The White House announced yesterday that the Biden administration would conduct a thorough, expert review of the World Health Organization’s report on the origins of the coronavirus that caused the pandemic. The White House expressed “ongoing concerns” about how the study was conducted.
American intelligence agencies insist that the possibility of a lab accident in a facility in Wuhan should not be dismissed. Indeed, the Associated Press is reporting that the WHO report recommends further study in many areas — except the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis. The report calls the theory “extremely unlikely,” although other experts looking at the same evidence have concluded that the hypothesis is worthy of further study.
If you suspect that China’s thumb has been on the scale since the beginning of the investigation, you would be correct. China has an enormous amount to lose if it turns out one of their labs unleashed this virus on the world. On the other hand, no one will be able to prove conclusively that Beijing cooked the books –or, at least, obstructed and impeded the WHO investigation.
In other words, China has a lot to gain and nothing to lose by making it impossible to find the truth.
“Seventeen experts, long-standing leaders in the field, including epidemiology, public health, clinical medicine, veterinary medicine, infectious disease, law, food security, biosafety, biosecurity — we have a lot of experts in government — will be reviewing this report intensively and quickly, and we have some of our best people in government focused on reviewing it right now,” Psaki said.
Wuhan lab researchers “conducted experiments involving RaTG13, the bat coronavirus identified by the WIV in January 2020 as its closest sample to SARS-CoV-2 (96.2% similar),” a State Department fact sheet released in mid-January contended, adding that the lab “has a published record of conducting ‘gain-of-function’ research to engineer chimeric viruses.”
“The U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses,” the State Department fact sheet read, claiming that the Wuhan lab “has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.”
Why doesn’t China just come clean, admit the error, and apologize? Perhaps we should ask the owner of the Ever Given cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal for a week. That company is liable for billions in damages and costs. China’s exposure is an order of magnitude larger.
Then there’s the news that the WHO took the word of Chinese government lab workers about the possibility of COVID-19 originating through a Wuhan lab escape. The WHO team investigating the origins of the virus did not independently corroborate the information given to it by the Chinese government.
Peter Daszak headed up the WHO team and related to 60 Minutes the astonishing exchange that led to the conclusion that the lab leak theory was “extremely unlikely.”
“We met with them. We said, ‘Do you audit the lab?’ And they said, ‘Annually.’ ‘Did you audit it after the outbreak?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Was anything found?’ ‘No.’ ‘Do you test your staff?’ ‘Yes.’ No one was —“ Daszak said, before being interrupted by Stahl.
“But you’re just taking their word for it!” she exclaimed, and Daszak didn’t deny it.
“Well, what else can we do? There’s a limit to what you can do, and we went right up to that limit,” Daszak said. “We asked them tough questions. They weren’t vetted in advance. And the answers they gave, we found to be believable — correct and convincing.”
The Chinese government denied the investigators access to medical records from early coronavirus cases. They denied them lab samples. They hid the severity of the outbreak. They obstructed the investigation before it even began by slow-walking visa requests and permission to visit certain areas by investigators.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken put it plainly: “China has not been fully and effectively transparent, either at the start of this crisis, when it mattered most, or even today, as investigations are going forward trying to get to the bottom of what happened.”
As long as Communists are in charge in China, “getting to the bottom of what happened” will be impossible.