- Tara McKelvey
- BBC reporter from Wellington, Ohio, USA
Although it was once dismissed as a conspiracy theory, the unconfirmed belief that a laboratory in Wuhan is the origin of the new crown virus has won trust. Now former U.S. President Trump is using this shift in ideas in the scientific community to agitate his supporters.
At a rally in Ohio on the night of June 26, Trump said triumphantly that he was proven right.
He mentioned his opinion that the new coronavirus was artificially manufactured in a scientific way in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“I said it came from Wuhan-it came from that laboratory,” he told his supporters. Both men and women at the scene wore red “Make America Great Again” hats and gathered at the scene southwest of Cleveland. He was talking about the source of this deadly virus.
Trump explained that people “become crazy” when he said this before. But after that, people looked at his views in a different way. “Now they say: it’s most likely from the Wuhan laboratory.” He said about his views on the virus leaked in the laboratory and the moment when science is taking this statement seriously, there was a voice of approval from the crowd. The former US president and his supporters were ridiculed for this view, but now they are different.
Until a few months ago, many reporters from media organizations such as the Washington Post and the New York Times viewed the “laboratory leak theory” with a disdainful attitude. The same applies to scientists in the United States.
In April 2020, Trump, who is still the President of the United States, said that people are carefully studying theories about the virus leaking in the laboratory.
At that time, the new crown virus was raging in the United States, and it was about to crush the US economy and destroy Trump’s political future. More than 600,000 people in the United States have died from this virus, and it continues to cause terrible deaths in the United States and around the world today.
The source of the virus is still unknown, and the laboratory leak is still just an opinion, an unproven hypothesis. For many people, however, this claim has become more credible, partly because the evidence to support other claims has not appeared.
A confidential U.S. intelligence report began circulating in the U.S. media in May this year. It said that three researchers from the Wuhan laboratory were treated in the hospital in November 2019, just shortly before the new coronavirus began to infect humans in this city.
Team members from the World Health Organization (WHO) travelled to Wuhan earlier this year. After that, scientists began to talk about the possibility that the virus came from a laboratory.
When Anthony Fauci, the US President’s COVID-19 response advisor, was interviewed by Katty Kay, a reporter from the US branch of BBC International News, he talked about the laboratory leak and the source of the virus, saying that the new coronavirus “It’s much more likely to happen naturally… But all of us keep an open mind until you can complete the solid proof of the connection… But most scientists believe… This is a natural occurrence. phenomenon.”
In May, US President Joe Biden ordered an intelligence investigation into the source of the virus. The results of the survey will be announced this summer.
Everyone who has worked in the Wuhan laboratory in China denied that there had been any leaks in the laboratory. Chinese officials expressed anger at the allegations and said no one knew where the virus came from. But earlier, China itself was also accused of obstructing investigations.
In the United States and other countries, the hypothesis about the leakage of Chinese laboratories has been criticized excitedly. Trump’s critics said he tried to shirk his responsibility for the epidemic by blaming Chinese officials for the disaster.
Most scientists in the United States have denied allegations of laboratory leaks, at least initially. The possibility they have been talking about is that the virus came from an animal, possibly a bat. However, after many months, this connection has not been confirmed.
However, conservative commentators picked up Trump’s Wuhan laboratory leak. This city is where the first confirmed cases appeared. Scientists have studied bats in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (Wuhan Institute of Virology) laboratory, and Trump claimed that the virus had leaked from a scientific research facility.
Various reports leaked by the laboratory are often circulated in the conservative media. As a result, Republicans are more likely to be familiar with this view than Democrats.According to the morning consulting company (Morning Consult polling)surveyApproximately 46% of Republicans say they often hear this view, compared to less than a quarter of the total number of Democrats.
From a political perspective, Trump has been emphasizing this early judgment on the virus. David Cohen, a professor of political science at the University of Akron, explained: “He wants to say, “Hey, I was right about this before. We don’t listen to me. It’s true.””
Trump wants to use his laboratory leaks to prove that he is a reliable source of information. This seems unlikely to convince many Democrats or get new supporters. He has made a lot of mistakes about the virus and made a lot of virtual statements, which were recorded by the media reporters.
In many parts of the United States, he is still very unpopular. However, he is using the controversy surrounding the source of the virus to show his supporters that he has won and defeated those who have attacked him. His supporters welcome this and welcome him.
Paul Rickey, an engineer from Grafton, Ohio, is one of Trump’s supporters. He was enthusiastic at the rally on Saturday and also expressed his views on Trump and Trump’s views on the source of the epidemic.
“I think Trump will feel that he has been proven correct, and everyone here feels that he has been proven correct,” Rich said.
Many people at the rally expressed that they had hoped that scientists would take Trump’s laboratory leaks seriously earlier.
“It comes from a laboratory. Where else can it come from?” said James Cropp, a factory worker living in Wellington, emotionally. He walked across the lawn, surrounded by songs by Elton John, one of Trump’s favorite musicians. Kropp said: “Why don’t you want to find the source of this disease?”
Kropp and others talked about various theories about the virus on this amusement park, repeatedly discussing the so-called “gain-of-function mutation” research, that is, research in the laboratory trying to enhance the function of the virus. This level of scientific discussion The minor meeting heard it at a political assembly. Almost everyone agrees: Trump has always been right, but the media just ignores him.
“He is absolutely correct,” Hope Baros said. She and her husband, Jeff, who is a union employee, came here from Knox, Indiana, to attend the rally. When talking about Trump’s statement about the virus, her husband leaned close to her and said, “Absolutely, 100% correct.”
A moment later, Michael Barnes, a contractor from Valparaiso, Indiana, walked over. He is wearing a white coat reminiscent of the rock singer Elvis Presley (Elvis Presley). “The media likes to make up their own facts,” Barnes said, “rather than relying on science.”
Others at the rally said they are happy to see that the scientific community has kept up with Trump’s analysis of the virus and its source.
Hayley Keith, a hairdresser who works in Wellington, said that liberals had mocked Trump’s views on the virus before: “It used to be, “Oh, he’s crazy,” and then all of them pointed at us. Say we are crazy. I don’t want to say that I told you before, but…” She fell silent. She felt that she had made it clear, as Trump said loudly on the stage that night, and his supporters were full of joy.