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French Athletes Competing at the Military World Games May Well Have Been Infected

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COMMENT: Reports are now emerg­ing of pos­si­ble Covid-19 infec­tion among ath­letes who par­tic­i­pat­ed at the Mil­i­tary World Games in Wuhan in Octo­ber 19. 

We have spec­u­lat­ed at some length about the pos­si­bil­i­ty that infect­ing those very healthy, superbly-con­di­tioned indi­vid­u­als might have been an excel­lent vehi­cle for spread­ing the virus around the world. 

Fur­ther dis­cus­sion of this can be found in FTR #‘s 1118 and 1122. We note that Chi­na has spec­u­lat­ed about the Wuhan Mil­i­tary World Games being a vehi­cle for the U.S. to spread the infec­tion.

We have not­ed that lan­guage is, past a point, inad­e­quate to ana­lyze and dis­cuss some of the major con­sid­er­a­tions in the Covid-19 “op.” A bio-weapons would require a very small num­ber of agents in order to be effec­tive­ly dis­sem­i­nat­ed. In addi­tion, we note that–in the age of mind con­trol–an oper­a­tive can be dis­pensed to per­form a func­tion with­out their knowl­edge.

1.  “Did Euro­pean Ath­letes Catch Coro­n­avirus While Com­pet­ing at The Mil­i­tary World Games in Octo­ber? French Del­e­ga­tion Returned with Fevers, After Fish­mon­ger is Found to Have Been Con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed in Decem­ber” by Ross Ibbet­son; Dai­ly Mail [online]; 5/6/2020.

French ath­letes believe they caught coro­n­avirus at the World Mil­i­tary Games in Wuhan in Octo­ber, 20 days before the first record­ed case in Chi­na.

It comes after it was revealed that French­man Amirouche Ham­mar, 43, had been infect­ed with COVID-19 out­side Paris as ear­ly as Decem­ber.

The hos­pi­tal where Ham­mar was treat­ed for chest pains has since re-test­ed sam­ples and found the fish­mon­ger was pos­i­tive for the virus on Decem­ber 27. It is not known where he caught the virus, although his wife works close to Charles de Gaulle air­port.

A num­ber of French ath­letes who were at the World Mil­i­tary Games from Octo­ber 18 to 27 have since described com­ing down with severe flu-like symp­toms while at the event.

Elodie Clou­v­el, a world cham­pi­on mod­ern pen­tath­lete, was asked on March 25 whether she was anx­ious about spend­ing the sum­mer in Japan for the Olympics. She told Loire 7: ‘No because I think that with Velentin (Belaud, her part­ner, also a pen­tath­lete) we have already had the coro­n­avirus, well the COVID-19.’

The 31-year-old went on: ‘We were in Wuhan for the World Mil­i­tary Games at the end of Octo­ber. And after­wards, we all fell ill. Valentin missed three days of train­ing. Me, I was sick too. [...] I had things I had nev­er had before. We weren’t par­tic­u­lar­ly wor­ried because no one was talk­ing about it yet.’

She added: ‘A lot of ath­letes at the World Mil­i­tary Games were very ill. We were recent­ly in touch with a mil­i­tary doc­tor who told us: “I think you had it because a lot of peo­ple from this del­e­ga­tion were ill.“ ‘ 

The French del­e­ga­tion were com­pet­ing in the 7th World Mil­i­tary Games in Wuhan — just 20 days before the first Chi­nese per­son offi­cial­ly became ill with coro­n­avirus — with 402 ath­letes present, along with 10,000 oth­er ath­letes from all over the world.

Accord­ing to French news chan­nel BFMTV, a num­ber of ath­letes returned to France with unusu­al symp­toms, includ­ing fevers and body aches.

Accord­ing to the news chan­nel, none of the return­ing ath­letes was test­ed and the French Army who were respon­si­ble for organ­is­ing their ath­letes at the mil­i­tary games report­ed­ly con­firmed that they had not want­ed to test any ath­letes either.

Doc­tors have spec­u­lat­ed that the virus might have been mak­ing its way around before even Decem­ber, in Novem­ber or even in Octo­ber, and the lat­est rev­e­la­tions seem to under­score that.

BFMTV quotes one ath­lete, who pre­ferred to remain anony­mous, as say­ing that he orig­i­nal­ly thought he had sim­ply caught a cold.

How­ev­er, when news began to emerge of an epi­dem­ic in Wuhan, many ath­letes on a What­sApp group report­ed­ly began to open­ly won­der if it was pos­si­ble that they had con­tract­ed the dis­ease too.

Now that it has been revealed that Amirouche Ham­mar in France had the coro­n­avirus back in Decem­ber, clos­er atten­tion is being paid to what these ath­letes have said. 

Local media report that since she spoke up on March 25, many ath­letes have been asked not to answer ques­tions from jour­nal­ists and to refer media enquiries to the head of com­mu­ni­ca­tion of the French armies.

Accord­ing to French media, ath­letes who were in Wuhan report­ed­ly received tele­phone calls from the army a few weeks ago to reas­sure them.

One of these ath­letes, who also pre­ferred to remain anony­mous, is quot­ed as say­ing: ‘We were told: there is no risk, you left on 28th Octo­ber and the virus arrived on 1st Novem­ber.’

French media report that sick ath­letes were also not­ed in some oth­er del­e­ga­tions, includ­ing the Swedish del­e­ga­tion, with peo­ple return­ing to Swe­den with strong fevers.

Around 100 peo­ple from the Swedish Armed Forces attend­ed the World Mil­i­tary Games in Wuhan and stayed in the city for two weeks. 

Sev­er­al com­peti­tors fell ill and were screened for the virus, although none were report­ed to have test­ed pos­i­tive.

It comes after Swe­den’s gov­ern­ment epi­demi­ol­o­gist Anders Teg­nell said it was ‘very nat­ur­al’ to assume that coro­n­avirus was spread­ing in Scan­di­navia from Novem­ber. 

Teg­nell told Swe­den’s TT news agency: ‘There was­n’t any spread [of infec­tion] out­side Wuhan until we saw it in Europe lat­er. 

‘But I think that you could find indi­vid­ual cas­es among Wuhan trav­ellers who were there in Novem­ber to Decem­ber last year. That does­n’t sound at all strange, but rather very nat­ur­al.’ 

Swe­den — one of just a hand­ful of coun­tries to resist a lock­down — has no plans to imple­ment large-scale sam­ple test­ing of patients who received care for res­pi­ra­to­ry symp­toms or flu last year to see if they had coro­n­avirus.

The coun­try’s first offi­cial coro­n­avirus case was a woman in Jönköping who test­ed pos­i­tive on Jan­u­ary 31st after a trip to Chi­na. The woman has since recov­ered from the ill­ness. 


4 comments for “French Athletes Competing at the Military World Games May Well Have Been Infected”

  1. Since this report about the French team mem­bers get­ting sick at World Mil­i­tary Games will no doubt be spun as indi­cat­ing the virus was in Wuhan already by the then — while alter­na­tive pos­si­bil­i­ties like the virus being brought to Wuhan by infect­ed ath­letes will be sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly ignored — it’s worth recall­ing how the study put out by that team in Cam­bridge esti­mat­ed the date of the ini­tial infec­tion in humans to have tak­en place some time between Sep­tem­ber 13 and Decem­ber 7. The mid­dle of that date range would be the last week of Octo­ber, right when these World Mil­i­tary Games were tak­ing place. So if we assume that the virus real­ly did jump from ani­mals to humans in Wuhan some time in late 2019 and we also assume the Cam­bridge team’s date range is rough­ly accu­rate we would have to assume the virus just hap­pened to jump from ani­mal to human in the Wuhan area coin­ci­den­tal­ly right before the World Mil­i­tary Games. It’s the lat­est exam­ple of how the nat­ur­al ori­gins the­o­ry of this virus is a the­o­ry pred­i­cat­ed on one instance of awful luck after anoth­er. The virus that already seemed opti­mized for human spread just hap­pens to jump from ani­mal to human in Wuhan right before over 100 mil­i­tary ath­let­ic teams con­verge on the area so they can go spread it around the world.

    Now that we have con­fir­ma­tion that French ath­letes were get­ting sick at the games there’s the the ques­tion of which oth­er teams might also have been get­ting sick dur­ing the games. And we now have the next mil­i­tary report­ing sick mem­bers at those games: Accord­ing to Spain’s Min­istry of Defense, two ath­letes had flu-like symp­toms dur­ing the games and two oth­ers dis­played them upon their return to Spain:

    The Olive Press

    coro­n­avirus symp­toms fol­low­ing the World Mil­i­tary Games in Wuhan in Octo­ber 2019

    SPANISH ath­letes returned from the World Mil­i­tary Games in Wuhan in Octo­ber hav­ing dis­played coro­n­avirus symp­toms

    By Dim­itris Kouimt­sidis -
    8 May, 2020 @ 14:26

    SPANISH ath­letes returned from the World Mil­i­tary Games in Wuhan in Octo­ber hav­ing dis­played coro­n­avirus symp­toms.

    Accord­ing to the Min­istry of Defence none of the sus­pect­ed vic­tims had been test­ed.

    The Span­ish team was made up of about 170 peo­ple.

    Accord­ing to Min­istry sources who spoke to El Mun­do, two ath­letes dis­played flu-like symp­toms dur­ing the Games between Octo­ber 17–28 and two oth­ers dis­played them upon their return to Spain.

    One of these ath­letes told El Mun­do: “The author­i­ties just took it as a sore throat or flu infec­tion and they treat­ed us as if we were already cured, it was very bad.”


    This week, after symp­toms emerged in the French mil­i­tary from the Games, Span­ish team lead­ers asked the ath­letes who par­tic­i­pat­ed in Wuhan if they had shown any signs of the pan­dem­ic.

    The Min­istry of Defence was not aware of any of its par­tic­i­pants in the Games dis­play­ing any symp­toms and it’s too late to test them now.

    They did how­ev­er state that the Span­ish del­e­ga­tion was not housed near the French one.


    “coro­n­avirus symp­toms fol­low­ing the World Mil­i­tary Games in Wuhan in Octo­ber 2019” by Dim­itris Kouimt­sidis; The Olive Press; 05/08/2020

    “Accord­ing to Min­istry sources who spoke to El Mun­do, two ath­letes dis­played flu-like symp­toms dur­ing the Games between Octo­ber 17–28 and two oth­ers dis­played them upon their return to Spain.”

    Keep in mind that the incu­ba­tion peri­od when infect­ed peo­ple are asymp­to­matic is any­where from 2 days to 2 weeks. So it would be very inter­est­ing to know when exact­ly those ath­letes dis­played symp­toms dur­ing the games. Was it at the very begin­ning near Octo­ber 17 or near the end at Octo­ber 28? And when did those ath­letes arrive in Wuhan? A week before the start of the games or just a cou­ple of days? Those are the kinds of ques­tions that need to be asked if we’re going to get a sense of where exact­ly these ath­letes may have actu­al­ly caught the virus because if they were dis­play­ing symp­toms near the begin­ning of the games it’s very plau­si­ble they were infect­ed before they even arrived at Wuhan. Since it sounds like Spain only iden­ti­fied these cas­es after ask­ing the ath­letes if they had symp­toms in response to that report about the French team it will be inter­est­ing to see which oth­er mil­i­taries ask their ath­letes about this and report the results and which don’t.

    Also keep in mind that the nar­ra­tive of an escaped virus from the Wuhan Virol­o­gy Insti­tute that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has been deeply invest­ed in pro­mot­ed is heav­i­ly pred­i­cat­ed on the find­ing that a large num­ber of one of ini­tial cas­es found in Decem­ber were in the wet mar­ket mar­ket near­by the Insti­tute. The prox­im­i­ty between the Insti­tute and that ear­ly clus­ter was key to the ‘of course it escaped from the lab!’ argu­ment that is now being aggres­sive­ly pro­mot­ed by Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials like Mike Pom­peo. The more we learn about ear­li­er cas­es not tied to the wet mar­ket the weak­er that argu­ment about escap­ing from the lab becomes so it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how these reports about infec­tions dur­ing the games will be inter­pret­ed by the var­i­ous gov­ern­ments that are already invest­ed in the ‘escaped from the Wuhan lab’ nar­ra­tive. Are they just going to ignore these ear­li­er mil­i­tary infec­tions or will the new nar­ra­tive be that the virus was already spread­ing around Wuhan enough by mid-Octo­ber for the arriv­ing ath­letes to get infect­ed.

    Because the more we assume this virus (or per­haps an ear­li­er less vir­u­lent strain) can cir­cu­late around an area with­out being detect­ed, the less con­clu­sive the cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence is that the virus first start­ed infect­ing peo­ple in Wuhan (whether or was an ani­mal-to-human jump, lab release, or what­ev­er the ori­gin). The assump­tion that the virus must have come from Wuhan is based, in part, on the virus’s observed hyper-infec­tious­ness that makes it seem like it can’t be in an area for too long before the pan­dem­ic gets iden­ti­fied by author­i­ties due to all the severe cas­es show­ing up at hos­pi­tals. Again, the pre­vail­ing nar­ra­tive is that it jumped from ani­mals to humans some time in Decem­ber in Wuhan and that’s why we saw the the sud­den explo­sion of cas­es there first.

    But if the virus was cir­cu­lat­ing enough in Wuhan back in Octo­ber to get vis­it­ing ath­letes infect­ed and yet it still took two months before the big out­break was detect­ed from a flood of severe cas­es, that rais­es the ques­tion of whether or not the major Wuhan out­break in Decem­ber was due more to the ran­dom­ness of viral out­breaks, like the virus sud­den­ly infect­ing mass tran­sit in a major way that caus­es a sud­den mas­sive jump in cas­es. If the virus was cir­cu­lat­ing in Wuhan for months but only explod­ed into a major cri­sis in late Decem­ber we can imag­ine two gener­ic and very dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios for how that explo­sion of cas­es played out: either the virus was slow­ly and steadi­ly build­ing up over time in Wuhan and even­tu­al­ly hit a crit­i­cal mass of infec­tions to allow it to start over­whelm­ing the health sys­tem or the virus was slow­ly spread­ing around in Wuhan and then, through ran­dom luck, there was some was event that caused the virus to spread extreme­ly rapid­ly in late Decem­ber, like maybe a clus­ter that broke out in a high­ly traf­fick­ing area of the town like the wet mar­ket and that’s what caused the sud­den flood of severe cas­es.

    We still don’t know enough about this virus spreads to get a sense of which of those two types of sce­nar­ios played out in Wuhan and the epi­demi­o­log­i­cal impli­ca­tions of those sce­nar­ios could be very dif­fer­ent in terms of infer the ori­gins of the virus and the fact that Wuhan had the first big out­break. For exam­ple, if we assume the for­mer sce­nario — that the virus was slow­ly and steadi­ly build­ing up in Wuhan start­ing in Octo­ber — that sce­nario would make it more like­ly Wuhan real­ly was the first area the virus start­ed infect­ed humans because that’s were we found the first big out­break. But if, on the oth­er hand, the virus is capa­ble of spread­ing around slow­ly and qui­et­ly but then oppor­tunis­ti­cal­ly caus­ing mass infec­tions under the wrong cir­cum­stances when the cas­es sud­den­ly explode, that’s the kind of sce­nario where it’s hard to say if Wuhan was the first area where the virus broke out based sim­ply on the fact that the first major out­break was found there. Because at this point we can make a good guess that both France and Spain also had cas­es float­ing around back in Novem­ber from those return­ing sol­diers. And yet the two coun­tries did­n’t see major out­breaks for months lat­er. That’s the kind of sce­nario where the log­ic of “Wuhan had the first big observed out­break there­fore the human infec­tions start­ed in Wuhan” breaks down. Don’t for­get that we know have rea­son to sus­pect it was in Cal­i­for­nia at least by Decem­ber and yet it was­n’t until late Jan­u­ary that the US had the first iden­ti­fied per­son-to-per­son case. France too ini­tial­ly did­n’t find a clus­ter until late Jan­u­ary but now they’ve iden­ti­fied a case in Decem­ber and we have return­ing infect­ed mil­i­tary ath­letes in ear­ly Novem­ber. If the virus can qui­et­ly fes­ter in an area for months before oppor­tunis­ti­cal­ly explod­ing that real­ly does imply the first out­break could have start­ed any­where in the world.

    Also keep in mind that there have been mul­ti­ple stud­ies now sug­gest­ing that more infec­tious strains may have emerged in Wuhan. In addi­tion to the Cam­bridge team’s find­ing of a “B Type” strain that emerged in Wuhan in Decem­ber that appeared to be bet­ter adapt­ed at spread­ing among Asian pop­u­la­tions, there was the ear­li­er study by a Chi­nese team that found the ear­li­er ‘S‑type’ strain get­ting rapid­ly over­tak­en by a new ‘L‑type’ strain that popped up in Wuhan in Decem­ber. These stud­ies sparked con­tro­ver­sy in the virol­o­gy com­mu­ni­ty because the sug­ges­tion that the new­er viral strains real­ly were more infec­tious because they over­took the old­er strains as opposed to over­tak­ing them through ran­dom luck which hap­pens all the time with viral out­breaks. But the con­tro­ver­sy was over the lan­guage in their papers imply­ing that they real­ly were more infec­tious strains, not over the pos­si­bil­i­ty that there real­ly are more infec­tious strains float­ing around that emerged in Decem­ber. We just don’t know yet if these dif­fer­ent strains have real dif­fer­ent viral prop­er­ties but it’s cer­tain­ly pos­si­ble based on the avail­able evi­dence. But if there real­ly more infec­tious strains that emerged in Wuhan in Decem­ber that have been dom­i­nat­ing the spread of the virus around the world and less infec­tious strains that start­ed the pan­dem­ic that would, again, make it that much more plau­si­ble that the ini­tial out­break did­n’t start in Wuhan now that we’re learn­ing about these oth­er ear­ly cas­es in oth­er coun­tries and infect­ed mil­i­tary ath­letes. It could have start­ed damn near any­where. It’s not like Chi­na is the only place on the plan­et with bats car­ry­ing coro­n­avirus­es. Or the only coun­try with research pro­grams study­ing bat coro­n­avirus­es.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 9, 2020, 2:57 pm
  2. @Pterrafractyl–

    From an epi­demi­o­log­i­cal stand­point, the recent disclosure–from ran­dom testing–that up to a fifth of New York City res­i­dents may have been infect­ed, is pow­er­ful.

    It is epi­demi­o­log­i­cal­ly absurd to grant that 1.5 mil­lion peo­ple in New York City–which is now believed to be the epi­cen­ter of the out­break in the U.S.–caught a virus from Chi­na.



    Posted by Dave Emory | May 10, 2020, 4:40 pm
  3. There are reports of Ital­ian ath­letes also being infect­ed. A fencer named Mat­teo Tagliar­i­ol is fre­quent­ly quot­ed as say­ing he and oth­er mem­bers of the Ital­ian team were sick when they arrived in Wuhan. Does that mean they were infect­ed before they arrived? The arti­cles do not appear to pro­vide a defin­i­tive answer and I’m guess­ing there is also an issue with trans­la­tion. Here’s a few exam­ples:

    From Web24 News: “When we arrived in Wuhan, we were all sick.” https://www.web24.news/u/2020/05/military-world-games-in-wuhan-in-focus-we-are-all-sick.html

    From football-italia.net: “We all got sick, six out of six in our apart­ment, and we also heard from many oth­er del­e­ga­tions who got ill too,” Olympic gold medal­list fencer Mat­teo Tagliar­i­ol told La Repub­bli­ca. https://www.football-italia.net/152958/athletes-sick-wuhan-back-october

    From indonewyork.com, which appears to be quot­ing Cor­riere del­la Sera: “When we arrived in Wuhan, we are ill all. All six peo­ple in my apart­ment were sick, also many ath­letes from oth­er del­e­ga­tions,” said the 37-year-old Ital­ian news­pa­per “Cor­riere del­la Sera”.

    Posted by Bigfoot | May 11, 2020, 11:52 am
  4. if you look at the medal stand­ings, you will see medals for usa, no gold.
    they were also housed close to the seafood mar­ket.
    also, Nation­al Day, a major hol­i­day in Chi­na, also occurred, in the same time frame, since it is usu­al­ly cel­e­brat­ed for 11 days or so.
    you will notice Wuhan, a city of 11 mil­lion, is also a major trav­el hub.
    with many peo­ple trav­el­ing, for hol­i­day.

    Posted by barriosl | May 11, 2020, 9:01 pm

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