With all of the furor over social distancing, widespread fear, conspiracy theories and opportunistic political grandstanding attendant to the COVID-19 pandemic vying for our attention, just above the radar, we’re hearing calls for investigations into how the novel coronavirus was introduced into the human population in the first place. Much of this has come from some pretty heavy hitters in Washington, most notably Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
It shouldn’t escape the reader’s notice that all of these are coming from Republicans and include demands that the government of Communist China be held accountable for its lies and suppression of information relating to the pandemic. One tweet, in particular, posted by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., has been getting a fair amount of ink, so to speak, and has been met with a great deal of public support.
As reported by Breitbart on April 26, Hawley’s tweet accompanied a link to the April 14 story in the Washington Post which revealed that in January 2018, two State Department officials warned that personnel working at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) were woefully under-trained and essentially unable to “safely operate this high-containment laboratory.”
While this might not necessarily represent a smoking gun, it’s certainly a weapon that needs to be sent to the nearest ballistics lab.
First off, I’d like to address a couple of things: Culturally, China is pretty backward. For a nation of its technological and industrial development, it is extremely backward. While things like China’s long-held traditions of physical fitness and employing preventive medicine are eminently sound, some of the conventions and beliefs held by the majority of Chinese are profoundly retrograde. I’ll just leave it to the fact that they consume bats, reptiles, wild birds and contribute mightily to the illegal endangered species trade with their superstitions as validation for this assertion.
Consequently, I have concerns regarding just how seriously the Wuhan lab workers were taking existing safety precautions.
The second thing I’d like to speak to is plain old human fallibility. A lab technician working in Wuhan is every bit as capable of making a grievous procedural error as anyone else, either due to incompetence, neglect, fatigue or a momentary lapse of focus. This is without factoring in the likelihood that the Wuhan lab workers were poorly trained, or the possibility that the lab’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) were a pandemic waiting to happen.
There are dozens of strains of coronavirus, a handful of which can give rise to illness in humans. There are some that infect animals exclusively (most notably rodents), and others that do not give rise to disease in any species that we know of.
I know this because of my former work in biomedical research, which I have discussed previously in this space. Some of this included stints in Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3 or BL-3) facilities and exposure to more rodents than I can reliably count. I even drafted SOPs for a BSL-3 facility a few miles from where I now sit.
Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlined biosafety guidelines for researchers specific to COVID-19, recommending that virus isolation and characterization of viral agents from this pathogen must be processed within a BSL-3 laboratory space using BSL-3 procedures.
To give the layperson an idea of what this means: Viruses like Ebola, Marburg virus (an Ebola variant), Lassa virus and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever are Biosafety Level 4 pathogens. E. coli and the disease organisms that cause Tetanus and Chlamydia are Biosafety Level 2 pathogens. The higher the number, the more dangerous the disease organism.
The take-away from this ought to be clear: These are not environments in which anyone can afford to screw around.
So, how did we get to this point?
Let’s return to the topic of human fallibility for a moment. During my years working with infectious diseases, I witnessed numerous instances of personnel flouting SOPs. Usually, these were foreign professors and postdoctoral fellows who either thought that the safety procedures put in place by their Nervous Nellie American hosts were too stringent, or that their lofty titles precluded adherence. On one occasion, I had to report a foreign researcher for skipping the showering-out procedure in a BSL-3 facility. I don’t know if he was in a hurry or just didn’t want to get wet, but there’s obviously no excuse for such behavior given the stakes involved.
On more than one occasion, this kind of thing resulted in a contaminated lab, with tens of thousands of dollars down the tubes.
Last week in this space, I detailed the folly of expecting forthrightness vis-à-vis the coronavirus pandemic from China’s Communist government and far-left American politicos, since these have proven themselves to be manifestly evil. It has since become apparent that this subject needs to be expanded upon.
In 2018, the people of the state of Colorado queued up to vote in a homosexual governor so they could feel good about not being homophobes, much in the same way Americans voted, 10 years prior, for a subversive black man with no bona fides whatsoever and an origin story crafted from whole cloth for president so they could feel good about not being racists. We’re well aware of how the latter proposition played out; now, Colorado residents are rather concerned about their governor’s furtive, sinister machinations around lifting COVID-19 restrictions.
Against our better judgment, we accepted the left’s assertion that homosexuals weren’t morally compromised people; now, we have homosexuals in positions of influence across America advancing morally depraved policies and far-left ideology in unrestrained fashion – and somehow, we have the nerve to be surprised.
Once upon a time in America, it was universally understood that communists could not be trusted on any level. Still, we got into bed with the Chinese; now we have a “business partner” who routinely steals proprietary information from American companies, and sends its students here to be educated in how better to conquer us. Our president is forced to rely on a dedicated Swamp creature to spearhead the administration’s efforts against COVID-19 because such people are so well entrenched in the infrastructure of government, and the director of the World Health Organization might as well be an orangutan.
Again, somehow we’re astonished that scum are behaving in scummy fashion.
The take-away here? Lowering the bar is always a recipe for disaster, and we can’t afford to do it anymore – not for the sake of profits, nor political correctness, nor to spare the feelings of deviants and the indolent. The stakes are just too damned high.
Article posted with permission from Erik Rush
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