Researchers Call for 'Full and Unrestricted' Investigation Into COVID-19 Origins

A recent WHO investigation has left many questions unanswered.


The Chinese government has not been forthright about the origins of the novel coronavirus that sparked the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. On January 5, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an emergency preparedness notification reporting that Chinese officials had alerted the agency to an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown cause in the city of Wuhan. The alert noted that "some patients were operating dealers or vendors in the Huanan Seafood market." The dominant narrative was that the virus most likely jumped from bats to humans (possibly via an intermediary species) at a wet market in Wuhan.

Doubts about the market being the initial source of the outbreak soon surfaced. Some articles in late January 2020 cited the possibility that the virus might have escaped by infecting a worker associated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a laboratory known to conduct research on coronaviruses. In April, the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement declaring that "the Intelligence Community (IC) also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified." However, in January 2021, the U.S. Department of State released a fact sheet that suggested, among other things, that the outbreak could have been "the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, China."

The fact sheet specifically noted that beginning in 2016, "WIV researchers conducted experiments involving RaTG13, the bat coronavirus identified by the WIV in January 2020 as its closest sample to SARS-CoV-2 (96.2% similar)." The fact sheet added that "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 is notable that on September 12, 2019, the main database of samples and viral sequences of the WIV was taken offline. In the meantime, Chinese officials were spreading the rumor that the virus may have actually been introduced into their country by the United States Army.

It isn't uncommon for pathogens to jump from animals to humans. For example, flu viruses have frequently crossed over from pigs and birds into humans. The Ebola virus leaped from bats into people. And earlier in this century, SARS and MERS—both caused by coronaviruses—were passed on to people by bats and camels. Nevertheless, the Chinese government's resistance to investigating the origins of the COVID-19 virus raised eyebrows.

As the pandemic spread across the globe, the Chinese government stymied the attempts of outside investigators to come to Wuhan to sift through relevant data. Finally, a team of WHO investigators was allowed to go to Wuhan in January and February, but their activities and access to data were considerably constrained. Nevertheless, at a February 9 press conference in Wuhan, the WHO team called the lab leak hypothesis "unlikely."

Unsatisfied with the WHO investigation, a group of researchers issued an open letter on March 4 calling for a full and unrestricted international forensic investigation into the origins of COVID-19. The WHO team, in their view, simply did not have adequate access to information to determine whether the outbreak was due to a natural spillover from an animal species or a laboratory/research-related incident.

Among the defects in the WHO investigation is that most of the fieldwork had to be conducted by the Chinese members of the team, with the results simply being communicated to the international members for review and discussion. Another is that reports had to be approved by consensus, meaning that the 17 members appointed by the Chinese government who comprised half of the WHO team have effective veto power over what will be ultimately reported. Further, the WHO investigators did not have access to lab records, data, and personnel that would have enabled them to confidently evaluate various hypotheses.

"Although the joint team investigation was a significant opportunity for the international community to gain some limited and highly curated information, it has unfortunately proven opaque and restrictive, greatly compromising the scientific validity of the investigation," notes the open letter.

The letter's signatories urge that a new investigation be launched involving a team that includes epidemiologists, virologists, wildlife experts, public health specialists, forensic investigators, and biosafety and biosecurity experts. The investigation should also grant the team full or significant access to all sites, records, samples, and personnel of interest.

Of course, the Chinese government has had many opportunities to permit such a full and unrestricted investigation. It is highly unlikely that the probe the signatories have called for will take place.

If the Chinese government won't come clean, then perhaps ours should, argued the Washington Post editorial board in a February op-ed. The op-ed notes, "The truth matters, and the United States should not hide any relevant evidence." That's entirely correct.

NEXT: Biden Goes Big

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  1. Well the Chinese government is certainly acting like they have something to hide. It would be nice to have an understanding of how this virus came to be, if for no other reason than for the scientific knowledge itself.

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    1. Remember four months ago when inquiring about Covid’s origins and insinuating that the Chinese haven’t been forthright was the height of racism?
      It’s okay now that the Top Men are back in charge.

      1. That’s different. He couldn’t have been seen as agreeing with Trump.

    2. This was known last year. Guess you are just mentally slow.

  2. “The Chinese government has not been forthright about the origins of the novel coronavirus that sparked the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.”

    Regardless of whether it escaped from a lab, passed from bats to humans because of wet markets, etc., and regardless of whether it simply spread out of control while the Chinese government pretended nothing was wrong–is there any reasonable explanation except that the Chinese government is to blame somehow?

    I understand the Chinese government taking the Fifth on this one. Why should they participate in an investigation that can only make them look bad? Even if the investigation concluded that there wasn’t anything China could have done to prevent the virus from spreading, being feckless isn’t a good look for the CCP either.

    In the cost/benefit analysis, there is limited upside to participating–and plenty of downside.

    This might be a great time to point out the limitations of science. Science can inform public policy, but public policy has components that are not and cannot be scientific. And not taking the likely consequences of a course of action into consideration when choosing what to do would be irrational. If doing something unscientific or anti-scientific is in their best interests, why shouldn’t they do it?

    1. “Even if the investigation concluded that there wasn’t anything China could have done to prevent the virus from spreading”

      Well, they might have stopped international flights OUT of Communist China at the same time they stopped all internal travel.
      Just a thought.

      1. The point is that even if there were–theoretically–some conclusion the investigation could come to that said they weren’t to blame because there wasn’t anything they could have done, even that explanation makes them look bad. Why should they participate in an investigation when there is no explanation that doesn’t make them look bad?

        Can anybody think of an explanation that doesn’t make them look bad? Because they would only participate in the investigation if that were the explanation.

        1. I think you are right here Ken. There are no good options for them here. As it is you have the former president and his followers mocking and blaming China. Then conspiracy nuts claiming it is a bio weapon,

          1. It doesn’t matter what anybody in particular says if there is no possible finding that doesn’t make them look bad.

            1. Sure and they already do if that is what you believe.

              1. “Sure and they already do if that is what you believe.”

                And if you had no ‘belief’ one way or the other before?

          2. Mocking China hiding their involvement with the disease is truly the bad part. Lol.

            Fucking clown.

          3. What is the charter of the Wuhan Virology Institute: researching, i.e. developing bio weapons. Why is it a “nutty conspiracy theory” to suspect that C19 might be one of the potential weapons in their catalog? I would not be at all surprised if that were the case. It could be a simple coincidence that a pandemic originated a few hundred yards from a bio weapons lab, but it is not nutty to consider that C19 was engineered at the Wuhan facility and escaped somehow.

          4. “As it is you have the former president and his followers mocking and blaming China.”

            What might this mean in English?

          5. You excuse the Chinese for “having no good options” but freely criticize others for apportioning blame.

            No double standard there.

        2. SARS-CoV-2 (a) causes no or mild symptoms in most people, (b) causes hospitalization and death almost always in people who are already unhealthy, (c) looks mostly like a variety of other seasonal causes of pneumonia, and (d) has a very long incubation time. Therefore, by the time it is recognized by the health authorities, it is already endemic in the population. In China there is a lot of cross immunity from other coronaviruses, so it is even more difficult to recognize this one since its appearance would be that much more spotty.

          Any explanation that comes from a natural source, especially one that has that source a couple months earlier where the bats actually live rather than in Wuhan, would make China not look bad.

          1. Then we’re talking about why they persecuted doctors that tried to raise the alarm, and why they didn’t lock the place down sooner.

            They eventually had to rehabilitate that doctor as a hero after he died and blamed it all on corruption by local officials, but not preventing incompetence or corruption isn’t a good look for the CCP either.

            Nothing good can come for this for their political purposes.

          2. And why they banned internal travel, but not international travel

          3. (a) That’s not what “endemic” means, and (b) the hypothesis that it crossed to humans somewhere else but spread to Wuhan is contradicted by the fact that the earliest known outbreaks were in Wuhan. The rufous horseshoe bat that hosts RaTG13 lives in Yunnan province, along the border with Burma, Laos and Vietnam. Wuhan is in Hubei province, more or less smack in the middle of China. There’s no very plausible way for it to get from Yunnan to Hubei without causing more outbreaks along the way, unless a lab leak was involved.

        3. Can anybody think of an explanation that doesn’t make them look bad?

          Bearing in mind 1) you didn’t say a good explanation and 2) assuming we’re talking looking good in the press.

          They should just say all their actions were to stop global climate change, and if anyone questions that call them climate change deniers.

        4. “Can anybody think of an explanation that doesn’t make them look bad?” Stonewalling the investigation makes them look _worse_ than the likely explanation of mistakes and officialdom sticking their heads in the sand. It allows conspiracy theories to run wild. OTOH, an investigation may _prove_ facts worse than most officials in other countries will believe and act upon without confirmation.

          What I consider likely:

          1. The virus had a natural animal origin far from Wuhan and was under investigation in the Wuhan institute when it escaped. E.g., perhaps lab animals that were infected to investigate the virus were stolen and sold in the meat market. This probably was in September to October.

          2. Officials went into denial about the new disease until it had spread too widely for contact tracing and individual quarantines to be effective.

          3. When they could no longer ignore the problem, they shut down passenger transportation within China but kept international flights going so they could continue to deny they had an epidemic. THIS is where they went from stupid to sociopathic.

          4. As signs of the disease began leaking out (for instance, Wuhan contractors for my employer in Michigan went silent), they issued statements that they had some sort of non-contagious form of pneumonia. And they had their man at the head of WHO continue to claim it wasn’t contagious through most of January, while the disease became firmly established in many other countries.

          In summary, I think they did not genetically engineer the disease or deliberately release it – but they DID deliberately let it spread on international flights even when they were trying to contain it internally, and they did deceive the rest of the world for as long as possible.

      2. Which would lead to a lot of outrage by countries whose citizens were then trapped there.

        1. It’s hilarious watching you try to justify china’s actions through the lens of a disgruntled leftist because you just can’t bring yourself to admit most of us, and trump, we’re right about this the entire time lmao.

          1. He was doing the same in the DNC 2 trillion dollar giveaway too. While claiming to be a libertarian. That thread is pathetic with the usual “i hate both sides” actually defending the spending woth calls of both sides or it didn’t cause inflation in 24 hours since passing.

          2. Most of us and Trump.

            If I were traveling or on business in China when this began I would certainly expect my government and embassy to get my butt on a plane home ASAP. Pretty sure every other citizen of another nation should expect the same.

            I have not justified anything the Chinese government did or did not do.

            It was proposed that China could have shut down all outbound traffic. Thereby shutting down all means of escape back home.

            I have a problem with that.

            1. “…If I were traveling or on business in China when this began I would certainly expect my government and embassy to get my butt on a plane home ASAP…”

              I’m guessing you’ve never visited China, or most other nations. Further, I’m sure it’s a surprise to you that ‘my government’ doesn’t track you travels and day to day itinerary.
              Your government doesn’t, fortunately for those of us who would rather not.

            2. It wasn’t just foreign nationals returning home that spread the disease to other countries. Thousands of Chinese were allowed to fly out to jobs in other countries. Nor did the Chinese government block incoming flights. Foreigners could still fly into Wuhan and fly back, as well as Chinese guest workers from flying home for a vacation, then returning, sometimes with the virus.

              I think the main reason for that is that they were trying to keep the epidemic secret. They could block internal travel without revealing much outside of their borders, but barring international travel or imposing a quarantine period on outbound travelers would reveal the epidemic. But the effect was just the same as if they had decided to secretly spread the disease around the world while fighting it within their borders. This is the not-so-secret that they fear an investigation would confirm, resulting in other nations treating the Beijing government as the _criminals_ that they are.

      3. The countries that are responsible for stopping that sort of travel are the countries where planes LAND on arrival. The alternative is – Berlin during the Cold War.

        1. We could’ve stopped them ourselves…


          You stupid contrarian cunt.


            You’re completely right. It is completely normal for China to have shut down and quarantined their entire country. That sends a signal to everyone that ‘this is just the fucking flu.’ So it is of course entirely reasonable and not at all stupid to parrot ‘This is just the fucking flu’ for the next year and a bit.


            1. China accidentally releasing a turbo common cold bug that primarily kills obese over-60s, locking down internally while allowing foreign travel externally, blaming it on a wet market, and then claiming they had hardly any cases since the initial outbreak, is entirely consistent with a nation obsessed with keeping face because CHINA NUMBAH WAN!


              1. As I said – you are right. China needs to save face at all times. which is why it shuts down its economy multiple times per year – nay many times per day – for all sorts of frivolous reasons (like a common cold in its nursing home population). Frivolous reasons which on closer inspection turn out to be highly nefarious – and the main reason those reasons are nefarious is because ‘closer inspection’ is deemed not possible or unlikely to happen or somesuch.

                You people are so fucking stupid.

    2. In the cost/benefit analysis, there is limited upside to participating–and plenty of downside.
      The most important upside is a reputation for helpfulness, for being a trustworthy member of society, for being reliable, and all the other intangibles which are so hard to earn and so easy to throw away.

      Why should anyone trust the CCP for anything really important, like, say, treaties on not using nuclear weapons or not invading Taiwan, when they cover up such a simple thing as how the virus started and got loose?

      It’s the reason people don’t trust co-workers who steal a lunch from a company break room fridge, or swap chairs without asking you.

      It’s why you don’t trust neighbors who lie about not seeing the porch pirate who stole from you, or take your morning newspaper because their sprinkler ruined theirs.

      Reputations matter tremendously.

      1. You must be joking.

        There isn’t any amount of cooperation now that’s about to improve their reputation for being found responsible for a worldwide pandemic that killed millions of people and spoiled the world economy.

        That sounds like something Cuomo’s office might expect in response to being asked why they lied about the effects of their policies killing so many people in nursing homes. Only progressives and TDS victims are cross-eyed enough to believe Cuomo’s reputation can be improved by being honest about killing all those people unnecessarily.

        1. Or more like the harassment allegations. They may or may not be true and women can come on to you and come away angry and scorned. But is doesn’t matter now.

          1. “Or more like the harassment allegations. They may or may not be true and women can come on to you and come away angry and scorned. But is doesn’t matter now.”

            Care to give us some cites regarding how you responded to the earlier #metoo claims?

        2. That’s exactly what I said. Their reputation stinks because they are dictators. They could start building a better reputation, but it would take years, and every misstep like this makes it that much harder to rebuild.

      2. I trust that China has the best slave rape program in the world

      3. The most important upside is a reputation for helpfulness, for being a trustworthy member of society, for being reliable, and all the other intangibles which are so hard to earn and so easy to throw away.

        The US already threw that away in 2019. The CDC has spent decades training and coordinating with field epidemiologists, etc – including in China. It has produced exactly the sorts of benefits that were needed here. Notably the ability to talk with epidemiologists at a professional/personal level when gummints/pols have something to hide about what they do.

        Of course that costs money. Money that is spent in shitholes on foreigners with virtually no direct benefit to Americans or American companies. So of course, there’s a big incentive to eliminate it. And that’s what happened in summer 2019 – 75% budget/staff reduction in the CDC China office.

        Hey presto – 4 months later, looks like there’s a problem. And no one to talk to outside official channels (which were already undermined for many reasons). Wottafuckingsurprise.

        1. Note – the reason the WHO is the only option here is precisely because the CDC shut itself down.

          Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing Western allies share information more readily and share burdens training people re that sort of public health. It would mean that CDC itself doesn’t need to be everywhere – because it could work with NIHP, SPF, RKI, NIPH, and the multilateral orgs.

          But it is precisely the commenters here who would shit bricks at that idea.

          1. Personally, I’d prefer your claims with *believable* cites, unlike your bullshit over on the mask thread.
            You are full of shit, and prove it regularly; please do so again here.

      4. “Reputations matter tremendously.”

        My guess is that once you start arresting people for trying to look up “Tianamen Square” on the internet, you step all over Hong Kong, and you undertake the genocide of a few million people from an ethnic minority, you don’t have any reputation left. Unless it’s a reputation as a modern day Stalin, in which case your reputation is getting stronger by the day.

    3. There are several reasons to determine the precise origins of the virus. See:

      This investigation is (deliberately?) over a year late.

  3. The Chinese government hiding stuff and lying? I am shocked. Disney, the NBA, and Facebook will soon sort this out.

  4. “Chinese officials were spreading the rumor that the virus may have actually been introduced into their country by the United States Army.”

    Please! Everyone knows it was Antifa dressed up as Republicans.

    1. Stop deflecting. You may think you’re funny, but the Chinese government is doing some nasty shit and even a prog retard like you can understand why that’s not a good thing.

      Get your head out of your ass.

      1. The Chinese Communist Party is actually pretty libertarian, and if you actually researched it, you find out that the “Nasty Shit” was invented by Mothers Lament to attack Reason Magazine with.
        The Trith lords here may call them internment camps, but they’re really just Uyghur Disneylands.

  5. The op-ed notes, “The truth matters, and the United States should not hide any relevant evidence.”

    You mean the part about where the US, through Dr. Fucking Fauci, funded gain-of-function research on coronaviruses at the Wuhan lab after Obama had outlawed such research here in the US because it was just too goddamn dangerous? Yeah, we already know about that, no thanks to media like the Washington Post.

    1. Yup. It’s funny how Reason is oblivious to well known facts unless they’re reported in WAPO or the NYT. And they do nothing except regurgitate what they’re told. They won’t go any further. Fauci

      1. Fauci is complicit in creating this scam but is treated as a hero.

      2. Yep…Pretty much all the Reason folks live in NYC or DC..cosmo wokie soy types…real libertarianism (sound money, very limited govt, peace) isn’t something they care about…its not making their woke friends upset so they can eventually get a big at Wapo or NYT or Slate/Salon/Vanity Fair and so on..I can’t recall the last time a true libertarian was welcome here…Tom Woods? Michael Malice? Scot Horton on foreign policy? Pete Schiff?

    2. Do you have a reference for this?

      1. Jesus fucking christ Jeff, were a year into this and you don’t know this story?

        This just verifies you watch/consume nothing but leftist news because this has been widely reported outside of legacy media.

        The only thing Jerry forgot to Add was that in 2016 the trump admin blocked the nih money going to China when trump started the trade war.

        1. Nope, I don’t know the story.
          So, do you have a source or not?

        2. This is the reference that I found on the topic.

          Gee, this sure sounds like Chinese Communist agitprop. You didn’t fall for Chinese Communist propaganda, did you?

          1. Must be too many cookie crumbs in your keyboard to use a search engine.


          2. My guess is your next move is that you choose politifact or snopes who were completely wrong on their ratings last year ignoring all new evidence like congressional testimony.

            Let’s wait…

      2. God damn you are a retarded fuck. Learn how to use a God damn search engine. You could literally cut paste his comment into duckduckgo and get an answer you intentionally ignorant fuck.

      3. For what, asshole? You want an answer, include the question. What a fucking idiot.

  6. Waste of money; it’s Trump’s fault all the way.

    1. True. Everyone knows mean tweets cause Covid.

      1. And he was incompetent by being rude to top men.

      2. But Trump cured the flu so he’s got that going for him.

  7. You may recall that anthropologists have tried to study the Tarim Basin mummies for years and do genetic tests on them. But the Chinese government made sure they had their people in the middle to help skew the results, because they were desperate for the results to show that those mummies were Han Chinese and not some mixed race (as they actually were). The information of course got out and then the Chicom government started their purges of people in the area and moved more of their own into the province. This is who we’re dealing with, absolute totalitarian thugs who have no problem murdering and obfuscating data to promote their own twisted culture.

    1. So, CCP is indistinguishable from your everyday Democrat.


    2. “You may recall that anthropologists have tried to study the Tarim Basin mummies for years and do genetic tests on them…”

      Recommend Keay’s “A History – China” (for starters) wherein you will find that what the Han Chinese claim as the Xinjiang provence of China was never other than an eastern extension of Turkic-speaking peoples, lacking the wealth to defend their homelands from the Han Chinese. The area was long inhabited by Caucasians who died there and were mummified by the dry climate.
      The Han Chinese occupied it as a colony off and on since the first ’emperor’, hoping to profit by skimming money from the silk road traders which didn’t do enough to support the costs of the garrison. The trader learned to bypass the Han customs agents, first north then south of the Taklamakan desert, and back again; a government is never so agile as traders.
      The Han Chinese came and went as the skimming covered the costs of the military and then didn’t as the traders got wise.
      The ‘world’s’ surprise at the Caucasian mummies seems less an effort of the ChiComs than a lack of interest outside of China; suggest “Silk Road”, Hansen.
      Currently, it appears there may be petroleum deposits

      1. Wasn’t there a Roman Legion that showed up in Western China?

        1. No, except possibly in the slave markets after major Parthian victories.

          But earlier, there was a Chinese invasion of an Alexandrian Greek colony. Grecian Bactria was a Greek(ish) kingdom north of the Hindu Kush, split off from the Seleucid Empire. A Chinese official who traveled west of the Tarim Basin in the hopes of hiring nomadic tribes for a war against other nomadic tribes instead found a Greek city with very fine horses. Eventually a delegation returned to this city to try to buy the horses, but something went wrong in this meeting of two very different cultures, both believing they were the peak of civilization. The Greeks beheaded the chief emissary (for arrogance?) and refused to talk about horse-trading.

          So the Chinese Emperor sent an army. It was defeated by starvation because the city-states of the Tarim Basin refused to supply it. The Emperor sent a bigger army, which secured its supply route by conquering the cities along the way, and finally besieged and took the westernmost Greek city. They returned with 3,000 horses, which became known in China as “the horses of heaven”. They had to think the horses were that good, because this was the most expensive horse herd in history.

    3. Don’t forget that they have no problem killing millions of their own people because there’s over 1.5 billion of them. Even Mao admitted that he didn’t lose sleep over the possibility of millions of Chinese getting killed in a world war, because they were easily replaceable.

      1. Truly sick. We really shouldn’t be surprised by what we’re seeing there.

        It’s almost like poor minorities in the US. We already have plenty. Abortion just gets rid of the excess population.

  8. Researchers have been calling for a full and unrestricted investigation for over 15 months (since December 2019). The Communist Chinese government has refused, and it is clear that the CCP has malignant intent toward the USA. Why beat around the bush about it?

    It is time to recognize Taiwan as an independent country, and get right in the face of the Red Chinese. They can and must pay a severe price for their lying and deception.

    1. I’m sure that Sleepy Joe will get right on that… :-\

    2. Taiwan as an independent country? Nah. Taiwan as the capital of China.

    3. While I sympathize with the impulse behind the calls for recognizing Taiwan as an independent country, we can’t do that, because Taiwan does not recognize itself as an independent country. Without Taiwan’s consent, it would be nothing more than a bad joke.

      1. This is like saying a mouse does not recognize itself as an independent mouse when it’s trapped in a room with a lion.

      2. I think this is an important point. Mainland China claims Taiwan is a “rebellious province”, but Taiwan does the same thing in reverse. Declaring either one to be free of the other would simultaneously nullify these competing claims.

        1. Then why don’t we do that? Declare that we see each of them as independent of the other. Taiwan is not about to attack the PRC, so we’re safe there. OTOH, when the PRC goes after the ROC (Taiwan), it then becomes an international matter rather than an internal matter.

  9. It would be better if it were a lab error rather than a natural vector.

    If it is from a natural vector it is still lurking out there like Ebola.

    The other question is can it pass from humans to other animals which would create another reservoir. I saw something about gorillas the other day.

    A lab error is a lab error no matter where it is located. It is a risk anywhere. It could have gone unnoticed but a cover up would be a serious matter.

  10. LeBron James hardest hit. [Larry Bird was better.]

  11. Everything’s a national security issue in China. They’re not going to have an open and honest reveal of their vulnerabilities.

  12. What I think the WHO didn’t divulge is that Peter Daszak, the lead on the WHO investigation, has been associated with and working with the WIV lab for years. A severe conflict of interest.

    1. Daszak is the inventor of the “No See Um” GoF technique.

    2. Thank you. Reading him run his fucking piehole about this absolutely must have been of natural origin, has been a particularly bitter pill to swallow. He’s been a co-author with Shi Zhengli (really thought she spelt her name differently) on how many papers? 10?

      The bug came from their fucking with it. The interesting question is why WHO did a 180 from their position only a few months ago.

      I really wonder what the PLA inspectorate thought that lab might’ve released.

      1. None of this was an accident, except they (gazis) were planning on it being a lot worse.

  13. I do not think it makes a lot of practical difference at this point in any case. We have more important issues to deal with China.

    1. It’s hilarious watching you try to justify china’s actions through the lens of a disgruntled leftist because you just can’t bring yourself to admit most of us, and trump, we’re right about this the entire time lmao.

    2. 1. Wait for the results of the investigation!
      2. What difference at this point does it make?
      3. The people who keep bringing this up are just bigoted.

      It’s never too late for accountability. If nothing changes, nothing changes.

    3. Someone up thread mentioned that if the disease started naturally in bats, then the transmission vector is still out there and we need to find it.

      If it was a simple (or not so simple) accident in the lab, then improved safety measures will help prevent a similar event in the future and we don’t need to waste time and effort looking for a vector in the wild.

  14. I had a bad flu 20 years ago. I was knocked on my butt for a few days and I lost my sense of taste and smell and had fatigue for months. Then I was fine. The point is, this happened before and it will happen again and there’s little to be gained from casting blame. The real problem isn’t China, but the nefarious alliance of socialists and banksters who shut down the economy a year ago causing far more damage than the virus. If we distract ourselves with these witch hunts, we won’t understand how it happened. And it will happen again. The core problem is that people fear ‘unbridled capitalism’ and so exacerbate a crisis as pretext for big government schemes. Braying about Shark Tank won’t make them feel better.

  15. I like how this line of questioning magically became acceptable after Biden won.

    1. In a couple of months, I predict Biden will announce that China has unfair trade practices and we need to get tougher with them.

  16. a full and unrestricted investigation

    Not possible. Given the people who would have to provide the evidence and testimony live in China, the prerequisite for such an investigation is the overthrow of the CCP.

    1. Or, more to the point, are likely dead in China.

      1. Meh. I doubt everyone with relevant knowledge is dead, and certainly whomever controls whatever relevant records that exist isn’t dead.

        However, all the living are under the rule of a totalitarian regime. They’ll only say what they’re allowed to say.

  17. Off Topic:
    Interesting take. Not sure I agree with all of it, but worth discussing.

    1. So this happened what, 80 years ago? And it’s relevant how exactly?

      1. It’s a metaphor. The idea is, if social systems are constructed to benefit one group of people, if the number of people eligible to take advantage of those systems grows to encompass more people, there are those who would rather cancel the programs entirely instead of letting those additional people benefit. So instead of letting more people take advantage of the public swimming pool, some people would rather drain the swimming pool entirely and leave it vacant, so that not even the original group of people can benefit from it anymore.

        1. That sounds honest and fair.

        2. Maybe somethings don’t scale well. Growing populations come with a whole host of other issues that requires bringing in new structures – like security, safety, etc.

          Libertarianism doesn’t scale well. It works best in insulated groups with common values and mutual respect. Introduce a foreign group into it and watch government structures grow and escalate, leading to eventual dissolution because the people find it more detriment than benefit at some point.

  18. Reason..(Bailey and the liberal art major cosmo wokes who pretend to be libertarains) is NOW saying this? Can anyone pull Bailey’s previous articles that said it was all “Trump” insanity that the virus could have escaped the lab which was in the same city the virus erupted (that alone is suspicious). We are now in the memory hole..Trump is now gone so we can ask rational questions I suppose. Reason needs a science writer who has a hard science or engineering degree, research experience to call out the science “grifters” that inhabit the govt funded R&D world, and have some understanding of real economics (Austrian not Keynsian nonsense)…fire this guy NOW please..

    1. What was the evidence LAST YEAR that the virus escaped from a lab? Was there any at all? It is one thing to claim that the virus escaped from a lab based on no evidence other than the fact that there is a lab nearby where the outbreak started. That type of claim OUGHT to be dismissed for lack of evidence. But if NEW evidence emerges, it doesn’t mean wild speculation is now totally okay. It means that conclusions should follow the facts wherever they may lead. All we have NOW is a “fact sheet” from the State Department which alleges there were sick people from the lab in the fall of 2019. So IF that is true, that does change things. But right now, we don’t even definitively know if that is true.

      1. A whole lot of people have been talking about this for the past year including a Chinese scientist who worked at the lab and is currently living in exile. The media have been censoring the story. Zerohedge was booted off Twitter for posting evidence months ago. Now that Trump is no longer a threat the year old story magically appears in Reason.

        1. Well I’m aware that plenty of people have been posting all sorts of conspiracy theories about lots of things. Do you have a reference, preferably an authoritative one, that could lend some credibility to this claim? I mean, it’s been known for a while that there is this infectious disease lab in Wuhan, and if the claim is “there’s this virus lab in the same city where the outbreak started so therefore it leaked from the lab”, that is not definitive proof. That is correlation masquerading as proof.

          1. Wait… you know they are all conspiracy theories… but above you’ve never heard of it. Make up your fucking lying mind.

            1. “Conspiracy theory” is the proggy’s 2021 upgrade of “Russian Bot”.

              But don’t you dare think that it’s hypocrisy, because pointing that out is now “whataboutism”.

          2. No, correlation is not proof of causation, but given these facts:

            1) The initial outbreak was in Wuhan
            2) The WIV has the world’s largest collection of coronaviruses
            3) The closest known endemic coronavirus is in a bat population that lives 1,000 miles away from Wuhan
            4) The WIV is known to have been doing GoF research
            5) The Chinese approach to safety is “approximate”

            It’s not really a stretch to think the WIV is a good place to start looking at as the source.

      2. Yes there was a lot of evidence. Right of the top, as this article mentions, no known virus was similar to covid-19 when it appeared. It is only 96% similar to the ratg13 the closest known match, which is from horseshoe bat’s in hunan China. If this virus evolved naturally from a common animal pathogen it would be more similar to some known virus, like 98%+ similar.

        The spike protein architecture of covid 19 is also not similar to any other known Corona virus, although it is EXTREMELY effective at adhering the the ACE2 receptor in some of our cell membranes, mostly in the respiratory tract. Almost like it was designed for ace2 binding, which is where the ferrets come in. Because they share that same receptor with us and are commonly used test animals. Passaging multiple offspring of the virus through multiple generations of ferrets is one of the few ways this mutation could occur without having any known natural relative or match.

        Also, still, no natural vector has ever been found.

        Let me repeat for your dumb ass… NO NATURAL VECTOR HAS EVER BEEN IDENTIFIED.

        That means covid-19 has never been found in any wild animal, including the animals sold in the Wuhan wet market. If this virus was natural, then it mutated from a host IN Wuhan. And unless it is an unknown or endangered species with 1 specimen left, it would have infected others of its species in that locale. No animal like this has ever been found.

        I could keep going but I’ve already wasted too much time on you.

        1. He knows he is just defending the left and the media. If he admits the stories last year were right he would look even more retarded than usual.

        2. It is only 96% similar to the ratg13 the closest known match, which is from horseshoe bat’s in hunan China. If this virus evolved naturally from a common animal pathogen it would be more similar to some known virus, like 98%+ similar.

          This seems like conjecture. Is there some law of nature that mutations or evolution must only occur in 2% steps? Is it possible that we have not yet found the virus that is the one which is even more similar to covid-19 than ratg13?

          The spike protein architecture of covid 19 is also not similar to any other known Corona virus, although it is EXTREMELY effective at adhering the the ACE2 receptor in some of our cell membranes, mostly in the respiratory tract. Almost like it was designed for ace2 binding, which is where the ferrets come in.

          This is also conjecture.

          That means covid-19 has never been found in any wild animal, including the animals sold in the Wuhan wet market.

          Well, it could also have been the case that the initial mutations that transformed the original virus into the covid-19 virus occurred in humans, so that’s why it hasn’t been found elsewhere.

          This evidence that you’ve presented seems rather weak to me. Conjectural, and lack of evidence (yet) for a natural source does not prove the claim that the virus had an artificial source.

          But hey if you have a more authoritative reference for these claims I’d love to read them.

          1. “This is also conjecture”
            “This evidence that you’ve presented seems rather weak to me”

            Chemleft got his degree in virology from the University of CNN. He knows this shit.

            “But hey if you have a more authoritative reference for these claims I’d love to read them.”

            Lol, the fuck you would. Weaseling out after demanding citations is what you and your WK sockpuppet do best.

            1. It’s only authoritative if it agrees with him.

              Information war tactic. Only things reported by WaPo and NYT really happened. They are the only arbiters of fact in existence. Any other sources are fake news and conspiracy theory.

        3. Well so I did take the opportunity to do a little bit of looking myself and I found this excellent article:

          It turns out the idea that the virus escaped from a lab isn’t such a crazy idea after all.

          Now the rest of the theory – that the virus actually came from Fort Detrick – that looks to be the Chinese Communist propaganda.

      3. I posted a half dozen articles last April fat wit. This isn’t new.

        1. He was too busy calling people racist and anti-Chinese to notice.

        2. That NYMag article he linked is definitely worth reading.

      4. A Bayesian analysis of the evidence would return a posterior probability in the ballpark of 33%-66% likely for a lab origin, depending on priors.

        Lack of discovery in a natural population is not *fatal* for a natural origin, especially since viruses are not well surveyed in wild animal populations.

        I prefer a Bayesian approach here because there’s not going to be diagnostic evidence. Bayes is well suited for reasoning under uncertainty however.

        Some relevant evidence:
        -The closest known natural virus is from a cave that’s ~1000 miles from Wuhan, and the sample just happened to be collected by a team from the lab in Wuhan. (And its ridiculously more similar than any other known coronavirus for most of its length).
        -It’s genetic code wasn’t published until after covid-19 started infecting humans, so no one else except researchers in Wuhan had access to that genetic code.
        -Most of the covid-19 virus is near identical to that virus, except for a particular stretch of RNA that codes for binding proteins.
        -The binding protein is near ideal for penetrating cells along the respiratory tract, and of a form that has long been known to gain of function researchers. (There are technical details – read some gain of function literature).
        -The lab in Wuhan was engaged in gain of function research on coronaviruses for years before covid-19, including a large number of papers they’ve published.
        -Those papers include documentation of swapping binding site protein coding in a coronavirus.

        So the Wuhan lab was certainly capable of modifying coronaviruses – they published about it. They published about the exact sort of modification you’d need to do to turn the closest known one into something remarkably similar to covid-19. (Look up their papers). They collected the specimen that is most similar to it, and only they had access to and knowledge of that specimen before Covid-19.

        On the other hand, is it possible that coronavirus found an intermediate host and managed to travel 1000 miles to Wuhan? Sure. How possible that is will affect your application of Bayes, but given how poorly surveyed wild animal viruses are, its not implausible.

        However, the laboratory origin is also not implausible.

        I did the math last year in March. Based on what was known then, i figured it was ~33% likely it had a lab origin. Some of that information is suspect though, which has become apparent as China doesn’t seem to be able to come clean about anything related to the virus. That would push my estimate towards a coin flip. A real investigation is definitely warranted to get better information.

      5. You may be missing the nuance. Or you may be intentionally dishonest here. I’ll assume the former.

        The leap many people made was from ‘no evidence’ to ‘repeatedly debunked’.

        We had nothing except the CCP’s word in January 2020. So we really had no evidence. What we could posit were probabilities.
        I suppose the unfortunate combination of Bannon and Trump mentioning the lab leak hypothesis made it obviously sinophobic and unpalatable to the mainstream/left wing.

        What people were able to do was probabilities. Bret Weinstein posited in a Bayesian analysis that an accidental lab leak from the WVI as being 90% probable. You should be able to google it and look at the other possibilities.

        Finally people are coming around to the idea that China probably hasn’t been entirely forthcoming and honest. About freakin’ time.

  19. Half a million innocent US citizens dead in one year, currently 1700 more dying every day.

    You really don’t care if this was created and released by human activity. Ignorance is bliss, is that it?

    Before the virus was released in China, it was developed in North Carolina.

    1. What’s sad is you guys want to reference the gain of function, nih, ft. Dietrich conspiracy… Which is true.

      But you always leave of the ending where it was reported at the time that shi zhengli, bat lady, took the GOF samples from university of north Carolina (which was working in partnership with ft. Dietrich, and neither of which ever lost containment of these viruses) , after Obama banned the research on US soil, back to the WIV lab in China in 2015. Where it certainly appears they escaped 5 years later after multiple rounds of viral passaging, most likely through ferrets.

      1. Oh yeah, forgot to add, like Jerry mentioned above after this research was banned her and shi zhengli took the chimera viruses back to China… St. Fauci directed the NIH to send funding, totaling nearly 15 million iirc, to the WIV to continue this research until trump pulled that funding at the onset of the trade war.

        So yes, fauci literally funded this thing.

        1. Thank you

          You have been very helpful.

        2. They’re still getting funding from NIH. In 2021.

          1. They?

            1. The Wuhan Institute of Virology. Take a gander at this Federalist article from mid-February of this year:

              1. You paid for it.

                Now you’re paying for it.

        3. Not sure if you’re aware of this, but you’re having a discussion with a holocaust denier. Most of us just ignore him completely.

          1. You’re a bigot, you have to ignore arguments that refute your wrong perspective.

            You’ll never refute them.

            1. Guess you didn’t notice that I’m a different person than the one with whom you were arguing before.

              1. Anonymous dipshits are a dime a dozen.

                If you don’t care who you are, why would I?

  20. Trump bobbled this ball. He should have been at the UN early on, demanding the Chinese stop stonewalling the WHO and let in independent scientists to study the origins. And if they didn’t, ask the nations of the world to put sanctions on China until they did.

    1. He pulled out of WHO because they were obviously kissing Chicom ass. Biden got us back in day one. But yeah it’s all Trump’s fault.

      1. It is just pathetic to watch the leftitarians today. First defending 2 trillion in spending as not that bad and now “who could have known” on this one.

    2. And exactly how would the UN compel China to do anything China did not want to do?

      Blaming Trump for a failure to do something both useless and futile only makes you sound like an idiot.

    3. China does what is in China’s best interests and only what is in China’s best interests. There is nothing anything can do to prompt the Chinese to be more open unless China sees it as clearly advantageous to do so. The end.

  21. I don’t think we’re allowed to be talking about any of this.

    1. Agreed Fist. Because it’s a tens of trillions of USD tort that’s been inflicted upon the World through the negligence, if not outright recklessness, of the Chinese government and its agents.

      There cannot be a large scale public demand for a reckoning, because that sort of thing starts wars, and China is likely the second or third largest nuclear power on the planet. (FAS’s estimates of their stockpile are likely an order of magnitude—at least—low.) Couple that with their cultural value upon ‘face’—and that increasingly, their leadership core is composed of spoiled, only children—and insisting on restitution is fraught with peril.

      We’re in for a really bad fucking time.

    2. If you even mention covid on fakebook you get a factcheck look over here notice. even just for a joke meme that mentions covid gets checked

  22. A recent WHO investigation has left many questions unanswered.

    And we won’t get fooled again.

    1. We would also have accepted “won’t get flued again.”

      1. Or behind blue eyes, on account of the masks covering up everything else.

  23. One of the most ironic acronyms in the UN.

    If you want to know *who* is responsible, you shouldn’t rely on WHO.

  24. There was a discussion last year on Volokh as to whether a laboratory origin was plausible, and a number of people derided the possibility. (My own personal Bayesian estimates with the limited information we had put it at around ~33% likely it had a laboratory origin). None of the people who derided the possibility even tried to grapple with the scientific literature (coronavirus gain of function research) published out of the Wuhan lab. I doubt they’ll reconsider their priors, but they probably should.

    1. Most of the commenters and authors at Volokh are lawyers, law professors, and other people tied to the legal industry. Lawyers, as a general rule, don’t do math. (The experts they hire, do math.) If they could do math, they’d have gone to medical school or taken engineering in undergrad.

      Obviously I’m being a bit facetious. Patent lawyers had to do math at some point in their educational career, and ironically, I had an instructor use Bayes’s Theorem to help illustrate the value of different pieces of circumstantial evidence in criminal law, but the greater point is mostly sound. No wonder they didn’t want to look at the scientific literature…

      Aside, I think 33 percent sounds low, but I haven’t grappled with any formal calculation to come to that opinion.

      1. For his % chance, I think key phrase is “what was known”. He did the analysis a while ago. With new information, I wonder if it’s higher now. He gives it higher in another comment, but his hard analysis sits at 33%.

        I wish I knew Bayes better. I like it a lot for statistical analysis, but I hate statistics math and I did not take advanced prob and stats in college. For whatever reason that makes no sense, I did modern algebra instead.

        1. The odds form of Bayes Theorem is pretty accessible. I appreciated Richard Carrier’s explanation of it in Proving History – it’s pretty accessible to lay readers.

          And I haven’t sat down and done the math since, but some of the ‘facts’ i used then are suspect, which pushes it towards a coin flip. There’s probably more evidence I’m unaware of that’s become available in the last year. It would take substantial time to track down everything that is known now to do a formal calculation again. I doubt you can get a definitive answer without a detailed investigation with access to the wuhan lab and other chinese sources and data, so coinflip (50%) is probably a good approximation on where my current knowledge sits.

      2. You are absolutely correct about lawyers and math. I too went to law school, but I had an MS in finance already. I was the only person at the entire school capable of doing higher level mathematics. Some of the business law professors seemed capable of doing rudimentary algebra, but the vast majority of the professors and the entirety of the student body was not even capable of passing a public high school pre-algebra course. At the beginning of each course, every professor made sure to tell all the students that they would not have to do any math for the course. Of course it was inevitable that some math question would arise in the course of study, and when asked a rudimentary math question in class, the reaction was always the same. Their eyeballs would roll into the back of their heads, blood would start trickling out of their ears, and they would start speaking in tongues. It was really quite hilarious for me to watch.

      3. The big thing in the calculation is that the prior against a lab release is pretty high. I can’t think of a single previous pandemic that was released from a lab. While that doesn’t mean it can’t happen, you get your prior from previous events, and human contact with animals does explain most pandemics. Also, that 33% was reasoning a fortiori against laboratory release (being as generous as i could to the official narrative).

        But I’d entertain a pretty wide and consequential range of results based on just what you choose as your priors. Anything between 33% and 66% seems fundamentally reasonable to me. (And on the scale of these things, 33% or 66% are fundamentally the same – they both point to substantial uncertainty. Gross differences in probability are about orders of magnitude. 1% vs. 10% is a big difference. 33% vs. 66% is not actually a big difference – i’d be uncomfortable claiming any particular thing likely on either a 33% or 66% probability).

        1. It’s a dead thread, but look at the ’77 Sverdlovsk anthrax epidemic. I want to say there’ve been additional outbreaks in the Soviet Union through other playing with BW agents, but who could say besides a pile of dead Kazakh tribesmen? Sverdlovsk killed quite a few people—4,000 comes to mind—before they got it contained. I don’t know what the Russian equivalent of ‘Chabuduo’ is, but I can see a similarly careless explanation for SARS-CoV2 getting out.

          Most of any other epidemics of lab origin are going to be rumors only. Governments hate admitting that sort of thing. ZeroHedge—yes, LOL ZeroHedge—had an article a few weeks ago from some Swiss researchers who casually dropped the bomb that H1N1 had a lab origin. As I said at the time, I want to see the receipts on that claim.

          Then there’s the, ‘it just makes so much sense for it to be true’, kind of stuff, like Lyme Disease originated from an infected deer that managed to get infected somehow on Plum Island, and swim across the Sound to Connecticut. As I’m told they can.

  25. Two years before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the world, U.S. Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats. The cables have fueled discussions inside the U.S. government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus.

    1. You paid for it.

      Now you’re paying for it.

  26. A few weeks ago there was an article on Yahoo’s front page saying the first infected were from the Wuhan lab. COVID-19 is manmade or modified and China is sitting on the details. They are safe to do so because China can expose the labs in the US, Russia and EU. China is not the only country manipulating viruses for nefarious purposes. In this case something they made was released by misadventure or deliberately.

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