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Those who suppressed the lab-leak COVID theory need to be investigated

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Those who suppressed the lab-leak COVID theory need to be investigated

Every day, it seems, the evidence suggesting COVID-19 leaked from a Chinese lab grows. Except much of this evidence was apparent almost from the pandemic’s beginning. It’s outrageous that all discussion of it was successfully suppressed for more than a year — by those who stood to benefit from misleading the public.

There was plenty of circumstantial evidence to at least consider the lab-leak theory by February 2020. The disease first appeared in Wuhan, where a virology lab focused on studying coronaviruses. Beijing tightened its rules for biolab security in the early days of China’s epidemic, and disappeared doctors and others who sent warning signals, denying there was evidence (which it had) of human-to-human transmission. And from the start, it has refused to release records or allow independent investigations in Wuhan.

“But the most compelling reason to favor the lab-leak hypothesis is firmly based in science,” physician Steven Quay and physicist Richard Muller wrote in The Wall Street Journal over the weekend. COVID “has a genetic footprint that has never been observed in a natural coronavirus” — but has been used repeatedly by “gain of function” researchers supercharging viruses. That it was immediately contagious, without the usual evolutionary steps, “is unprecedented” — and also suggests it was man-made.

The authors remark that within weeks after the release of COVID’s genome in February 2020, a team of French and Canadian scientists noted in a paper that it “may provide a gain-of-function” capability “for efficient spreading” to humans.

But many virology insiders didn’t want “gain of function” work to get the blame, including Peter Daszak, the head of EcoHealth Alliance, which had actually used a US government grant to fund coronavirus work at the Wuhan lab.

Crucially, Daszak worked to suppress any lab-leak talk. He quietly organized a February 2020 statement in The Lancet, which he signed with 26 others, that declared, “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”

Only when 18 prominent researchers wrote a letter to Science magazine last month criticizing the World Health Organization’s whitewashing trip to China — on which Daszak was the only American — and calling for the lab-leak hypothesis to be taken “seriously” with a “proper investigation” did the tide turn. President Joe Biden, who’d previously dismissed the theory, ordered intelligence agencies to do a 90-day investigation.

He wasn’t the only one: As the Financial Times reports, many feared talk of the theory would help then-President Donald Trump “vilify China to deflect blame for his handling of the pandemic” and were “wary” of “angering influential scientists who had dismissed the theory.”

A pandemic should never have been politicized. In addition to pushing China to allow a real investigation, the world needs answers from those in science and government who stood in the way of even asking the right questions.

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Opinion

RuPaul is just getting started with more ‘Drag Race’ to come

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RuPaul is just getting started with more 'Drag Race' to come

All hail the reigning queen

Speaking with RuPaul is definitely not a drag.

Ru: “Oh, honey, my husband’s so f - - kin’ rich that I have no worries . . . I come from a f - - kin’ hillbilly father. Fans show up and I just f - - kin’ put it all on.

“I started in the late ’80s, in clubs when we all partied. I wasn’t hot then. I took off around ’92. Now my biggest competition’s myself and with all the Emmys I’ve gotten I have to stay interested. I just caught my second wind. For a while I took four years off and plain partied.

“I’m looking forever for more girls. The impetus is on color and fun. I’ve seen like 200 of them. But go find one f - - kin’ girl who works as hard as I do. I need to find someone I can actually stand to be around. You can tear all that makeup, wig-stuff and s - - t away but you got to be reborn. Let yourself go. Turn winter into summer. Your frequency has to shine. Some of those fat asses I’ve seen are like wood. And, listen, real celebrities are no different than my onstage queens. They’re all fake.

“Nobody talks about luck. Talent’s a help. But what makes anyone laugh is a great work ethic. Listen, I just open the door, then open a box of clothes and that’s it — bada bing.

“Jealousy is everybody. I’m now writing an autobiography. No bulls - - t. The real deal. I’ll tell all. I got nothing to hide. It’s a personal emotional story. I want to tell me. The true story. Life is pain. You can’t sidestep the pain of life.”

Miss Ru has another season of “Drag Race,” plus “All Stars,” plus a Paramount+ thing, plus she’s planning a movie, a game show and a New Zealand tour.

“And, y’know, I still have all my shmattas. I don’t want them on eBay. I’ll tour them. I’ll f - - kin’ put them in a museum.”

Get it booked

Read “The President’s Daughter.” Co-opting a VIP to grab another colorful background is so smart James Patterson should get a knighthood. And his co-author, a real unknown guy, Bill Clinton — his White House know-how is great. It’s an A-1 Father’s Day gift.

She’s a real gem

American Museum of Natural History president Ellen Futter just opened its new hall of minerals and gems and showed me its 5,000 bits of rock from nine countries. Little things like a 13-foot amethyst, 632-carat emerald, 600-pound Brazil topaz, upstate New York’s billion-year-old rock slab of garnet crystals, a half-ton stibnite crystal from China.

Ellen: “Our 200 in-house scientists, technicians, educators, designers look to produce specimens of Earth’s processes from the Big Bang, the creation of oxygen, the biodiversity of species, climate change, environmental things that threaten the Earth. We’re involved in different exhibitions throughout the world every eight days.”

Divorce’s final frontier?

What if anyone hitching an orbit ride gets married on Mars — what’s the jurisdiction? Forget promising the moon and stars — if they ever split, are they subject to New York matrimonial laws? Or is it like down the middle California? Or do they schlep in some judge from Saturn?

Questioning minds need to know.


With our pandemic, there’s now a plumber who won’t even make house calls.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York. 

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Opinion

Wuhan lab was batty and other commentary

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Wuhan lab was batty and other commentary

Pandemic journal: Wuhan Lab Was Batty

Despite the insistence of Peter Daszak — a “longtime partner of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and one of the most staunch and outspoken critics of the lab-leak theory” — the lab “did indeed have live bats within its walls,” reports National Review’s Jim Geraghty. Sky News Australia found May 2017 footage showing caged bats and one “hanging off the hat of” a researcher “wearing a mask and glasses but no other protective head covering.” The lab even “filed patents for bat cages.” Daszak, whose EcoHealth Alliance funneled government grants to the Wuhan lab, deleted tweets claiming it held no live bats but hasn’t “admitted he was wrong.” That lab “had more samples of bat viruses within its walls than any other building on earth,” yet Daszak and others claim the fact COVID originated in Wuhan “is simply coincidental.”

Libertarian: Biden’s Infrastructure Backfire

President Biden is focused on “all the money he plans to spend” on ­infrastructure, rather than on getting the biggest bang for the buck — which suggests he will be buying “a lot less infrastructure” than otherwise, argues Reason’s Christian Britschgi. The prez insists, for example, that jobs go to union workers, yet that could raise costs by as much as 22 percent. His team paused a Houston highway project on civil-rights grounds, possibly opening an “avenue for activists to slow” other projects. And the Bidenites are considering a rollback of Trump-era limits on environmental reviews. In the end, his team’s commitment to “outdated red tape” will “inevitably impede whatever it ends up trying to build.”

Border watch: Migrants’ COVID Threat

President Biden should have at least “waited until the deadly COVID-19 pandemic was over before reversing Trump’s border-security measures,” but he has instead enabled migrants to bring “the virus — including potentially dangerous variants — into the interior of the US,” laments Nolan Rappaport at The Hill. Team Biden excepted unaccompanied alien children from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s temporary order permitting “the rapid expulsion of aliens who would otherwise be held in crowded areas while being processed.” While the coronavirus is “still killing more than 200 people a day in the US,” Biden is admitting newcomers from low-vaccination countries without so much as a COVID test. The president vowed to “follow the science” in fighting the pandemic, and “politicians should keep their campaign promises.”

From the left: Manchin’s Favor to Dems

For all liberals’ rage at Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) “for opposing the For the People Act and for supporting the filibuster,” he may “be doing these liberal Democrats a favor,” contends John Judis at Talking Points Memo. The voting bill is a highly controversial and thus an unpopular “Christmas tree of progressive election measures” that includes “public funding of elections, . . . support for Congress being able to declare the District of Columbia a state and a panoply of regulations that would govern state elections — elections that are supposed to be the purview of states.” Meanwhile, “the presence of the filibuster forces Democrats in the Senate and the Biden administration to focus their efforts on popular economic measures,” since it makes it impossible to pass more culturally divisive ones that would harm the party’s candidates in 2022.

Conservative: Joe’s Smart Strategic Reshoring

Global supply chains have benefited consumers in the form of cheaper prices — but they have also “created new problems,” observes John Steele Gordon at Spectator USA. So kudos to Team Biden, which has “produced an important new report” seeking to address one main downside: America’s dependence on foreign powers for security-sensitive manufacturing needs. “The United States currently relies mostly on ­imports are of particular concern: semiconductors, high-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals and their active ingredients and critical and strategic materials.” As the early pandemic’s mask shortage showed, “great powers . . . need to be able to produce strategically important products within their own borders.” By recognizing the problem, the Biden report is an important first step.

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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Opinion

Yet more bloodshed and bedlam in NYC — as voters turn to Eric Adams for help

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Yet more bloodshed and bedlam in NYC — as voters turn to Eric Adams for help

With bullets flying and predators and punks punching in the parks, it was another weekend of Big Apple bedlam and bloodshed — with summer yet to start.

The nearly two dozen people shot over the weekend, at least two fatally, join the surge in gunfire victims that began soon after state lawmakers ditched bail requirements for all but the most violent suspects even as the city ushered in its own pro-crime legislation. Shootings have soared 70 percent over 2020; murders are up 50 percent over the same period in 2019.

“They passed a series of criminal-justice reform laws and bail reform that have proven disastrous,” fumes ex-NYPD boss Bill Bratton. “Crime . . . was at all-time lows before [they] started messing with it.”

In Washington Square Park, cops turned a blind eye as out-of-control partiers trolled them, boozed it up and blasted music well past the midnight closing time — despite neighborhood complaints. A violent loon playing “The Joker” whacked a 38-year-old man. Thugs knifed two men and pushed a woman to the ground and kicked her. Another crazy threw a Washington Square Diner cook into a glass window.

“What curfew?” snarked Izel Van Epps, 20. Park party promoter David Ortiz told The Post neighbors should move if they don’t like the lawlessness.

“The perps run this town,” a disheartened NYPD source told The Post. Yet a clueless Mayor Bill de Blasio downplayed the mayhem Monday, claiming a “natural” resolution will somehow emerge.

A growing number of New Yorkers want to take back their city now — and they’re turning to the Democratic mayoral candidate most likely to help them do that: Eric Adams.

A WNBC/Telemundo poll shows Adams leading all other candidates as the first choice of 24 percent of likely voters. That echoes his 23 percent in a Pix 11/Emerson College poll and 22 percent in NY1/Ipsos survey.

Alas, de Blasio will still keep the job through Jan. 1 — and there’s little “political will” now, sighs Bratton, to deal with the chaos, all but ensuring “a long, hot, violent summer.”

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