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Slandering China, hiding from truth -- Washington's dangerous tactics to hinder anti-virus fight

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-07-22 13:14

BEIJING -- Although the COVID-19 origin tracing is a serious scientific issue that requires cooperation of global scientists, US politicians have been unscrupulously selling conspiracy theories to smear China and hamper global anti-virus efforts.

However, when it comes to the call for opening Fort Detrick, the infamous US military biological laboratory, to let international experts access relevant information, those politicians remain silent and try to avoid the issue.

Last month, a group of Chinese netizens drafted a joint open letter to ask the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate the Fort Detrick lab. So far, over 750,000 Chinese netizens have signed the letter, and the number of co-signers continues to soar.

The Fort Detrick lab, which is located in the US state of Maryland, was briefly shut down in 2019 after an inspection by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The lab claimed that the reason for its shutdown was "ongoing infrastructure issues with wastewater decontamination."

However, many in the world have since then doubted the US explanation. In the open letter to the WHO, the co-signers pointed out that there had been a leakage incident in the Fort Detrick lab in the autumn of 2019 right before the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic.

"However, detailed information had been withheld by the US under excuses of national security," the letter said.

On many occasions, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has called for a thorough probe into the origin of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, the reasons and parties to be held accountable for the poor performance of the United States in epidemic containment, and problems existing in Fort Detrick and over 200 US bio-labs overseas.

"These actions initiated by the pubic and media in fact have raised those questions long hovering over the mind of all, which the United States has kept in dark," Zhao said.

"Here are questions for the United States to answer: What is the link between Fort Detrick and the unexplained outbreaks of respiratory disease including EVALI? Why hasn't the United States invited the WHO in for an investigation into Fort Detrick? Why can't origins study be conducted in the United States just as in China? The United States should show transparency and tell as much as they know about all the questions and respond to the concerns of the outside world," Zhao said.

In January this year, international experts from the WHO and Chinese experts formed a joint team and conducted joint research for 28 days in China. On March 30, the WHO issued a joint report, which came to clear conclusions and provided science-based recommendations for the next-phase global origins study.

It concluded that lab leak is extremely unlikely, and recommended conducting further research around earlier cases globally and further understanding the role of cold chains and frozen foods in the transmission of the virus.

Rather than respecting and upholding the conclusions and recommendations of the report, US politicians have since then stepped up their smear campaign against China.

To justify their groundless accusations against China, some even suggested that since there is no substantial evidence supporting the nature origin of COVID-19, the so-called lab leak theory deserves consideration.

Those people should keep in mind that research is usually a plodding, tedious process and the probe into the origins of COVID-19 might take years.

In fact, as noted even by US media including The New Republic, scientists have spent about 13 years determining the origin of the SARS epidemic, and the origin of Ebola has not been determined yet, although the disease has caused epidemics since the 1970s.

By spreading the conspiracy theories as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the United States, those US politicians are endangering the US own efforts to fight the coronavirus.

Though the US administration is scrambling to push forward its goal of vaccinating as many Americans as possible, The New Yorker recently warned that the country was "losing Americans to a war that could already have ended."

"Six months after the COVID vaccines became available, more than forty per cent of American adults have not been fully vaccinated," the US magazine noted, quoting studies by the US CDC as saying that "nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the United States are now avoidable."

As noted by The Chicago Sun-Times, "hundreds of millions of people around the world are begging for more vaccines. Yet millions of Americans continue, against all reason and the best scientific evidence, to refuse the shot."

The Boston Herald reported recently that COVID-19 cases in the United States had leapt 47.5 percent in recent weeks, adding that among the big risks to Americans right now are "unvaccinated health care workers."

With US politicians fueling conspiracy theories amid the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, it is not hard to imagine the resistance to science by the US public.

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