Patient possibly infected with the “Spidey” variant of COVID-19.

Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan has had a system in which moderate cases of infection are treated in a hotel rather than hospital or at home. This is a way of killing two birds by both reducing the burden on medical facilities while also utilizing underused hotels as quarantine zones while travel is restricted.

It’s a system that continues today with Japan trying to push down infections as the Olympic and Paralympic Games rapidly approach.

In fact, on 19 June a young man was hospitalized – or rather “hotelized” – at an APA Hotel in the Higashiumeda area of downtown Osaka. However, it would seem this patient in his 20s wasn’t thrilled with being confined to a hotel for weeks and made a daring escape on 22 June.

Nurses generally check in on patients by regular phone calls, but on this day the patient wasn’t answering. When a nurse entered a room at about 1 p.m. he was gone.

▼ A news report on the escape

The man broke the stopper that prevented the window from opening all the way and appeared to have slipped out through there. However, his room was on the sixth floor.

As a precaution, guards are stationed at the entrance and stairwells 24 hours a day, but neither they nor the security cameras in the hotel spotted the patient on his way out. There was no type of scaffolding outside the building either, which means he must have somehow scaled down the side of the building to the ground and fled on foot…all while infected with COVID-19.

▼ This particular hotel does have a lot of ledges, but still…

Readers of the news were amazed but also terrified that there appears to be a super-powered COVID-19 patient on the loose.

“Sounds like he’s not a serious case…”
“Maybe he went up to the roof and had an accomplice pick him up in a helicopter or VTOL.”
“It’s a real Crazy Climber!”
“This is like the beginning of a season of 24. A bio-terrorist on the loose!”
“COVID ninja.”
“He must have risked his life to escape from the sixth floor, but why? His sister’s wedding? A friend was being held hostage?”
“He’s clearly late to appear in the Olympics.”
“Seal off all of Osaka! He’s too powerful to be allowed out.”
“Maybe he’s a new supervillain who was mutated by a vaccine.”
“Man, this is how zombie movies start.”

As of this writing, the patient’s whereabouts are still unknown. Health officials are currently trying to locate the patient and are considering filing a missing person report with the police if they haven’t already.

In the meantime, we are asking all Osaka residents to be on the lookout for a male in his 20s possibly with the powers of flight, short-range teleportation, or a radioactive spider, but also with a cough so severe it makes him keel over on a regular basis.

But if you ask me, this all seems eerily similar to that python that escaped in Yokohama last month. If this is anything like that case, this guy is probably still inside the hotel. I bet he’s just up in a crawlspace of the roof somewhere, coiled around a support beam for warmth until he needs to feed again.

Source: The Sankei News, Kansai TV, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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