Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Tom Cotton said that while all we have to determine the origin of the coronavirus is circumstantial evidence, it nevertheless “points toward the Wuhan labs.”
China first blamed the wet market in Wuhan, then jumped on a conspiracy theory that the U.S. Army brought the virus to China.
President Trump, however, bashed the communist country for spreading the lie that the U.S. military gave it to them and Cotton said even the first explanation doesn’t add up because the original Chinese patient had no interaction with the market.
Plus, he said, “there’s no evidence the market sold bats or pangolins, the animals from which the virus is thought to have jumped to humans. And the bat species that carries it isn’t found within 100 miles of Wuhan.”
So what happened?
Wuhan has two labs where we know bats and humans interacted. One is the Institute of Virology, eight miles from the wet market; the other is the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, barely 300 yards from the market.
Both labs collect live animals to study viruses. Their researchers travel to caves across China to capture bats for this purpose. Chinese state media released a minidocumentary in mid-December following a team of Wuhan CDC researchers collecting viruses from bats in caves. The researchers fretted openly about the risk of infection. (WSJ)
Cotton then pointed to a recent Washington Post article about how U.S. Embassy officials had visited a research facility in Wuhan two years ago and sent warnings to Washington about the lab’s safety issues and that it was “conducting risky studies on coronavirus from bats.”
While the Chinese government denies the possibility of a lab leak, its actions tell a different story. The Chinese military posted its top epidemiologist to the Institute of Virology in January. In February Chairman Xi Jinping urged swift implementation of new biosafety rules to govern pathogens in laboratory settings. Academic papers about the virus’s origins are now subject to prior restraint by the government. (WSJ)
We may never have concrete evidence, Cotton explained, because the Chinese government cracked down on doctors speaking out, destroyed research about the virus’s genetic code, while another research facility, which had “first published the virus’s genome” was closed.
"Thanks to the Chinese coverup, we may never have direct, conclusive evidence—intelligence rarely works that way,” Cotton explained, “but Americans justifiably can use common sense to follow the inherent logic of events to their likely conclusion.”
President Trump confirmed last week the government and intelligence agencies are looking into the possibility that the virus escaped from a lab.
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