My name is Coronavirus. I was born among bats in the caves of Communist China.
I came from a long, long line of other viruses – all wearing our fatal family crown.
And like my forebears, I was bred to spread.
I made a daring break, and found my way to the wet markets of Wuhan, where all sorts of beasts were butchered. The local population had built up something of an immunity to my family, but I was different. And I was impatient.
I found an individual host here, another there...but my greatest host of all turned out to be the Chinese Dictatorship. I work best in secrecy, and turns out, so do they…
So when a whistleblower – Dr. Li Wen Liang – tried to warn other medics of my mission, the Chinese police paid him a visit, made him stop and ordered him to return to work, where….I was able to infect him! Silly Dr. Liang, he wanted to preserve life, and in the process, lost his….but my protectors in the Chinese government wanted to preserve power.
While this secrecy gave me a key window to spread in China – it gave me an even greater opportunity to travel abroad, and infect an unsuspecting global population.
The obvious next stop on my world tour was China’s close ally, Iran, where mullahs made my work easy. Obviously it helped that so many great minds had fled during their revolution – and the totalitarian religious regime’s subjugation of women meant that mysticism, not merit, determined who could even become a doctor.
Italy next provided an unexpected boon. Fortunately for me Italians were more focused on stopping the viral spread of racism, and so left the doors wide open to me. I’m especially thankful to Florence Mayor Dario Nardella who launched a “Hug a Chinese” Day. Though scientists tried to stop me, I found a powerful ally in Political Correctness, and a rather feeble opponent in Italy’s Single-Payer Healthcare System.
As those infected died, or survived, in one country after another, I realized I needed more than short-term hapless hosts – I needed a long-term plan. I’d found many allies along the way, but I also knew my ultimate adversaries – creative individuals operating in a free market – had eliminated one disease after another. If I could find a way to rein them in, my reign of ruin could eventually triumph over civilization itself.
And so I set my sights on the land where my innovative, capitalistic adversaries congregated: The United States of America.
To my delight and surprise, I actually found more friends than I’d dared to imagine.
Just as I bred comfortably in the wet bat caves of Wuhan, I found a new haven in the bureaucratic caverns of the Administrative State.
Far from hindering me, the CDC hardly even noticed I was here – too distracted were they fighting imaginary epidemics, like gun control, or fake threats like vaping, to focus on mundane matters like creating competent tests.
Their sideshows may have gained them good press, but this also gave me vital time I needed to spread in America.
As I made my way across the country, I faced new adversaries, like Dr. Helen Y. Chu, who detected me in Washington state. I’d relied on the regulators to stop this upstart – but she defied them, and hence denied me greater numbers in the Northwest.
Yet just as Red China had harbored me in Wuhan, red tape hindered my adversaries in America – stymying scientists inventing new cures, hampering doctors from crossing state lines, mandating transportation companies to obey outdated rules, preventing hospitals from building before presenting a “certificate of need.” The list goes on and on…
Unimpeded by adequate means of detection, I continued on with infection, and in the process helped infect not just the body, but the mind, spreading new viruses of panic and fear.
I had to cope with the consequences of my newfound celebrity. The media could not shut up about me – and the government started to shut everything down. Schools. Travel. Businesses.
Authorities issued guidelines against me – social distancing and sanitary procedures. The worst was soap!
As potential hosts isolated themselves I found fewer and fewer chances to spread. These attempts to flatten the so-called curve flattened my spirits as well.
But then in my darkest hour of despair, I remembered my destiny. I looked back upon my life, remembering all the friends who’d helped me along the way – bungling bureaucrats, socialist central planners, meddlers and mystics.
And I reminded myself of my true enemies: Science, reason, innovation, technology. Such enemies need capitalism to thrive, just as I need hosts to survive. So while shutting down the greatest economy on earth does present me with some tactical disadvantages, it could provide me with my ultimate strategic victory.
I am coronavirus. I come from a long line of lethal viruses. I can afford to lose a battle, in order to eventually win the war. What about you, America?
Jennifer Anju Grossman is the CEO of the Atlas Society.