Can you please give me a summary of Chapter 27 of Contagion by Robin Cook?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 27, Beth still doesn't answer her phone when Jack calls first thing in the morning. Jack is followed by Slam, the protection Warren promised he would have, as Jack takes the subway in to work (he still hasn't replaced his bike). Entering the Medical Examiners building, Jack is shocked to find Bingham and Calvin in the autopsy "pit" already doing an autopsy on a new infectious disease death from Manhattan General. The diagnosis is influenza. This is a horrifying confirmation of what Jack predicted would be the next contagion: a contagion that is spread through airborne human-to-human contact or transmission.

Jack is further shocked to find that several shooting deaths came in overnight. He opens the first file and sees Beth Holderness' name classifying her dead from a gun shot wound. Jack reels in shock, dismay and, then, guilt. Needing to compose himself since he has decided not to give out any more information thus needs to keep an appearance of composure, he asks about the other shooting deaths and finds that Reginald is among those awaiting autopsy: Reginald Winthrop, found in Central Park.

Jack asks Laurie to call her police detective friend (a difficult task for her to perform), then suits up to go to the autopsy pit. Bingham and Calvin, working with Vinnie, show Jack the extent of virulence in the lungs of the Manhattan General influenza victim. Jack takes water "washings" samples of the lungs for testing. Jack wants to learn two things: (1) what is the subtype of the influenza strain and is it a new strain; (2) is it tagged with the DNA biomarker of National Biologicals microbiology culture laboratory? He arranges for CDC and the Examiners' DNA lab to get started on these tests using the washings he took with Vinnie's help.

At least the viral sample was on its way to the CDC and the DNA lab was working with the probe from National Biologicals. Maybe soon he'd start to get some answers.

The final event of the chapter is a return to Jack's growing internal conflict with Terese (she is rudely bossy). She calls and asserts his wrongheadedness in getting "beaten up" again based in her belief that Colleen was told the correct story by Chet, who in fact didn't believe Jack's statement that he fell while jogging (which he did do ...). Terese then demands ("I'm going to have to insist") that Jack meet her for dinner (since her work schedule has a lull, she is oblivious to Jack's work obligations), a demand to which Jack capitulates: they plan to meet for a short dinner.