October 15, New York—Three patients have now been placed into negative-pressure quarantine units at Mount Sinai hospital following infection with a mysterious new illness. Two further patients have checked into SUNY’s Downstate Teaching Hospital in Brooklyn with similarly bizarre symptoms. The CDC has yet to release a public announcement regarding the outbreak, but a whistle-blower reports panic at the agency’s Washington, D.C. headquarters as new case-reports flood in from hospitals around the northeast.
Caused by a novel pathogen most similar to a virus, the syndrome responds to no approved medication and spreads via unknown mechanisms. Before this morning, experts thought the pathogen had emerged from prehistory, released from melting permafrost. However, a woman named Jane Dee has submitted a manifesto that claims she herself invented the disease in an ad hoc laboratory in her Hell’s Kitchen loft.
Her strangely-phrased letter to the Times belies a deranged mind; but she claims that, if we publish her manifesto, entitled “Love Sickness,” she will send the CDC and Johns Hopkins University the chemical formula and manufacturing instructions for a vaccine against her creation. She has further demanded that, in all future reporting, we refer to her vaccine as an “enochulation,” but she refuses to clarify this requested misspelling.
Ms. Dee, according to her own letter, was a high-ranking virologist for WHO and lecturer at Cornell’s Weill School of Medicine before, in late 2019, she abruptly quit both positions after overhearing what she calls “disturbingly cold hypotheticals” through a locked conference-room door at the WHO’s Manhattan office. Since then, she writes, she has “occupied herself with the grand question of HOW TO PREVENT those “”hypotheticals”” from becoming reality.”
The disease Ms. Dee claims to have invented presents, at first, with chills, oddly viscous sweat, heightened libido, and a distinct feeling that the infected’s skin is stretching. Anyone expressing any such symptoms, especially in Kings, Orange, and Queens counties, is encouraged to contact emergency medical personnel immediately. The duration and severity of the disease are not yet known.