U.S. Politicization of COVID-19 Origin Tracing Is Doomed to Fail

The coronavirus origins probe is rigorous scientific research, not far-fetched connections. As such, no one should throw buckets at others.

Without preamble, it can be said that the U.S. administration and its nationalistic media analysts and experts always make irresponsible comments on the affairs of other countries, particularly China, but remains silent on its own affairs such as fragile democracy, racism, and economic injustice against Black Americans, the ongoing worsening pandemic situation, to list a few.

The U.S. only cares about its own interests and uses pragmatism as a means of its political move against other countries. According to a report released on July 16, 2021 by the National Urban League, an American civil rights advocacy organization, “Black individuals are two times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who are white, and Hispanics are 2.3 times more likely to die.”

As its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic is falling with daily new cases soaring, the U.S. administration has been attacking China by politicizing the virus origins probe, smearing China on “lab-leak” conspiracy, using CIA for a scientific research.

Trump’s politicization of COVID-19 to scapegoat China

Since the COVID-19 case was first reported in the Wuhan city, capital of Hubei province, in late December 2019, the international community once again saw how the U.S. government under former President Donald Trump pressurized the World Health Organization (WHO) experts to declare China a “coronavirus” country.

But the bitter truth is that this “self-acknowledged germophobe” president who had suggested injecting bleach might help fight COVID-19 failed to do his job to curb the spread of the deadly disease, leaving Americans on their own to grapple with the pandemic. Former U.S. President Barack Obama lambasted Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as an “absolute chaotic disaster”.

As such, in order to cover up his disastrous handling of COVID-19, he exploited the COVID outbreak to further the “America First” agenda against China. He first imposed extensive travel restrictions against China in order to isolate the country which indicated clearly that Washington’s decisions were more geopolitical than a reasonable preventive response to an epidemic. On April 30, 2020, he invoked “the Wuhan lab-leak theory” in his shameless attempt to scapegoat China with racist undertones. He and others in his administration sharpened anti-China rhetoric by routinely referring to COVID-19 as “the China virus,” “the Wuhan virus” and even “Kung Flu” during the 2020 U.S. presidential election campaign despite the caution by the prominent scientists worldwide against unfounded speculations about the origins of the virus.

Photo taken on May 15, 2020 shows the live broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump (R) speaking at a press briefing at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States. (Photo/Xinhua)

Biden muddled the COVID-19 Lab Leak Debate

When Joe Biden took oath as the 46th President of the United States, the world presumed that he would not be aggressive like his predecessors towards China – the biggest trading partner of the US. But his policies and actions as U.S. President proved otherwise. He has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors and continued to display aggressiveness towards China.

Although there is no evidence proving the allegations that the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 ‘leaked’ from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, on May 26 this year, Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to report to him in 90 days on whether the COVID-19 virus first emerged in China from an animal source or from a laboratory. Undoubtedly, Biden’s revival of the lab-leak theory has pushed the relationship between China and the U.S. from bad to worse.

Quite justifiably, China’s Foreign Ministry did not take the matter lightly and made strong objections to Biden’s order to review the origins of COVID-19. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on May 28 responded, “This only shows that the US is not interested in the truth, it does not want any scientific research, this is just a political game, an attempt to shift the blame on others.”

WHO’s origins tracing study rejects the lab hypothesis

It should be noted here that since July 15, 55 countries have sent letters to the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasizing that origins tracing shall not be politicized. Furthermore, a joint expert group from 10 countries including the U.S., UK, Japan and Australia with 17 Chinese experts conducted a 28-day joint study from January 14 to February 10 in China. The joint mission’s visits to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Hubei provincial and Wuhan centers only demonstrate China’s openness, transparent and responsible attitude on the origin tracing. The joint WHO-China study report said that the lab leak hypothesis was “extremely impossible.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, addresses the 74th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2021. (Photo/WHO)

WHO’s plan for Phase II of virus origin probe is dubious of political manipulation

In line with the Trump administration’s erroneous China policy, the Biden administration has been hyping up the “Wuhan lab accident” hypothesis. Many U.S. lawmakers including Michael McCaul, a key member of the Republican Party, released a report investigating the origins of COVID-19 origin-tracing released on August 2, falsely claiming that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology before September 2019. But the Republican’s so-called report is completely based on fabricated lies and distorted stories, and cannot provide any evidence to support the claim that COVID-19 has leaked.

In order to glorify the U.S. by defaming China, the Biden administration has put continued pressure on the WHO to carry out the second phase of the virus origin probe in laboratories across China. The recently announced Phase II traceability plan by the WHO Secretariat under pressure from the U.S. is nothing but a political tool for America to further smear China. The WHO’s global work plan for COVID-19 origin-tracing should not be politicized. To quote an editorial from the People’s Daily online on August 5, 2021, it can be said the U.S.’ acts of politicizing virus origin-tracing and practicing “origin-tracing terrorism” are a continuation of the CIA actions of lying, cheating and stealing.

China takes forward the work of the origin of COVID-19

Undoubtedly, identifying the source of the COVID-19 virus is a serious and complex issue of science which should be studied and explored by scientists and medical experts. As China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out at the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the 28th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on August 6: “The COVID-19 origin tracing should be based on science instead of being subject to political manipulation.” Since the start of COVID-19, China’s responsible and transparent contribution to the pandemic has received applause from the WHO and international experts on multiple occasions. China has been participating proactively in tracing the origin of COVID-19 from a global perspective. From July 11 to August 2 last year, at China’s invitation, WHO experts conducted preparatory consultations on COVID-19 origin-tracing cooperation in China, during which they together formulated the China part of a global scientific cooperation plan. The joint WHO-China study report on COVID-19 origin-tracing has reached a clear conclusion and scientific suggestion, based on which the future origin-tracing work should be carried out in multiple countries and regions.

Personnel at work in the biosafety level-4 laboratory at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick in 2002. (Photo/Olivier Douliery/AFP)

A few questions to America that needs answer

Since the United States hypes up the conspiracy theory of “leakage of virus from Wuhan Institute of Virology,” and claims the world must hold China accountable, the world should ask some questions to the U.S.:

Why did the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issue an order halting research at the Fort Detrick Biological Lab in Maryland in July 2019? Why is America silent on its Fort Detrick Lab so far? What does the U.S. do in its more than 200 military biological laboratories across the world? When and where did the coronavirus spread in the U.S.?

It should be noted here that a group of scientists from around the world published a report in The Lancet journal on July 5, 2021 stating that there is no scientifically validated evidence to support the theory that the coronavirus leaked from a laboratory in China. Then why does the U.S. still insist on the claim that the virus originated from a Chinese laboratory? Why does the U.S. neglect the joint WHO-China study report on COVID-19 origin-tracing? Who is politicizing the source of the virus?

A study published on June 15, 2021 by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggested that the novel coronavirus popped up in the U.S. as early as December 2019 with transmission in multiple states including Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Furthermore, former director of the CDC Robert Redfield had publicly acknowledged in an interview with CNN last year that many Americans earlier thought to have died from flu tested positive for COVID-19 in their serum samples. All available evidence suggests that the COVID-19 virus had been circulating in the U.S. and other parts of the world before the outbreak in Wuhan at the end of 2019. Last but not least, what diseases did the U.S. military members get exactly during their participation in the 2019 Military World Games held in Wuhan?

Politicization of COVID-19 origin tracing should be resisted

The coronavirus origins probe is rigorous scientific research, not far-fetched connections. As such, no one should throw buckets at others. Retesting of blood samples collected before the COVID-19 outbreak in some countries has found antibodies that are common in COVID-19 patients. This again proves the necessity to conduct origin-tracing in various countries and localities. The U.S. must also allow the WHO expert mission to visit the U.S bio-labs, including Fort Detrick, in a “transparent and responsible” manner similar to China. Politicizing COVID-19 origin-tracing is not going to save the U.S. from its health crisis.