This title may seem a bit over the top, but for those not paying attention to the Trump media bubble they may not realize how completely out of control and over the top this has become. It is topped off by Trump himself going after Dr. Anthony Fauci big time in his speech to the NC GOP earlier this evening for having urged people to wear masks and for supposedly covering up the supposed lab source of the coronavirus in Wuhan. But this follows what has become an almost all the time attack on Fox, Newsmax, and OAN on nearly all their shows, with people now claiming that Dr. Fauci (along with Obama) actively encouraged and aided the development of Covid-19 in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). He is personally guilty for every person dead in the US as well as every job lost due to the pandemic, and a string of prominent GOP politicians are now calling for his firing, if not more. No fault or blame should lie on Trump at all. This tirade reached an especially bad peak on Friday evening when Donald Trump, Jr. sent out an Instagram post in which he looked forward to being able to say "Dr. Fauci did not kill himself" with apparent pleasure. This has truly gone way over the top.
The basis for all this is that indeed NIH did provide some funding that Fauci had some signing off on connection with, did not initiate it or lead it or inspire it, that did support some research on virus research at the WIV, one of the world's leading sites for such research, with some US scientists involved in this research with some at the lab, especially Dr. Shi Zhengli. But this financial assistance was relatively minor and apparently limited to supporting the gathering of some past data. Even if the virus was created out of "gain of function" or other research there, this assistance would have played a trivial role in that. And while it is now being taken for granted that for sure the virus was so created in that lab, the most that can be said is that as of now that cannot be ruled out and that US intel agencies are looking at that as well as other possible sources of where the virus originated and how it got into the human population as a pandemic.
Of course the main alternative, pushed for some time last year by a number of scientists as clearly the likely explanation, as been one involving a zoonotic transmission from bats to some intermediate animal, with pangolins the leading suspect, with such intermediate animal then transmitting it to humans in a wet market, possibly the Huanwan one in Wuhan that certainly was a very early superspreader site for Covid-19. But it is not clear pangolins were actually for sale there, and research on this alternative has apparently not gotten anywhere, with this still sitting as a strong possibility with many viewing it as still the most likely source (or some variation on it). It has also come out that the person who organized a prominent article in Lancet early last year arguing this was almost certainly it and definitely not any lab, Dr. Peter Daszak, has been involved in research with people at WIV, and thus subject to conflict of interest problems. As it is, some who supported that view last year are now saying that a lab origin is possible and should be further investigated.
Curiously, what looks to me to be a highly likely source, possibly the most likely, has received only minimal attention, although it has gotten some renewed publicity with a front page story on June 4 in the Washington Post by Eva Dou and Lily Kuo. While Dr. Shi of the highly secure WIV has loudly and publicly declared the virus did not come from her lab, no such loud denials have come from another researcher, Tian Junhua, associate chief lab technician at the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (WCDC), a lab located only 500 meters from the Huanwan market and operating at a much lower level of security than the WIV. Dr. Tian is the "bat hunter" who has explored many sites including caves in search of animals with viruses, and apparently brought back as many as 155 bat viruses to the WCDC from a cave where several people became seriously ill, with Dr. Tian himself having been spattered with bat blood and urine there while not wearing protective gear Dr. Tian has made no public statements and is currently refusing to do so. That one of these viruses might have infected somebody at his lab and gotten out to the market or elsewhere is certainly a possibility, with this case sort of lying between the Fauci-did-it-artificially-through-WIV story favored by the racist Trump gang and the it-came-purely-out-of-nature-through-an-intermediate-animal story favored by those turned off by the Trump gang push.
Of course there are a lot of loose ends and rumors, such as one that there may have been three people who go seriously ill possibly from it, in November 2019 at the WIV. Without doubt the Chinese government should facilitate and encourage all parties to help track down who were the earliest cases to try to determine the origins of this. However, this does not seem to be happening, with if anything just the opposite the case, with reports that some Chinese posting reports on all this being suppressed.
I note that in the SARS pandemic of 2002-03 we saw both sources. The initial outbreak of that pandemic looks to have been the zoonotic route from the wild through civet cats. But then a second round, smaller than the first, was due to two leaks out of a Beijing lab.
Pretty much anything is possible here, and unfortunately I fear we may never be able to get to the bottom of this. But the current wave of attacks on Anthony Fauci rolling through the right wing mediasphere has become completely outrageous, with this recent Instagram post by Donald Trump, Jr. really going beyond despicable.