For the last year and full duration of the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans led by Donald Trump have referred to the virus as the "China virus" and Trump himself promoted the idea that the virus came from a Chinese laboratory. Trump's top advisers including
Ron Vara Peter Navarro appeared on national television and theorized that the virus was intentionally spread by China.
The racist speculation and conspiracy theorizing has led to wave of anti-Asian hate crimes, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has now ruled out the laboratory theory.
Moreover, say they the virus most likely did come from bats, but no one got the virus from eating a bat in the manner that popular theory has told us. They say the virus spread from bats to a different animal before it spread to humans who consumed the intermediate animal.
GENEVA (AP) — A joint World Health Organization-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,” according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press.
The team proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis — a speculative theory that was promoted by former U.S. President Donald Trump among others. [...]
The report cited several reasons for all but dismissing that possibility. It said that such laboratory accidents are rare, that the labs in Wuhan were well-managed and there is no record of viruses closely related to the coronavirus in any laboratory before December 2019.
The report is based largely on a visit by a WHO team of international experts to Wuhan.
There are certainly people such as Peter Navarro who openly theorized that the pandemic was deliberately created by China because they're stone-cold racists, but for Trump himself I think it was just an attempt to divert blame from himself.
We all know Trump to be a racist, too, but it wasn't the first or even hundredth time Trump had tried to divert responsibility from himself onto China. We're still involved in Trump's trade war today in the spring 2021 because China was his scapegoat for having no economic policy to speak of aside from tax cuts for the rich.
I don't know if the WHO report on the origins of the virus will put the theories to rest, but one can hope it will reduce hate crimes.