The Fort Detrick mystery: What is US afraid of?

By Niu Wenxin (People's Daily Online) 20:19, July 29, 2021

Infographic: Xu Zihe/GT

Having had enough of the US’ attempts to instigate another phase of virus origin tracing, Chinese net users signed a petition, calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick.

As predicted, the number of people signing the petition expanded exponentially, and when it hit 10 million, the server hosting the online petition was attacked twice by IP addresses from the US. Fortunately, the server withstood the attacks and has now basically resumed operations. But the probability of future attacks against the website launched by certain forces attempting to cover up the truth of Fort Detrick remains high.

What is Fort Detrick? It is a US military-run chemical laboratory, which also keeps bacterial warfare data of Unit 731, a notorious Japanese biological and chemical warfare unit during World War II.

In July 2019, two retiree communities near Fort Detrick reported pneumonia of unknown cause, and two months later in the state of Maryland, where the lab is located, cases of “e-cigarette pneumonia” were reported, and the number of confirmed cases of the disease started to grow exponentially.

At almost the same time, northern Virginia and Wisconsin both reported cases of “pneumonia of unknown cause”. The disease was later diagnosed as “e-cigarette pneumonia” and became a pandemic in the US.

It is worth noting that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order to halt research at Fort Detrick in July 2019, almost right after the pneumonia of unknown cause was reported.

As for the reason why the lab was closed, the CDC explained that there had been a lab leak, but didn’t disclose what was leaked, how bad the leak was, or whether the leak was a cause of the “e-cigarette pneumonia”. To this day, the closure of the lab remains a mystery, as the US refuses to disclose further details, using ”national security" concerns as an excuse.

In fact, information released so far indicated that COVID-19 occurred in the US at least one month earlier than in China. According to an article published by a US media outlet on June 15, 2021, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) collected 24,000 blood samples from multiple locations across the country at the beginning of 2020, and found novel coronavirus antibodies in at least 9 blood samples.

More importantly, the NIH research proved that the novel coronavirus had already spread in the US at a low rate as early as December 2019, one month earlier than the time the virus was discovered in Wuhan.

According to reports by the Palm Beach Post and USA Today published in 2020, COVID-19 infected as many as 171 people in Florida as long as two months before officials announced it had come to the state, and 103 of the early patients hadn’t traveled abroad.

Why doesn’t the US investigate the source of the virus in its own country, and why does it refuse to accept a third-party investigation? It is afraid of an investigation because it will be a slap in the face of the US.

The US has to face the reality sooner or later. After all, it is facing doubts regarding COVID-19 from at least 2 billion people around the world. It must answer all relevant questions, and as an upholder of the principle of fairness and transparency, it must allow scientists from around the world to conduct investigations into the emergence and development of COVID-19 in the US.

The article is edited and translated from Chinese, source: China Economic Weekly

(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)


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