Report: COVID not weaponized, "unlikely" to have been engineered

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

How many different reports are we going to be getting from the ongoing investigations into the origins of the novel coronavirus? The WHO and the EU had their own investigations, and then there was the one ordered in the United States by Joe Biden. It sounded like the “inconclusive” result we were given earlier was leaning more toward a laboratory leak hypothesis without having been able to prove it. But a new analysis covered at the journal Nature this week takes a somewhat different tone. It’s still “inconclusive,” but the authors believe they can rule out the possibility that the virus had been intentionally weaponized and believe that it hadn’t been biologically “engineered” either. Without saying it, they make it sound as if they’re now leaning toward the animal contact theory.

Biden received the investigation’s classified report this week, on 24 August, and an unclassified version was made public today. The topline result is that the investigation was inconclusive. Intelligence agencies were divided on whether the pandemic most likely began because of a laboratory accident, or because of human contact with an infected animal. The only strong conclusion is that the coronavirus was not developed as a biological weapon; most agencies thought, with low confidence, that it was unlikely to have been genetically engineered. In a press statement, the intelligence community writes that it aims to issue more details on its investigation in the near future.

[Virologist Robert] Garry says the report exceeds his expectations. “It’s huge to mainly rule out that this is a product of engineering,” he says. He and other researchers aren’t surprised that the intelligence community hasn’t solved the mystery of COVID-19’s beginnings, because outbreak origin investigations are often complicated. The government’s senior intelligence officer, Avril Haines, warned of this outcome on 30 June, in an interview with Yahoo News.

I apologize for beating a dead horse here, but we need to once again raise the question that results from the first sentence of the excerpt above. “Biden received the investigation’s classified report this week…”

Why is there a classified version of this report??? This wasn’t an investigation into how many nukes Kim Jong-un is building this summer or how we’re managing to get deep intelligence reports out of Yemen. It’s an investigation into a disease that’s covering the planet. It’s a health crisis, not a military intelligence crisis. So why in Sam Hill is there anything classified about it?

With that out of the way, the conclusions reached by the intelligence agencies who collected the data still seem to be in conflict with the previous analysis we saw. When we first learned of the report, it was noted by many people that a number of key facts that have been widely available for a while now were completely ignored in this investigation. Those included verified reports that workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November of 2019 with symptoms very similar to COVID and later developed long terms health issues (e.g. loss of sense of smell) that have only been seen from COVID.

So how is it that we’re now back to the bat soup theory? There’s simply been too much secrecy surrounding this process from the beginning. We have it from Fauci’s own lips that there were secret meetings being held to delve into the origins of the virus as early as February of 2020. And every single time anyone from either the United States or the WHO has tried to look into the Wuhan lab, the Chinese have shut them down and insisted that there’s no more data to be had. I’m not saying there’s a smoking gun out there to be found, but this just sounds like some shoddy investigating compounded by the stonewalling of the Chinese Communist Party.

This is also a massive marketing and public relations failure on the part of the U.S. Government, and I’m talking about both the Trump and Biden administrations here. Going back to the beginning of the summer, polling showed that a majority of Americans believe their own government, along with international health organizations, had conspired to cover up the Wuhan lab leak theory. With all of the secrecy surrounding this question, what did they expect would happen? If you leave people in the dark for long enough, they’ll start making up their own answers. And in this case, the conspiracy theorists may definitely be onto something.

We’re supposedly going to be getting a “more complete report” from the intelligence agencies at some point in the future. When? Who knows? They still aren’t saying. But the one thing we can say for sure is that this entire process has been mishandled and the lack of confidence being displayed by the American public is precisely what the administration deserves.