The Lancet has had a breakup with Peter Daszak, the scientist whose public letter hosted by the British medical journal protected China’s spooky Wuhan laboratory at a pivotal time as the coronavirus began contaminating the world.
February 2020 was a confusing month. We didn’t know much about China’s latest homegrown germ as it went country to country, person to person, and people started pointing fingers at blame.
At that moment, The Lancet published an open scientific letter immediately celebrated by Beijing’s Washington apologists.
Organized by British zoologist Mr. Daszak and signed by 26 other scientists, the letter categorically ruled out the Wuhan Institute of Virology as the birthplace of the new coronavirus, or SARS-Cov-2.
Two years later, in a remarkable switcheroo, the esteemed Lancet came close to outright repudiating the letter and Mr. Daszak. And the repudiator was none other than Lancet’s top editor, Richard Horton.
Mr. Horton wrote in a Dec. 11 Lancet column, “They argued that the overwhelming majority of scientific opinion supported the view that SARS-CoV-2 ‘originated in wildlife.’ And they signed off their letter, ‘We declare no competing interests.’ But what fast became clear is that one author of that Lancet letter did indeed have an interest to declare, and an incendiary one at that — a direct link to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, including experiments on viral spillover events and recombinant bat coronaviruses.”
The unnamed “author” is clearly Peter Daszak.
A week later, Mr. Horton testified before a parliamentary committee. Grilled about Mr. Daszak’s role, the Lancet editor said, according to the Daily Mail, “And in this particular case, regrettably, the authors claim that they have no competing interests, and of course … there were indeed competing interests that were significant, particularly in relation to Peter Daszak.”
The degree to which the Daszak-inspired letter in a beloved British journal infected the Washington debate can’t be overstated. Its mocking of “conspiracy theories” gave pro-China, Trump-hating liberals the weapon they needed to savage not only the president but also his allies, particularly Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican. Both men suspected the virus derived from a manmade lab leak, not from nature, not from a wild animal.
But gradually, with the help of conservative journalism and inquisitive Republicans, the Wuhan lab theory escaped from the fringe.
The February 2020 letter did another China chore. The signers heaped praise on the regime’s antivirus operation, creating a smokescreen that deflected attention away from Chinese Communist Party deception.
China repeatedly lied. Its global propaganda organs said this new coronavirus wasn’t human-contagious. The China-friendly World Health Organization repeated the misinformation. Without conscience, as thousands were dying (later millions), China blamed the virus escape on the U.S. military or various spots in Europe.
And there was Chinese suppression. Whistleblowers disappeared. China refused entry to a truly independent full-access inspection team. When Australia called for such a probe, the communist party threatened to destroy it economically.
How about this New Year’s Day 2020 tweet from China mouthpiece Global Times: “Police in Central China’s Wuhan arrested 8 people spreading rumors about local outbreak of unidentified #pneumonia.” (Ajit Pai, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, tweeted this gem.)
Amid China’s crimes, we started to learn facts.
Mr. Daszak, the letter impresario, had a vested interest in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. For years, his New York City-headquartered EcoHealth Alliance funneled millions of dollars in grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to the lab. This financial/professional collaboration is the conflict of interest The Lancet’s Horton condemned.
Think of the irony. America was financing risky coronavirus experiments for a communist party that attacks us constantly with propaganda, cyber weapons and deadly addictive drugs.
Don’t forget that during these hectic 2020 winter months, Dr. Anthony Fauci was doing Mr. Daszak’s parallel work to direct suspicion away from Wuhan.
Dr. Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is the virus whisperer who describes himself as the embodiment of science itself. He wrongly advised the public and former President Donald Trump as late as Feb. 29, 2020, that the new virus strain would not affect us much. He, too, funded Wuhan.
In June, Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, disclosed emails that showed a scientific colleague of Dr. Fauci had examined the virus in Jan. 2020 and said it appeared “engineered.” But after a conference call with Dr. Fauci, the scientist publicly debunked talk of a lab leak as a “crackpot theory.”
I’ve previously written that Democrats show little interest in running down the exact virus source — a discovering that would help beat the next sprouting and determine if the Chinese Communist Party is a gleeful mass murderer.
My opinion is that liberal American oligarchs bathe the left in so much operating cash while profiting greatly off China that Democrats don’t want to interrupt that supply chain.
Republicans like Mr. Jordan have shown no such deference. Former Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the anti-Trump dossier slayer, issued a staff report pointing to the lab as the source.
And Rep. Michael T. McCaul of Texas produced an 83-page House Foreign Affairs Republican staff report that concluded, “We now believe the preponderance of the evidence shows the virus accidentally leaked from one of the WIV’s facilities” via a worker.
Mr. McCaul also digs into the issue of China’s deliberate concealment. It did not report the first “official” case to the World Health Organization as required. And the lab’s online virus database suddenly disappeared in the November-December timeframe as COVID-19 cases multiplied within six miles of the laboratory.
This psychopathic behavior is why medical detectives will likely never find the smoking gun, which was the communists’ plan all along.
Ask yourself, why a cover-up for a virus that came from a caged bat in a wet market?
• Rowan Scarborough is a columnist with The Washington Times.
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