I haven't taken the time to study the reports supposedly evidencing a laboratory outbreak in Wuhan. But I have read enough to know that there are literally hundreds of reports out there that overstate the evidence for all kinds of claims. I can also see that some sites just completely make things up.
The virus has affected so many people personally that it would be great to have some really good information, and effective plans of action, in case this or something similar happens again. I'm sure there is already a lot of good data from many sources about how this crisis should have been handled differently. Some places obviously handled it better than others. But who knows how well this data will be used. Even data is a weaponized these days.
So I'm not trying to fully agree or fully disagree with anyone in particular. Like most people I am suspicious of the possible weaponization of the virus. And naturally it was suspicious that it started in Wuhan which contains a P4 (BS4) lab, and the possibility of an escape from such a lab. Looking up a few things, I wanted to say just a bit about them so I could come back later and check the references and links when I get some more time.
To start I read what @César Chávez wrote above. I looked up a phrase or two to see where some of the information could have come from.
China announced that Major General Chen Wei, China’s chief biochemical weapon defense expert, now stations in Wuhan to take over the Wuhan P4 Lab linked to China’s covert biological weapons program.
Wuhan P4 Lab has drawn world attention since the outbreak of Wuhan novel coronavirus. Some wondered if the virus was ‘leaked’ from the lab, which is located at the epicenter.
Zhengli Shi, a renowned researcher working at the P4 lab, co-authored a controversial paper in 2015 to create a new virus by combining a coronavirus found in Chinese horseshoe bats with another that causes human-like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in mice.
Other articles on that page were of the Steve Bannon propaganda variety. (Bannon has been attacking China regularly for years and even owns media outlets that are used specifically for this purpose.) I was already thinking about this when I scrolled down further and his picture pops up in one of the articles. By Bannon-like I refer to the idea that statements are made that just directly tie anything negative to the CCP without evidence of any kind. Like:
Miles Guo: CCP ordered Guo Deyin to create Wuhan coronavirus
Guo Deyin, a prominent Chinese scientist, is responsible for creating Wuhan coronavirus under the order of the Chinese Communist Party.
These tend to be based on empty claims that might only be claimed by the person making it up, or sometimes just quote a "citizen" who evidently made it up, and provides zero evidence. The claim will often be outlandish, but with specifics so that it looks believable. After linking and quoting the nature.com article about the findings of Zheng-Li Shi, we immediately see (in the next line) the part about a potential scapegoat:
It remains to be seen whether the Chinese government will find a low-level scapegoat for the “leak” of the virus.
According to Miles Guo, the Wuhan coronavirus was created by the Chinese Communist Party and spread in Wuhan on purpose under the order of Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.
. . .
I hope the wisdom of the people around the world can curb the spread of evilness coming from Pandora’s box, destroy the CCP as the embodiment of the devil and stop this virus from killing the Americans and people around the world.
This was back in early February, and you can already see how this "citizen" (Miles Guo) with no evidence is creating a possible future story that will involve Zheng-Li Shi as a potential scapegoat, and how this will be discussed in terms of bringing down the CCP. It's really outrageous to say that the vice president of China wanted it spread in Wuhan to kill Americans. It reminds one of pre-CCP (1938) flooding of the Yangtze River by Chiang Kai-shek, killing his own people to slow down the Japanese invasion. (Thanks @James Thomas Rook Jr. for that one.)
In the midst of all the reports, there are constant contradictions too, so it might take years to see who is lying on purpose, who is lying because of a strong bias, who is merely spreading lies that they mostly believe because of a strong bias, or who is spreading falsehoods because they just don't know any better.
which, although virulently anti-Chinese, makes some statements that admit a lot of exculpatory evidence which would defend the Chinese. The main point of the article is how the US can "take back the narrative" to keep China from ending up looking good over all this.
I like to find hints like this because if a source hates to admit something "good" about China, but then provides evidence like that, this evidence must have seemed incontrovertible to the reporters at the time. It's like if Osama bin Laden said, "Well I hate America, but I have to admit, Chicago makes some good pizza." I think this would be evidence that he actually did like Chicago pizza.
(These days you also have to be careful with sites that normally support the US governmental policy especially from within the US, because they will often contradict themselves from positions they took under Obama just because they don't like Trump. The same thing will happen of those who criticized Obama, but love the exact same same policies under Trump.)
The article also confirms some of the problems with US handling of various viruses. This tends to balance out some of rhetoric about safety issues in Wuhan's P4 lab. And by the way, the US has about 13 of these P4 labs, and many more P3 labs. The Wuhan lab is about 10 miles from Wuhan, a city of 10 million or so. That reminded me that NYC is even closer to NJ.
Here are some examples that the Defense One article admits are at least partially true, even if not directly related to the first outbreaks:
In August 2019, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, a Level-4 Biosafety Laboratory capable of handling dangerous infectious diseases such as Ebola, was shut down when it failed to pass a safety inspection by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.
Several months later, the CDC released an unrelated report on teen vaping and severe respiratory infections, citing a total of 805 hospitalizations due to lung injuries and 12 deaths with a median age of 23.
During that same month, the U.S. Department of Defense sent 280 of the top athletes in the U.S. Armed Services to China to participate in the Military World Games. Five athletes suffered from the same illness and were hospitalized at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital. Allegedly, one of these patients, diagnosed with and treated for malaria, is supposed to be the “patient zero” of the COVID-19 outbreak, the epicenter of which appears to stem from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
The U.S. has not done itself any favors in the global competition over narratives.
In the absence of a definitive patient zero for COVID-19, prominent political leaders, journalists, and media personalities have resorted to spreading conspiracy theories. They have framed the outbreak as “foreign” or “Chinese”, suggesting in some cases that it stemmed from a biological weapons lab in China. Such claims appear to be bolstered by conspiracy websites and unsubstantiated quotes.
. . . However, there are obvious problems with any bioweapons-related conspiracies for COVID-19.
Setting off a global pandemic that will cripple the world economy and lead to millions of fatalities is a really terrible strategy for any country. Even if bioweapons were attractive to some country, this highly-transmissible and nearly impossible to control virus would be a least-ideal candidate.
The U.S. developed biological weapons during World War II but never used them due to their perceived liabilities on the battlefield—the fear that once a contagious disease was unleashed, it could not be controlled and could backfire.
. . .
Conspiracy theories about the source of disease outbreaks gain significant traction because of the dual-use nature of biodefense research. Disinformation campaigns exploit a very fine line that exists between a biodefense program and an offensive biological weapons program.
Under biodefense programs, countries like the U.S. develop diagnostic tools, manufacture personal protective gear, stand up highly secure labs to contain dangerous pathogens, and produce vaccines and other medical countermeasures to protect people from the scourge of disease. All these same capabilities can be leveraged to support a covert offensive bioweapons program.
Unfortunately, the location of U.S. biodefense programs at former sites of its past bioweapons program, e.g. Fort Detrick, help to fuel disinformation.
. . . While the COVID-19 as bioweapon narrative is patently false, it offers a good reminder that a bioweapon attack can be disguised as a naturally occurring outbreak with a strong disinformation campaign to deceive the public.
Anyway, I've already quoted too much and am only half-way through the article. It also admits just how unlikely it is that this got out of the Wuhan lab. People make a lot out of "bat woman" and even the prejudice against bats as evil-looking. But for those who study coronaviruses even in the USA, that's just where you look. Just like "swine flu" could be found in pigs. (Which reminds me that viruses have started in the US before, and one "patient zero" for other dangerous viruses have been traced to soldiers in USA-located army bases. I recall a few years ago what seemed like a scramble to find a "patient zero" for swine flu outside the United States, and they found a five year boy in Mexico from a town where 40 people or so got the flu, but all the others had a regular flu except for this boy. They made him famous, and I think they even put up a statue of him (although he was a healthy recovering survivor). But then someone pointed out (his mother) that a US corporation, Smithfield Foods, ran one of the largest pig farms in his village.
"Patient zero" of the Hantavirus turned out to be some United Nations forces in Korea in the 1950's.
One of the most interesting articles that is a bit conspiratorial but sounds reasonably balanced is here:
I was surprised to see there in that article that Dr. Fauci's organization had given $3,000,000 to the Wuhan lab for coronavirus research. I didn't believe it so I checked all the links and discovered that this had already been news I had missed:
But back to the "murder most foul" article, it discounts the "bat in the Wuhan market" theory just as strongly as the Defense One article discredits the "escape from a Wuhan lab" theory.
Almost too incredible to believe, funding for the reckless germ war experiments in Wuhan have included more than $3 million from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), with apparent collaboration, according to Boyle, from scientists at the universities of North Carolina, Wisconsin, Harvard and other institutions.
In 2014, the Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy put a hold or “funding pause” on “gain of function” experimentation on dangerous viruses in U.S. labs due to “biosafety and biosecurity risks.”
Yet experimentation apparently continued uninterrupted (with U.S. funding) in China at the Wuhan lab. Then in 2017, the Trump Administration reversed this “funding pause,” essentially allowing illegal germ warfare research to continue.
Longtime anti-GMO activists at GM Watch in the UK recently published an article entitled “COVID-19 Could Be a Wake-Up Call for Biosafety.” The article explains how, below the public radar, secretive and reckless research on genetically engineering and weaponizing coronaviruses has been going on for decades:
“Stuart Newman, professor of cell biology and anatomy at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, editor-in-chief of the journal Biological Theory, and co-author of Biotech Juggernaut, adds crucial historical context that shows exploring whether COVID-19 could have been genetically engineered should not be dismissed as a subject fit only for conspiracy theorists.
“[Newman] points out that the genetic engineering of coronaviruses has been going on for a long time. According to Newman, ‘Even most biologists are not aware that virologists have been experimentally recombining and genetically modifying coronaviruses for more than a decade to study their mechanisms of pathogenicity.’ Indeed, Newman points to papers on engineering coronaviruses that go back a full 20 years.”
Dr. Peter Breggin points out that in 2015, researchers from the U.S. and China's Wuhan Institute of Virology collaborated to transform an animal coronavirus into one that can attack humans. Breggin’s provocative essay includes a direct link to the original study which was published in the British journal, Nature.
Recent investigative reporting, including an explosive April 14 Washington Post article by Josh Rogin, followed by more muted coverage by CBS News, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and others, have alerted millions of people to the fact that the official Chinese/Big Pharma/WHO/NIH “bat in the market” story about the origins of COVID-19 may no longer be credible.
Lots more links and quotes. I also thought it was prudent to snag the articles on SARS, Swine Flu, MERS, etc, from Wikipedia, back in late February because these articles always get highly edited when political ideologies meet science and data. There is even a such thing as medical ideologies, too.