Sunday, June 18, 2023

The Nail in the COVID Coffin

We can now say definitively that the virus came from the Wuhan lab because three named workers were the earliest to become infected.

Granted, the American people have mostly moved beyond COVID-19, both literally and figuratively. But there are still some vital housekeeping matters to take care of — and as of this week, one less of them: We now know definitively, not speculatively, from whence it came. As independent journalists Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi, and Alex Gutentag write on Substack:

After years of official pronouncements to the contrary, significant new evidence has emerged that strengthens the case that the SARS-CoV-2 virus accidentally escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

According to multiple U.S. government officials interviewed as part of a lengthy investigation by Public and Racket, the first people infected by the virus, “patients zero,” included Ben Hu, a researcher who led the WIV’s “gain-of-function” research on SARS-like coronaviruses, which increases the infectiousness of viruses.

“Strengthens the case”? These gents are being too modest. This closes the case and puts a nail in its coffin, to mix our metaphors. It’s one thing to identify the Wuhan lab as the source of the deadly scourge, but it’s another thing entirely to name individual names, which is what this new report does: the aforementioned Ben Hu, and Yu Ping, and Yan Zhu. These are three of the earliest people to become infected with SARS-CoV-2, and they all worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

B-b-b-but, but, they could’ve all been shopping for some fresh dog or pangolin at that nearby wet market!

Yeah, right.

This, of course, isn’t the first time that anyone has claimed COVID-19 came from a lab. Heck, this humble correspondent has been claiming it for years. And doubling down on it.

As for those apologies, we aren’t holding our breath. Still, it’s instructive to remember just how wrong these people have been proven to be. Even lefty Jon Stewart, who came out of retirement to address his people’s Krazy Glue adherence to the theory that a bat flew into the cloaca of a turkey and resulted in the deaths of — depending on who’s counting — more than 1.1 million deaths in the U.S. and nearly seven million deaths worldwide.

It’s also worth remembering the evolution of the blame. As first, everyone was calling it “the Wuhan coronavirus.” But then the ChiComs put the arm on their leftist fellow travelers here in the U.S., and pretty soon it became racist to imply that the Wuhan coronavirus was in fact the Wuhan coronavirus. Take a look.

But merely identifying the Wuhan lab and its earliest victims isn’t the end of it. There’s also the matter of the Chinese military’s involvement. As Shellenberger writes elsewhere on Substack: “You may recall that The New York Times called Robert F. Kennedy a ‘conspiracy theorist’ for saying Covid resulted from a bio-weapons program. And yet one of the State Department cables [which were recently obtained via a FOIA request] shows a connection between China’s biotechnology sector and the Chinese military (People’s Liberation Army), which included its construction of the Wuhan lab.”

The ChiComs’ military involvement in COVID-19 gained momentum earlier this week, when the UK’s Sunday Times published a bombshell report about it. As our Nate Jackson wrote:

Researchers “were combining the world’s most deadly coronaviruses to create a new mutant virus,” the Times says. This gain-of-function research using viruses collected from bats was funded in part with U.S. taxpayer money funneled from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through EcoHealth Alliance, which almost certainly lied to keep the funding coming, and conducted by “researchers from the Chinese military” who were “pursuing bioweapons.”

We wonder: Will the commie apologists affix the “RACIST!” label to those of us who are now suggesting, with ever-increasing evidence, that the Red Chinese military is behind all this? Time will tell. And time will tell whether the ChiComs will pay any real price for what they’ve done. (By the way: How is it racist to think that the Chinese are both intelligent enough to develop a deadly virus and stupid enough to accidentally leak it, but it’s not racist to accuse them of shopping at these weird wet markets and eating dogs and bats and pangolins and hedgehogs?)

National Review’s Jim Geraghty reminds us what happened to an honest Chinese doctor who tried to alert the rest of the world to what was happening back when it could’ve saved millions of lives:

The problem was that when those doctors tried to pull the alarm, the local, regional, and national Chinese government authorities above them kept shutting down their efforts until it was too late. Dr. Li Wenliang got dragged into a police station and was berated for “rumormongering” and for “publishing untrue statements,” and threatened with prosecution. A little more than a month later, the virus that he had desperately tried to warn his countrymen and the world about killed him.

Earlier in the week, Geraghty noted an exhaustive Times of London piece which leads folks to a single inevitable conclusion — or one of two conclusions, if you’re a dead-ender who can’t agree with Donald Trump under any circumstances: “Either Covid-19 plagued the globe because of an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in late 2019, or an absolutely remarkable series of coincidences, against overwhelming odds, led to a virus that has never been found in nature infecting a human being just down the road where the WIV was doing gain-of-function research on the virus in nature that is most similar to SARS-CoV-2.”

The question now is: What are we going to do about it — not only with respect to the Chinese, who have yet to atone for it, but also regarding those here in the U.S. who went to such extraordinary lengths to defend the purveyors, to hide the truth, and to rewrite history?

As blogger and public health expert Michael Hanna writes, “The most troubling part for me is knowing that this will likely happen again, and again — unless some very nasty consequences are brought to bear for those who knowingly or unknowingly enabled this unmitigated disaster in funding and oversight of biohazardous research.”


US presidency through the Covid lens

We stand at a Covid cross-roads. On one side, there is by now a wealth of studies demonstrating the negligible benefits of the key pandemic interventions. In May the US finally ended its ban on unvaccinated foreigners’ entry into the country. A study by Kevin Bardosch looked at 600 publications using a ‘harm framework’ to conclude that ‘the collateral damage of the pandemic response was substantial, wide-ranging and will leave behind a legacy of harm for hundreds of millions of people in the years ahead’, exactly as many of us warned from the beginning. In June a major peer-reviewed meta-analysis of 20,000 studies from the Institute of Economic Affairs by US, Swedish and Danish researchers concluded that, regarding stringent lockdowns, in the words of co-author Steve Hanke, ‘the lives saved were a drop in the bucket compared to the staggering collateral costs imposed’.

On the other hand, there remain many disquieting indicators of the continuing hold that the failed and discredited narratives have on policymakers and publics to suggest that the insanity could be repeated at short notice. For example, Biden’s pick as the new CDC director, Mandy Cohen, is a lockdown, mask and vaccine fanatic. On 14 August 2020 she tweeted a photo of herself wearing a mask imprinted with a portrait of the execrable Anthony Fauci. Many of the worst offenders on lockdown, masks and vaccines have been honoured with gongs while the likes of Oxford University’s Carl Heneghan and Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya were monitored by the government’s Counter-Disinformation Unit and heavily censored on social media. Governments remain stubbornly resistant to investigating the concerning phenomenon of excess deaths. The WHO and the European Commission have launched a digital health initiative for creating global vaccine passports. The WHO effort at expanded powers to rule over the world through a new treaty and/or amended international health regulations remains on track.

President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning, in his farewell address of 17 January 1961, of ‘the military-industrial complex’ is one of the most quoted phrases of any US president. In the same speech, he also warned of another danger: ‘The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money’ such that ‘public policy could… become the captive of a scientific-technological elite’. The lens of how various leaders managed the pandemic therefore helps us to frame the contest in terms of their respective culpability in enabling and facilitating the grave attacks on freedoms, versus their capacity and willingness to resist and reverse the blanket of authoritarianism that has suffocated liberal democracies since 2020.

Because of the dominant influence of America on the rest of the democratic world, the US presidential contest has unique global resonance. Lord Sumption, the former UK Supreme Court justice, said in May 2020 that ‘the lockdown is without doubt the greatest interference with personal liberty in our history’. On 18 May US Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch echoed Sumption: ‘Since March 2020, we may have experienced the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country’.

In this perspective, the ideal Republican and Democratic champions would be Ron DeSantis and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. No one else comes close in the two parties to their record in forceful opposition to lockdowns, masks and vaccines. For them to triumph in the primaries would mean the campaign will be a referendum on Covid, the resistance heroes win the public debate, and the new president has a clear mandate to revert to pre-Covid normality. At present both are miles behind the two front-runners Trump and Biden in the RealClearPolitics poll of polls and betting averages. However, both DeSantis and Kennedy are well clear of other candidates. Considering both have only recently declared, this is an impressive solid base on which to build.

Democrats have been unsettled by the high profile and surging support for Kennedy. On many character and judgment attributes, voters rate Kennedy higher than Biden. In the Echelon poll in May Kennedy scored a massive 40 per cent net favourability advantage over Biden. Little wonder Republican political consultant Douglas MacKinnon believes that Kennedy will be the Democratic nominee. Of course, the media continues to smear Kennedy for kooky conspiracy theories even as many have come true. But he has name recognition, speaks with passion and gravitas and as an experienced trial lawyer, has good debating skills.

In DeSantis, Trump faces the most successful, best funded and best prepared intra-party opponent of his political career. DeSantis gained national profile for turning a marginal victory in 2018 into a landslide in 2022, colouring America’s biggest swing state from rosé to ruby red. Many Americans applaud DeSantis for the fightback against the metastasising woke ideology. He famously declared ‘Florida is where woke goes to die’. Good leaders pick highly capable aides and work well with them over many years. Trump is notable for the rapid churn of most of his hand-picked senior aides. He demands total loyalty but gives none in return. For most of this year, the focus of Trump’s ire and schoolyard insults has been DeSantis. The Republican base loves DeSantis, if less than Trump, and reviles former New York governor Andrew Cuomo. In his desperation to wound DeSantis on Covid management, Trump has gone full-on Cuomosexual, besties with benefits. Because Cuomo is toxic among diehard Republicans, Trump risks damaging his own standing with them.

In a one-minute video rant, Trump accused Florida of having the third-worst Covid death rate in the US. ‘Even [former New York governor Andrew] Cuomo did better, he was number 4’. Put aside the fact that Trump himself moved to Florida. On the raw figures, the US national average is 352.5 Covid deaths per 100,000 people. Florida is tenth-worst with 412.1 deaths/100k and New York ranks 16 with 399.1 deaths/100k. But the CDC’s state-by-state analysis of age-adjusted Covid mortality (a more accurate mortality metric) gives the national average as 282.9. Florida ranks a lowly 36 among the 50 mainland states with 245.2 compared to New York’s 311.7 that put it at number 17. Trump’s instincts may have been libertarian but he allowed himself to be manipulated into policies that have produced disastrous consequences. DeSantis attacked Trump for turning over the country to Fauci in Match 2020 that ‘destroyed millions of peoples’ lives’.

Trump’s federal indictment on 9 June for holding classified documents throws a wrench into all calculations: will it derail his candidacy or solidify support in anger at the Democrats’ weaponisation of the criminal justice system?




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