AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
Just a few weeks before the midterm elections, with most Americans intently focused on the races in key battleground states, the Senate HELP Committee Minority Oversight Staff—overseen by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)—released an interim report with shocking new details on the origins of COVID-19. Among other major findings, the report (which has received conspicuously little coverage from the mainstream media) confirms what a large bulk of the American public suspected long ago: the virus likely originated in a Chinese lab.
Now, with Republicans set to take control of the House of Representatives in January and the potential for more hearings and investigations, the GOP has a critical opportunity to highlight the extent to which the media and cultural elites, including many within the medical establishment, lied to the public about the origins of the virus, often for transparently political purposes.
The report states that the “hypothesis of a natural zoonotic origin no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt, or the presumption of accuracy… While it is likely that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a bat virus, most likely one found in horseshoe bats residing in Southern China or Southeast Asia, it remains unknown how SARS-CoV-2 traveled more than 1,000 miles from Southern China or Southeast Asia before emerging in Wuhan.”
“Nearly three years after the COVID-19 pandemic began,” the report continues, “substantial evidence demonstrating that the COVID-19 pandemic was the result of a research-related incident has emerged. A research-related incident is consistent with the early epidemiology showing rapid spread of the virus in Wuhan, with the earliest calls for assistance being located in the [area] near the [Wuhan Institute of Virology]’s original campus in central Wuhan.”
The report goes on to catalogue the ways in which the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) “struggled to maintain key biosafety capabilities” at its “high containment” laboratories—including what the HELP committee describes as an “unsafe work environment for laboratory personnel.” The report concludes: “Based on the analysis of the publicly available information, it appears reasonable to conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic was, more likely than not, the result of a research-related incident.”
These findings are particularly notable given that broad segments of the American public were censored, silenced, and blacklisted on social media platforms—and elsewhere—for expressing precisely the same skepticism about the Chinese government’s narrative that the HELP Committee’s report has now essentially legitimized.
Even more disturbingly, throughout the 2020 campaign cycle, Democrats and the entire left-wing media establishment relentlessly insisted that President Donald Trump’s calls for an investigation into the lab leak theory were nothing more than an attempt to spread “racist conspiracy theories.” Once again, President Trump looks to be vindicated, and the mainstream media has been exposed for covering up the truth and facts in an attempt to undermine their political opponents.
The Senate report also further underscores the dangers of Big Tech censorship, particularly in times of crisis. From the onset of the pandemic until May 2021—more than a full year after the first COVID cases were reported in the United States—Facebook, with the blessing of the Biden administration, banned posts that suggested the virus originated in a lab. Likewise, YouTube notoriously banned content and users that refused to follow the approved COVID narrative. Twitter similarly removed posts that failed to toe the line. As journalist Glenn Greenwald aptly put it, “during one of the most consequential and confusing events of the last century—[the] COVID pandemic—Big Tech ensured that nobody on the internet was permitted to express any doubts about or dissent from the decrees of institutions of authority.”
Despite the growing mountain of evidence that runs counter to the Chinese government’s narrative that the virus had natural zoonotic origins, the media has unsurprisingly refused to acknowledge that it—as well as the public health entities it dutifully propped up for two years—were wrong. The World Health Organization has similarly escaped scrutiny, despite dismissing the lab leak theory early on at the behest of the Chinese government and announcing that it needed “no further investigation.”
The implications of this reality should frighten every American. For nearly the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens were—and in some cases continue to be—banned from the digital public square because they circulated opinions and information that, to the chagrin of progressives and public health bureaucrats, has turned out to be “more likely than not” true, as the report put it. The aggressive efforts to blacklist ordinary Americans and even a sitting president for sharing accurate information not only cast doubt on the legitimacy of our public health institutions, but are also a foreboding sign for the freedom of speech in the United States.
There are still many questions left to answer. For one, when did leading figures in the medical establishment like Dr. Anthony Fauci know that the lab leak theory was viable? Why did he dismiss it out of hand early on in the pandemic?
Perhaps more importantly, Republicans in Congress should demand answers from the Biden administration about what they are doing to prevent another potential lab leak. Has all U.S. funding for Chinese labs ceased? What is the Biden administration doing to pressure the WHO into holding China accountable?
As trust in the media and public health institutions continues to plummet to startling lows, the individuals in charge of those institutions have nobody but themselves to blame. Addressing the revelations of this latest Senate report and working to develop more substantial answers about the origins of the pandemic that uprooted all of our lives for the better part of two years are important first steps to begin repairing that lost trust—and may be critical to stopping the next pandemic and mitigating the panic and uncertainty that will inevitably come with it.