Thursday, April 23, 2020

It Is Important to Know This Virus’s Origins

Djordje Kojadinovic/Reuters
On the menu today: one long deep dive into the Fox News report that unnamed “sources” are increasingly confident that the origin of this virus is an accidental release or infection from a laboratory, and how every possible transmission path paints the Chinese government as incredibly reckless and unconcerned about the risk to human life around the world.
Fox News: ‘Increasing Confidence that COVID-19 Likely Originated in a Wuhan Laboratory’
I can’t quite spike the football yet; I wish Bret Baier and Gregg Re of Fox News had been able to use named sources, and that these sources could have at least hinted at anything not yet publicly known about the labs in Wuhan that made them suspect that SARS-CoV-2 started from an accidental release.
But you can feel the ground shifting underneath your feet:
There is increasing confidence that COVID-19 likely originated in a Wuhan laboratory, though not as a bioweapon but as part of China’s effort to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States, multiple sources who have been briefed on the details of early actions by China’s government and seen relevant materials tell Fox News.
This may be the “costliest government coverup of all time,” one of the sources said.
The sources believe the initial transmission of the virus was bat-to-human, and that “patient zero” worked at the laboratory, then went into the population in Wuhan.
The “increasing confidence” comes from classified and open-source documents and evidence, the sources said. Fox News has requested to see the evidence directly. Sources emphasized — as is often the case with intelligence — that it’s not definitive and should not be characterized as such. Some inside the administration and the intelligence and epidemiological communities are more skeptical, and the investigation is continuing.
What all of the sources agree about is the extensive cover-up of data and information about COVID-19 launched by the Chinese government.
Documents detail early efforts by doctors at the lab and early efforts at containment. The Wuhan wet market initially identified as a possible point of origin never sold bats, and the sources tell Fox News that blaming the wet market was an effort by China to deflect blame from the laboratory, along with the country’s propaganda efforts targeting the U.S. and Italy . . .
China “100 percent” suppressed data and changed data, the sources tell Fox News. Samples were destroyed, contaminated areas scrubbed, some early reports erased, and academic articles stifled.
If someday there is an outbreak of a new, strange, and deadly virus in the Cumberland area of northwest Atlanta, people will understandably wonder if the virus first manifesting there had anything to do with the fact that the headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is nearby. If someday there is an outbreak of a new, strange, and deadly virus in Frederick, Md., people will understandably wonder if the outbreak has anything to do with the nearby U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick.
And when there is an outbreak of a novel coronavirus that originated in bats in Wuhan, China, people understandably start to wonder if it has anything to do with the two laboratories in the city that were doing research on novel coronaviruses in bats.
Read the rest from Jim Geraghty HERE.

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