To be sure, there remain interesting scenarios, regarding origin of the coronavirus, to yet play out — and their implications could range from a huge geopolitical crisis to hum-drum uncertainty, there to forever haunt us.
Take the first scenario: that Covid-19 began with the virus simply hopping from a bat to another wild animal and then to humans via something like a meat and seafood market or rural farmer — a scenario that, by the day, seems less likely.
If this is the case, no one is going to get up in arms against China.
Yes, it will still be irritating. Yes, we will still criticize that country’s initial, Communist-style response. But no crisis.
The second scenario: That the virus was culled for research from a bat cave a thousand miles away (there are none near Wuhan itself), kept in a refrigerator at the Wuhan Institute of Virology — which has the largest collection of bat coronaviruses in the world — and inadvertently found its way out, by tragic accident.
Perhaps blood splattered a technician (just such a thing had previously occurred there) or otherwise hitched a ride into the general populace on the body or clothes or tools of an exiting lab worker. Or perhaps a lab worker (or workers) took ill and spread it that way. There is evidence that several were ill with the virus at the end of 2019 — well before the major Wuhan outbreak.
That scenario isn’t going to make the international community very happy — China would lose massive political face — but it wouldn’t cause tremendous hostilities beyond pique at how the government covered up the situation in the early days and has withheld data.
No one would be happy with China, but neither would anyone be ready to wage retribution with something like a global boycott of China’s omnipresent goods. It would be the fruit of totalitarianism, secrecy, and laboratory incompetence.
The third scenario: that Chinese scientists, some trained in the U.S., had manipulated the bat coronavirus to see what it was all about and how bad it could get if it mutated. The later is called “gain-of-function” research, a practice that should be totally illegal but goes on around the world: geneticists and virologists messing with viruses to make them more lethal and transmissible, ostensibly so we could be ready with a vaccine if such occurred naturally.
It can’t be stressed enough — how utterly irresponsible and dangerous gain-of-function, or even just storing deadly viruses, except in an extremely limited way, is.
It is also the scenario scientists in the field fear, for if this is what happened — and it may be the case (there have been many lab leaks worldwide, according to the ex-director of the Food and Drug Administration) — there will be an outcry to close down such labs, as should have been done a long time ago. We want to know why two Chinese were arrested in Ottawa, Ontario, trying to smuggle the coronavirus to China.
In the U.S., gain-of-function research was temporarily suspended by Barack Obama, pushing such research overseas.
With this scenario, not just virology but science loses as much as or more face than China. Science, in general, would be on trial (perhaps including Dr. Anthony Fauci, whose institute funded certain aspects of viral research in China. One can see his initial reluctance to point fingers at a lab.). As the London Guardian said, “You can feel the moral convulsions beginning as the question sets in. What if science itself is in some way culpable for all this?”
The guess here: it was and is. Another guess here: even nations antagonistic to China may not want to point the finger at China, not just due to its power, but to avoid a rush to punish it.
Let that sink in. If Chinese scientists had taken the bat virus and performed “gain-of-function” research on it, that country (and any foreign scientists working with its researchers) is responsible for 171 million around the world taking ill and 3.57 million dying. Thus far, the virus has killed off more people than live in Chicago. It also has caused trillions in economic damage.
China — land of the good old dragon — would be responsible for this.
Fire-breath indeed. There would be a clamor for China to settle up. There would be intense political friction. What nation has not suffered? This is no fake situation (a four-letter word — “fake” — that has now overstayed its welcome).
Here’s a headline in London the other day:
If the Wuhan lab-leak hypothesis is true, expect a political earthquake
The last scenario, and by far most dangerous, is that the virus was not only meddled with, not just for potential effects, but for military application. Might this be why the Chinese government was known to have visited and had a quiet oversight at the Wuhan lab? And is this why China so immediately and feverishly tried to suppress both the illnesses that erupted and the search for the virus’s origin?
Does that not indicate they knew how very dangerous the virus was very early in the pandemic?
Remember all those hospital isolation tents they used for victims? Didn’t it seem odd for the “flu”? Didn’t it seem like overkill? Does it not indicate that Chinese officials knew precisely how entirely virulent this thing could be?
Lastly, the final scenario also carries the possibility, however remote, but worth passing mention, that China intentionally released a biowarfare pathogen to gain an even stronger global economic foothold. This is extremely difficult to accept for a number of reasons, including the drastically negative effect the pandemic, especially in its initial stages, had on China’s own burgeoning economy. It would be akin to partial suicide — in a nation that is now seeking to increase its population. (It just got rid of the two-children-per-family restriction.)
But they are the scenarios.
And here we are. An intentional dispersal of a manipulated virus?
It is the stuff that causes not a diplomatic faux pas but world wars.
As for an accidental release of something meddled with — perhaps the most likely scenario — this is the making for an international pariah and would show vividly that the Chinese cannot, at more than one level (including that of lab competence), be trusted. It also shows the fruit of Godlessness.
[resources: Tower of Light]