Many Americans have lost family members and loved ones from COVID-19 in the past year. Nearly all of us have suffered as a result of the disruptions, personal tragedies, and economic destruction wrought by this pandemic. Given the terrible scope of this crisis, the American people deserve a full accounting of how this pandemic began.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration and high-ranking officials like NIH’s Dr. Anthony Fauci are not interested in a full accounting. They’ve consistently downplayed the pandemic origin story that best fits the facts, namely, that COVID-19 spilled out of a Chinese laboratory, the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Earlier this week, Dr. Fauci played word games at best or outright lied at worst when he testified before the Senate about his agency’s role in funding risky virus research at the Wuhan lab. Meanwhile, Biden administration officials have told the press that they won’t insist on an investigation into the lab-leak hypothesis—which means, in all likelihood, such an investigation will not occur.
Despite casual dismissals and determined silence from the powerful, the lab-leak hypothesis cries out for investigation, just as it has from the beginning. Last January, as the Chinese government imposed draconian lockdowns on its people, I noted the implausibility of Beijing’s official story for how the epidemic began.
SEN. RAND PAUL: MAINSTREAM MEDIA NOT ASKING FAUCI THE RIGHT QUESTIONS ABOUT CHINA LAB, VIRUS RESEARCH
The government claimed the outbreak started at a market that sold wild animals in Wuhan. But what were the odds that, in the largest country on Earth, a once-in-a-century pandemic just happened to start, not in some remote village near bat colonies, but in a metropolitan area larger than New York City, within several hundred yards of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China’s only maximum-security super-laboratory studying the world’s most dangerous viruses?
That would truly be an amazing coincidence, but the evidence doesn’t bear it out. The earliest reported cases had no contact with the market, a cursory investigation found no trace of the virus in animals within the market, and the government ordered the market decontaminated before a full investigation could be completed. The Chinese government’s subsequent theory that COVID originated from infected frozen food is even more desperate and less compelling.
The lab-leak theory has always been a better fit for the available facts. Researchers at the Wuhan institute travel to remote caves to collect virus samples from bats, putting them in frequent contact with the very creatures and viruses that have caused epidemics in the past.
In the first months of the outbreak, the Chinese government installed a military epidemiologist at the lab and issued new rules governing lab safety—not exactly the actions of a government that believes its own propaganda. Given these facts, it seemed plausible that this devastating pandemic emerged not from nature but from the carelessness or hubris of Chinese scientists in the laboratory.
The liberal media, foreign-policy elites, and activists in white lab coats quickly denounced me as a conspiracy theorist or worse for making these “debunked” suggestions. They’ve been much quieter lately, because the theory that the pandemic originated in the Wuhan lab is only growing stronger as more evidence emerges.
We’ve now learned that U.S. diplomats warned of lax safety protocols and a shortage of trained staff at the Wuhan lab as early as 2018. Several researchers at the lab were hospitalized with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in Autumn 2019, before the first reported cases in Wuhan.
We also know more about the risky research that was being conducted at the Wuhan lab, where researchers were enhancing bat coronaviruses in an attempt to make them more infectious to humans. Remarkably, Chinese communist scientists were performing these experiments with American taxpayer funding from Fauci’s agency, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
It’s not hard to understand why bureaucrats like Fauci and many so-called “thought” leaders don’t want to talk about the Wuhan lab. The topic raises uncomfortable questions about our scientific research enterprise, the usefulness of international organizations like the WHO, and the wisdom of our so-called experts more broadly.
But sometimes uncomfortable questions are necessary questions. If we want closure in the aftermath of this pandemic—and if we want to avert the next one—we must learn about its origin. That means we must look at the lab in Wuhan and the experimental research its scientists performed.
The Biden administration, Fauci, and other world leaders must stop looking the other way.