Why is the question of the origin of COVID-19 such an important one?
I think it is because of the implications on a meta level for the dominant technological/scientific/progress paradigm.
If Covid originated in a wet market, through human / animal intermixing, then we can say it is cau sed by overpopulation and our mistreatment of animals/the environment.
This meshes with the standard liberal progressive paradigm, where science comes to the rescue with vaccines etc.
If Covid originated in a lab due to human interference (and if it turns out that the “gain of function” research into bat Coronaviruses was supported by both the Chinese and the US, as seems to be the case), then the progress narrative becomes murkier, and establishment science becomes something we must start to interrogate.
For me, Rand Paul’s interrogation of Fauci was, indeed, eye-opening. While I never thought Fauci was perfect,
I have never been convinced that he is somehow a villain, as Right Wing conspiracy theories would have it. However, it was quite clear that he wasn’t willing to admit that the US appears to have supported the gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Those who identify as Liberals / Democrats have been shockingly unable to question the establishment narratives. Perhaps because to do so is to begin to undermine the myth of the “Church of Science,” which has the status of a religious faith. I realize that science and technology have accomplished many amazing things.
They have extended the human lifespan (although this has to be unpacked: while the lifespan was under fifty years old at the start of the Twentieth Century, that was also to some extent a result of modern industrial society.
When I visited the Amazon in Ecuador, I was amazed to see indigenous elders in their seventies, eighties, perhaps even nineties able to climb trees and march for hours effortlessly through the forest).
They have connected us across the world via communications media, etc. But our progress has also been at the expense of the natural world, which is starting to crumble around us.
When we look back at the history of scientific and industrial progress, we also see the principle of unintended consequences: Fossil fuels were an amazing discovery but have led to accelerated warming.
Plastics were considered an amazing advance but have contributed to massive cancer epidemics and pollution that degrades ecosystems. Genetically modified organisms and pesticides seem to be causing the disappearance of insects including bees and butterflies (along with perhaps EMFs). Etc.
Every new level of technology seems to create more complex problems which then require more complicated and futuristic technologies to solve. This appears to be the “progress trap.” At some point, it seems plausible that we will reach a point where we can’t solve our way out of our problems in this way.
This seems to be the case already with climate change and the 6th extinction: We don’t have answers commensurate with the scale and speed of the emergency.
So if it is the case that Covid is an inadvertent catastrophe created directly by human interference, this could change public opinion about biotechnology, etc. This is why it has been downplayed until now. In fact, a few years back, a number of virologists said that the gain of function research into bat coronaviruses at Wuhan should be stopped because it was only creating a new “non-natural risk” in the environment. The research stopped for a few years and then restarted.
Suddenly, Science doesn’t look like a hero anymore. In fact, quite the opposite.
As for the vaccines, I continue to have deep concerns and misgivings.
These are still experimental treatments that did not go through standard protocols. I am hearing many secondhand reports of healthy adults suddenly dying or having mysterious symptoms days, weeks or months after getting the vaccines. I assume we have all seen the articles about blood clots and strokes, which led some countries to suspend certain vaccines. In Connecticut alone, 18 young people developed heart problems after taking the vaccine. We still do not know the long term effects of these treatments.
The CDC just announced the results of a new study that shows that mask wearing outside has close to zero effect on transmitting Cvd infections. This means the world’s population was inconvenienced for a year for no reason.
Across the street from my apartment, I watch construction workers in 95 degrees heat laboring outside forced to wear masks when nobody is near them, which seems a kind of unnecessary torment. Or perhaps there was a reason: All the inconveniences softened people up to be ready to take these experimental treatments, which basically turn them into human Guinea pigs.