In a House hearing on Wednesday on Examining Emergent BioSolutions' Failure to Protect Public Health and Public Funds, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) called for a full investigation into the origins of COVID-19, which emerged from Wuhan, China, early in 2020 and spread across the world at breakneck speed.
"Where did this thing start?" Jordan asked a question that Americans have been now asking for well over a year. "Did it jump from an animal to humans? Or was it a leak from from a lab? A lab in Wuhan, China? The American people would probably like to know. After all, they've had their liberties assaulted for the past year."
Jordan spoke about the World Health Organization's study and ensuing report, noting that Republicans asked the WHO to appear in the House to give an account of their findings, but the Democrats declined to allow the WHO to appear.
Jordan read out a section of the WHO's findings: "'It was extremely unlikely that the lab leak was the cause.' Just one problem with that finding, nobody believes them." HHS Secretary Becerra, Jordan said, wants to get to the bottom of this, as does Secretary of State Blinken, and as do others in the administration. But the House Democrats apparently do not.
"Journalists want to know," Jordan said, referencing the latest spate of articles from across the media spectrum that are revisiting this idea of a lab leak. One year ago the very notion that the virus leaked from a lab was considered offensive and outright wrong, without any reason. Fact-checkers throughout 2020 repeatedly undertook to squash the notion that the virus could have emerged from the Wuhan Virology Lab.
"The select committee on the coronavirus won't look into how coronavirus started," Jordan said, quoting Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI). "I find that fascinating. I find that amazing."
Jordan shared an article written by a former New York Times science writer for the New York Post, as well, that said: "For the lab escape scenario, the Wuhan origin for the virus is a no-brainer. Wuhan is home to China's leading center for coronavirus research. Researchers were genetically engineering bat coronaviruses to attack human cells. They were doing so under minimal safety conditions. If the virus, with uninspected infectiousness had been generated there, it's escape would be no surprise."
"Why don't Democrats in Congress want to know where these things started?" Jordan asked. Jordan said it might have something to do with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden's COVID-19 czar. The NIH gave some $600,000 to the Wuhan Virology Lab, likely bypassing oversights put in place. Jordan demanded to know the relationship between Fauci, the lab, and the funding.
Jordan noted that Sen. Ron Paul (R-KY) questioned Fauci on the Senate floor during a hearing, asking the tough questions as to what the origins of the virus were, and the US granting process that gave so much funding to the Wuhan Virology Lab.
"The SARS virus had a 15 percent mortality. We're fighting a pandemic that has about a one percent mortality. Can you imagine in a SARS virus that's been juiced up, and had viral proteins added to it to the spike protein, if that were released accidentally?" Paul asked Fauci, referring to the use of serial passaging in gain-of-function research.
Fauci denied it at the time, replying: "Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, and completely incorrect that the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology."
"Let me be explain to you why that was done. The SARS-COVID-1 originated in bats in China. It would have been irresponsible of us if we did not investigate the bat viruses and the serology to see who might have been infected in China," Fauci said, denying that gain-of-function research led to the creation of the illness.
"Several respected doctors disagree," Jordan said, "and say it was. How does this review board process work? Who sits on the board? The truth is: Nobody knows! The only thing we know about this board is its chairman, and we only know that because he disclosed it in January 2020." He named Dr. Chris Hassell, who is chairman of the board for the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity.
Jordan quoted Hassell speaking about what comes before his board for review: "I'll just probably be more frank than may be appropriate. I think it's too narrow."
Hassell then suggested that "the government could be funding gain-of-function research that his committee hasn't vetted."
Jordan wants Fauci to answer these questions, and also wants to know the answer to the "fundamental question: Why are we funding research in a lab in Wuhan, China in the first place? Why are we doing that? I think the American people would like to know, especially what they went through over the last year?"
"And just as important, Mr. Chairman, why won't this committee, the only committee in the United States Congress focussed solely on the coronavirus, why won't we look into how this thing started?" he questioned. "I think the American would like an answer to that question."