Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), appeared before a Congressional budget committee on Tuesday.
He defended allocating $600,000 to a group called EcoHealth Alliance, which then paid the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study the risk that bat coronaviruses could infect humans.
Under the terms of the funding, the money could not be spend on ‘gain of function’ research – a controversial practice which explores how viruses mutate and become more transmissible or more dangerous.
Fauci said the research was essential, pointing out that the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s was eventually traced back to bats.
‘I would have been almost a dereliction of our duty if we didn’t study this, and the only way you can study these things is you’ve got to go where the action is,’ he said.
Dr Anthony Fauci on Tuesday appeared before a House committee to discuss the budget
‘You don’t want to study bats in Fairfax County, Virginia, to find out what the animal-human interface is that might lead to a jumping of species.
‘So we had a modest collaboration with very respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronavirus, and we did that through a sub-grant from a larger grant to EcoHealth.’
Fauci added: ‘The larger grant was about $600,000 over a period of five years. So it was a modest amount. The purpose of it was to study the animal-human interface, to do surveillance and to determine if these bat viruses were even capable of’ infecting humans.
Francis Collins, the director of NIH, had said earlier in the hearing that the American taxpayer money that went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology was not approved to conduct gain of function research.
Funding by the U.S. government of research in Wuhan has become immensely controversial.
On May 10 Tucker Carlson used his Fox News show to question ‘the deadly experiments that were going on there’.
The following day Rand Paul, senator for Kentucky, grilled Fauci about the funding – which was reinstated with a different grant in August, NPR reported, after another earlier grant was blocked in April 2020 amid concern over safety at the Wuhan lab.
Paul insisted that the money was being used for gain of function research: Fauci insisted it was not.
‘You are entirely and completely incorrect,’ Fauci told Paul at the heated hearing.
‘The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute.’
Paul, an ophthalmologist, wouldn’t let up, repeatedly questioning Fauci on the matter, which has emerged in conservative circles as a theory tied to the origins of the coronavirus.
Rand Paul, senator for Kentucky, on May 11 got in to a heated debate with Fauci about funding
Fact check on funding for Wuhan lab
USA Today found it ‘false’ that any US funding led to the COVID outbreak.
In 2014, NIH approved a grant to EcoHealth Alliance designated for research into ‘Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence.’ The project involved collaborating with researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study coronaviruses in bats and the risk of potential transfer to humans.
In total, $3,378,896 in NIH funding was directed from the government to the project.
Over the course of the two grants approved by the NIH for EcoHealth Alliance, the Wuhan Institute received about $600,000 from the NIH, according to Robert Kessler, a spokesperson for EcoHealth Alliance.
The funding was a fee for the collection and analysis of viral samples, the group said. It was directed toward SARS research.
In the grant approved in 2014, about $133,000 was sent to the institute in the first four years and about $66,000 in the past year. In the second grant approved in 2019, about $76,000 was budgeted for the Wuhan Institute, though no money was sent before the grant’s termination.
The grant was terminated in April 2020.
‘Could you rule out a laboratory escape?’ Paul asked Fauci.
‘The answer in this case is probably not. Will you in front of this group categorically say that the COVID-19 could not have occurred through serial passage in a laboratory.’
Fauci replied: ‘I do not have any accounting of what the Chinese may have done and I’m fully in favor of any further investigation of what went on in China.
‘However I will repeat again, the NIH and NIAD categorically has not funded gain of function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute,’ he added.
Paul told Fauci: ‘You’re fooling with mother nature here. You’re allowing super viruses to be created with a 15% mortality. It’s very dangerous and it was a huge mistake to share this with China.
‘We should be very careful to investigate where this virus came from.’
Fauci replied: ‘I fully agree that you should investigate where the virus came from. But again, we have not funded gain of function research on this virus in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
‘No matter how many times you say it, it didn’t happen.’
Fauci on Tuesday reiterated his comments, telling Mark Pocan, a congressman for Wisconsin, that ‘there was nothing in the grant application and or the description of the grant, that would call for what is referred to as gain of function.
‘That categorically was not done.’
Fauci is among the scientists now asking for more information about what happened inside the lab – having previously been skeptical about the theory that the virus escaped from a lab.
Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a statement saying that he had been right all along about the ‘lab leak’ hypothesis.
‘Now everybody is agreeing that I was right when I very early on called Wuhan as the source of COVID-19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus,’ he said.
‘To me it was obvious from the beginning but I was badly criticized, as usual.
‘Now they are all saying ‘He was right.’ Thank you!’
US liberal media’s Covid U-turn: A year after TRASHING theory that COVID originated from a Wuhan lab because Trump supported the suggestion – America’s woke mainstream news outlets suddenly start asking if it’s true!
The liberal media have finally conceded that COVID-19 may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory – after a year spent ridiculing the suggestion.
The first fatality from COVID-19 was reported by Chinese state media on January 11, 2020, when a 61-year-old man who was a regular customer at a market in Wuhan died. The first confirmed case in the United States was 10 days later, when a man returned to Washington state from Wuhan.
Within a week, on January 26, 2020, the first article blaming the Wuhan Institute of Virology for the outbreak was published, in The Washington Times. Yet most mainstream media disputed the claims, dismissing them outright or even decrying them as racist.
When Donald Trump, on May 1, 2020, said he had ‘a high degree of confidence’ that the virus escaped from a lab, the New York Times, CNN, and NPR were quick to mock his comments.
CNN, which by the end of the Trump administration was brazen in its hostility to the president and his advisors, was almost gleeful in its mockery of the idea that the virus could have come from a laboratory.
The Washington Post, New York Times, and NPR were equally dismissive of suggestions that the virus could have come from a laboratory.
The Washington Post published a fact checker piece on May 25 saying the theory had ‘suddenly’ become credible after it was repeatedly brought up. It came after a year of naysaying from the liberal media who never accepted that it might be true
There is outrage over the fact that for the last year, the theory has been widely discredited by the media in America when it may explain the entire pandemic
Some outlets, such as the Huffington Post, even branded any suggestion the virus could have stemmed from a lab as a ‘toxic conspiracy theory.’
Few were able to suggest that COVID-19 could have stemmed from a research facility without backlash but that didn’t stop some media, including the Daily Mail, from questioning the narrative.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson was also clear in demanding an investigation into whether it could have escaped from the lab.
Finally, in the past few months, came the first signs that opinion was beginning to change.
In January, a World Health Organization (WHO) report only served to raise more questions after Beijing strictly controlled an on-site visit and who the researchers compiling the report spoke to. The WHO team was only allowed three hours inside the Wuhan lab and was unable to examine any of the Wuhan institute’s safety logs or records of testing on its staff.
China’s actions led to Biden’s White House calling for greater transparency.
Even Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said that the visit was inconclusive, adding that ‘all hypotheses are open’ and warranted future study.
By May 11, the leading public health expert in the United States, Dr Anthony Fauci, had accepted that the idea of the virus escaping from a lab had been too quickly dismissed.
Asked whether the virus originated naturally, Fauci replied that he wants to look closer into the matter.
‘I am not convinced about that,’ he said. ‘I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened.
‘Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus.’
Fauci’s revelation came as a shock to many on the left who have accepted China’s narrative that coronavirus spread from a wet market since the virus first emerged.
Of course, China continues to insist that COVID-19 did not originate in the Wuhan lab.
‘The U.S. keeps concocting inconsistent claims and clamoring to investigate labs in Wuhan,’ China’s foreign ministry said in a written statement on May 24. This fully shows that some people in the U.S. don’t care about facts and truth.’
On May 1, 2020, CNN reported that Trump had ‘contradicted’ the intel community by claiming to have seen evidence the virus came from a lab.
‘President Donald Trump contradicted a rare on-the-record statement from his own intelligence community by claiming Thursday that he has seen evidence that gives him a “high degree of confidence” the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, but declined to provide details to back up his assertion.
‘The comments undercut a public statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued just hours earlier which stated no such assessment has been made and continues to “rigorously examine” whether the outbreak “began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
“Yes, I have,” Trump said when asked whether he’s seen evidence that would suggest the virus originated in the lab. Later, asked why he was confident in that assessment, Trump demurred.
“I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that,” the report read.
Then on May 5, 2020, their editor-at-large Chris Cillizza wrote a scathing attack on the suggestion, entitled: Anthony Fauci just crushed Donald Trump’s theory on the origins of the coronavirus.
MAY 1 2020: On May 1, 2020, CNN reported that Trump had ‘contradicted’ the intel community by claiming to have seen evidence the virus came from a lab. They pointed to how rare it was for the intelligence community to make a statement
MAY 5 2020: Chris Cillizza wrote an opinion piece saying Fauci had ‘crushed Trump’s theory’ about the origins of the virus
OCTOBER 2020: CNN published another report about how the theory came from a ‘shoddy’ paper that was backed by Bannon. It claimed there was no proof whatsoever behind the theory
Daily Mail has been asking if the virus stemmed from a Wuhan lab since April 2020
The Daily Mail has consistently questioned the consensus that COVID-19 was transmitted from humans to animals.
Our reporters have dug into the details and challenged the assumptions about how the pandemic originated.
APRIL 4, 2020:
Ministers fear that the coronavirus pandemic might have been caused by a leak from a Chinese laboratory, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Senior Government sources say that while ‘the balance of scientific advice’ is still that the deadly virus was first transmitted to humans from a live animal market in Wuhan, a leak from a laboratory in the Chinese city is ‘no longer being discounted’.
One member of Cobra, the emergency committee led by Boris Johnson, said last night that while the latest intelligence did not dispute the virus was ‘zoonotic’ – originating in animals – it did not rule out that the virus first spread to humans after leaking from a Wuhan laboratory.
APRIL 15, 2020:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has demanded that China ‘come clean’ following reports that coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory, not as a bioweapon, but as part of bungling experiments to prove that Chinese scientists were superior to Americans in identifying emerging virus threats.
It comes after President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. is trying to determine whether the coronavirus first crossed to humans accidentally during experiments with bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab.
After word of the outbreak finally became public, Chinese leaders were quick to blame Wuhan’s ‘wet market’ where wild animals — though not bats — are sold for consumption, leading one source to tell Fox News the debacle is the ‘costliest government coverup of all time.’
MAY 2, 2020:
Wuhan virus lab ‘cover-up’: Startling photos of scientists wearing little protection as they handle deadly bat samples vanish from website of Chinese institute at the centre of global suspicion over pandemic
Pictures which appear to show slack safety standards at the Chinese laboratory at the centre of international suspicion over Covid-19 have been systematically deleted from its website – as Donald Trump continues to ramp up the pressure on Beijing over its potential role in the outbreak.
During the past month, Wuhan’s Institute of Virology has removed photographs of scientists working in its laboratories and edited out references to visits by US diplomats who subsequently raised the alarm about the laboratory’s work on bats.
US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he had seen intelligence that gave him a ‘high degree of confidence’ that the global crisis had its origins in the institute – a month after The Mail on Sunday first revealed that British Cabinet Ministers had received classified briefings raising the possibility of a leak from the institute.
MAY 30, 2020:
China has become used to public confessions on television. But this time the words came from one of the nation’s top officials and had seismic global implications.
‘At first, we assumed the seafood market might have the virus, but now the market is more like a victim,’ said Gao Fu, director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gao’s initial analysis had made sense after previous outbreaks of zoonotic viruses (diseases that jump from animals to humans). Yet suspicion grew over the Chinese government’s failure to share data from animals sampled in the market following its early cover-ups.
JANUARY 2, 2021:
Matthew Pottinger, who is President Donald Trump‘s respected Deputy National Security Adviser, told politicians from around the world that even China’s leaders now openly admit their previous claims that the virus originated in a Wuhan market are false.
Mr Pottinger said that the latest intelligence points to the virus leaking from the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology, 11 miles from the market, saying: ‘There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus.’
JANUARY 9, 2021:
The Chinese government is facing fresh accusations of a cover-up after officials deleted crucial online data about the laboratory suspected of being the source of Covid-19.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that hundreds of pages of information relating to studies carried out by the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology have been wiped.
Details of more than 300 studies, including many investigating diseases that pass from animals to humans, published online by the state-run National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are no longer available.
APRIL 24, 2021:
Scientists studying bat diseases at China‘s maximum-security laboratory in Wuhan were engaged in a massive project to investigate animal viruses alongside leading military officials – despite their denials of any such links.
Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that a nationwide scheme, directed by a leading state body, was launched nine years ago to discover new viruses and detect the ‘dark matter’ of biology involved in spreading diseases.
‘Before we play the game of ‘he said, he said’ remember this: Only one of these two people is a world-renowned infectious disease expert. And it’s not Donald Trump,’ Cillizza wrote.
‘In short, Fauci’s view on the origins of the disease matters a whole lot more than Trump’s opinion about where it came from.
‘Especially because, outside of Trump and his immediate inner circle, most people in a position to know are very, very skeptical of the Trump narrative that the virus came out of a lab – whether accidentally or on purpose.’
Cillizza’s article followed on from one four days earlier, headlined: ‘Trump contradicts US intel community by claiming he’s seen evidence coronavirus originated in Chinese lab’.
Yet fast forward almost a year, and the tone had greatly changed.
Dr Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, spoke on March 26 this year to Robert Redfield, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC).
Redfield said that he had concluded the virus escaped from a lab.
MARCH 2021: The former CDC head, Dr Robert Redfield, on CNN in March 2021, saying he believes the virus came from a lab. He told the reporter: ‘I am of the point of view, I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, escaped. Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine, science will eventually figure it out. It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect the laboratory worker.’ CNN called it ‘controversial’
MAY 2021: On May 24, a new report was which said US intelligence had found there was some evidence the virus came from a Wuhan lab
‘I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, you know, escaped,’ he said.
‘Now, other people don’t believe that, that’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out.
‘It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in the laboratory to infect the laboratory worker.’
On May 23, The Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers from Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report
The following day the paper reported on a mysterious mine around 80 miles outside Wuhan where, in April 2012, six miners here fell sick after entering the mine to clear bat guano. Three of them died.
Chinese scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were called in to investigate and, after taking samples from bats in the mine, identified several new coronaviruses. Yet they were not forthcoming with their information.
On May 24, CNN admitted that there may be more to the Wuhan lab than initially believed. They published an update: New information on Wuhan researchers’ illness furthers debate on pandemic origins
But Cilizza is still standing by his earlier claims it isn’t.
He wrote an opinion piece on why Dr. Fauci was ‘hedging’ on the subject, and said just because Fauci said he was no longer ‘convinced’ of the origins, it didn’t mean he thought it came from a lab.
New York Times
When any Trump-supporting lawmakers said that the Wuhan lab theory merited further exploration, the New York Times was quick to dismiss their claim.
In the first month of the pandemic they seized on questions raised by Tom Cotton, the Republican senator for Arkansas.
‘We don’t have evidence that this disease originated there,’ Cotton said.
‘But because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says, and China right now is not giving evidence on that question at all.’
His words, on February 17, 2020, would prove prescient – yet the New York Times headlined its coverage: Senator Tom Cotton Repeats Fringe Theory of Coronavirus Origins.
By April 30, 2020, the paper was describing the efforts from the Trump administration to get to the bottom of the virus’ origins as a political witch hunt.
‘Senior Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, according to current and former American officials,’ the paper reported.
FEBRUARY 2020: The New York Times was initially adamant (left) that the Wuhan lab leak theory was a nonsense invented by Trump, but by 2021 was accepting that opinions varied (right)
APRIL 2020: Another NYT report which said Trump officials had been pushing spies to find evidence behind the theory
‘The effort comes as President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic.’
The story was headlined: Trump Officials Are Said to Press Spies to Link Virus and Wuhan Labs
Yet this month two former science reporters at the paper – Nicholas Wade, who retired in 2012, and Donald McNeil, who left earlier this year amid a row about his language while guiding a tour of Peru – both said they now felt it was possible, indeed perhaps likely, that the virus came from a lab.
‘In early spring 2020, I reported an article for The New York Times on which I put the tentative headline: ‘New Coronavirus Is ‘Clearly Not a Lab Leak,’ Scientists Say,” McNeil wrote on Medium.
‘It never ran.’
He said that the paper was sharply divided over whether to believe the Trump officials saying it was a lab leak, or the scientists saying it wasn’t.
‘We still do not know the source of this awful pandemic. We may never know,’ he wrote.
‘But the argument that it could have leaked out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology or a sister lab in Wuhan has become considerably stronger than it was a year ago, when the screaming was so loud that it drowned out serious discussion.
McNeil, who left The New York Times earlier this year, said that China’s ‘lack of candor’ was ‘disturbing’. McNeil was fired by the Times after it emerged he’d used the N-word during a conversation with students on a NYT-run trip. He published an article on May 17 about the subject. He said he’d been told ‘overwhelmingly’ by scientists that it did not come from a lab
MAY 2021: Now the Times is repeating scientists’ calls for an open mind on the theory
‘And China’s lack of candor is disturbing.’
Wade came to the same conclusion.
‘Neither the natural emergence nor the lab escape hypothesis can yet be ruled out. There is still no direct evidence for either. So no definitive conclusion can be reached,’ he wrote.
‘That said, the available evidence leans more strongly in one direction than the other. Readers will form their own opinion.
‘But it seems to me that proponents of lab escape can explain all the available facts about SARS2 considerably more easily than can those who favor natural emergence.’
Reporters for an article published on April 30, 2020, provided a nuanced and in-depth analysis of the Wuhan laboratory’s work, and emphasized the risks involved.
Yet their headline read: Chinese lab conducted extensive research on deadly bat viruses, but there is no evidence of accidental release.
The following day, the dismissive tone continued: Was the new coronavirus accidentally released from a Wuhan lab? It’s doubtful.
In May 2020 The Washington Post said it was ‘doubtful’ that the virus came from a lab in a story from its Fact Checker section
By May 24 this year, the paper was very close to admitting that they had been blinkered.
‘Given everything we know about how Trump handled such things, caution and skepticism were invited,’ wrote Aaron Blake, a senior political reporter at the paper.
‘That (very much warranted) caution and skepticism spilled over into some oversimplification, particularly when it came to summarizing the often more circumspect reporting.’
He admitted: ‘We might never truly know the truth.’
Now the Washington Post is urging WHO to carry out an investigation into what happened to determine if it did come from a lab
MAY 2021: Journalist Aaron Blake wrote that it is ‘vexing’ as a subject. He said: ‘It has become evident that some corners of the mainstream media overcorrected when it came to one particular theory from Trump and his allies: that the coronavirus emanated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, rather than naturally. It’s also true that many criticisms of the coverage are overwrought and that Trump’s and his allies’ claims invited and deserved skepticism.’
As concern was mounting about the virus in the spring of 2020, The Huffington Post was rapidly ridiculing all question of its origins.
‘A Toxic ‘Infodemic’: The Viral Spread Of COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories,’ they headlined a story on April 7, 2020.
Yet a little over a year later, on May 24 of this year, the site followed up on the Wall Street Journal’s report into the hospitalization of the Wuhan lab workers in 2019, and the issues that this raised.
‘Wuhan Researchers Were Hospitalized With COVID-19 Symptoms Pre-Pandemic: Reports,’ they wrote.
APRIL 2020: The Huffington Post was initially skeptical (left) about alternative ideas surrounding COVID and called it an ‘infodemic’
MAY 2021: Now, like every other outlet, Huff Po is broadening its reporting on the theory
On April 23, 2020, NPR stated: ‘Virus researchers say there is virtually no chance that the new coronavirus was released as result of a laboratory accident in China or anywhere else.’
The radio news network was determined to prove that there was no credibility to the Wuhan lab leak theory, and produced a series of ‘explainers’ insisting that COVID-19 was transmitted from animals to humans.
‘Where Did This Coronavirus Originate? Virus Hunters Find Genetic Clues In Bats,’ they reported on April 15, 2020.
APRIL 2020: NPR was initially dismissive of suggestions that the virus leaked from a lab (left), but by May 2021 was covering the increasing speculation
MARCH 2021: After a WHO report said the theory was gathering more steam, the headlines became more open minded
Yet a little over a year later, NPR was following the WHO’s report – and its worrying conclusions – with interest.
‘Theory That COVID Came From A Chinese Lab Takes On New Life In Wake Of WHO Report,’ they concluded.
On March 31, they reported: Calls For An Open Investigation Into The Possibility COVID-19 Leaked From A Lab.
Among those watching the evolving news lines was Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state.
‘Over a year ago, I told @MarthaRaddatz that the Wuhan Virus most likely came from a lab leak,’ he tweeted on May 20.
‘She stopped just short of offering me a tin hat. The CCP said I was an enemy of mankind,’ he said, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.
‘And now? Well, now, the Left wing media is scrambling to get on the side of the truth.’
White House spokesman Jen Psaki snaps at reporter for asking about COVID-19 origins
White House press secretary Jen Psaki lost her patience with Fox News‘ Peter Doocy at Monday’s press briefing as he pressed her on whether the Biden administration was doing enough to expose the origins of COVID-19, after Dr. Fauci questioned where the virus originated.
‘With 589,920 dead Americans at what point does President Biden say we don’t want to wait for the WHO effort, we don’t know what they’re doing, this needs to be an American-led effort to get to the bottom of what happened?’ Doocy asked.
‘I think you’re misunderstanding how this process actually works,’ she told the him, and said the Biden administration was relying on the World Health Organization to conduct an independent investigation – even though their report already dismissed the lab leak claims.
Doocy was asking about a Wall Street Journal story citing a U.S. intelligence report that said three researchers from China‘s Wuhan Institute of Virology had sought hospital care in November 2019, a month before China reported its first COVID-19 case.
His question also followed Dr. Fauci saying over the weekend that he ‘wasn’t convinced’ the virus had spread naturally outside a lab and called for an investigation.
Psaki responded by saying they are pushing the World Health Organization to complete a probe ‘free from politicization’, despite accusations the Biden administration hasn’t done enough to hold China to account.
Retired NYT science editor slams the mainstream media for ignoring evidence that COVID leaked from a Wuhan lab and falling for ‘sustained Chinese propaganda’ instead of doing their own research
Nicholas Wade, a former New York Times science editor, slammed mainstream media in an interview with Mark Levin on Sunday for not investigating the origins of COVID-19
A retired New York Times science editor has slammed the mainstream media for ignoring the possibility that coronavirus leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan and accused journalists of falling for ‘Chinese propaganda’ instead of doing their own research.
Nicholas Wade, who penned a 1,100-word article examining the link entitled ‘The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?’ earlier this month, took aim at top news outlets in a Fox News interview on Sunday night.
He claimed the media mainstream media failed to ‘take off its political glasses’ to investigate the virus’ origins, the facts of which, he said, are being obscured by the Chinese Communist Party.
Wade’s remarks come as more scientists and political officials are coming forward to support the theory that the virus may have been developed in a Chinese laboratory and was covered up – after scoffing at the idea for much of the past year in part because it was pushed by then-President Donald Trump.
Among the top officials now speculating that possibility is Dr Anthony Fauci, who recently said he’s ‘not convinced’ the virus formed naturally after repeated statements to the contrary.
The case for a lab leak was strengthened on Sunday when a previously-undisclosed US intelligence report revealed three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought hospital care in November 2019 – months before China disclosed the COVID-19 outbreak.
‘I think we see a sustained Chinese propaganda effort at work,’ Wade, who served as the staff writer for the Science Times section of the New York Times from 1982 to 2012, told Mark Levin on Life, Liberty & Levin.
‘But, you know, more than that, it was just the blindness, if I could put it that way, of our media — we’re too polarized to see scientific issues for their own sake without putting a political gloss on them,’ he continued.
‘We don’t know for sure: The origin of the virus is just we’ve got these two possible scenarios. But if you look at all the evidence and ask yourself, well, which scenario explains all these facts better on present evidence, it seems, to me at least, that the lab-escape hypothesis explains it a lot better.
‘But it’s a sort of complicated conclusion to arrive at, and I can only assume that the media was blindsided, they didn’t do the work that was necessary.’
Large outlets, including the New York Times, CNN and the Washington Post, pushed back against the idea that the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan in the early days of the pandemic.
Facebook labeled a New York Post opinion column saying the virus ‘might have jumped to the human population thanks to errors at a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan’ as ‘false information’.
Former President Trump repeatedly said he suspected the virus may have escaped from a Chinese lab, which Beijing denies, and for which he was ridiculed.
Even former CDC director Robert Redfield was admonished for the suggestion despite no strong evidence to the contrary at the time.
A State Department fact sheet released near the end of the Trump administration had said ‘the U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.’ It did not say how many researchers.
COVID-19 spread quickly throughout the world, and now officials in the United States, Norway, Canada and Great Britain are calling for further investigation into its origins
It is only 20 miles form the Huanan Seafood market, where the first cluster of infection s began
But now, more and more scientists and political officials are coming forward questioning the origins of the virus and how it mutated to infect humans.
The Huanan wet market, where the first cluster of infections began, is just a few hundred yards from the Wuhan Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and only a few miles from the the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab, where scientists were reportedly conducting experiments on bats before the pandemic began.
The lab is one of only a handful in the world that is cleared to handle Class 4 pathogens — dangerous viruses that pose a high risk of person-to-person transmission.
Three researchers from the institute sought medical care in November 2019, before the virus began to spread, according to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper said the report – which provides fresh details on the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses, and their hospital visits – may add weight to calls for a broader probe of whether the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the laboratory.
Security guards patrol outside the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market on January 24, 2020
Did coronavirus originate in Chinese government laboratory?
The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been collecting numerous coronaviruses from bats ever since the SARS outbreak in 2002. They have also published papers describing how these bat viruses have interacted with human cells.
US Embassy staff visited the lab in 2018 and ‘had grave safety concerns’ over the protocols which were being observed at the facility.
The lab is just a few miles from the Huanan wet market which is where the first cluster of infections erupted in Wuhan.
The market is just a few hundred yards from another lab called the Wuhan Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (WHCDC). The WHCDC kept disease-ridden animals in its labs, including some 605 bats.
Those who support the theory argue that Covid-19 could have leaked from either or both of these facilities and spread to the wet market. Most argue that this would have been a virus they were studying rather than one which was engineered.
Last year a bombshell paper from the Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology recounted how bats once attacked a researcher at the WHCDC and ‘blood of bat was on his skin.’
The report says: ‘Genome sequences from patients were 96% or 89% identical to the Bat CoV ZC45 coronavirus originally found in Rhinolophus affinis (intermediate horseshoe bat).’
It describes how the only native bats are found around 600 miles away from the Wuhan seafood market and that the probability of bats flying from Yunnan and Zhejiang provinces was minimal.
In addition there is little to suggest the local populace eat the bats as evidenced by testimonies of 31 residents and 28 visitors.
Instead the authors point to research being carried out within 300 yards at the WHCDC.
One of the researchers at the WHCDC described quarantining himself for two weeks after a bat’s blood got on his skin, according to the report. That same man also quarantined himself after a bat urinated on him.
And he also mentions discovering a live tick from a bat – parasites known for their ability to pass infections through a host animal’s blood.
‘The WHCDC was also adjacent to the Union Hospital where the first group of doctors were infected during this epidemic,’ the report says.
‘It is plausible that the virus leaked around and some of them contaminated the initial patients in this epidemic, though solid proofs are needed in future study.’
It reported that current and former officials familiar with the intelligence about the lab researchers expressed a range of views about the strength of the report’s supporting evidence, with one unnamed person saying it needed ‘further investigation and additional corroboration.’
A World Health Organization team previously deemed the idea that the virus escaped from one of these labs ‘extremely unlikely’ in the early days of the pandemic, but the report, written in part by Chinese scientists, was repeatedly delayed, as China refused to give the WHO team raw data on the outbreak.
It wrote in its final report, which was co-authored by Chinese scientists, that the virus could have been imported on frozen meat.
Dr Fauci and other scientists, as well as some political officials, are now coming forward and expressing their doubts about those findings.
Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said over the weekend he was ‘not convinced’ that COVID-19 developed naturally and called for an open investigation.
‘I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened,’ he said at a PolitiFact event on May 11 entitled: United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking.
‘Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals,’ he said, ‘but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out.’
A National Security Council spokeswoman also told the Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration has ‘serious’ questions about the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its origins in the People’s Republic of China.
Last Thursday, White House Press Secretary called for exploring the ‘root causes’ of the pandemic after Republicans issued an interim report saying there was ‘significant circumstantial evidence’ that the virus emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
‘I would caution you against disproving a negative there which is never the responsible approach in our view when it comes to getting to the bottom of the root causes of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the United States,’ she said in response to a question about the report.
‘Our view continues to be that there needs to be an independent, transparent investigation,’ she said.
She said the investigation required the ‘cooperation and data provided from the Chinese government’ – which has denied administration requests to fully share it.
‘We don’t have enough info at this point to make an assessment,’ she continued.
Asked when Biden would call Chinese President Xi Jinping, Psaki responded that ‘We have made that call publicly many times’ and ‘conveyed that privately.
And we have certainly communicated that they were not transparent from the beginning.’
The U.S. joined Norway, Canada, Great Britain and other countries in March in expressing concerns about the WHO-led COVID-19 origins study, and called for further investigation, and full access to all pertinent human, animal and other data about the early stages of the outbreak.