up even when the CCP suppresses Falun Dafa so badly – this is hope for all of us,” remarked the husband after surviving the heavy blow that almost killed him and his wife.