By John Mac Ghlionn
Was the Sars-CoV-2 virus created in a Chinese lab? To some prominent authors, the answer is undoubtedly yes. To other authors, like George Calhoun, a professor of business at Stevens Institute of Technology, the answer appears to be yes.
In a number of excellent pieces for Forbes, Dr. Calhoun has outlined the many ways in which China—more specifically, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—has gone to great lengths to hide important data from the rest of the world. I reached out to Calhoun to get his opinion on the virus, truth, lies, and everything in between.
Although he claims to be no expert on the origin of the virus, Calhoun is an astute man, someone who reads “very carefully.” When he first heard that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had “been leading in the study of bat coronaviruses,” it struck him, almost immediately, “that the lab and the outbreak had to be connected. The coincidence was too obvious,” he said. Indeed.
Calhoun continued, “To me the ‘lab leak’ theory should have been the default hypothesis, or the ‘null hypothesis’ as statisticians would say, to be thoroughly investigated.”
Instead, many prominent commentators chose to dismiss it for reasons that are not entirely clear.
Ever since the world became aware of the goings-on in Wuhan, “the details coming out have (in my opinion) continue to shift the emphasis towards the lab leak theory,” added Calhoun.
We then discussed “Viral,” a book by Matt Ridley and Alina Chan. Over the past few months, the book has gone viral—and for good reason.
Calhoun believes that the authors “do a good job, with tremendous detail, fleshing out the two theories zoonotic and lab leak.” Moreover, “they make an honest effort to compare them fairly, but the balance leans increasingly towards the lab leak.”
Another “damning factor leading to this conclusion is the incredible stonewalling campaign by the Chinese.” According to Calhoun, those in Beijing are behaving “very much as though they have something terrible to hide.” The whole “national pride” argument “for not cooperating just doesn’t hold water at this point, given the immense damage that the virus has wrought globally.”
To this, I responded: “We really shouldn’t be surprised that the CCP has attempted to deceive the world. After all, dogs bark and liars lie. Should any media outlets in the West take blame for enabling Beijing? By this, I mean a failure to report on the questionable figures that have been coming out of China since early 2020? In the U.S., for example, it seems like people got distracted by Donald Trump’s language (Wuhan virus, etc.), instead of focusing on more important details, like the CCP’s dishonesty.”
I then asked for his thoughts.
Calhoun responded, “I think a lot of the media definitely got distracted by their animus against Trump, and assumed that whatever his position might be, it was bad and wrong and they should uphold the opposite.”
He continued: “I remember that when Trump put a ban on travel from Wuhan and China very early, on Jan. 31, 2020, he was attacked as ‘xenophobic’ by President Biden, which kind of set the ground rules for the mainstream media. … Even as Biden came around to support the travel ban, the hesitancy against criticizing China was baked into the media mindset.”
Was this intentional or just a case of blind ignorance? This is for readers to decide.
However, it’s painfully clear that, in early 2020, the virus became a political issue rather than a medical one.
Calhoun finds “it amazing that the sort of simple analysis” he has performed in his many columns, all “based on public data (no real digging required), has not been done much until quite recently. Even ‘The Economist’ really didn’t draw out the implications, although their data is very clear. It really is 2 plus 2 equals 4—and the media hasn’t (by and large) done those calculations.”
I then asked Calhoun for his thoughts on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) role in enabling the CCP, especially at the start of the pandemic.
“As to the WHO—again, I am not an expert so my view is conventional and based on general public information,” responded Calhoun, before adding that the organization seems like a setup “with all the dysfunctions of the U.N., and the like—too hard to find the consensus among its members without compromising an awful lot—well-meaning, but not effective.”
Here, I somewhat disagree with Calhoun. Although the WHO may very well be run in a haphazard fashion, it appears to have knowingly allowed the CCP to control the virus origin narrative. I would associate many words with the WHO, but “well-meaning” is not one of them. Why? Because it appears to have caved to the CCP’s “request” to ignore the possibility of a lab leak.
The WHO may have had a road to Damascus moment when a leading adviser accused the CCP of a massive cover-up. But the accusations came far too late—the damage had already been done. So many livelihoods and lives had already been lost. Some believe that the WHO has blood on its hands.
As I write this, hundreds of people around the world are seeking compensation from both China and the WHO. Will they be successful? I hope so, but I have my doubts. So does Calhoun. He believes that their efforts “will be something like people trying to sue Saudi Arabia for 9/11 damages.” In other words, “it will be great political fodder, but unlikely to pay off in reality,” he said. Let’s hope that Calhoun is wrong. Sadly, he’s probably correct.
In all likelihood, the CCP will never pay a price for its deceit and lies.