So, according to the World Health Organization‘s latest findings, it is most likely that the COVID-19 virus jumped from an animal to a human. It is unlikely that the pathogen spread due to a leak from a lab in Wuhan. The WHO did not rule out the possibility of a lab leak entirely, but made clear they would not investigate that thread any further.
The WHO, of course, has proven itself to be far from trustworthy on matters related to China and the coronavirus. The international organization last January repeated a false claim from Chinese authorities that there was no evidence of ‘human-to-human transmission’ of COVID-19. The WHO initially praised China’s totalitarian lockdown measures for containing the virus, only to later say that they do not advocate lockdowns as the primary form of controlling the spread.
There are other reasons to be skeptical of the WHO’s investigation as well. China was able to delay the start of the investigation by several weeks, indicating they still intended to be less than transparent with the WHO team of investigators. The Wall Street Journal reported that the WHO team intended to build on previous reports by Chinese officials rather than mount its own independent investigation, and would not focus on the possibility that the virus escaped from a lab:
‘Given that Chinese authorities have been slow to release information, penalized scientists and doctors who shared clinical and genomic details of the novel coronavirus, and have since demonstrated a keen interest in controlling the narrative of how the virus emerged, this is not a promising foundation for WHO’s investigation.’
China has most recently been pushing the claim that new COVID-19 outbreaks in the country are tied to the import of frozen food products.
President Biden promised on the campaign trail he would be tough on China, but one of his first priorities after taking office was to rejoin the China-abetting WHO. The Biden administration defended this move by assuring that the US could exert more influence on the WHO if it were a member. However, press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Tuesday that the administration was not involved in the ‘planning and implementation’ of the investigation and would be reviewing the results.
Psaki added that it’s ‘imperative that we have our own team of experts on the ground’ in Beijing. State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed that they are skeptical of the investigation and China’s cooperation with it, saying, ‘I think the jury’s still out. I think clearly the Chinese, at least heretofore, have not offered the requisite transparency that we need’.
The White House did not respond to an inquiry from The Spectator about whether President Biden would support a US-led independent investigation into the origins of the virus.
So what was the point of rejoining the WHO? Biden and his cabinet can talk tough about Uighurs and the South China Sea. When it comes to investigating the cause of the greatest global crisis since World War Two, however, the Biden administration seems strangely unbothered. It now exerts almost no influence on the official investigation into the virus’s origins and has little reason to believe the WHO’s conclusions will be useful or accurate. America will still have to rely on an American research team in China for reliable information and will have to contend with an increasingly icy Chinese government. The WHO seems utterly enthralled with Beijing’s thinking and there is no evidence of that changing in coming months. Rejoining the WHO seems to be yet another example of the Biden administration favoring symbolic anti-Trumpism over practical policy that benefits Americans.