World #1 – “Significant circumstantial evidence” shows COVID-19 originated from Chinese lab leak

Tuesday's World Events   —   Posted on May 25, 2021

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the panel, and other Republicans on the committee released the report obtained by Fox News, which concluded that it is essential for health experts and government officials to understand how the deadly virus originated to prevent “or quickly mitigate future pandemics.”

“International efforts to discover the true source of the virus, however, have been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the People’s Republic of China,” ​they wrote​ in the report​.

“Nevertheless, significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”​

They said China has a “history of research labs leaks resulting in infections,” citing warnings from US diplomats in China as early as 2017.

The report went on to say that the lab in Wuhan had been conducting “dangerous research” on coronaviruses without following “necessary safety protocols,” which risked an accidental outbreak. ​

The GOP lawmakers noted in the report that “several researchers in the Wuhan lab were sickened with COVID-19-like symptoms” in the fall of 2019. [Three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought hospital care in November 2019, months before China disclosed the COVID-19 pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report].

It also said Chinese’s military had “involvement” in the lab.​

“By contrast, little circumstantial evidence has emerged to support the PRC’s claim that COVID-19 was a natural occurrence, having jumped from some other species to human,” ​the Republicans wrote in the report, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

They went on to say Chinese authorities “have failed to identify the original species that allegedly spread the virus to humans, which is critical to their zoonotic* transfer theory.” (*zoonotic is a disease that is able to spread from animals to humans)

Even more, the report claims “clear signs” exist that US government agencies and academic institutions “may have funded or collaborated in gain of function research” at the Wuhan ​l​ab​.

It went on to claim the ​research “was published even after the U.S. government had paused these kinds of studies in the United States due to ethical concerns over their biowarfare applicability and their potential to accidentally unleash a pandemic.​”​

“To protect American citizens from future pandemics, the U.S. Government must place more pressure on China to allow full, credible investigations of the source of the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow probes of the likelihood that it resulted from a lab leak,” the report states.

“The U.S. Government must also provide a full accounting of any American cooperation with the Wuhan lab’s coronavirus research, including the support of these projects through U.S. Government funds.”

Nunes and other Republican members of the panel released the report and a letter to President Biden and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, blaming them for not being “forthcoming” about “what processes it undertook to make seemingly authoritative statements early in the pandemic about the origins of the virus — conclusions that are now in question.”

T​he Republicans want the intelligence community to release all the data it has on the coronavirus’s origins, including any reports on a possible “collaboration” between the Wuhan lab and the Chinese military.

They set a May 31 deadline for a response.

Published at nypost .com on May 21, 2021. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission.


The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan? -- by Nicholas Wade, May 5, 2021 -- Read excerpt below:

...From early on, public and media perceptions were shaped in favor of the natural emergence scenario by strong statements from two scientific groups. These statements were not at first examined as critically as they should have been.

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,” a group of virologists and others wrote in the Lancet* on February 19, 2020, when it was really far too soon for anyone to be sure what had happened. Scientists “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife,” they said, with a stirring rallying call for readers to stand with Chinese colleagues on the frontline of fighting the disease.

Contrary to the letter writers’ assertion, the idea that the virus might have escaped from a lab invoked accident, not conspiracy. It surely needed to be explored, not rejected out of hand. A defining mark of good scientists is that they go to great pains to distinguish between what they know and what they don’t know. By this criterion, the signatories of the Lancet letter were behaving as poor scientists: They were assuring the public of facts they could not know for sure were true.

It later turned out that the Lancet letter had been organized and drafted by Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance of New York. Daszak’s organization funded coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. If the SARS2 (Covid-19) virus had indeed escaped from research he funded, Daszak would be potentially culpable. This acute conflict of interest was not declared to the Lancet’s readers. To the contrary, the letter concluded, “We declare no competing interests.” ...

*Read the virologists' Feb. 19, 2020 letter in the Lancet.  (For all names and affiliations, click on “Show all authors” under the headline “Statement in support…” -- Click on each name for the affiliation.)