The fact checkers had debunked it long ago. Covid-19 didn’t come from Wuhan’s lab. That’s just a conspiracy theory. The science says otherwise.

The United States’ top disease expert Anthony Fauci “crushed Donald Trump’s theory on the origins of the coronavirus” reported CNN. Peter Daszak of the EcoHealth Alliance “Debunks Trump’s COVID-19 Origin Theory, Explains Animal-Human Transmission.” He even described Trump’s assertions as “pure baloney”.

After all, Wuhan’s lab is safe, right? Nothing could escape from a government lab…

Well, SARS escaped from virology labs six times. That included four escapes from the same Chinese lab, and escapes from labs in Singapore and Taiwan.

Smallpox escaped from UK labs three times, killing 80.

In 2007, foot and mouth disease struck Surrey. “We’re not completely sure yet, but it looks like it is a laboratory release,” said a certain Professor Neil Ferguson, a modeller of disease spread, based at Imperial College London.

In 2003 foot and mouth escaped from a Kansas laboratory, twice.

In 1977, H1N1, better known by its completely politically correct name of “Russian Flu”, killed 700,000. Any guesses where it came from?

If you’re still unsure, you’re not alone. Martin Furmanski of the Scientist’s Working Group on Chemical and Biologic Weapons and the Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation explained why:

“Public awareness of the 1977 H1N1 pandemic and its likely laboratory origins has been virtually absent. Virologists and public health officials with the appropriate sophistication were quickly aware that a laboratory release was the most likely origin, but they were content not to publicize this, aware that such embarrassing allegations would likely end the then nascent cooperation of Russian and Chinese virologists, which was vital to worldwide influenza surveillance.

So even the coverup of lab escapes to protect “science” is tradition at this point. The scientists are so smart that their mistakes must be hidden to avoid public scrutiny which would lead to mistakes in policy…

Anyway, the list of things escaping their science-based confines is rather long. Ebola, Zika, H5N1 and dengue get dishonourable mentions along the way too.

Those are just the infamous examples. What about the close calls? Former USA Today journalist Alison Young published the following during her investigations:

Hundreds of bioterror lab mishaps cloaked in secrecy (17/8/14)

Worker at Tulane possibly exposed to bioterror bacteria (11/3/15)

CDC failed to disclose lab incidents with bioterror pathogens to Congress (23/6/16)

GAO finds more gaps in oversight of bioterror germs studied in U.S

Government regulators have no idea how often laboratories working with some of the world’s most dangerous viruses and bacteria are failing to fully kill vials of specimens before sending them to other researchers who lack critical gear to protect them against infection, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office. (21/9/16)

Congress demands details of secret CDC lab incidents revealed by USA TODAY” (17/1/17)

But the idea that Covid-19 should have escaped from the government lab in China? Preposterous from the outset!

Indeed, anyone spreading such misinformation and lies must be silenced from social media.

Meanwhile, we should trust Fauci and Daszak. It’s not like they were involved in the Wuhan lab’s research and funding in any way… were they…?

Oh, they were?


Anyway, last week, things began to unravel for the conspiracy theorists. (That’s now those who tried their best to keep the Wuhan lab escape theory out of the media.)

The world suddenly woke up to the possibility probability likelihood that Covid-19 came from China’s Wuhan lab. Suddenly, the stories of a possible leak from Wuhan are everywhere.

Fact checkers are busily retracting, removing and editing their debunked stories which previously claimed to have debunked accurate ones. Oops.

But don’t go blaming the media for these errors. It’s “scientists” who mucked it up, according to the ironically named Politifact: “PolitiFact’s sources included researchers who asserted the SARS-CoV-2 virus could not have been manipulated. That assertion is now more widely disputed.”

Asserted? But it was backed up by “science”, wasn’t it? Don’t you believe in the science any more, Politifact? Or is science actually never settled, but a process of discovery?

The thing is, the fact debunking was of a scientist too. She claimed to have scientific evidence the lab leak was the likely source of Covid-19. But Politifact simply chose which scientists they wanted to listen to, and which were “debunked” by the others.

This is precisely how my friend Jim Rickards described the research for his book on the topic. Scientists disagree between each other – sometimes vehemently. And the world was simply picking and choosing who to listen to, rather than evaluating the debate. This allows everyone to spout their opinions as benign backed by science.

But only some have the additional dishonesty to claim others’ views are debunked and should be censored.

Jim has of course been on to the Wuhan story for almost a year now. He even published a book about it. I interviewed him about the book here.

But what does it matter if Covid-19 came from a Chinese lab?

The media hasn’t even begun to consider that question, let alone answer it.

Jim Rickards remains one step ahead. Having helped the Pentagon conduct its first economic war games, worked as an adviser to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, and negotiated the bailout of LTCM, Jim is the ideal person to analyse the situation.

And what he argues is that the world could turn on China and attempt to sue for damages for Covid-19.

No doubt the economic experts will claim this is just as preposterous as the scientists claimed the Wuhan lab theory was. At first…

You see, it’d be hard to actually claim damages from China, which would be unlikely to even participate in the process. Instead of paying damages, you’d get a geopolitical bust-up, which is in nobody’s interest.

But Jim argues that, once due process of law is seen to be done, over the course of many years or even decades, it is possible for the world to get at China in another way.

China owns a lot of government debt from nations around the world. If the Chinese refuse to pay damages for Covid-19, Jim believes there’s a chance this government debt will be repudiated instead. In a legal process.

In other words, it’s two birds with one stone. Government debt reduction and damages for Covid-19.

The danger is that this move would make government debt a geopolitical weapon. And thereby a riskier investment. One which China may decide to dump…

But what about the geopolitical bust-up? How would China retaliate?

You can see how all this might spiral out of control, with economic sanctions, trade wars and more.

Perhaps Covid-19 isn’t quite finished with our economies just yet…

Nick Hubble
Editor, Fortune & Freedom