The Chinese Communist government is stepping up its PR campaign to try and convince the world that the coronavirus did not originate in the Chinese city of Wuhan a year ago, but was brought to China from elsewhere.
Their efforts have been, at the very least, creative.
Their latest gambit is to promote the story that the coronavirus traveled to China via frozen food imports — a nearly impossible feat, say epidemiologists. The communist propagandists have pointed the finger at Italy, India, and on “many continents” before the poor Chinese became victims of the coronavirus. They see China as a double victim: unwitting patients got sick from a virus that arrived from elsewhere and then were unfairly blamed for starting it.
It probably works with the Chinese masses, but with few others.
“Wuhan was where the coronavirus was first detected but it was not where it originated,” it quoted Zeng Guang, formerly a chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, as saying. A foreign ministry spokesman, asked about state media reports that the virus originated outside China, said only that it was important to distinguish between where Covid-19 was first detected and where it crossed the species barrier to infect humans.
“Although China was the first to report cases, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the virus originated in China,” Zhao Lijian told a briefing. “Origin tracing is an ongoing process that may involve multiple countries and regions.”
This isn’t necessarily false, but China has been resisting that kind of investigation for months. Now all of a sudden they want to cooperate with the rest of the world? It’s just more PR flak because if investigators ever got close to the truth, China would find a way to shut it down quickly.
Claims that the virus had origins outside China are given little credence by western scientists. Michael Ryan, director of the health emergencies programme at the World Health Organization (WHO), said last week that it would be “highly speculative” to argue that the disease did not emerge in China. “It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged,” he told a news briefing in Geneva.
The WHO has recently announced a full-blown investigation into the origins of the coronavirus with a blue-ribbon panel of experts heading up the project.
The 10-person team includes public health experts, animal health specialists and virus hunters from Japan, Qatar, Germany, Vietnam, Russia, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain and the United States.
They will work alongside Chinese scientists on a set of investigations into how the virus that causes Covid-19 emerged and spilled over into humans, triggering a pandemic that has now claimed over 1.4 million lives.
Most importantly, the international team will include cutting edge scientists who study the emergence of diseases as they travel from animals to humans.
It includes several researchers who have focused on the animal and environmental roles of disease emergence – Ken Maeda of Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Vietnamese scientist Hung Nguyen, co-leader of the Animal and Human Health Programme at the International Livestock Research Institute, and virus hunter Fabian Leendertz of Germany’s Robert Koch Institut. Among them is also disease ecologist Peter Daszak, known for his research into Sars-like bat coronaviruses in southeastern China and president of US group EcoHealth Alliance. Daszak is also heading a separate task force looking into the virus origins under The Lancet scientific journal’s Covid-19 Commission.
This will be the key that unlocks the mystery of the coronavirus’s origins. The question is, will China let them get that far? After fighting for a year to shift blame for the virus’s origins to everyone but themselves, I find it difficult to believe that the Chinese communists will suddenly develop an interest in getting to the bottom of the coronavirus detective story. They have too much invested in lying about its origins to give up now.
Expect this team of experts to eventually give up in disgust at China’s stonewalling.