News & Politics

Did COVID-19 Originate in a Chinese Lab? And Why Is It Crazy to Ask?

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, medical personnel wearing protective suits work in the department of infectious diseases at Wuhan Union Hospital in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua via AP)

First things first: I’m not a scientist. I’m just a guy who reads a lot and has a keyboard and an Internet connection. Most likely the same as you, Dear Reader.

Although it might go without saying, nothing about the current global pandemic feels right. We’ve seen viral outbreaks before, SARS and H1N1 and the like, but nothing like this. The whole world didn’t grind to a halt over SARS. The last time a pandemic hit the world this hard was over a century ago, and it’s a very different world than it was in 1918. The average American has access to a lot more information. We also have a lot more access to misinformation, if not outright disinformation. So it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction.

And speaking of fiction, last weekend CNN’s Reliable Sources interviewed novelist Stephen King for his take on the coronavirus outbreak. King’s 1978 novel The Stand depicted a world in which a deadly supervirus escaped from a government lab and ravaged the entire globe. If Stephen King is a “reliable source,” if Brian Stelter thought he was important enough to bring on the air in the middle of this disaster, then should we really close our minds to the possibility, however remote, that this real-life virus might be manmade?

That’s what Tucker Carlson asked on his show yesterday:

On February 6, scientists from the South China University of Technology uploaded a paper on the origins of the Coronavirus. At the time, the official death toll in China from the epidemic was 564. The paper made a number of notable observations and claims that are worth knowing about. We are not endorsing any of these conclusions. We can’t. We haven’t independently confirmed them. But you should keep in mind that these findings come from Chinese scientists, who work for a university controlled by the Chinese government. Whatever else they are, these views are probably not racist anti-Chinese propaganda. Here’s what the paper says:

First, the scientists confirmed what scientists around the world have said they believe: the virus mostly likely came from an animal known as the Intermediate Horseshoe Bat. There are no known colonies of this bat within 900 kilometers of Wuhan. Nor is there evidence they were sold in the Wuhan wet market, despite many claims in American media to the contrary. Interviews with almost 60 people who frequented the market confirmed there were no horseshoe bats for sale there.

So where did the virus-carrying bats come from? The paper says this, quote: “We screened the area around the market and identified two laboratories conducting research on bat coronavirus.” Within a few hundred yards of the wet market was something called the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention. According to public reports, the center used Intermediate Horseshoe Bats for research. About seven miles away was another facility, called the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The virology institute also conducted research on Intermediate Horseshoe Bats.

South China University scientists concluded that the Coronavirus pandemic likely came from one of these two labs. They noted that a scientist at the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention had been exposed to the blood and urine of bats. They also suggested that infected tissue samples from research animals may have wound up in the Wuhan wet market. They ended their paper this way. Quote: “The killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan. Safety levels may need to be reinforced in high risk, bio-hazardous laboratories. Regulations may be taken to relocate these laboratories far away from city center and other densely populated places.” End quote.

That paper has been online for nearly two months. So far, it’s been virtually ignored. Almost nobody in American journalism has dared to write about it. The few who have, were immediately attacked as dangerous conspiracy theorists. Instead of assessing what seemed like rational conclusions in the Chinese paper, there was a spate of American news stories and academic research designed to show that the Coronvirus absolutely could not have been engineered in a Chinese lab as a bioweapon. They sounded supremely confident of that. But do they really know it? No, they don’t. As a factual matter, it is impossible for western scientists to settle the question either way. So they amped up the rhetoric, hoping you wouldn’t notice. A post on the National Institutes of Health website, written by NIH director Francis Collins, dismisses any such speculation as quote “outrageous.” Keep in mind, NIH is supposed to be keeping you safe from disease, not running political interference for hostile foreign governments. This is how they’re spending their time, as Americans die in the middle of a global pandemic.

And still, no one addressed the substance of the claims. The South China University paper concludes that the virus probably escaped accidentally from a lab in Wuhan. It says nothing about bioweapons. Yet the NIH, and USA Today and countless others, have devoted many thousands of words to scolding you for thinking the virus may have been a form of biological warfare. That’s a totally different claim. And it’s not accidental. One of the surest signs that people are lying to you is when they answer questions you didn’t ask. That’s exactly what the professional class is doing now, and they’re doing it on many fronts: They’re lying to you. They’re claiming to know things they don’t. They’re dismissing the obvious as impossible. They’re blaming you for their failures. The media are helping them do it. The stakes are too high to let them do this. So no matter what, stay skeptical. Remain rational. Gather your own evidence. Come to your own conclusions. At this point, you have no choice.

First your moral, ethical, and intellectual betters in the press call you a racist for stating the unavoidable truth by calling this a Chinese virus. Now they want to call you a conspiracy theorist for asking about its origins.

Yeah, I know, I know. This sounds like some Alex Jones $#!+. But even Alex Jones, after 17 shots of tequila and/or HGH, couldn’t have predicted where we are now. If I could die from this virus, if my loved ones could die, if millions of other people could die and even more could be plunged into poverty, then I don’t care what I’m not supposed to call it. And I certainly don’t care who tries to shame me for wanting to know what the hell is going on.

The only people who benefit from your reluctance to ask what’s happening to you are the people whose negligence, incompetence, and dishonesty are responsible for this fiasco: the Chinese Communist Party. Anyone who tries to shut you up is doing their bidding, directly or indirectly. If daring to say so means I’ll get some unpleasant tweets and emails and blog comments, go right ahead. I have absolutely nothing to lose.

That’s the problem with threatening the entire world with death: It’s a lot tougher to shame your victims into silence.

Bullet : Gun :: Virus : China.