Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Plague on Both Our Houses - Tablet Magazine

The World Health Organization officials investigating the origins of the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, otherwise known as COVID-19, were finally let into China on Jan. 14, and spent two weeks “investigating.” The most contentious question was, did the virus that supposedly first infected people in a Wuhan wet market originate in one of the two virology labs close to the markets, at least one of which specialized in such viruses? The delegation discounted that, saying it was “extremely unlikely”—so unlikely that the WHO would end additional study of the matter. But the delegation revealed no evidence, or explanation, as to why they were so certain the case must be closed. The idea of a lab leak wasn’t wild speculation, it was proposed in February 2020 by two Chinese researchers when they saw that one of the Chinese virus labs was eight miles from the wet market, and another, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a mere 300 yards away. Mysteriously, their article “disappeared” from the internet (though it was retrieved using the Wayback Machine.) The other leading hypothesis was that the virus (the nearest relatives of which were known to be in bat caves about 1,000 miles away from Wuhan) jumped from an animal to human. To these two possibilities, the WHO added two more favored by the Chinese government: That it was introduced into China by people from outside the country, or that it arrived in frozen food from elsewhere, but provided little evidence for these.

Thus, the investigation went well for the Chinese government, and they made sure it did: It was delayed for a year, during which time viral evidence and witnesses disappeared. It only lasted two weeks (the committee was in quarantine two weeks), only several hours were spent in the lab in question, asking questions, not looking at samples or doing forensics, and the itinerary was controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, as, for that matter, was the committee composition, which included 17 Chinese members. “International members” included the very high profile researcher Peter Daszak, who himself closely collaborated with, and passed funding to, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), and who was thus basically investigating and absolving himself. He praised those there for allowing a “Frank, open discussion.”


Please read the whole thing. It would be hilarious were it not so infuriating.

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