Politics won't give us facts of coronavirus origin
Published: Aug 16, 2021 11:16 PM
Editor's note: Ikenna Emewu is a journalist and editor-in-chief of Africa China Economy Magazine, Nigeria. His primary research interests are China's international relations and "socialism with Chinese characteristics." The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Coronavirus Photo: VCG

Coronavirus Photo: VCG

COVID-19 has been one major strenuous global-scale health challenge that has confronted the entire humanity in the past century.

Though the ill wind hasn't actually blown over, the world has not been lax to the obligation of surmounting the pandemic. Nothing within the reach of man – science, faith, research, cooperation, charity, diplomacy – has been spared.

The war against the pandemic has also not been lacking in negativity.

When it broke out, former United States president Donald Trump was in charge of the country that influences global information manipulation most. He didn't disappoint in his traditional terse verbiage to malign China. The mudslinging was possibly his best contribution to the war with his calamitous and unimpressive handling of the situation in his country.

He gave wings to bloated biases and hate against China to fly since the major outbreak started in China. Then, the common notion was that coronavirus cases were first reported in China until later research proved otherwise. Even after these facts of earlier infections like those found right in California in the U.S. were appropriately confirmed, Trump stuck to his guns.

Eight months after Trump left office, the ghosts of his biases to nail China over the coronavirus origin still lurks in the shadows in Washington. Likewise, in the face of evidence to the contrary, the line of argument Trump initiated to at all costs tie the liability of the coronavirus origin to China remains the fad.

Trump had gone as far as pulling his country out of the World Health Organization (WHO), alleging that the agency connived with China to release a false report to cover the "real" facts.

The refashioned fallacy has started sounding like the weaponization of the coronavirus' origin. No doubt, the U.S. has introduced so much politics to the efforts to trace how the coronavirus came to ravage humanity, rather than rely on facts and science.

The politics of this effort is the insistence that the origin tracing must be in China, and repeatedly so.

Since it's established that there were cases of COVID-19 in France and the U.S. before the major outbreak in Wuhan, there is no scientific harm in spreading out the search to other countries other than China.

That insistence on searching in China over and again rings the bell of bias betrayed by the call of the U.S. that another search for the origin be staged in China, the third time. The calls send the impression that until a finding the U.S. deems appropriate is arrived at, it would possibly ask for other rounds of searches in China for as many as 20 times.

In May 2020, the BBC reported that a doctor in Paris who treated a man with influenza said he found his patient with no history of an overseas trip had what proved to be COVID-19 about a month before the outbreak in Wuhan.

Arising from this finding, the WHO, through its spokesman Christian Lindmeier, had called on countries to check their records for similar cases. There was also another find in California that coronavirus-related death was recorded in the U.S. almost a month earlier than previously thought.

With these facts, why must all searches for COVID-19 origin start and stop in China at the U.S. behest?

No records available to the reading public suggest China acted in any suspicious manner toward sincere actions against the pandemic.

At the beginning of the battle, the WHO had commended China for its efforts and cooperation when it landed in the country to work with local experts.

The WHO's initial report from the joint research of February 16-20, 2020, conducted by experts from the U.S. and some European countries, was specific that "COVID-19 is a zoonotic virus. From phylogenetics analyses undertaken with available full genome sequences, bats appear to be the reservoir of COVID-19 virus, but the intermediate host(s) has not yet been identified."

Acknowledging China's openness and efficacy in handling the outbreak, the WHO said, "In the face of a previously unknown virus, China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history … Achieving China's exceptional coverage with and adherence to these containment measures has only been possible due to the deep commitment of the Chinese people."

On March 30 this year, the WHO released another report by a team of international researchers after their findings in China on the subject that confirmed the earlier position that the origin is not linked to any lab leak.

This latest report was by a team of experts from 10 countries, including the U.S., Australia, the UK and Japan, that worked with local Chinese experts for 28 days.

Their report was explicit that a lab leakage was extremely impossible, with suggestions that origin tracing studies should be conducted in other parts of the world.