The World Health Organization is backing China’s version of events that the COVID-19 pandemic could not have originated in a Wuhan lab.
The results of a highly anticipated “fact-finding mission” to China appear to close the door on further official investigations.
As the Associated Press reported today:
A closely watched visit by World Health Organization experts to Wuhan — the Chinese city where the first coronavirus cases were discovered — did not dramatically change the current understanding of the early days of the pandemic, said Peter Ben Embarek, the leader of the WHO mission.
The press conference on the mission’s findings had the following to say about one of the most controversial contentions:
And it allowed the joint Chinese-WHO team to rule out one theory on the origins of the virus. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has collected many virus samples, leading to allegations that it may have been the source of the original outbreak, whether on purpose or accidentally.
But experts now consider the possibility of such a leak so improbable that it will not be suggested as an avenue of future study, said Embarek, a WHO food safety and animal diseases expert.
The AP rightly points out: “China had already strongly rejected that possibility and has promoted other theories. The Chinese and foreign experts considered several ideas for how the disease first ended up in humans, leading to a pandemic that has now killed more than 2.3 million people worldwide.”
The belief there is a strong possibility the COVID-19 virus escaped from the well-funded Wuhan Institute-of-Virology laboratory has recently been regaining traction.
In January, a New York Magazine story written by novelist Nicholson Baker raised the profile on the hypothesis.
“I keep returning to the basic, puzzling fact,” Baker wrote. “This patchwork pathogen, which allegedly has evolved without human meddling, first came to notice in the only city in the world with a laboratory that was paid for years by the U.S. government to perform experiments on certain obscure and heretofore unpublicized strains of bat viruses — which bat viruses then turned out to be, out of all the organisms on the planet, the ones that are most closely related to the disease.”
“What are the odds?” he added.
One well-credentialed scientist appeared to back the possibility Baker raised: Alina Chan, a scientist at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
“There is a reasonable chance that what we are dealing with is the result of a lab accident,” Chan said.
The credibility of the WHO’s fact-finding mission has been scrutinized for several reasons. Miranda Divine, a NY Post opinion columnist, implored the WHO to do a “real” probe.
Devine points to the only U.S. member of the WHO’s fact-finding team, Peter Daszak, who heads the non-profit organization EcoHealth Alliance. Of course, Daszak strongly opposed the lab leak hypothesis before the WHO team had finished its conclusions.
The NY Post article documents Daszak’s conflict of interest: His work with the so-called Chinese “bat woman” Shi Zhengli, a scientist who was conducting genetic research on coronaviruses. He co-authored papers with Zhengli and channeled $100 million to the Wuhan lab.
The most concerning questions raised by Devine mentions the relationship of the Wuhan lab and the U.S. health agency headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci:
We know Daszak was co-author with Shi of a November 2017 paper in the PLOS Pathogens journal about SARS-related viruses collected from a cave in Yunnan Province.
We know that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is listed as a funding source for the paper that identified the virus BtCoV/4991 in the mineshaft under a subcontracted grant from Daszak’s EcoHealth to the Wuhan Institute.
“Without a forensic examination of the institute’s records, we don’t know for certain what was done with these virus samples between 2013 and October 2019 when the first cases of COVID-19 appeared in Wuhan,” Devine pointed out.
No forensic examination of the institute’s records provided to the public? It’s a familiar storyline that Americans are unfortunately starting to get used to.
It is difficult to discern where the Chinese’s lack of transparency ends and the international community’s unwillingness to press the regime for accountability begins. This probe does not help the perception that the WHO is effectively operating at the behest of the Communist Chinese.
The WHO has a track record of being a pro-China organization due in part to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reportedly installing its director, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyes. The Marxist-Leninist connected malaria expert was willing to verbally lambaste Taiwan with allegations of racism, which served the dual role of shoring up Western organizational support and reassuring China.
The World Health Organization has consistently backed China since Dr. Tedros Adhanom took over the group. As a July report from China Task Force Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, advocating for more transparency and accountability at the United Nations, put it:
Those who followed Tedros’ election at the WHO weren’t surprised at his actions. After all, it was the CCP, among others, who strongly advocated for him – after they invested $13.3 billion into Tedros’ home country of Ethiopia during his time as foreign minister.
To put this in perspective, during the 2003 SARS outbreak, then-WHO Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland spoke publicly against the CCP for withholding information and lying to the world. Compare that to Tedros’ consistent glowing praise of the CCP during the COVID-19 outbreak – even though, as the AP reports, the WHO knew the CCP was withholding vital information. While there are some who want to give Tedros the benefit of the doubt regarding the CCP’s influence over his decisions, his incompetent management of the COVID-19 response should be enough for a swift dismissal.
The Chinese covered up a virus that killed millions globally. Over a year later, we are still seeking accountability for China’s deadly inaction.
Under the lack of leadership from the WHO, a group the Biden administration rejoined on day one, it appears that day may never come.