Cover of Awake magazine 15 years ago

The deadly Coronavirus or COVID-19 was predicted by an article published by the Jehovah’s Witness, a religious group, 15 years ago, in its magazine, Awake! But the world ignored the warning.

According to the article “The Next Global Epidemic, WHEN?” published in the December 22, 2005, edition of Awake!, the world was alerted that a pandemic virus might emerge in China or a nearby country in the future.

It also warned that it might emanate from an animal and could surface from antigens or virulence factors derived from animal influenza viruses.

The prediction, seen by some analysts as opportunistic, came two years after the end of another pandemic virus, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak that started in November 2002.


Part of the article

SARS was also a coronavirus, and it also jumped to people from animals in the wet markets.

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SARS emerged in Guangdong and infected 8,098 people over the course of eight months, killing 774 Patients experienced fevers, headaches, and a type of deadly pneumonia that could cause respiratory failure.

Experts called SARS “the first pandemic of the 21st century,” since it spread across 29 countries. The disease hasn’t been seen in humans since July 2003.

The Awake magazine writer in predicting another virus quoted the medical journal, Vaccine, of 2003, which warned: “It has been 35 years since the last influenza pandemic, and the longest interval between pandemics recorded with certainty in 39 years. The pandemic virus may emerge in China or a nearby country and could surface from antigens or virulence factors derived from animal influenza viruses.

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“It will spread rapidly throughout the world. Several waves of infection will occur. Morbidity will be extensive in all age groups, and there will be widespread disruption of social and economic activity in all countries. Excess mortality will be evident in most, if not all age groups. It is unlikely that health care systems in even the most economically developed countries will be able to adequately cope with the demand for health care services.”

True to this prediction, the influenza pandemic again began in China in December 2019, from where it has spread to other parts of the world.

The virus has presented huge problems to China and the World Health Organisation in its containment.