The world gets tired of the U.S. 'Wuhan lab leak' claim
By Wen Qing  ·  2021-06-15  ·   Source: NO.24 JUNE 17, 2021
People walk through a market in Seattle,  Washington, the U.S., on June 10. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. exceeded 33.42 million on June 11(VCG)
"They (the U.S.) have been saying that for almost a year. If there is real evidence, then it's the responsibility of the U.S. to share it," Marion Koopmans, a top virologist, told the BBC on May 27, when asked about her opinion on a recent U.S. report claiming it was "plausible" that the coronavirus had been leaked from a Wuhan lab.
"The possibility of a lab accident or even a manipulation, was discussed with colleagues, and we've published our findings," Koopmans, part of the World Health Organization (WHO) field visit team to Wuhan in January and February investigating the origins of COVID-19, said. "If there is intelligence that says something different, please share it," she stressed.
However, although the U.S. intelligence report was hyped by the media, there is no solid proof they can provide other than "three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology sought hospital care in November 2019, a month before China reported the first cases of COVID-19."
In fact, the hypothesis has been debunked by scientists and the U.S. intelligence community a year ago. In an interview with CNN presenter Chris Cuomo on May 14 last year, Peter Daszak, President of the U.S. EcoHealth Alliance, said explicitly that "there is no evidence that this was a virus that was created in a lab." "In fact we've worked with the lab in Wuhan for 15 years now. We know everything they do. And we know that they do not have that virus in the lab prior to the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak."
Also in May last year, then U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that "there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan." But according to German Der Spiegel magazine, Germany's BND spy agency had asked members of the U.S.-led Five Eyes intelligence alliance for evidence to support the accusation. None of the alliance's members, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. included, supported Pompeo's claim.
"We would like everyone out there to separate, if they can, the politics of this issue from the science. This whole process is being poisoned by politics," Mike Ryan, the WHO's top emergency expert, said during a press conference on May 28 after U.S. President Joe Biden ordered intelligence agencies to redouble efforts in finding the origins of the pandemic.
Even world renowned experts can bend to political pressure. When asked by a reporter on May 11 if he was still confident COVID-19 developed naturally,
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the U.S., changed his response for the first time. "I am not convinced about that; I think we should continue to investigate..." Soon, Fauci's response was trumpeted by the U.S. media as supporting Biden's request for further investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
But before that, Fauci had long insisted on the natural origins of the virus.
The conclusions
To investigate the origins of coronavirus, the WHO sent an advance team to China led by Canadian epidemiologist Bruce Aylward in February 2020. The 25-member team conducted a nine-day field study across Beijing, Guangdong, Sichuan and Hubei. They ultimately reached the conclusion that China had managed the COVID-19 outbreak from a rapidly escalating situation, and had brought down infections much faster than previously expected.
In July 2020, another team was sent to China by the WHO to lay the groundwork for the investigations. Then in January and February, a WHO-led international team of experts, comprising of 17 international and 17 Chinese experts, carried out a four-week study in Wuhan. Their report stated that it was "extremely unlikely" that the virus originated from a lab leak at WIV.
Although the WHO was under fire from Trump, who labeled it a "puppet of China," its findings have been defended by numerous world-renowned scientists and professionals. Virologist and infectious disease physician Dominic Dwyer, a member of the WHO mission who spent four weeks in Wuhan, is one of them.
"The U.S. intelligence services were asked to show if they had any information that might be helpful. They haven't done so as of yet," Dwyer told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on May 28. "I think we just need to see the evidence."
He went on to say the authorities and his Chinese counterparts in Wuhan had been "pretty open" during the WHO investigation. "The evidence we got and the questions we asked and the answers we got are really what I would expect if I was doing the same investigation in Australia or New Zealand," he said.
Call for global virus tracing
"After the outbreak of the pandemic, China took the lead to support the WHO in conducting research on origin-tracing on a global scale," Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, said at a press conference on May 26.
According to the reports and research, coronavirus was spotted in various places around the world late in the second half of 2019. A study of U.S. blood donations published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found the presence of COVID-19 antibodies from as early as December 2019, suggesting the virus was spreading around the world weeks before the first cases were reported in China.
"If the U.S. side demands a completely transparent investigation, it should follow China's lead to invite WHO experts to the U.S., open Fort Detrick and the bio-labs overseas to the rest of the world, and disclose the data and information on the unexplained outbreaks of respiratory disease in north Virginia in July 2019 and the clusters of e-cigarette or vaping product use-related lung injury cases in Wisconsin," Zhao said. But the U.S. has chosen to ignore this request.
There are currently over 200 U.S. bio-labs engaging in chemical and biological weapons research all over the world. Among them is Fort Detrick which handled highly dangerous pathogens such as Ebola and was mysteriously shut down in August 2019 shortly before COVID-19 became known to the world. 
(Print Edition Title: When Politics Trumps Facts)
Copyedited by Ryan Perkins
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