The Covid Commission Planning Task Force: Why the US Government hasn’t responded to the Covid-19 Pandemic since Sept. 11
Any investigation of the pandemic would necessarily be vast and complex, encompassing topics such as better detection of new pathogens, improvements to the public health system’s antiquated data collection apparatus, supply chain vulnerabilities, the harmful effect of lockdowns on many schoolchildren, the spread of misinformation and a lack of public trust in agencies like the C.D.C.
The latest assessment further adds to the divide in the US government over whether the Covid-19 pandemic began in China in 2019 as the result of a lab leak or whether it emerged naturally. For years the various intel agencies have been divided on the matter. In 2021, the intelligence community declassified a report that showed four agencies in the intelligence community had assessed with low confidence that the virus likely jumped from animals to humans naturally in the wild, while one assessed with moderate confidence that the pandemic was the result of a laboratory accident.
Some experts see a broad examination of the outbreak as too difficult. It would be difficult to overcome the intense partisanship surrounding Covid-19 even if a commission were established. The nation was so deeply divided after Sept. 11 that “partisan pressures almost tore apart our commission,” said Philip D. Zelikow, a University of Virginia historian and former government official who was the executive director of the Sept. 11 panel. The problem is even worse today, he said.
There is no substitute for the vision we showed in the early 2000s when we created an architecture that fixed things we got wrong, and addresses things we didn’t think of then.
Mr. Zelikow now leads the Covid Commission Planning Group, a privately funded effort involving about three dozen independent experts who have spent the better part of the past two years conducting research to lay the groundwork for a national inquiry. The group plans on publishing its findings in a book this spring, after waiting so long for Congress to act. He wouldn’t discuss the details.
But two years since that high-profile trip, the WHO has abandoned its phase-two plans. “There is no phase two,” Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist at the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, told Nature. The WHO planned for work to be done in phases, she said, but “that plan has changed”. She said that the politics across the world made it hard to understand the origins.
Another study3 by researchers from China, which has not been peer reviewed, reported finding traces of SARS-CoV-2 in January and February 2020 at the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, which was visited by many of the earliest known people with COVID-194. In addition to sewage, the surfaces of doors and market stalls, as well as from the ground were included in the samples taken. The researchers concluded that the virus was probably shed by humans, but Rasmussen and others are keen to take a closer look at the raw data, which included swabs from a defeathering machine, to see whether they can identify animal species.
That July, the WHO sent a circular to member states outlining how it planned to advance origins studies. Proposed steps include audits of labs in the area around the first cases and assessing wild animal markets in and around the city of Wuhan.
Chinese officials objected to the proposal to investigate lab breeches, and rejected the WHO plans. The WHO proposal was not unanimous by all member states, and the second phase should not focus on pathways that have already been found out to be incredibly unlikely, according to the chinese foreign ministry’s spokesman.
The origins investigation was mishandled by the global community according to Gerald Keusch, associate director of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Lab Institute at Boston University. It was poorly handled by China. It was poorly handled by the WHO. Keusch claims that the WHO should have been more aggressive in creating a working relationship with the Chinese authorities.
“I still hope that progress will be made,” says Thea Fischer, a public-health virologist at the University of Copenhagen, who was a member of the mission to Wuhan and is part of SAGO.
The Energy Department and the COVID-19 Lab Leak: Implications for the Department of Energy and the U.S. Intelligence Community
Intelligence agencies can make assessments with either low, medium or high confidence. A low confidence assessment means that the information is unreliable or too fragmented to make a more robust conclusion, and that there isn’t enough information available to draw a more robust conclusion.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the new assessment from the Department of Energy. A senior US intelligence official told the Journal that the update to the intelligence assessment was conducted in light of new intelligence, further study of academic literature and in consultation with experts outside government.
McCaul said that common sense told them at the start to believe that the COVID-19 epidemic was the result of a lab leak in China.
The Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence is one of 18 government agencies that make up the intelligence community, which are under the umbrella of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
While Republicans on Capitol Hill push for further investigation into the theory of a lab leak, the Biden administration is accused of playing down its possibility.
McCaul said he was happy that the Department of Energy had reached the same conclusion as he did.
“I have requested a full and thorough briefing from the administration on this report and the evidence behind it,” the Texas Republican said in a statement.
McCaul said that the administration needs to work immediately with our partners and allies around the world to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable and update international regulations for something like this.
We have to do lengthy hearings. I hope our Democratic colleagues in the Congress can support that. The Senate member said that Republicans in the House were in favor of that.
Covid-19 and the Chinese-Peripheral Conflict: What Do We Know About the Scientific Origins of the Censorship Epidemic?
“Think about what just happened over the last three years, one of the biggest pandemics in a century. Sullivan claimed that a lot of evidence was coming from the Chinese.
The committee was reviewing the classified information given to it by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in response to a letter requesting information, according to a statement from a spokesman for the chairman.
Sullivan told Dana Bash that there was not a definitive answer from the intelligence community. Some parts of the intelligence community have reached their conclusions on one side or the other. A number of them have said they just don’t have enough information to be sure.”
The national conversation around the origins of Covid-19 reflected those words from Dr. David Relman.
The US Energy Department assessment that China was a location for a Pandemic is adding to the confusion about what really happened.
Four intelligence agencies were declassified in 2020 because of their low confidence in the likelihood of the virus jumping to humans in the wild.
Three other intelligence community elements were unable to coalesce around either explanation without additional information, the community’s report said.
The lab leak theory had to fight against claims that they were being racist due to the anti- Chinese rhetoric of President Donald Trump, who embraced the theory.
An inquiry launched by Trump’s State Department, which sought to investigate whether China’s biological weapons program could have had a greater role in the pandemic’s origin in Wuhan, was shut down early on in the Biden administration.
In February 2020 The Lancet published a letter from public health experts declaring the virus to have a natural origin.
What the intelligence community told us about the discovery of a new disease from an animal model? A response to some experts at the CERN SPS
Some elements of the intelligence community reached conclusions on one side and the other side. A number of them said they didn’t have enough information to make sense of it.
It can take months or even years to discover the host of the new disease if it came from natural transmission through animals.