Thinking Citizen Blog — Wuhan Lab Leak Theory — What a Difference a Year Makes
Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care, Health Insurance and Global Health Policy Day
Today’s Topic: Wuhan Lab Leak Theory — What a Difference a Year Makes
A year ago, the idea that the coronavirus epidemic started with a leak from a Wuhan lab was generally considered to be a crazy right wing, even racist, conspiracy theory. Not any more. Why? What changed? Who cares? Who should? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
WHY IT MATTERS — David Leonhardt, New York Times
1.”First, if the virus really did come from a lab, an immediate airing of the details might have led to even faster vaccine development and more effective treatments.”
2. “Second, a leak that causes millions of deaths could lead to widespread change in laboratories’ safety precautions.”
3. “Third, confirmation of a leak would affect the world’s view of China — and would put pressure on China to bear the burden of vaccinating the world as quickly as possible.”
WHY THE TRUTH MATTERS — Ross Douthat, New York Times
1. “First, to the extent that the United States is engaged in a conflict of propaganda and soft power with the regime in Beijing, there’s a pretty big difference between a world where the Chinese regime can say, “We weren’t responsible for Covid but we crushed the virus and the West did not, because we’re strong and they’re decadent, and a world where this was basically their Chernobyl except their incompetence and cover-up sickened not just one of their own cities but also the entire globe.”
2. “The latter scenario would also open a debate about how the United States should try to enforce international scientific research safeguards, or how we should operate in a world where they can’t be reasonably enforced.Perhaps that debate would ultimately tilt away from China hawks, as David Frum argues in The Atlantic because the lesson of a lab leak would be that we actually need “more binding of China to the international order, more cross-border health and safety standards, more American scientists in Chinese labs, and concomitantly, more Chinese scientists in American labs.”
3. “Or perhaps instead you would have an attempted scientific and academic embargo, and end to the kind of funding that flowed to the Wuhan Institute of Virology from the USAID, an attempt to manage risk with harder borders, stricter travel restrictions, de-globalization.”
THE BIDEN ANNOUNCEMENT — 5/26/21 — Annie Linskey et al. Washington Post
1. “President Biden said Wednesday he had asked U.S. intelligence agencies to “redouble their efforts” to determine the origin of the coronavirus, an abrupt departure from the previous White House position of relying on the World Health Organization to uncover how the contagion started.”
2. “Biden ordered intelligence officials to deliver a report within 90 days “that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion.”
3. “The new message reflects a notable shift in some prominent scientists’ assessments that the virus all but certainly jumped from an animal species to humans. The theory that has more recently gained traction is that the pandemic — which has killed more than 3.4 million people worldwide — may have accidentally escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, though that is far from conclusive.”
NB: What are the odds that it is just a coincidence that “the outbreak started more than a thousand miles from the bat habitat where similar viruses have been discovered, but a stone’s throw from an important laboratory studying coronaviruses?”
For the last three years of posts organized by theme:
Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.