U.S. politicians in a COVID-19 fantasy bereft of science

Source:CGTN 05-05-20 10:18 Updated BJT
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Editor's note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language opinion column "The Real Point."

Despite the increasing number of conclusions reached by scientists across the world that the novel coronavirus originated naturally, many politicians in the United States have been stigmatizing China by reciting lies and spreading rumors, claiming that it was created in a lab or was man-made.

On May 3, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed in an interview that there was "enormous evidence" linking the origins of COVID-19 to a lab in Wuhan, the Chinese city hit hardest by the virus. President Donald Trump also stated that he had seen evidence supporting this theory during a press briefing at the White House. However, when asked what it was, he said, "I can't tell you that."

Ironically, just before Trump made his claims to have seen that "evidence," the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement declaring that COVID-19 was not man-made or genetically modified.

More and more people have become aware that the so-called evidence does not exist at all. The claims are just an anti-intellectual, anti-science lie invented by certain U.S. politicians in search of a scapegoat that distracts from their mishandling of pandemic prevention and control, as well as wrangling more votes and suppressing China.

The conspiracy theories claiming COVID-19 was created in a lab have been refuted by the global realm of science, including individuals from the public health sector, from the very beginning. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Program, said they "have listened again and again to numerous scientists who have looked at the [genetic sequences]," and are assured that COVID-19 is natural in origin.

Professor Ian Lipkin at Columbia University, who has been dubbed a "master virus hunter," told CNN that there is no evidence that this coronavirus was created in a lab. Business Insider reported on May 2 that Jonna Mazet, an epidemiologist who has worked with and trained researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said the start of the pandemic is "highly unlikely a lab accident."

Japanese immunologist Tasuku Honjo, the recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, also issued a statement on Kyoto University's official website in which he stressed that "the broadcasting of unsubstantiated claims regarding the origins of the disease is dangerously distracting."

Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet medical journal, told China Media Group that conspiracy theories risk destabilizing the response to the virus and that the origins should be studied scientifically.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been slandered by many U.S. politicians, has received scientists from many countries, including the U.S., since its establishment. Yuan Zhiming, a researcher at the institute, stressed that the lab is unable to synthesize a novel coronavirus and has never done so. The lab strictly follows biosecurity procedures and has been recognized by industry professionals from around the world.

The nefarious plotting of certain U.S. politicians is clear. U.S. media Buzzfeed revealed how some American right-wing and anti-China politicians concocted the conspiracy theories for their own political goals by shifting blame onto other nations. It said that raising the possibility of a Chinese lab as the origin is in the political interest of the U.S. leader and his most fervent supporters.

As the presidential election approaches, instead of adjusting the containment measures against the pandemic and responding to people's concerns, politicians like Pompeo have discarded any attempt to disguise their motives by walking down a path that overhypes issues related to China and diverts the attention of its dissatisfied electorate.

They never care to reply to reasonable suspicions concerning the pandemic prevention and control measures in the U.S. For example, why was the U.S. Army's top virus research lab ordered to halt the study of select biological agents and toxins last year? How many American flu patients were really infected with COVID-19? When did the spread across the U.S. begin? Why did the White House block renowned epidemiologist Dr Anthony Fauci from testifying at a House of Representatives hearing?

It's time for these U.S. politicians to give a full explanation to the American people and the international community.

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng
05-05-20 10:18 BJT
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