“There’s a pile of evidence a hundred feet high” that Covid escaped a Chinese lab. But he didn’t prove it when in power, and he can’t prove it now. But the fate of the world may hinge on the truth. Whatever it may be. Beijing hasn’t been all that cooperative. From the outset of the pandemic, it has bristled at suggestions that it attempted to cover up a botched response.
Now, more than 18 months after it began exploding through the city of Wuhan’s population, we still don’t know where the coronavirus mutation came from. No natural source has been isolated. It’s very similar to a known bat virus. But different enough to indicate it came via another source – such as a Chinese wild-food delicacy, like the pangolin. Or a laboratory leak.
As much hard evidence exists for one case as the other. At least in Western hands. And that’s the problem. Beijing doesn’t only reject the lab-leak idea, and it flatly denies that coronavirus came from China. And it won’t permit any suggestion either was the case. This raises suspicions something is being hidden. And that brings excellent power politics into play.
“We have an excellent idea what happened here,” Mr. Pompeo declared, rejecting suggestions the Trump administration should have proven their case with evidence. “There is an enormous amount of evidence that there was a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. There’s a pile of evidence 100 feet high, and I have high confidence that that’s the case.” But confidence won’t convict in a rules-based court of law and not without evidence.
The weekend’s Group of Seven international leaders’ summit called for a new “transparent” investigation into the origins of Covid-19. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson put his weight behind the cause, as did Italy, Germany, Canada, Japan, and France – as Australia’s Scott Morrison watched on from the wings.
Their communique called for a “timely … expert-led, and science-based (World Health Organisation)-convened Phase 2 Covid-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China”. Beijing immediately rejected the call.
Covid-19 was first detected in the Huanan Seafood Market. We now know that some 47,000 illegally caught wild animals were sold through such markets throughout Wuhan weeks before the outbreak, and Beijing flatly denies this. But an enticing coincidence also emerged: a primary virus research facility was not all that far from the market epicenter.