Scientific consensus or conspiracy theory: WHO report gave its answer

BY APD NEWSApr 01,2021 at 12:52

Editor's note: CGTN's First Voice provides instant commentary on breaking stories. The daily column clarifies emerging issues and better defines the news agenda, offering a Chinese perspective on the latest global events.

The long-awaited World Health Organization (WHO) report into the origins of COVID-19 confirms existing scientific consensus that the virus is most likely of a zoonotic origin, having crossed the species barrier from animals to humans. This further discredits a conspiracy theory pushed by the previous Trump administration and its supporters that the virus originated in a laboratory leak.

The Biden presidency has toned down the anti-China vilification weaponized by their predecessors amid a surge in Asian hate crimes across the country.

However, it has nonetheless continued to politicize the virus at large, rejecting the WHO's findings and demanding "transparency" – with Secretary of State Antony Blinken pouring doubt over its "methodology."

Even well over a year after the pandemic started, and with vaccine rollouts under way, certain voices continue to deliberately opt for politics above facts in speculating over the origins of COVID-19, despite many doing so having no qualifications on the matter whatsoever, and dismissing evidence on the value of its geopolitical worth and embarrassment to China, as opposed to its merits.

The goal is to make Beijing appear politically culpable. This is a phenomenon which has far exceeded the Trump administration.

While certain individuals such as Mike Pompeo and Matthew Pottinger have been notorious for spreading the "laboratory theory," the Western mainstream media have also played to this tone, seeking to sow doubt by exploiting divisions among WHO scientists and investigators, dismiss established findings and play up dissenting views that seek to discredit the work of the organization overall.

WHO experts stand outside the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, Hubei Province, central China. /CGTN

The WHO has suffered extensively due to this politicization of its work at Washington's behest, which now sees all findings which do not convey the "favorable" or "assumed" narrative to U.S. preferences as being politically and morally compromised.

But nonetheless, on a scientific level the facts are unchanging and unwavering. COVID-19 is, by consensus, most likely a zoonotic disease which originated in specific animals, and by some factor mutated and crossed the species barrier to infect humans. It is not artificial.

There remains no definitive theory as to where this transition may have taken place. It may not have even happened with Wuhan, where it was not detected until December 2019.

This has all been much to the chagrin of those utilizing the virus to push a simplistic and opportunistic anti-China narrative, seeking to pinpoint the virus to a specific location, exaggerate the government's knowledge of it and subsequently hype China's cover-up or culpability.

Although the Biden administration has since re-joined the WHO and openly states it wishes to "cooperate" on the matter of pandemics, its own actions speak louder than words in that it has continued to reject WHO findings, question the organization's integrity and imply there is something hidden.

Even if it does not echo the open vilification that Trump's officials did, isn't this insinuation just the same? The public is being encouraged to distrust and use their imaginations, as opposed to following scientific findings. By doing so do they truly expect any other outcome? And is it plausible they could accept any evidence save that it does not portray China in a bad light?

Their interests are vested exclusively in a certain political outcome or narrative, and herein is the side which is truly refusing to cooperate in good faith.

As a result, with the publication of the report, the world must study its findings with an open mind and be prepared to accept information and outcomes which contravenes their most deeply held beliefs and prejudices.

COVID-19 is not the product of a secretive conspiracy, and the picture is not yet complete as to how it materialized or where it came from. Nonetheless, this view ought not to be crowded by political prejudice, either in the manner of its investigation or that a specific country is responsible.

(CGTN)

Hot Recommended