Is it natural or man-made? Was it released, or did it escape? Was it deliberate or an accident? These are some of the questions the world is grappling with regarding the Covid-19 virus.
Several unanswered questions surround the Covid-19 virus. While some have implications related to treatment and prevention, others may have a far-reaching impact on the global order.
More than fifteen months after it was declared a pandemic, little is concretely known about the virus itself. Just as the Wall Street Journal broke the sensational story (more about that later), TechnoMetrica conducted a TIPP Poll asking Americans what they believe regarding the origin and spread of the virus.
Here’s where Americans think the virus originated:
- 44% believe it was developed in a lab
- 22% think it came from animals
- 11% think it’s a naturally occurring virus
- 8% think the virus came to be as a result of human living habits
- 16% were unsure about its origins
Aside from how or where the virus originated, a question that has refused to die is how it came to infect so many million people worldwide.
Of the 44% who believe the virus is manmade,
- 54% believe it was intentionally released from the lab
- 32% think it was accidentally released
- 14% were not sure about how it got outside the lab
The revelations in recent weeks give credence to the belief that the virus may have been lab-generated.
The Wall Street Journal story mentioned above revealed that staff of the Institute of Virology in the city had sought hospital care for Corona-like symptoms weeks before the first cases of Corona infections were officially recorded in Wuhan..
Both Corona and influenza indeed manifest similar symptoms. The outbreak of flu among the staff could have been a seasonal illness, as suggested by some. Yet, the attitude of the Chinese establishment since the pandemic began casts a shadow of a doubt.
Given the lack of transparency on the Chinese side on all data, news, and information regarding the virus, this piece of news only muddies the waters. It heightens the sense that China is deliberately withholding or suppressing crucial information.
In the U.S, from its early days, the virus has been a partisan issue. The pandemic has not just disrupted our routines; it’s divided our country.
Along party lines, of the Democrats:
- 32% believe it was developed in a lab
- 30% think it came from animals
- 13% think it’s a naturally occurring virus
- 11% think the virus came to be as a result of human living habits
- 14% were unsure about its origins
Meanwhile, there is a stronger response from the Republicans. Regarding the origin of the virus,
- 63% believe it was developed in a lab
- 12% think it came from animals
- 8% think it’s a naturally occurring virus
- 6% think the virus came to be as a result of human living habits
- 12% were unsure about its origins
There is some basis for such overwhelming support for the theory that the virus is lab-grown.
News that U.S. officials have gained access to papers authored by Chinese military scientists which discuss weaponizing the coronavirus (five years before the pandemic hit) has sealed the deal for many. Reported first by 'The Australian,' the documents allegedly discuss "a new era of genetic weapons" and unleashing the "artificially manipulated" virus that could potentially lead to the "enemy's medical system to collapse."
Given such incriminating reports, it is hardly surprising that almost a quarter of Americans believe that the virus was intentionally released. However, nearly a fifth do not subscribe to any of the theories.
The combined data on the origin of the virus and how it found its way to humans read:
- 23% lab-grown and intentionally released
- 22% came from animals
- 14% lab-grown, but accidentally released
- 11% came about naturally
- 8% is a product of human living habits
- 6% from lab, not sure
- 16% not sure
Eminent scientists have joined governments across the globe in demanding a thorough investigation into the origins of the virus and how it came to set off a pandemic. What is brought to light may have a profound impact on the world as we have known it.
- A report by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi says Tehran has failed to provide a proper explanation for uranium particles at three sites across the country.
- The UN nuclear watchdog said that Iran has failed to explain traces of processed uranium found at several undeclared sites.
- A quarterly report by the IAEA said Iran is continuing to breach enrichment limits set by a 2015 nuclear accord, and that Tehran has failed to provide enough information about the discovery of uranium.
- The report added that Iran has produced more than 2.4 kilograms (5.2 lbs) of nearly weapons-grade uranium: a clear breach of the deal that its leadership says it wants to salvage.
- The move to enrich uranium to a purity level of nearly 60% began in April, said the IAEA's Grossi, who has for weeks been signaling that he is worried about the direction of Iran's nuclear program.
- The announcement came from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu during his visit to Greece.
- Mr. Çavuşoğlu said that Russian experts would not remain in Turkey and that the S-400 defense system would be under complete Turkish control.
- Turkey will send home military experts from Russia to assist in the operation of the S-400s in a goodwill gesture to the United States, which remains at odds with Ankara over the defense system.
- This decision marks an important signal that Turkey is interested in making some compromises with Washington on a key disagreement, less than two weeks before the leaders of both countries meet.
- Italy expelled two Russian officials after an Italian navy captain was caught red-handed by police selling secret documents to the Russians.
- The Italian frigate captain was arrested on spying charges after officers tailing him saw him in Rome in a "clandestine meeting" with a Russian military officer.
- The two men met in a car park, according to media reports. Special operations police stopped them both but arrested only the navy officer, accusing him of passing on "confidential documents" in exchange for money.
- The Russian, an embassy official, avoided custody thanks to diplomatic immunity, police said.
- Bulgaria, an EU and NATO member like Italy, expelled two Russian diplomats last week after six people were arrested, including several defense ministry officials, on suspicion of spying for Russia.
- Violence was reported as police clashed with demonstrators unhappy about living on Bhashan Char Island.
- A protest by hundreds of Rohingya turned violent as a delegation of high-ranking UNHCR officials visited a remote and low-lying island where Bangladesh is housing more than 18,000 stateless refugees from Myanmar.
- Police said that between 500 and 600 people took part in the protest, in which refugees vented anger about their living conditions and being confined to the offshore complex, which the government built specially for the Rohingya.
- The UNHCR officials had talks with the Rohingya refugees. They left the island for Cox’s Bazar, the southeastern district, where around 1 million Rohingya Muslim refugees are sheltering after fleeing from violence and persecution next door in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
- Since last December, Bangladeshi authorities have been relocating large batches of refugees to Bhashan Char from Cox’s Bazar, claiming that Rohingya are doing so voluntarily, and this is needed to ease overcrowding and reduce crime in the congested and squalid camps on the mainland.
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