The Origins Of Covid And The Simultaneous Origins Of The Mistrust In Science

The Origins Of Covid And The Simultaneous Origins Of The Mistrust In Science


Leonard Zwelling

In these two juxtaposed op-eds in The New York Times on Sunday, June 9, the story of the undermining of the public’s faith in science is writ large.

The first article is by Alina Chan, a molecular biologist from MIT and Harvard. The second is by Times columnist Zeynep Tufekci.

The first is entitled, “Why Covid Probably Started in a Lab.” I’m getting chills.

Here’s the case:

  1. The pandemic started in Wuhan, the site of one of the most celebrated viral research labs in the world.
  2. Shi Zhengli led a team of viral researchers looking into SARS-like viruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
  3. The SARS-like viruses come from bats a thousand miles from Wuhan. But the viruses were brought to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
  4. Spillover of a viral disease to humans was rare in the places where the bats lived.
  5. There were no cases of Covid within the thousand miles between the bat cave and Wuhan despite this being a very contagious disease.
  6. Some of the work at WIV was sponsored by EcoHealth Alliance, Inc, an American organization that had been awarded over $80 million in grants for infectious disease research.
  7. That WIV lab did risky gain of function research that produced more infectious viruses.
  8. There was a huge data base at WIV (22,000 samples). Access to the data base was closed in the fall of 2019.
  9. A grant proposal was written in 2018 that described work that might create a Covid-type virus. It was a collaboration between WIV, EcoHealth, and a lab at the University of North Carolina. It was not funded, but that doesn’t mean the research was not done at WIV.
  10. The research proposed creating a coronavirus with a furin cleavage site in its spike surface protein. Covid has such a cleavage site and that feature is thought to make it very infectious.
  11. It is likely that the American collaborators had no idea what research was being done at WIV.
  12. WIV did its research under inadequate biosafety containment, BSL-2 because it was “cost-effective.” Even BSL-3 is probably inadequate containment for this type of research.
  13. Some members of Dr. Shi’s team were ill with Covid-like symptoms in the fall of 2019.
  14. There is no convincing evidence of any kind that Covid started in the Wuhan wet market.
  15. Animals have not been found to have Covid.

I would suggest you read the article by Dr. Chan.

As for the piece by Tufekci entitled “An Object Lesson on How To Destroy Public Trust”, it can be summarized simply. The public health apparatus of the United States failed miserably in the Covid pandemic by neither protecting the population from massive death nor correctly opening up schools and the rest of society once vaccination was available. The low subsequent vaccination rate among Americans once boosters were available speaks to the mistrust.

American public health and the medical profession have a lot of ground to make up. This was not all at the feet of Dr. Fauci, but some is as the Republicans who grilled him made clear. Fauci made some calls. Some were good. Some not so much. Okay. He’s human, but in the end, is anyone convinced that if another virus emerged from the WIV tomorrow and spread around the world that we would be ready?

Finally, many people have said that even if the WIV was the source of Covid, it surely could not have been on purpose given the devastation wrought on the Chinese population and its economy by the pandemic.


What about the effectiveness that China had in bringing America and the western world to its knees? Could China have done as much damage with conventional weapons? Would that government even flinch at sacrificing its own people for its global nefarious purposes? I doubt it.

It could have been an accident. Or it could have been practice. For the next time.

It is time for an open inquiry into the real origins of Covid. But the Chinese will never let that happen and thus they remain our most dangerous adversary.

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