The World Health Organization (WHO) investigation into the origins of the coronavirus has been met with skepticism and disbelief in some quarters. The Taiwan News referred to the investigation as a “farce” after its initial press conference stated with near certainty that the virus did not originate or leak from a Wuhan lab. At the time, the investigation had been underway for only a month, and reaching any conclusions about where the virus didn’t originate seemed very premature.
But the WHO isn’t in control of the investigation. That much, at least, is clear. China dragged its heels in giving approval for the investigative team to even enter the country and after swearing their full cooperation, the Biden administration has expressed its “deep concern” about the independence of the panel.
The Biden administration has “deep concerns” about the World Health Organization’s early Covid-19 investigation, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Saturday, calling on China to release data from the beginning of the outbreak.
“It is imperative that this report be independent, with expert findings free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government,” Sullivan wrote in a statement. “Going forward, all countries, including China, should participate in a transparent and robust process for preventing and responding to health emergencies — so that the world learns as much as possible as soon as possible.”
Sullivan appeared to also fault the WHO for not standing up to the Chinese.
In the statement, Sullivan said the WHO’s work “has never been more important” and that “we have deep respect for its experts and the work they are doing every day to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“But re-engaging the WHO also means holding it to the highest standards,” Sullivan wrote. “And at this critical moment, protecting the WHO’s credibility is a paramount priority.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus realizes his organization’s credibility is on the line, especially after the leader of the investigative team, Dr. Peter Ben Embarek, dismissed the lab leak hypotheses and said they wouldn’t investigate it anymore.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday appeared to push back on Ben Embarek’s assessment and emphasized that the origin of the virus, which is believed to be somewhere in China, needs further investigation.
“The independent expert team to study the origins of the COVID-19 virus has completed its trip to China. … The expert team is still working on its final report, and we look forward to receiving both the report and a full briefing,” Tedros said. “Some questions have been raised as to whether some hypotheses have been discarded. I want to clarify that all hypotheses remain open and require further study.”
But Sullivan is demanding China hand over all their data from the earliest days of the pandemic. They are apparently withholding some vital information.
“To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, China must make available its data from the earliest days of the outbreak,” he said. “Going forward, all countries, including China, should participate in a transparent and robust process for preventing and responding to health emergencies — so that the world learns as much as possible as soon as possible.”
China can get away with this because no one will do anything about their foot-dragging. And they know it. Some nations are too scared. Others don’t want to see China blamed for the pandemic under any circumstances. The bottom line is that the world will only know what China wants it to know about the pandemic.
And that makes any “investigation” into the virus’s origins suspect.