Origins of COVID the latest ‘conspiracy theory’ proved right

by Joe Battenfeld

A report that the COVID-19 virus leaked from a lab in China is the latest former right wing “conspiracy theory” that’s gaining traction and undermining trust in government.

Whether it’s the effectiveness of masks, vaccine mandates or lockdowns, new evidence suggests that what once were viewed as “debunked” theories and banned on Facebook are now grounded in reality.

The latest turnabout comes from an Energy Department report that the COVID-19 epidemic that rocked the world most likely began after an accidental leak in China by scientists studying coronaviruses.

Conservatives have been saying this for years but were labeled as racist conspiracy theorists and kooks by mainstream media and censored by social media companies. The Washington Post called it a “debunked” theory and others called out supporters of the theory — including President Donald Trump — as racist because they blamed the Chinese.

But this week, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times both reported the news that the Energy Department changed its belief about the origins of the virus, which previously was attributed to spreading by bats at live markets in Wuhan.

Now the government agency — agreeing with a conclusion by the FBI — lays the blame on researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, although it says it has only “low confidence” in the conclusion.

But it was enough to start a fierce debate over censorship in social media and the erosion of trust in the U.S. government, the CDC, the Biden administration and big Pharma.

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 cost hundreds of thousands of lives. But three years after the government instituted lockdowns and vaccine mandates, there are now serious questions about whether those even worked. The new doubts about COVID measures could even seep into the 2024 presidential race where Donald Trump and Joe Biden could face off again.

The widely read medical publication the Lancet just published findings that suggested natural immunity is as effective as two doses of vaccine in preventing people from getting reinfected or serious illness from COVID.

The findings support “the idea that those with a documented infection should be treated similarly to those who have been fully vaccinated with high quality vaccines,” reported the research team, which was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

So much for vaccine mandates, which cost thousands their jobs and livelihoods — as well as brought serious derision to those who questioned the mandates.

Another new study from Stanford University also revealed that the lockdown and closure of schools brought more severe mental health problems like anxiety and depression to kids deprived of a proper in person education.

Teenagers’ brains actually aged faster from going through the stress of COVID-19 lockdowns, the study reported.

“We already know from global research that the pandemic has adversely affected mental health in youth, but we didn’t know what, if anything it was doing physically to their brains,” the author of the study, Professor Ian Gotlib, said.

Joe Battenfeld is a veteran Boston Herald political columnist and multimedia reporter.