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Secret fort in US must come clean on its work

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-05-29 16:37

Fort Detrick Biological Base is situated in the US state of Maryland. It was little known to the residents of the state let alone the general public. At least that was the case before many Americans started suffering from an unknown respiratory infectious disease before the outbreak of COVID-19.

Since the outbreak, Fort Detrick has been mentioned more and more frequently.

The reason why the base had come under the spotlight was the unexplained outbreak of a deadly respiratory disease near it several months prior to the epidemic in China. This was covered by the US media. More importantly, last July, Fort Detrick was mysteriously closed, and the US government has so far been unwilling to explain the sudden closure.

Questions have been asked in the United States, and calls for clarification on a possible link between the closure of Fort Detrick and an outbreak of "large-scale influenza" and COVID-19 are getting louder.

A screenshot of the White House petition website.

On March 10, a netizen named B.Z. launched a petition on the White House petition website. The petitioner listed the timeline related to the COVID-19 outbreak and the Fort Detrick, hoping that the US government would give a reasonable explanation:

7/2019: The top secret US army's medical research institute of infectious diseases at Fort Detrick was closed;

8/2019: A large-scale outbreak of "influenza" killed more than 10,000 people;

10/2019: The United States organized Event 201 — A Global Pandemic Exercise with the participation of the Deputy Director of CIA;

11/2019: An outbreak of pneumonia of undetermined origin was found in China;

2/2020: The epidemic became global;

3/2020: A large number of English-language news reports about the closure of Fort Detrick were deleted from online access.

What makes things even more puzzling is the Event 201, a Global Pandemic Exercise, mentioned in the timeline above. This exercise, organized in October, 2019, has attracted continued international attention for the similarities between its scenario and the development of today's pandemic.

According to the official website of "Event 201", the exercise was to simulate an outbreak of a novel zoonotic transmitted from bats to pigs to people that eventually becomes efficiently transmissible from person to person, leading to a severe pandemic. The pathogen and the disease it causes are modeled largely on SARS, but it is more transmissible.

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