International Department of the CPC Central Committee       BEIJING REVIEW
Special Issue on Opposing Politicizing Virus Origin-Tracing       MONTHLY
Third Time's a Charm?
By Mario Cavolo Xinhua News Agency

A requirement for masks is seen inside the Pennsylvania Railway Station, New York City, the U.S., on August 11 (XINHUA) 

When we look at the situation right now, in terms of COVID-19 origin investigations, we have a state of affairs that is tainted black by the geopolitical narrative. That narrative first took hold with the Donald Trump administration and today still exudes very strongly from the Joe Biden administration.  

In February, Peter Ben Embarek, head of an expert team dispatched by the World Health Organization (WHO) to Wuhan on COVID-19 origin-tracing, said the mission was successful in many ways. There was no widespread and no large cluster of COVID-19 in or around China's Wuhan in months prior to December 2019, according to the Danish scientist. “We still are far away from understanding the origin and identifying animal species and the pathways from which the virus could have entered the human in December, he added. 

Thats what WHO told the world. And for telling the world just that, the U.S. declared WHO persona non grata. Much like China, one might argue.  

The U.S. still calls for further investigation in China, but never for any type of exploration into its own archives. This constitutes geopolitical hypocrisy.  

Scientific evidence has shown that the virus had been circulating in certain areas of the U.S. many months before the epidemic in Wuhan. The Chinese city is where the virus was first identified, not where it began. 

Robert Redfield, former Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in his congressional testimony last year said the coronavirus at the time hadnt been identified, but many cases of this unknown type of pneumonia in the U.S. were certainly of the coronavirus’ COVID-19 variant.” 

In June, a study of blood samples taken by the National Institutes of Health shows that people in at least five states across the U.S. had been infected with the coronavirus in December 2019 and early January 2020, providing more evidence that the virus first appeared in the country far earlier than previously believed. 

But why then have the investigations not circled back there yet? Contact all the people who were sick and test their antibodies. Why isnt the evidence being gathered in the struggle to trace the actual origins of the virus? 

Bio-laboratories operated by the U.S. worldwide have seen their fair share of safety breaches and other accidents. The issues at hand are clear and these labs should thus be thoroughly checked. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been examined, and the WHO expert conclusion was that a leak would have been highly unlikely. So when will their U.S. counterparts’ number be up? 

We have seen these double standards pop up time and time again. Take, for example, the H1N1 flu, commonly known as swine flu, which came out of the U.S. back in 2009. It spread across the globe and killed somewhere between 151,700-575,400 people, infecting over 1.4 billion people. The CDC did a terrible job at controlling it. Yet nobody ever uttered a complaint. 

In regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, we now know the virus didnt even originate in Wuhan. It had been swirling around Italy, Spain, and perhaps other countries, for a few months before Wuhan got hit. Luckily, in Wuhan, the virus was quickly exposed, and its details quickly shared. Over the course of six months following the beginning of the pandemic, China did a magnificent job in managing and, eventually, controlling the virus.   

As we might be headed toward a third--and counting--round of investigations in the near future, a word to the wise. Origin tracing should be left in the more than capable hands of science and scientists. Not those politically tainted. 

The author is a non-resident senior fellow with the Center for China and Globalization 

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