As we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and reclaim our lives in the West, now is the time to also begin thinking about an international inquiry into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 virus and how it spread so rapidly and the role China played in this spread.
There is no question that what we are living through is unprecedented. Never before has the world shut down all non-essential work and activities in an effort to halt the spread of a virus. Never.
Dozens of pandemics have ripped through the world like brush fires, but only this novel coronavirus has managed to see the flames licking at the very foundations of our very homes.
The operative word there, of course, is “novel”.
This is a new virus and public health officials from the World Health Organization did not know much about how it would affect people.
Virus are scary things, after all:
And it is the very novelty of this virus and its impact on the world that demands a full, unimpeachable inquiry.
We need answers to a lot of very important questions.
Unfortunately, there are already deep divisions appearing in the scientific and political community over who should be running this inquiry and what its scope should be.
Most researchers have already concluded the SAR-CoV-2 was not created in a lab and mutated naturally before it finally became a virus that could infect humans.
That theory is based on a number of studies which show the virus was not deliberately engineered, with proponents arguing that the virus likely originated in a bat and then found its way to a number intermediate hosts.
I like to call this argument the “Shit Happens” theory.
“So here is the most likely sequence of events: a coronavirus in a bat found its way into one or more other animal hosts, possibly including a pangolin or some kind of cat, somewhere in southern China. At that time, the virus could not infect or cause noticeable disease in humans, or else the animals infected had little contact with humans. Over an unknown period of time (possibly decades) the virus mutated in a way that made it highly dangerous and eventually, by chance, a human became infected, probably in about the second week of November 2019.
The new virus was quickly passed on to other people and found its way to Hubei province. On December 10, an infected individual visited the crowded market in Wuhan and was responsible for infecting 21 other people. Over the following two weeks, enough people became sick to alert doctors and public health officials, leading to an announcement on December 31 warning the world of the dangerous new disease. The market was closed the following day and vigorous efforts were made to identify and isolate contacts.
Three weeks later it was clear these measures could not contain the epidemic, and on January 23 Chinese authorities took the brave and unprecedented step of locking down the entire city. This controlled the spread of the virus in China, but it was too late to stop the spread internationally, because by that time the virus was already present in Taiwan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.”
As popular as that theory may be among researchers, it is still mostly supposition. The SARS-CoV-2 virus can be both natural and manipulated. The two are not mutually exclusive.
That assertion forms the core of the “OMG What Have They Done” theory.
Proponents of the latter argue that the virus shows all the signs of a “gain of function” experiment gone wrong and that the virus likely escaped from a lab.
The lab in question is coincidentally the Wuhan Institute of Virology where, as luck would have it, researchers were working on SARS viruses and gain of function.
Now, gain of function is one of those innocuous sounding terms that when you dig into what it entails should scare you.
What it entails is taking a virus such as SARS and manipulating it to make it more easily transmittable to humans in order to better prepare ourselves for the consequences and develop medical defenses, including vaccines and anti-viral medicines.
That the Wuhan lab was doing that work is not in dispute. It was part of a global effort to stave off the very pandemic we are enduring and was funded by various governments, including the United States.
Gain of function research, however, is not without its critics. Hundreds of researchers demanded years ago, such research be stopped because the dangers were too great. What if one of these super bugs, they argued, managed to escape from the lab?
What if, indeed?
Here’s the thing, though, how do we get those answers?
One way would be for Western doctors and officials to be given access to the Wuhan lab where they could perform a forensic audit.
- What was the lab working on?
- Where are the records?
- What viruses does it have?
- What exactly was the lab working on in the days, weeks and months leading up to the outbreak?
Simple questions, no?
None of which, however, China wants answered.
The Chinese Communist Party, in fact, ordered the lab to destroy records, arrested doctors who spoke out early about the outbreak and “disappeared” anyone who might shed some light on this outbreak.
That and that alone raises a lot of suspicions.
China’s apologists want to overlook this effort at information containment because, in their view, the Chinese government took incredible measures to contain the virus itself.
Then too there are the anti-Trump nutters who are loathe to even ask questions because they feel it somehow helps the president.
The world demands answers. In the court of public opinion, China has already lost its case. Most people now view China as a pariah state.
A formal inquiry is nonetheless needed. But it cannot be convened under the auspices of the WHO. That organization has no credibility left.
No, we need something else. The only country with the authority to enforce a real inquiry is the United States. Washington in co-operation with other Western nations should hold open hearings into the outbreak. They should be televised worldwide. Anyone refusing to testify should be sanctioned.
This would be an opportunity for China to come clean, to tear down the wall it has constructed around what happened and when it happened.
China’s refusal to co-operate will be taken as proof that it played a prime role in the spread of the disease.
That would, in turn, give the West the moral authority to impose the harshest of sanctions against China, to seize state owned assets in the West and impose the highest of tariffs to help us recoup the trillions upon trillions of dollars lost to the pandemic.
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