The Covid-19 origin story has massive political consequences


The move deepened a mystery encompassing the pernicious spread of a deadly pathogen, an intricate epidemiological puzzle, the opacity of a totalitarian system and the bitter overtones of a superpower rivalry. It will fan doubts about the World Health Organization’s capacity to tease out lessons from the current crisis in order to prevent future pandemics.

In the US, it leaves both the former Trump administration and the Biden White House facing calls for transparency about their efforts to establish how the virus started and whether politics tainted their investigative efforts. If it turns out the virus did escape from a laboratory, former President Donald Trump may be able to claim some vindication. But it would also highlight how his repeated habit of trashing the truth and bending intelligence to suit his own political ends shattered his credibility on this and other issues.

The focus on the laboratory theory in recent days multiplied calls in…

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