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Coronavirus Chaos

COVID Patient Zero: Lab Origin Confirmed?

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New documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request suggest that the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic was indeed the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Ben Hu, who may have become patient zero when he contracted COVID in the fall of 2019, was working at the Wuhan lab where he performed gain-of-function research – with US financial support.

US funding for the risky gain-of-function research came in the form of three grants – $41 million in all – from USAID and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which Dr. Anthony Fauci headed at the time.

The disclosure, and the potential discovery of patient zero, is significant in several respects. First, for the simple fact that we may have uncovered the origin of such a cataclysmic global event. Second, the discovery likely settles a debate, which seemed more political than scientific, and which raged throughout the debate – did the COVID virus originate from a lab leak, or a wet market? And third, it looks like the US (and Dr. Fauci himself) helped fund the research that led directly to the pandemic, raising questions about a prospective cover-up.

It did come from a lab

The lab leak theory is moving to the forefront, after reports from The InterceptThe Wall Street JournalThe Times of London, and others that the COVID virus did come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The acceptance of the lab leak theory represents a remarkable turn-around; it wasn’t that long ago that the lab leak theory was dismissed within the mainstream as a full-fledged conspiracy theory. The suggestion, for example, that the US or Dr. Fauci were involved in funding that somehow led to the pandemic was taken about as seriously as the QAnon hoax. But now it looks like that’s exactly what happened: COVID came from a lab, and the US helped fund the research that gave rise to the virus.

Now the question is: when did the US government know? I’m guessing a lot sooner than the media outlets who have been sleuthing on hands and knees for the last three years.

The origin debate

In retrospect, the debate surrounding the origin of COVID was pretty remarkable, in that what should have been a scientific debate, became purely partisan.

I have to say, liberals got this one wrong, and they got it wrong in a shameful way. Because not only did liberals get this one wrong, but they shut down all debate. According to liberals, COVID came from a wet market. End of story. Nothing to discuss. And if you were foolish enough to suggest that COVID came from a lab, then liberals painted you as a conspiracy theorist and/or a racist.

I’m not sure why suggesting COVID came from Chinese citizens eating bats at a wet market would not be racist, while suggesting that Chinese scientists performing advanced gain-of-function experiments in a lab would be racist – but that’s exactly the logic that liberals applied, chilling what would have been reasonable and important discussion in the process.

Liberals like to say, “we follow the science.” Democrats like to say, “we are the party of science.” Well, not in this case, not with respect to the origins of COVID. The science points concretely to the Wuhan Lab.

EDITOR’s NOTE: As with all things COVID-19, we respect our author’s opinions and ideas on this issue – all of their ideas. With that in mind, we present this new opinion piece. Note that 19FortyFive promotes the free expression of ideas and does not take any editorial stance on COVID-19 – or any issue. Debate is what we do – and we think do best. 

Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.  

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.