The COVID 19 Pandemic that has destroyed lives, ruined economies, disrupted social order and created mind boggling misery to the whole world has been with us for the better part of the past two years. The pandemic has not left even the remotest corner of the globe untouched by its virulence and disastrous effect, extracting humongous cost from the humanity. It will not be an exaggeration to say that it has turned the world topsy turvy.
India suffered enormous damage in the month of May 2021, which has been the most grievous period during the entire pandemic till now, both in terms of absolute numbers, as also the number of fatalities. It recorded 9.03 million cases: by far the highest monthly count anywhere in the world. Even though cases declined in the second half of the month, it was still 30% higher than previous high of 7 million cases recorded earlier. Similarly, the fatalities recorded during the same period were over 119,000, which was 2.5 times the toll reported in April 2020 (48,768). However, many experts have pointed out that the death toll could be much higher due to various factors.
Despite such grim situation tearing apart societies around the world, China refused to share the scientific data that could unlock the mysteries of such calamity that shook the world in an unprecedented manner. What continues to intrigue the ordinary person is that how China has had only just over 4000 who died due to Covid19? It will probably be the biggest coverup of the 21st Century.
With the scientific advancement and technological innovation having reached unheard of proportions, it is imperative for the entire world to come together, using every available resource at its disposal to find out conclusively what caused this pandemic. The facile argument put forth by China that the virus came from the wet market of Wuhan, was unfortunately lapped up by the rest of the world as a gospel truth. However, many months down the line, both the public, as also a large segment of scientific community has become skeptical of the Chinese theory. They have started asking questions; rather uncomfortable ones, which need answers. Therefore, either China should provide convincing answers or the world, particularly the developed world, must pool all its resources to dig out the truth.
Of late, many theories have come to light, which indicate that China hid many details, either deliberately or otherwise, which would enable the world to know the truth behind the unleashing of this deadly virus. Firstly, why is China unwilling to share the relevant data of the Labs of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the source of the virus? China is so sensitive to such a demand that when Australia urged China to share this data, the Chinese government not only rejected the demand, but went a step further by imposing sanctions on Australia. By doing so, China sent out a clear message to the world that it will use its muscle (and it has hefty ones) to silence such voices. Shockingly, China does not want the world to know the truth about the origin of the virus, which has till now resulted in the death of nearly 3.6 million people world-wide: and still counting. However, of late, a feeling is gaining ground that China is not acting alone in this orchestration. It is felt that due to the heft that China enjoys internationally, it has been able to incorporate some reputed international organizations as also some internationally renowned scientists and medical professionals into its cover-up plan. Take the statement of the Chief Medical Advisor of the United States, who, while speaking about the origin of COVID 19 virus, is on record to have said, “I still believe that most likely source is that this was a natural occurrence, but no one knows that for 100% for sure.”
It is a well-known fact of Chinese’ collective psyche that they attach a lot of importance to what they call, ‘Saving Face’. What it means in the present context is that China is unwilling to ‘lose its face’, if the world were to know for sure that it was China’s Wuhan lab that tweaked this virus to put the whole humanity into unprecedented trouble. However, China or those who are complicit in this cover-up, owe a responsibility to the human race to find out the truth about all aspects of this pandemic so that the world is better prepared for any future challenges of the same or similar kind. On the other hand, if the world does not get to know the truth about this pandemic, it is unlikely that the world will be able to tackle future pandemics of the same magnitude. That is the point at issue.
The world cannot overlook certain facts which are now in the public domain. Experts have speculated that contrary to the Chinese claims (that the virus originated from the Wuhan wet Market), the virus might have originated from WIV, a Chinese Government enterprise, headed by two Major Generals of the PLA. If this is proved to be true, it will put the Chinese government in the dock for having deliberately misled the world by floating a lie that the outbreak was a zoonotic transmission from the live animals being sold in the wet market of Wuhan. A look at the Chinese actions will establish doubts being created about its complicity. Former Obama Official, Jamie Metzl is on record to have stated that 40 % of the earliest infections that China reported have had no connection with the wet market, and they, the Chinese, destroyed samples, hiding records, arresting journalists, putting gag orders on the scientific community preventing them from speaking on the issue or writing about it. China also did not cooperate with the World Health Organization (WHO) team when it landed in Wuhan to carry out its own investigation. In fact, China created too many obstacles in its path to permit them to carry out a smooth and unfettered investigation. The Chinese actually directed the inquiry towards concentrating all efforts on proving only one hypothesis: Transmission from the wet market. It blinded the inquiry commission to the exploration of an answer to the most important question: “How does the virus reach the humans and through what medium?”
Suspicions have further deepened as recent revelations point to an occurrence of huge relevance to public: in November 2019, a month before China officially acknowledged its first Covid19 infection, three WIV researchers had been hospitalized with Covid-like symptoms.
The question arises as to why did China hide the fact? There is another aspect of Wuhan lab which is quite intriguing, creating suspicions of a different kind. The U.S government and its agencies have been funding the research projects, particularly on corona virus in WIV for quite some time. Some estimates put the figure of financial assistance at nearly 250 million USD. Therefore, a question arises as to how the U.S remained oblivious to the fact that something sinister was happening in the lab, being so generously funded by it? It is a well-known fact that two Major Generals of the PLA oversaw the functioning of the WIV Labs. Where PLA Generals overseeing the development of bio-weapons secretly, while WIV continued to present a façade of carrying out harmless research on Coronavirus? Alternatively, there are other controversial experiments that make viruses more contagious to test them. According to this theory, it is possible that Lab error may have caused the COVID19 outbreak.
It is quite likely that the Americans had had an inkling of this, when Dr Anthony Fauci, while speaking in Georgetown University in 2017, said that within three years, President Trump will be faced with a huge challenge of tackling a severe Coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, a well-known Chinese Virologist, Li meng Yan, was forced into hiding after she hinted at the pandemic being unleashed while the Chinese were developing a bio-weapon. A U.S. State Department cable from 2018, leaked to the Washington Post, revealed that ‘there were serious shortages of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate the high-profile laboratory.’
Shall we ever know the truth? Possibly, we will.
Today, the world is extensively connected- from the remotest settlement in Iceland to the least developed atoll in a distant Pacific Island. With a never-ending dialogue and interaction taking place across the world using various instruments/platforms of Information Technology, all of us leave a permanent trail behind. A diligent researcher will, somehow, trace these footsteps and reach the destination, i.e., the true source or origin of coronavirus. Take the case of Dr Monali C Rahalkar, a scientist at Agharkar Research Institute and Dr Rahul Bahulikar of BAIF Development and Research Foundation, Pune, who have joined a global alliance of volunteers to search for the origins of COVID 19. Providentially, by sheer coincidence, they bumped into another ‘Truth Seeker’ in northeast India, who too, driven by the burning desire to seek the truth about Coronavirus, joined hands with each other. Going by the name of ‘Seeker268’ on twitter, he is part of a group called DRASTIC (Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team), a global alliance of internet strangers who came together to discover some compelling evidence that the virus originated, not in seafood market of Wuhan, as China would have us believe, but from WIV Lab.
All of them have burnt mid night oil to seek information unavailable on the routine internet, by scouring the dark alleys of the net, translating thousands of Chinese documents, using Google Translate to decode these and digging through obscure Chinese documents beginning 2012. Through their extensive sleuthing they learnt that six miners had been sent down a shaft into a bat infested mine in Mojiang in Yunan Province to clean it up. They also learnt that three of them had later died of pneumonia-like symptoms. The story did not end there. A year later, in 2013, Dr Shi Zhengli, director of WIV and her team brought back samples from the mineshaft to their lab in WIV. Though Shi said that it was the fungus in the mine that killed the miners, but DRASTIC concluded that Shi found an unidentified Coronavirus strain which they called RaBtcCOV/4991. In WIV papers published between 2015 and 2017, ‘Gain of Function’ work is described. It was found that the miners were killed by SARS-like (Corona Virus) from the Chinese horse-shoe bat or other bats. Subsequently, when journalists from BBC, AP, NBC among others wanted to investigate the matter further, they found the access to the mine blocked by trees, trucks, and even wild elephants (Newsweek Report). A WSJ journalist was even detained.
The mainstream press went along with the narrative provided by some scientists. Chief among these was Peter Daiszak, President of Eco Health Alliance, a non-profit research group that ran a large international programme to survey natural pathogens with potential to cause a pandemic. A close collaborator, Daiszak had spearheaded the letter dismissing the Lab leak theory in Lancet last year He told Wire that the Lab had not been working on RaTG13 in the last seven years. However, a team member, Fransisco De Asis de Ribera, a Madrid-based data scientist, found the information to be false as he discovered that the scientist at WIV had been actively studying the Virus in 2017 and 2018. He theorized that there were actually nine relations of SARS-CoV2 found in the mine. In November 2020, Shi Zhengli confirmed this in an addendum in her paper.
It is because of these reasons that President Biden has addressed its Intelligence community to dig out the truth. This can only be unraveled when the world knows for sure, ‘who was the COVID 19 infected patient Zero and how did he/she get infected?’ President Biden also appealed to China to’ participate in full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.’
The Jury, I am afraid, is still out.