U.S. must open doors for COVID-19 origin and response investigation
Bradley Blankenship
A swab to be used for testing novel coronavirus is seen in the supplies of Harborview Medical Center's home assessment team, Seattle, Washington, U.S., February 29, 2020. /Reuters

A swab to be used for testing novel coronavirus is seen in the supplies of Harborview Medical Center's home assessment team, Seattle, Washington, U.S., February 29, 2020. /Reuters

Editor's note: Bradley Blankenship is a Prague-based American journalist, political analyst, and freelance reporter. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

China's Foreign Ministry on June 22 called for a full investigation in the United States that would focus on the origin of the country's COVID-19, the country's botched pandemic response, and investigations into bio labs such as Fort Detrick. As the U.S. government continues to push the highly discredited "lab leak" theory that suggests that SARS-CoV-2 escaped from a Chinese bio lab while at the same time calling for a thorough investigation into the virus' origins, the U.S. should open its doors in the name of transparency.

To be sure, this is not just free-for-all mudslinging by the Chinese side. China has every reason not to trust the U.S., its allies, and their potential "investigation" about the origins of COVID-19 if it were to actually take place on their terms. This is a group that has routinely lied and fabricated evidence to justify wars of aggression around the world with the help of their "independent" media outlets.

From alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq to chemical weapon attacks in Syria, the U.S. and its allies have consistently shown that their investigations are meaningless and have their conclusions drawn up by politicians in Washington. The evidence of U.S. intelligence agencies interfering in the internal affairs of other countries through such kinds of investigations is undeniable and readily admitted in declassified government documents that are the subject of countless documentaries, books, articles, and other media.

China should not and does not want to indulge these bad actors. Though, at the same time, searching for the origins of COVID-19 may provide information that can be useful to avoid future pandemics. That's why this investigation is not bad in principle, just that its politicization is.

This is why the U.S. government should also open up its doors – including bio labs like Fort Detrick and those overseas – to a full investigation into the origins of the virus considering there is quite a lot of evidence suggesting that it could have been circulating in that country before China. Studies of blood donations across the country have shown that the virus may have been spreading in the community since at least December 2019, months before it was originally believed to have arrived.

A COVID-19 patient arrives outside Maimonides Medical Center, New York, U.S., November 17, 2020. /Reuters

A COVID-19 patient arrives outside Maimonides Medical Center, New York, U.S., November 17, 2020. /Reuters

The U.S. should also allow for investigation into its botched COVID-19 response that has officially left over 600,000 of its citizens dead, though this number is probably much higher. An upcoming book by two Washington Post reporters titled "Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration's Response to the Pandemic That Changed History" is sure to renew debate on this subject.

Excerpts from the book suggest, for example, that the administration of former President Donald Trump considered quarantining infected American tourists at Guantanamo Bay.

Many other first-hand accounts and leaks from Trump administration officials, like the government's push to implement a "herd immunity" strategy or Trump's habitual disinformation barrages, suggest willful negligence that directly threatened the lives and human rights of citizens and should be taken seriously.

If even a fraction of the claims made thus far turn out to be true, the Trump administration would undoubtedly be directly responsible for hundreds of thousands of people tragically losing their lives.

However, the investigation should not simply be a retroactive investigation of the Trump administration's mismanagement and should also explore how the Joe Biden administration acted, including in regards to vaccine rollout and any potential inequities, for instance, with race, income or gender lines during the initial stages.

As well, with the more virulent Delta variant set to become dominant in the U.S. in the coming months, though surely by the fall, and vaccine rollout slowing, underserved areas that are not well-vaccinated could see case upticks that ought to be investigated. With the country fully opening, it may be politically risky to reverse course in terms of virus-related restrictions which will only make the Biden administration's actions now more relevant in the future.

When it comes to getting the solid facts straight about the virus, which has regrettably been politicized from day one, there will only be more questions than answers if the U.S. does not allow for a full investigation into the origins of its outbreak, the government's response and its hundreds of domestic and international bio labs. With how much is at stake, Washington owes the international community answers on COVID-19.

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