The World Health Organization on Tuesday finally released its report on the origins of the coronavirus, and the result wasn’t worth the wait. The document is best understood as a whitewash heavily influenced by the Chinese Communist Party and Westerners with conflicts of interest.
The report—based primarily on an international team’s visit this year to the city of Wuhan, where Covid-19 was first detected—has little new information. But the team analyzes four origin scenarios.
The report says the most likely origin was a transfer to humans through bats with an intermediary host. The second most probable, according to the report, is that bats directly transmitted Covid-19 to humans. The report also takes too seriously a third theory, pushed by Beijing, that the virus arrived in China in frozen food, which the WHO claims is “possible” and merits more study.
Most telling is that the team concludes it is “extremely unlikely” that the virus leaked from a lab such as the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The report simply asserts that WIV facilities “were well-managed, with a staff health monitoring programme.” The report suggests “regular administrative and internal review of high-level biosafety laboratories worldwide” and following up on new evidence.
Yet enough already is known about the WIV to suggest this lacks credibility. In 2018 U.S. officials warned in diplomatic cables about safety and management issues at the WIV that could lead to a pandemic. This is especially troubling because the WIV conducted “gain of function” research on coronaviruses that theoretically can enable them to infect a new species.
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