There are times when I wonder if there are people reading this blog and quietly being influenced by it. In his Washington Post column Josh Rogin muses over the possibility, supported by former CDC director Robert Redfield, that SARS-CoV-2 was accidentally released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Here’s the conclusion of his column:
Flinders University medical professor Nikolai Petrovsky, one of more than two dozen scientists, including Ebright, who signed an open letter calling for a full and independent investigation into covid-19’s origins, told me the Chinese government now realizes it can’t prevent a real investigation into the Wuhan labs and therefore is calling for all such labs worldwide to be investigated. And that, he says, is actually a great idea.
“I agree this is entirely appropriate, although clearly most of the immediate focus would need to be on the Wuhan labs, given their geography and the work they were doing,” he said.
If Redfield is right, that would mean China bears some accountability for the outbreak, which will greatly complicate already tense relations. If Redfield is right, that would also mean the U.S. government had a big role in supporting the research that resulted in the pandemic outbreak. If Redfield is right, the current response plan could greatly increase, not reduce, the risk of another pandemic.
These are all very unpleasant facts. But facts are stubborn things. And we have no choice but to pursue all possible theories and accept whatever truth the facts lead to. This must be done in a nonpolitical way, to show Beijing and the world that we still have the ability to place public health and truth above the narratives to which we have become beholden.
Just to be crystal clear in what I think we should be doing, I believe that
- We should assume that SARS-CoV-2 did originate at the WIV.
- Until that can be disproven conclusively we should greatly reduce travel to and from China.
- We should quarantine all travelers from China or who have visited China recently for at least two weeks before allowing them entry into the U. S.
- We should greatly reduce our trade with China.
I wouldn’t be upset at all if China reciprocated. In fact, I’d welcome it.