On the other hand, if you've listened to Osterholm's interviews you'll quickly realize that as a top level adviser to most recent administrations and internationally recognized expert in epidemiology, Osterholm is adept at avoiding political judgments in his answers. For example, he did recently forthrightly state that he expects new "explosions" of Covid-19 in China, but slipped away from stating that Chinese stats can't be trusted.
And the same goes for most mainstream publications--their denials of bioengineering at the origins of Covid-19 are largely if not uniformly tendentious and unconvincing. Earlier today I quoted an article from The Atlantic which quoted an expert who sought to distance himself from "conspiracy theorists" while sort of giving the game away:
The new virus certainly seems to be effective at infecting humans, despite its animal origins. The closest wild relative of SARS-CoV-2 is found in bats, which suggests it originated in a bat, then jumped to humans either directly or through another species. (Another coronavirus found in wild pangolins also resembles SARS-CoV-2, but only in the small part of the spike that recognizes ACE2; the two viruses are otherwise dissimilar, and pangolins are unlikely to be the original reservoir of the new virus.) When SARS-classic first made this leap, a brief period of mutation was necessary for it to recognize ACE2 well. But SARS-CoV-2 could do that from day one. “It had already found its best way of being a [human] virus,” says Matthew Frieman of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
This uncanny fit will doubtlessly encourage conspiracy theorists: What are the odds that a random bat virus had exactly the right combination of traits to effectively infect human cells from the get-go, and then jump into an unsuspecting person? “Very low,” Andersen says, “but there are millions or billions of these viruses out there. These viruses are so prevalent that things that are really unlikely to happen sometimes do.”
Here's the problem with this determined effort to find a non-controversial, natural explanation for Covid-19's origins. We know for a fact that the Chinese--just like US scientists--have engaged in "dual-use gain-of-function" research for years, and the only "safe" place to do that in China is the Wuhan lab. In fact, Osterholm has an entire chapter in his book devoted to the very real and very scary dangers of "dual-use gain-of-function" research, so it's hardly conspiracy theory to suspect that Osterholm's openly expressed fears have been realized.
A blog that takes a very deep dive into all that appeared today: Logistical and Technical Exploration into the Origins of the Wuhan Strain of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Check it out. It's quite long, so I'll only quote the concluding few paragraphs:
Given the above facts, either:
– A coronavirus spontaneously mutated and jumped to humans at a wet market or deep in some random bat cave which just so happened to be 20 miles from China’s only BSL-4 virology lab, a virus with an unusually slippery never-before-seen genome that’s evading zoological classification, that may be as much as twenty-times more contagious than SARS and whose spike-protein region which allows it to enter host cells holds an unique HIV-like signature with the concomitant clinical response, that somehow managed to infect its patient zero who had no connection to this market, and then be so fined-tuned to humans that it’s gone on to create the single greatest public health crisis in Chinese history with approaching 100 million citizens locked-down or quarantined – also causing Mongolia to close its border with its largest trading partner for the first time in modern history and Russia to ban Chinese citizens from entry into their country.
– Or, Chinese scientists failed to follow correct sanitation protocols possibly while in a rush leading up to an international virological conference and during their boisterous holiday season, something that had been anticipated since the opening of the BSL-4 lab and has happened at least four times previously, and accidentally released this bio-engineered Wuhan Strain – likely created by scientists researching immunotherapy regimes against bat coronaviruses, who’ve already demonstrated the ability to perform every step necessary to bio-engineer the Wuhan Strain COVID-19 – into their population, and now the world. As would be expected, this virus appears to have been bio-engineered at the spike-protein genes which was already done at UNC to make an extraordinarily virulent coronavirus. Chinese efforts to prevent the full story about what’s going on from getting out are because they want the scales to be even since they’re now facing a severe pandemic and depopulation event. No facts point against this conclusion.
An immediate international moratorium on all dual-use gain-of-function research must be instated and all existing experimentation must be autoclaved, only greed and hubris have ever been served by attempting this type of genetic manipulation. Humanity does not need a vaccine against HIV derived from a coronavirus, nor do we need to be tinkering with genetic material that holds the potential to wipe a significant percentage of us off the face of the Earth.
Failure to embrace such a ban may effectively become a death sentence for our species, assuming we aren’t already on our last mile.