A SovereignPH.com EXCLUSIVE
A survey of Covid-19 implications from an international perspective
by Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan
US loses bigtime
On April 15, 2020, or barely a week WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus appealed: “Please Don’t Politicize This Virus,” US President Donald Trump announced the end of US funding, amounting to about $400-million per annum, to the World Health Organization.
As many have commented, ending US support to the WHO at this time is “criminal,” as it leaves billions of the earth’s poor to the mercies of disease, ill-health and epidemics.
This further proves that the US is not just politicizing the pandemic but unmistakably sealing the fate of the US as a superpower in the world, and validating the bigotry it has attached to the contagion.
But there is hardly any apprehension that the WHO will be left to suffer, as many certainly stepped in to fill the gap. The United Kingdom has already pledged to donate £200-million. The Gates Foundation also announced an extra $150m (£120m) donation.
What is more forthcoming is that China, which has already shown immense magnanimity in sending anti-Covid-19 aid to over 100 countries, including the United States, will step in to fill in any deficit.
The Guardian of London said Donald Trump found himself isolated among western leaders, as the rest of G7 expressed in a virtual summit strong support for the World Health Organization after the US’s suspension of its funding.
Health officials around the world have condemned the US president’s decision to stop his country’s funding for the UN agency, amid a crisis that has left more than 2 million people infected and almost 140,000 dead.
“US’s global reputation hits rock-bottom over Trump’s corona virus response,” The Guardian added to its headline.
Immediately after the hour-long conference call, a spokesman for Angela Merkel said that the German chancellor had argued that “the pandemic can only be overcome with a strong and coordinated international response”.
Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said: “WHO is an important part of that collaboration and coordination. We recognize that there have been questions asked, but at the same time it is really important we stay coordinated as we move through this.”
The White House, however, insisted there was support for US criticism of the WHO in the G7 call, saying “much of the conversation centered on the lack of transparency and chronic mismanagement of the pandemic by the WHO. The leaders called for a thorough review and reform process.”
The US accused WHO director general, Dr. Ghebreyesus, as unwilling to confront the Chinese at the start of the outbreak, alleging WHO to be “China-centric” and threatening to cut off $400 million American funding annually.
It appears that Trump was able to cast doubts among other G7 leaders had about some aspects of the WHO’s role and China’s response to the coronavirus. The six other members, however, argued that the middle of the coronavirus pandemic is the wrong moment to disrupt the organization’s leadership by blowing a surprise hole in its finances.
The WHO Director-General earlier made the appeal not to politicize the coronavirus after President Donald Trump of the United States, under heavy criticism in his own home turf for alleged late action on the pandemic, lashed out at the WHO and called the coronavirus the “Chinese-virus.”
The racist remark took a backlash from the American public and apparent behind-the-scenes talks forced Trump to relent. Cooperation between China and the US has since been restored, with the US receiving medical aid from China.
Cold War syndrome
That notwithstanding, there are continuing efforts from incorrigible quarters to push the “Cold War” mentality onto the global pandemic crisis. Recently in the Philippines, a mainstream newspaper featured a slanderous article by a known rabid anti-China propagandist that claimed the original infection to a bat-transmitted infection from a Chinese lab.
The report looks pretty much like a knee-jerk reaction to the theory circulating in social media that the original virus came from Ft. Detrick, Maryland, a bio-warfare lab that was shut down in August 2019 due to dangerous leaks, and passed on to American soldiers who in turn brought it to Wuhan during a military games event in October of 2019.
Most scientists belie theories being bruited about of “man-made” viruses being at the root of the pandemic and puts emphasis on the above report and abundant viral strains and mutations that have struggled alongside and against mankind since time immemorial.
Among the scores of scientific researches, an excellent report is the Cambridge University study entitled “Covid-19: Genetic Network Analysis Provides ‘Snapshot’ of Pandemic Origins”. The report, published in early April 2020, adds confirmation to the contention of Chinese virology icon Zhang Nanshan that the new corona virus may have been discovered by China but did not originate in China.
Here’s a crucial quote from the report:
“Forster and colleagues found that the closest type of COVID-19 to the type ‘A’ one that has been discovered in bats. The ‘original human virus genome’ was present in Wuhan but surprisingly, was not the city’s predominant virus type.”
Mutated versions of type ‘A’ have been found in Americans reported to have lived in Wuhan, and a large number of A-type viruses have also been found in patients from the US and Australia.
Wuhan’s major virus type ‘B’ has been prevalent in patients from across East Asia. However, the variant didn’t travel much beyond the region without further mutations – prompting researchers to hypothesize a “founder event” in Wuhan, or “resistance” against this type of Covid-19 outside East Asia.
The ‘C’ variant is the major European type, found in early patients from France, Italy, Sweden and England. It is absent from the study’s Chinese mainland sample but seen in Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.
The new analysis also suggests that one of the earliest introductions of the virus into Italy came via the first documented German infection on January 27, and that another early Italian infection route was related to a ‘Singapore cluster.’
The above have prompted researchers to say that their genetic networking techniques have accurately traced established infection routes; and that the mutations and viral lineages have joined the dots between known cases.”
In reporting on the above findings on April 14, 2020, the Star of Malaysia put it this way: “By analyzing the first 160 complete virus genomes to be sequenced from human patients, scientists found the variant closest to that discovered in bats was largely found in patients from the US and Australia – not Wuhan, initially the epicenter of the outbreak.
In making the above conclusion, scientists used data from samples taken from across the world between December 24, 2019 and March 4, 2020. They found that the closest type of corona virus to the one discovered in bats – type A, the original human virus genome – was present in Wuhan, but was not the city’s predominant virus type.
The scientists also said that the type A virus genome “was also found in Americans who had lived in Wuhan and in other patients diagnosed in the United States and Australia.”
From such studies, we begin to understand new aspects of the coronavirus, namely, that the members of this family of viruses are spread all over the world, constantly mutating and suddenly bursting out here or there or possibly emerging in multiple locations.
Consider the following:
- New York Times, April. 8, 2020, “Studies Show N.Y. Outbreak Originated in Europe”;
- Fox News, “Teen in remote Amazonian tribe tests positive for corona virus”;
KSBW8 News also reported on April 9, 2020, that a study by Stanford University “could point to possible herd immunity to… Covid-19 first started spreading in California in the fall (September) of 2019.”
The Stanford study had been widely reported before it was pulled out by Yahoo.com, LA Times and Expressnews. Other US sources have since called it “fake.”
But how would they reconcile that US CDC chief Robert Redfield testified under oath before the US Congress on March 13, 2020 that many US flu deaths in 2019-2020 were posthumously diagnosed Covid-19?
US bigots are trying to poison the global atmosphere for solidarity against the existential threat of the Covid-19 even as China overcomes obstructionism and is leading the world out of the pandemic through its persistence in setting aside politics and applying the vision of the “Community of Shared Future for Mankind.”
Fortunately for the US, President Donald Trump did set aside the pejorative term “Chinese-virus” and received President Xi Jinping’s phone call at the end of March 2020 to cooperate instead of contend.
The very next day, the National Public Radio reported “Project Airbridge’ To Expedite Arrival of Needed Supplies” and a planeload of health care supplies arrived in New York from China.
But not for long, Trump was definitely politicking when he shifted his attacks against China to the World Health Organization hoping for the replacement of its director-general.
The Guardian observed that Trump, in a battle to save his presidency this November, and under fire over the lack of US leadership during the crisis, is widely seen to be eager to turn the pandemic into a trial of strength and influence with China with the rest of the G7 membership.
But just as the shit hit the fan, Trumped lost the vote.
(To be continued)
Ado Paglinawan is a daily commentator at Radyo Pilipinas1, and a regular columnist at the country’s newest daily news website SovereignPH.com and its partner magazine The Sovereign. He is a former Philippine diplomat, serving in the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York as press attaché, spokesman and special assistant to Ambassador Emmanuel N. Pelaez. He has served a strategic consultant to Agriculture Secretary Luisito Lorenzo, Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon and Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo. He studied for 1 5 years at San Beda College from grade 1 to 4th year college majoring in English and Philosophy, minor in political science and history. He is a veteran of the First Quarter Storm, participating as president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. Ado has taken continuing studies in world politics and diplomacy, international public relations, information technology and remote sensing, and Eastern Christianity and Islamic studies, from various universities in Washington DC.