Facts about the United States failing to address the COVID-19 pandemic, spreading the virus, and shifting blame
To divert the attention of the international community from the origins tracing of the virus, the U.S. side has repeatedly accused China of interfering with the investigations by launching an information war and spreading fake information. In fact, China's request for the United States to accept the WHO's origins-tracing investigation is based entirely on public reports by U.S. media. According to these reports, it is an indisputable fact that the United States has failed to address the pandemic.
During the fight against COVID-19, a series of problems emerged within the United States: politics overrode science; the government made mistakes in terms of decision-making; there was lack of coordination on a national level; measures against COVID-19 were not implemented well; there was also inadequate testing; and there was lack of information disclosure.
Internationally, the United States has become the largest spreader of COVID-19, suspect source of the pandemic, and disruptor of the global fight against COVID-19. On the issue of COVID-19 origins tracing, the United States has so far refused to respond to reasonable concerns raised by the international community over such issues as Fort Detrick, the biological laboratory of the University of North Carolina, and more than 200 overseas U.S. biological labs, in an attempt to cover up the truth and evade responsibility. The United States owes the world a fair explanation. Here are just a few cases in point.
1. Fort Detrick in the United States is the base of the U.S. biological militarization activities. The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in the base has the most prominent problem, with many suspicions related to SARS-CoV-2. The military base has inherited the devilish legacy of Unit 731 of the Imperial Japanese Army, which waged an aggression war against China. The international community has long had concerns over Fort Detrick's illegal, non-transparent, and unsafe activities.
◆Fort Detrick was the center of the U.S. biological weapons program in history, with the USAMRIID as the main research entity. Fort Detrick, also known as the U.S. government's darkest experiment center, continued the development and storage of biological warfare agents even after the United States renounced all offensive biological weapons programs in 1969 and ratified the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1975.
The USAMRIID, which has the U.S. military's sole BSL-4 lab, stores almost all known deadly pathogens, such as Ebola, anthrax, smallpox, yersinia pestis, and coronaviruses including SARS. Several members of the USAMRIID staff have conducted researches related to SARS, MERS, and other coronaviruses. In 2003, after the SARS outbreak, the USAMRIID worked with Ralph Baric's team from the University of North Carolina and developed a novel reverse genetic system for synthesis of a full-length cDNA of the SARS-CoV, which was published in a paper. The paper claimed that within two months after obtaining the RNA of the SARS virus, the full-length cDNA of the virus was successfully synthesized, which shows that as early as 2003, these institutes already had advanced capabilities to synthesize and modify SARS-related coronavirus.
Academic papers: Methods for Producing Recombinant Coronavirus, Cynomolgus Macaque as an Animal Model for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, MERS-CoV Pathogenesis and Antiviral Efficacy of Licensed Drugs in Human Monocyte-Derived Antigen- Presenting Cells, Reverse Genetics with a Full-length Infections cDNA of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.
In 2007, the USAMRIID published a paper on the Journal of Virology about using the Ebola virus to conduct animal testing on rhesus monkeys. The virus strains used in the experiment were obtained through reverse genetics techniques with the furin cleavage site specifically removed so as to observe changes in virulence of the viruses. The furin cleavage site is believed to be one of the reasons that makes SARS-CoV-2 highly virulent. In 2018, the USAMRIID carried out experiments on African green monkeys, which were experimentally infected with MERS-CoV to help study viral pathogenesis and develop vaccines. After the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the USAMRIID and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research worked together to develop a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
Academic papers: Proteolytic Processing of the Ebola Virus Glycoprotein is not Critical for Ebola Virus Replication in Nonhuman Primates, African Green Monkey Model of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Infection.
◆Multiple bio-safety incidents have occurred in the USAMRIID.
In 2001, five people were killed in an anthrax attack in the United States, and the suspect was a former employee of the USAMRIID. In 2009, U.S. officials found during an inspection of the USAMRIID that some pathogens studied in the facility were not listed in its database. Part of the lab's research was suspended as a result.
In May 2014, the U.S. Army was sued for loopholes in Fort Detrick's disposal of toxic waste, which caused the level of trichloroethylene in the area to be 42 times as high as the federal standard. In February 2015, 106 families and individuals from Frederic County of Maryland filed a class action lawsuit against Fort Detrick for harm and death caused by exposure to hazardous materials from Fort Detrick and asked for 750 million U.S. dollars in compensation. However, the U.S. government and the Army have consistently denied wrongdoing.
During an inspection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the USAMRIID's BSL-4 lab in June 2019, serious violations were found. The CDC asked the lab to be shut down in July 2019, with all research work halted. The CDC report laid out seven violations:
First: The USAMRIID systematically failed to ensure implementation of biosafety and containment procedures. Specifically, lab personnel were found to leave a door open while removing large amounts of biohazardous waste, greatly increasing the risk of pathogens escape and environment contamination.
Second: An individual partially entered a room multiple times without the required respiratory protection while other people in that room were performing procedures with a non-human primate on a necropsy table, resulting in a respiratory occupational exposure to select agent aerosols.
Third: The lab did not ensure that employee training was properly verified when it came to toxins and select agents, making it unable to assess whether lab personnel understood and commanded necessary skills.
Fourth: Lab personnel did not wear gloves when disposing of biohazardous waste.
Fifth: The lab failed to safeguard against unauthorized access to lab waste. Contaminated personal protective equipment was stored in specific area, but such area did not limit access to those with access approval.
Sixth: Lab personnel did not maintain an accurate or current inventory for a toxin.
Seventh: A lab building and its interior facilities did not have a sealed surface to facilitate cleaning and decontamination. Cracks were found around a conduit box, in the ceiling, and in the seam above a biological safety cabinet.
The lab resumed operation in November 2019, but what had been done to address the violations was not made public.
◆After the lab was shut down, outbreaks of respiratory diseases occurred in nearby communities. In July 2019, 54 people in Greenspring, Virginia displayed respiratory symptoms including cough and pneumonia. The community is only one hour's drive from Fort Detrick. According to a Virginia state health official, the number of reported respiratory cases in the area went up nearly 50 percent in the summer of 2019.