[Coral-List] Coral Diseases and COVID 19

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Mon Apr 12 20:38:53 UTC 2021

In the early 2000s I led a USGS group of research scientists 
investigating microbes and various toxic minerals transported across the 
Atlantic attached to African dust particles. My team included two Phd 
Microbiologists, a Geochemist, a coral reef biologist, and myself, a 
sedimentologist/geologist. Our study began as an attempt to determine 
why coral reefs began sickening and dying in the late 1970s and began 
peaking in 1983. The diseases have continued to the present.

Our first target was raw sewage being injected in the porous Keys 
limestone. We installed close to 100 monitoring wells that allowed us to 
determine the direction of ground water flow. Initial funding was from 
USGS, State of Florida, and NASA. Later we receives greater funding from 
our own Congressman Bill Young. Our research revealed the presence of 
toxic minerals, radio-active elements, and numerous microbes that arrive 
in the annual influx of African dust. That dust also settles into the 
sewage contaminated Keys groundwater. Over 200 viable bacteria and fungi 
were cultured and identified in the atmospheric dust that settles in the 
Keys and the Gulf of Mexico each summer. Along with bacteria our two 
microbiologists (graduates of USF) also detected an abundance of 
viruses. However, by law we could not culture and study viruses. A level 
3 microbiology laboratory is required for the study of viruses. The 
microbiologist however, observed, that the number of viruses in the dust 
often exceeded the numbers of microbes.

Stimulated by increasing levels of asthma in the Caribbean and the 
advent of Desert Storm in Iran our focus eventually shifted from coral 
health to human health. We were concerned that African dust could be 
used to transport /Bacillus anthraces/, generally known as ANTHRAX. We 
knew this could easily reach our shores. Numerous species of live 
/Bacillus/ were commonly cultured from this dust.//Fortunately we found 
no /Bacillus anthraces/.

All of this research transpired a few years before the appearance of the 
/Carona/ Virus and the outbreak of COVID 19. With satellite images from 
NASA we could watch the seasonality of annual dust events. During our 
winter months dust storms from Africa make landfall in the Amazon 
forests of Brazil and the Windward islands where asthma among children 
was increasing. It was also known that the dust fertilizes the Amazon 
rain forest. I recall that some of the first COVID outbreaks occurred in 
Brazil. As near as we can determine from sketchy reports those early 
outbreaks occurred in the winter of 2019. During summer months dust 
storms also cross the Mediterranean impacting Europe and often turn the 
Alpine snow a rusty brown color. That dust also obscures windshields of 
autos in Spain. Here in Florida the dust arrives in late June and early 
July and extends into August and September.At times it is difficult to 
see more than a mile.

 From what I am reading in newspaper reports (I am retired) COVID is 
again spiking in Brazil, So as we enter spring it will be interesting to 
see if we experience a spike in COVID during June and July in the 
Florida Keys. Many have predicted an impending spike so stay tuned.It is 
a very infectious virus and once established easily spreads from person 
to person.


**Presently there are at leas 3 hypotheses regarding the origin of the 
CARONA 19 Virus. 1. It is a natural virus, 2. It is derived from 
Bats,(or frozen fish) and 3. It was modified from 1 and 2 in a Viral 
laboratory and escaped. I will avoid these controversies. Only time will 
tell. However, I think it importantfor readers to consider the Great 
Influenza out break of 1918. That virus killed between 50 and 100 
million people worldwide at a time when there was no TV and essentially 
no radio. Because we were at war with Germany (WW1) there was little 
that could be reported in newspapers. It was at first thought to be 
caused by a bacteria and all efforts to create a vaccine were based on a 
bacterial origin. We now know it was in fact a virus. Viruses were only 
vaguely known to exist in 1918 and the electron microscope necessary to 
see them had not yet been invented. The influenza virus therefore could 
not have been a laboratory creation. It had to be a naturally created 
virus that like COVID also came in two different waves and eventually 
subsided in 1922. For a detailed account read, “The Great Influenza” by 
John M. Barry. The book was a New York Times best seller.

Will we experience a resurgence of COVID come dust season in the Florida 
Keys this July?Lets wait and see. Gene

More information about the Coral-List mailing list