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March 21, 2023

COVID Came From a Raccoon Dog?

A tiny group of researchers, desperate to defy the overwhelming evidence of a lab-leak origin, is now suggesting that it came from an odd-looking local animal.

Another day, another desperate attempt by the Communist Chinese to deny responsibility for the lab leak that unleashed a COVID-19 pandemic that killed more than seven million worldwide.

This time, they want you to believe the culprit is a local critter called a raccoon dog. And leave it to The Atlantic to serve as the tribune for this latest tall tale — yes, the same leftist rag that wanted you to believe Donald Trump, on a 2018 visit to France to commemorate the end of World War I, called our honored dead “suckers” and “losers” and scrubbed a trip to a military cemetery because he thought the rain might mess up his hair.

Yeah, that Atlantic. And the scam artists who run it want you to pay to read the article which suggests that “raccoon dogs being illegally sold at the venue could have been carrying and possibly shedding the virus at the end of 2019.”

Could have.

“The Strongest Evidence Yet That an Animal Started the Pandemic,” blares the headline of the piece by Katherine Wu. And it’s followed by a teaser: “A new analysis of genetic samples from China appears to link the pandemic’s origin to raccoon dogs.”

As Wu breathlessly writes: “A new analysis of genetic sequences collected from the market shows that raccoon dogs being illegally sold at the venue could have been carrying and possibly shedding the virus at the end of 2019. It’s some of the strongest support yet, experts told me, that the pandemic began when SARS-CoV-2 hopped from animals into humans, rather than in an accident among scientists experimenting with viruses.”

Unfortunately for Wu and her ChiCom cheerleaders, this story trips and falls right out of the starting gate. As Matt Ridley writes at The Spectator:

The claim is sadly what we “experts” on this topic call a “grotesque exaggeration.” First, it’s not new: we reported that raccoon dogs were on sale in that market in our book Viral, which came out in 2021. Second, it shows that the raccoon dogs were there, not that they were infected with the virus. Third, the data behind the story are unavailable for inspection, having been deleted after they were briefly glimpsed by one scientist who appears to have grabbed them without permission of the author of those data.

As Wu continues: “A few weeks ago, the data appeared on an open-access genomic database called GISAID, after being quietly posted by researchers affiliated with the country’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. By almost pure happenstance, scientists in Europe, North America, and Australia spotted the sequences, downloaded them, and began an analysis.”

Got that? The new data just sort of conveniently appeared, put there on that open-access database by Chinese researchers. By almost pure happenstance, she’ll have us know.

When it comes to the origins of COVID-19, we go back to what’s obvious: When, as Jon Stewart put it, an outbreak of chocolatey goodness occurs in Hershey, Pennsylvania, we can be pretty confident from whence it came. The simplest explanation is usually the best one.

Sorry, folks, but this raccoon dog theory ain’t gonna hunt.

As we wrote two weeks ago, the preponderance of evidence for the lab-leak theory has become overwhelming. Johns Hopkins surgeon and public policy researcher Marty Makary’s recent congressional testimony, for example, was both definitive and devastating to the Left’s wet-market dead-enders:

The reason this is even an issue is that it’s embarrassing we funded the lab. If we had not funded the lab, 100 percent of Americans would say ‘This is obvious, this is a no-brainer.’ … The [Wuhan] doctors initially were arrested and forced to sign non-disclosure gag documents. The lab reports have been destroyed; they have not been turned over. The sequences reported from the lab to the NIH database were deleted by a request from Chinese scientists. … And two leading virologists, maybe the two top virologists in the United States … told Dr. Fauci on his emergency call in January of 2020, when he was scrambling soon after learning the NIH was funding the lab, they both said that it was likely from the lab. Both scientists changed their tunes days later in the media, and then both scientists received $9 million subsequent in funding from the NIH. It’s a no-brainer that it came from the lab.

If you’re in need of a deeply scientific explanation for why the virus couldn’t have occurred naturally, and therefore couldn’t have come from raccoon dogs, Dr. Robert Garry of Tulane University provides this: “I really can’t think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus or one very similar to it to nCoV where you insert exactly 4 amino acids 12 nucleotide that all have to be added at the exact same time to gain this function. That, and you don’t change any other amino acid in S2? I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature. Of course, in the lab it would be easy to generate the perfect 12 base insert that you wanted.”

What a coincidence, then, that the ChiComs were doing dangerous Fauci-funded gain-of-function research right down the street from where the outbreak occurred — at China’s only biosafety level 4 super lab.

But, no, they want us to believe it came from bats raccoon dogs.

The best efforts of The Atlantic and the natural-occurrence true-believers notwithstanding, Daniel Payne puts it this way at Not the Bee: “If a worldwide pandemic begins just a few miles from a low-security, dangerous, pathogen-enhancing infectious disease laboratory run by a bunch of ruthless adherents to a genocidal ideology, well, you’re an evil racist for thinking there’s any connection there.”

We’ll tune in again a few weeks from now. By then, the lab-leak deniers will be out with yet another crackpot theory.

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