The Horrible Truth of the Chinese Death Labs
Who's to blame for COVID-19, and why?
Someone sent me a video the other day made by the fine folks over at Turning Point USA. In the video, they talk about the "Chinese coronavirus," its origins, and how a giant conspiracy exists within the Chinese government involving misinformation, murder, and bio-terrorism to cripple the free world.
Spoiler Alert: The horrible truth of the Chinese Death Labs is that, in this case, they don't exist.
I'll come right out and say it: I don't have a tremendous amount of trust in the things said by Benny Johnson. Or Turning Point USA in general. Or the Epoch Times. Or Dr. Judy Mikovits. Or Tucker Carlson. Or Senator Matt Gaetz. When I see a video featuring all of these people/places/things together, I take it with a box of salt.
Videos from these sources love to cherry-pick their data. One example: this video sources a paper from the Lancet that pointed out 66% of the first 41 cases (and the first death) came from the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, but Benny Johnson here drops that number from 66% to one half for ... reasons. He also brings up "patient zero," the first person in the Lancet study that was a confirmed COVID-19 case. This person had no known contact with the Huanan seafood market. Johnson conflates this information into "since patient zero didn't knowlingly go to Huanan, the virus clearly couldn't have come from there." He ignores the possibility that the virus may have been circulating through people as early as September, and that people before "patient zero" may have contracted the virus and simply not caused any medical alarm bells to go off in China until the 41 cases popped up in Wuhan.
It's a common tactic that Turning Point uses: take a full set of data, twist it very slightly, omit parts of it, and present it as the whole truth. With this theory, they want to push the idea that SARS-CoV-2 was both engineered in a lab and accidentally dispersed to the public. It's a theory, but if we're looking for the origins of the virus, we may never find one. Ebola's first recorded case was in 1976, and it has yet to have its origin determined. Every theory presented has holes, whether it's the Huanan market, or the Wuhan lab, or some random cave in the southern part of China where horseshoe bats live. If patient zero was from some filthy Chinese lab, however, why was it only one patient? Where are the other infected workers?
Putting origin theories aside, certain conservatives focus on who is to blame for the "Chinese coronavirus." They almost ALWAYS add the country of origin when talking about COVID-19, to the point that you'd think they're trying to drag you to the correct answer. This disease has killed over 130,000 Americans at the time I wrote this, people want a finger to point at.
American responsibility in a viral outbreak is complicated. Who had the power to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the early days of the outbreak? Who had the chance to advocate that people could limit exposure through masks, socially distancing and self-quarantining? Who had the opportunity to begin preparing the nation for a possible epidemic through stimulating manufacturing of PPE or training medical staff?
For America, the fact that this disease continues to tear through our ranks rests on the shoulders of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump had the opportunity to do all those things, and he instead chose (and still chooses) to downplay the severity of COVID-19. As people die, he talks about his hopes that this disease goes to zero cases on its own. As hundreds of thousands of people get sick, he provides no clear national response other than hocking medical treatments that are from the unproven (HCQ) to the absurd (getting sunlight and disinfectant inside the body, it'll go away on its own). When the first American COVID-19 case appeared in mid-January, it took Trump two weeks to shut down only some -- not all -- travel from China.
The president's response (or lack thereof) has turned many aspects of fighting the pandemic into partisan politics. People don't wear masks, or quarantine, or socially distance. When asked why not, they claim that doing such interferes with their personal freedoms and liberty. Why isn't it a valid argument? After all, it took months for the president to stop cramming stadiums with people for his campaign rallies. It took until July to see him in a mask in public. People see this activity from the most powerful person in America and act in kind. This inability to respect and sympathize with our neighbor's health has led us down a road of continued sickness and economic downturn.
The United States leads the world in number of cases. We lead the world in reported COVID-19 deaths. We are the seventh place country in deaths per capita. Five states have a higher death per capita than the next-hard-hit country, Belgium. When history looks back at this pandemic, they may just name it after the country that didn't take it seriously.
Benjamin Franklin said "clean your finger, before you point at my spots." If we're to make headway in Coronavirus, we need to take a good long look at our finger before using it to point.