May 27, 2021

COVID-19’s Origins

“President Joe Biden on Wednesday ordered U.S. intelligence officials to ‘redouble’ their efforts to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including any possibility the trail might lead to a Chinese laboratory.” AP News

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology [WIV] became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report.” Wall Street Journal

Many on both sides call for further investigation into COVID-19’s origins and greater transparency from China:

“In preparation for the WHO-China joint mission, Chinese officials examined 76,253 cases of fever or respiratory illness in 233 health-care institutions from Oct. 1 to Dec. 10, 2019. Out of this mass of records, they identified 92 people who might have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the autumn. However, on further scrutiny, all 92 cases were rejected as covid…

“Chinese officials refused to let the WHO see raw data on these potentially significant 92 early cases. Moreover, the survey was too small and selective. Any investigation should reach back to much earlier, to at least the summer of 2019, and involve matched control patients and healthy controls from other populations in Hubei province and elsewhere in China. This wasn’t done, and then the 92 cases were tossed out altogether. WHO officials left with a feeling the job was unfinished… [China] has refused to even consider the kind of rigorous probe that is necessary. That only deepens the suspicions it has something to hide.”
Editorial Board, Washington Post

“For now, the Biden administration intends to press the WHO to perform a second, more serious study to account for the lab-leak hypothesis and prod the intelligence community to dig deeper. That’s all well and good. But neither approach will yield much clarity on the origins of the virus because the main obstacle is and has always been China…

“It’s China’s government that has failed to grant researchers and scientists unfettered access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the blood samples of those who were first infected. It’s China’s government that first targeted the doctors, nurses and journalists who tried to warn their own country and the world about the outbreak. And it was China that initially denied in January 2020 that the virus could be transmitted between people…

“Biden should make an offer to Chinese President Xi Jinping: If you want to put an end to all this talk about Covid-19 originating in a government lab, then hand over the data the world’s scientific community has been demanding for nearly a year. If you continue to stonewall, then we will have to assume you have something to hide.”
Eli Lake, Bloomberg

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