So, I am following the media (not just any media talking heads and writers, but Experts) telling viewers, listeners and readers that “We need an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic so we can know what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.”
If Nicholas Wade in his earth-moving (or is it butt-moving since it got some asses in gear?) article seemed to set the stage pretty well — currently, the preponderance of the evidence points to the Novel Coronavirus as having escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. From there, the rest is history (and the future, too. Funny how that happens.)
Okay — let’s assume that his escape-from-lab story is true.
Per the article, it would appear that the escape occurred because in a BSL2 lab, Chinese scientists successfully manipulated a less pathogenic virus into a more pathogenic one that needed BSL4 precautions, and it escaped before the Do-It-Right Virus Mover Co. of Hubei Province could arrive. Thus, we pretty much know how it happened.
If this is the case, then the answers from any investigations re: prevention, would be obvious:
1. Have the world’s virologists see the Jurassic Park franchise. (Spoiler Alert! Do not try to resurrect/create dinosaurs. It does not end well. Every time.)
Hence, do not do gain-of-function research on viruses. It may not end well. If it makes the public feel better, you can give them a written test after seeing the flicks to determine if the lesson was learned.
2. If you are going to perform gain-of-function research on viruses, do it always in a BSL4 lab in case you succeed.
I can see the arguments:
1. “Well, how do you know that BSL4 will be adequate if you do get lucky and create a really, really virulent bug?” The answer to that, I believe, is quite problematic. It seems as if the only way to know is to create these critters and find out if your predicted precautions were right. Admittedly, some may find cold comfort in that, in which case, vote for Answer 1.
2. “How do you know it didn’t occur in another fashion?” I do not. But do you really think that a manner of escape inconsistent with what is already out there will get those responsible to say, “Here. We want to be transparent about our surreptitious experimentation that led to millions of deaths and ill persons world over. These are the records of our secret research. Please review them at your leisure”? If you think this will happen, see here and here. If you think our Intelligence Community will ride to the rescue, see here. This article is not an outlier.
Further, like a Jacobean tragedy, it seems as if there are no truly good folks/folx playing major roles here – apart from the Taiwanese. There is evidence incriminating the People’s Republic of China, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (possibly others) of being involved in this pandemic in various ways. They would be the same PRC, CDC, and WHO that would be involved in the investigation, big time. I cannot speak for you, but to me, this sounds a lot like a Coca-Cola funded study exploring the effects of sugary soft drinks on childhood obesity.
Whatever the outcome, vindication or too-mild punishment (few will think the perps got their just desserts), there will be oodles of dissatisfaction because of this strong smell of taint. Few, including the Borglike voting BigTechverse, will be sated.
Instead of investigating what happened and how to prevent it from happening again, the real interesting one is the legal investigation into who pays how much to whom for the injuries and deaths that occurred. Planetwide.
Unfortunately, it will not happen.
Such issues as: spoliation of evidence (which surely has or will occur); numerosity (both legal and lay meanings); conflict of laws; differing criteria for diagnosing COVID-19; and hundreds, if not thousands (it is worldwide, after all), more issues will be raised (e.g., defenses based on the mishandling of the sick — “The Cuomo, Whitmer, Wolf, Murphy Defense”). The investigation, if pursued, will be paralyzed or (best case scenario) move glacially. Anyway, we will all be dead before it can complete making the matter moot.
Bottom line: everyone gets off scot-free. Yeah, sure, there will be lots of saber-rattling and chest-thumping and posturing, but it will all result in nada, IMHO.
If there are a number of nations that want to hold China (or the USA or whomever else may have contributed in some way to the pandemic) accountable, they will have to do it another way.
Perhaps some form of group economic boycott.
I remember as a kid being fearful that one day Japan would stop trading with us and the U.S. would come to a stop since everything was made in Japan. We would be without products, replacements, and parts. And warranties would not be honored. Shudder. The country would grind to a halt.
In that respect, China is today’s Japan for lots of countries.
Looks to me as if China might just be in the catbird seat on this one, too.
Since we are dealing with politicians and similarly impotent organizations, the best for which one could hope is a vague, fuzzy Chinese mea culpa and the resulting over-the-top praise from the world’s leaders for the CCP‘s “taking responsibility.”
Basically, the perps will get away with it.
No matter what else this pandemic is, it may also be the perfect crime. I could be wrong. We shall see.
Image: reinhold moller
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