Suddenly, it's OK to talk about where the heck COVID-19 originated.
Facebook and other social media outlets had long banned any
“conspiratorial” musings about the source of the virus and the MSM
emphatically declared that COVID came from a bat at a Chinese wet
market. But now the director of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), along with top U.S. immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci,
are wondering if maybe — just maybe — the deadly virus that swept across
the globe and killed more than 3.5 million people first emerged from a
leak at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.
With the topic center stage, a report emerged saying President Biden’s
team shut down an investigation launched by former Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo’s State Department into whether the virus came from the lab.
And another report said three lab researchers were hospitalized with
symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in November 2019, a month before China officially announced the virus. The U.S. Senate got in on the act, too,
passing a bill to force Biden to declassify intelligence on the origins
of the virus, while a top Biden cabinet member demanded that the World
Health Organization launch a more "transparent" investigation. And Fauci
was on the hot seat during hearings on Capitol Hill, prompting one
Republican lawmaker to propose the "FIRED Act," which stands for "Fauci Incompetence Requires Early Dismissal." Here's the latest installment of Washington Wire.
1. COVID-19 Origin Talk All The Rage
Shortly after COVID-19 emerged, everyone (and we mean everyone in the mainstream media) declared that it came from a bat in a Chinese wet
market. Social media soon banned anyone who said otherwise. Just this
past September, Twitter suspended the account of a Chinese scientist who suggested that COVID-19 was created in a lab and released, whether
accidentally or deliberately.
The media couldn't be bothered. They had their story and chucked out
anything that didn't fit the narrative — again, that narrative came from
China and was supported by the World Health Organization, often seen as
an arm of the communist country. And that occurred for one reason:
former President Trump.
Finally this week, the origin story burst out — and one reporter even
admitted why it had been buried for so long.
"It has become evident that some corners of the mainstream media
overcorrected when it came to one particular theory from Trump and his
allies: that the coronavirus emanated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China,
rather than naturally," Washington Post senior reporter Aaron Blake
wrote in an analysis piece published Monday.
2. Fauci Does Another Flip-Flop
With Republicans on Capitol Hill demanding more information about where
the virus originated, Dr. Anthony Fauci — who has repeatedly declared it
came from a bat — suddenly changed his tune.
In an interview earlier this month that was published this week,
PolitiFact’s Katie Sanders asked Fauci, "There’s a lot of cloudiness
around the origins of COVID-19 still, so I wanted to ask, are you still confident that it developed naturally?"
"No,” Fauci said, “Actually, I am not convinced about that. I think we
should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue
to find out to the best of our ability what happened."
"Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the
emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but
it could have been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you
know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favor of any
investigation that looks into the origin of the virus," Fauci added.
Other top U.S. health officials have also begun to muse about the
origins of the virus. The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention last week said it is "possible” the virus was “lab-based.”
3. Biden Admin Shut Down Probe, Report Says
President Biden’s team reportedly shut down an investigation launched by then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s State Department into whether the coronavirus pandemic originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The effort was focused on looking at whether China’s biological weapons
program could have had a “greater role in the pandemic’s origin in
Wuhan,” CNN reported. The probe was run out of the State Department’s
arms control and verification bureau.
“Officials involved in the effort relied on scientific research as well
as public and classified information to probe the lab leak theory,
including looking into any possible connection between the virus and the Chinese government’s biological weapons program,” the report said. “The
US government has said that it believes China maintained an offensive biological weapons program even after joining the Biological and Toxin
Weapons Convention in 1984. China refutes this.”
Biden officials claimed that the reason that they shut down the probe
was because they were concerned about the quality of the work and
evidence. The story comes as the U.S. mainstream media has rapidly
shifted its reporting on the lab leak theory from portraying it as an improbable conspiracy during the Trump-era to now portraying it as a
4. More Details Emerge On Virus Origin
Three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology — China’s only
Biosafety level-4 laboratory — were hospitalized in November 2019 with
symptoms consistent with COVID-19, according to a previously undisclosed
U.S. intelligence report.
“The details of the reporting go beyond a State Department fact sheet,
issued during the final days of the Trump administration, which said
that several researchers at the lab, a center for the study of
coronaviruses and other pathogens, became sick in autumn 2019 ‘with
symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness,’”
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. “The disclosure of the number
of researchers, the timing of their illnesses and their hospital visits
come on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization’s
decision-making body, which is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into Covid-19’s origins.”
Communist China claims that the first confirmed case of the coronavirus
came on December 8, 2019. Chinese officials have repeatedly tried to
dismiss accusations that the pandemic could have originated in the Wuhan
lab, which is where Chinese researchers worked on bat coronaviruses. The
South China Morning Post reported in March 2020 that, according to
Chinese government data observed by the publication, the first confirmed
case of COVID-19 occurred on November 17, 2019.
5. Senate Passes Bill To Force Biden To Declassify Intel
The U.S. Senate passed a bill this week to force Joe Biden to declassify intelligence on the origins of COVID-19.
The Senate unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday from Sens. Josh Hawley
(R-MO) and Mike Braun (R-IN), which was introduced in April, that forces
the Biden administration to declassify intelligence related to any
potential links between the Wuhan lab and the origins of the pandemic.
The legislation requires Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines
to "declassify any and all information relating to potential links
between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin of the
Coronavirus Disease." The legislation now heads to the Democrat-
controlled U.S. House.
The bill orders U.S. spy agencies to conduct a 90-day investigation into whether COVID-19 was released by the Chinese lab.
"The American people deserve to know about the origins of COVID-19,"
Hawley said. "They deserve to know how this terrible pandemic that has
ravaged the globe and our country, how it got started, and what China’s
role was in starting it."
Said Braun: "Now that it is clear that the lab leak theory is completely viable, Americans need real answers."
6. Top Biden Official Demands 'Transparent' Probe
A top Biden cabinet member has demanded that the World Health
Organization (WHO) "must" launch a more "transparent" investigation into
the origins of COVID-19 as Republican lawmakers demand answers and top scientists admit the virus could have come from a Chinese lab.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Tuesday said in an address to the World Health Assembly, a conference organized by the WHO,
that independent experts worldwide must be allowed to "fully assess the
source of the virus and the early days of the outbreak."
"The COVID-19 pandemic not only stole a year from our lives, it stole
millions of lives," Becerra said. "Now we must honor our departed by
taking urgent action this year -- to strengthen health security and
pandemic preparedness so that we are better prepared for the next global
"We must also do more to understand our current pandemic," he said.
"Phase 2 of the COVID origins study must be launched with terms of
reference that are transparent, science-based, and give international
experts the independence to fully assess the source of the virus and the
early days of the outbreak."
7. GOP Lawmaker Introduces ‘FIRED’ Act
Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) on Tuesday proposed the “FIRED Act,” which
stands for “Fauci Incompetence Requires Early Dismissal.”
“Dr. Fauci represents everything that President Eisenhower warned us
about in his farewell address: the scientific-technical elite steering
the country toward their own ends. Americans have had decades of Dr.
Fauci’s leadership, and he publicly failed to respond appropriately to
the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time for him to step aside so that new
leadership can ‘follow the science’ and start reopening America,”
Davidson said in a statement.
Davidson’s bill sets a 12-year term limit for appointees serving in the capacity of the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases, which Fauci has held since 1984.
“In the wake of massive missteps by Dr. Fauci and his subordinates in
the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, this bill addresses an oft- overlooked issue: the lack of accountability for unelected bureaucrats,” Davidson said.