By Arab News
By Dalia Al-Aqidi *
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and people around the globe are getting more confused by the day and asking more questions than ever. Even today, scientists have not agreed on the origin of the virus, how it began to spread and how it continues to mutate.
Early last year, reputable doctor Kristian Andersen, a professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, privately told chief medical adviser to the president Anthony Fauci that, after discussions with his colleagues, some of COVID-19’s features potentially look engineered and its genome — an organism’s complete set of DNA — is inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory, which means that the virus may have been genetically manipulated, according to a report aired on Tuesday by Fox News.
Although few in the US mainstream media devote much attention to the theory that the virus resulted from a lab leak in Wuhan, China, several scientists are increasingly convinced it is the only answer to this most critical of questions.
Richard Muller of the University of California told the British science publication Total Health that he was shocked by the fearful and negative response of the scientific community when he tried to engage different laboratories to do the necessary research to investigate the origin of COVID-19.
It has become known that, if a journalist insists on questioning and investigating how the outbreak really occurred, they will be labeled a conspiracy theorist or far-right activist.
There has seemingly been a unified decision made by a group of politicians, media outlets and even scientific leaders to downplay the lab leak theory and the possibility that the virus was manufactured.
On Tuesday, US Sens. Richard Burr and Patty Murray proposed draft legislation that would form a bipartisan panel to investigate COVID-19’s emergence, as well as America’s preparedness for and response to the pandemic. But how could any such committee investigate an entity in China?
Five days prior to US President Joe Biden’s inauguration last January, the office of the State Department’s spokesperson released a document that stated: “The US government does not know exactly where, when, or how the COVID-19 virus — known as SARS-CoV-2 — was transmitted initially to humans. We have not determined whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, China.”
A year has now passed and this document’s accuracy has not changed one bit. What has changed is people’s confidence in the actions of their own governments, ensuring increased questioning and confusion.
Why do we have to have multiple vaccines while still getting infected with the virus and its mutations, and how many boosters will be mandated in the future? On face masks, should we follow the American model or the British? Why is it OK to remove masks everywhere, including on public transport, in the UK, while at the same time Americans are being warned not to take their masks off?
The Biden administration this month announced that it will purchase 1 billion rapid at-home tests to give to Americans for free, while also distributing 400 million N95 masks. The president has emphasized the need for even young children to continue wearing masks in schools.
It is time for me to ask: Who is getting paid for these tests and masks and how much will they improve Biden’s sinking approval rate, with the crucial midterm elections just around the corner? Money and politics always go hand in hand and the best answers always come when we follow the money.
- Dalia Al-Aqidi is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy. Twitter: @DaliaAlAqidi