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In 2008, an alleged psychic called Sylvia Browne published a book called End of Days. In it, she predicted that “In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments.” 1
On 31st December 2019, an unknown, highly-infectious respiratory disease was identified by health authorities in Wuhan, China. The sickness was soon discovered to be caused by a novel strain of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. In the new year, cases of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, were reported across the world.2
The disease attacks the respiratory system and currently there is no known cure.
For those who knew of Browne’s prophecy, the spread of coronavirus in 2020 seems to confirm her 2008 prediction.
Sceptics have, however, criticised her prediction as merely being coincidental, with one commentator stating that “Even a broken clock gives the right hour of the day twice…” Others have pointed to past predictions Browne has made which turned out to be incorrect, such as a cure for Parkinson’s disease being found by 2012. 3
Browne, however, is not alone. There have been fears of an influenza, something like the Spanish flu of the early twentieth century, severely affecting humanity for years. In 2017, when the outgoing director of the United States’ Centre for Disease Control was interviewed by The Washington Post, he was asked about his “biggest concern”. He responded by saying that it is “always for an influenza pandemic”. 4
In 2019, a plethora of experts seemed to confirm his fears when they came out warning of an oncoming global sickness. The epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant, in September 2019, declared with absolute certainty whilst on CNN that “There will be a pandemic” 5
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Whilst he did not specify a date, with the world now facing such a deadly contagion his timing is ominous to say the least.
Indeed, the World Health Organization sounded a warning bell in its 2019 annual report for global preparedness when it stated flatly, “The world is not prepared for a fast-moving, virulent respiratory pathogen pandemic.”6
Why does it seem that so many people, so accurately predicted the current virus outbreak in the years leading up to its appearance?
The coronavirus conspiracy and “The Eyes of Darkness”
Those who are conspiracy-minded have cited such reports as evidence that COVID-19 has clandestine roots.
Another commonly cited source is a book written by the American author Dean Koontz in 1981. In his novel, The Eyes of Darkness a mother discovers that her son is being kept in a secret military facility after having been infected with a deadly, man-made microorganism. The disease, which Koontz describes in chapter 39 as being a “dangerous new biological weapon”, was called “Wuhan-400” and was created in a laboratory outside the Chinese city of Wuhan.7
Despite being fiction, Koontz’s book has led some to claim that the current coronavirus outbreak was similarly engineered and is in fact a top-secret bioweapon that was unleashed – either intentionally or accidentally – from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
Some have suggested that the research facility referred to in The Eyes of Darkness was referencing a real facility – Wuhan’s Institute of Virology. The institute, situated just 20 miles from where the current coronavirus outbreak was first reported, houses China’s only level four biosafety laboratory. 8
“Wuhan-400 is the perfect weapon. It afflicts human beings, no other living creature can carry it.” – The Eyes of Darkness, Dean Koontz
The book, as well as warnings by leading medical experts and Browne’s 2008 prophecy, are claimed to have been clues that a deadly pandemic was imminent.
However, for all of this it could equally be argued that influenza preparedness should always be on the agenda for governments and agencies. That said, it is easy to see how the timing and the seemingly particular emphasis given to deadly respiratory illness in 2019 is disconcerting. Browne’s prophecy, combined with warnings from scientists, are undoubtedly eerie.
As it stands, only time will tell as to just how deadly this new virus will be. Does this new decade face a new pestilence, much like the ones faced at various times in history? Or, will the illness be dealt with as efficiently as other strains of influenza have been in recent memory?
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