The hot pot of people, factories and farms that we know as eastern China has produced something other than solar panels, toxic sludge and a general revulsion toward humanity. It’s now the source of a potential epidemic of H7N9 avian flu, a strain never before seen in humans. After learning that the virus attacks the human lungs until the victim suffocates, experts stress that they are “cautiously terrified.”
Scientists are still investigating how the strain came to life, but several plausible theories are circulating on the web. Many say it all started with Mitt Romney. After he slashed funding for PBS, Big Bird was evicted from his home and forced to wander the globe looking for small children to feed on. He found a comfortable home in socialist China (of course he did!) and has now enlisted his minions to terrorize the eastern coast.
Another school of thought suggests we’re seeing the bloody aftermath of a giant Angry Birds battle. The birds are clearly winning, and now they’re taking their revenge on the humans that have eaten their feet and their young for so long. There’s even evidence that these terrorists may be taking the water-boarding techniques they learned at Guantanamo and turning them back on their human masters.
The Chinese government is encouraging everyone to remain calm, and even going to far as to lock up those who are spreading conspiracy theories online. But seeking out information from fellow netizens neverthless seems like the best course of action: Many point out that the Chinese public health authorities waited nearly three weeks before announcing the Shanghai-area infections publicly, and that state media reporting is still less than rigorous.