Tom Cotton Continues To Amplify Conspiracy Theories About Coronavirus’s Origins
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) peddled a fringe theory suggesting that the coronavirus is connected to research in the epicenter of Wuhan, China, according to The Washington Post.
Appearing on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Cotton referenced the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, close in proximity to a market that some scientists initially thought was the starting point for the virus’s spread.
“We don’t know where it originated, and we have to get to the bottom of that,” Cotton said. “We also know that just a few miles away from that food market is China’s only biosafety level 4 super laboratory that researches human infectious diseases.”
“Now, we don’t have evidence that this disease originated there, but because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says,” Cotton said. “And China right now is not giving any evidence on that question at all.”
In response to Cotton’s comments, numerous experts have dismissed the possibility of the coronavirus being man-made.
“There’s absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered,” said Richard Ebright, a chemical biology professor at Rutgers University. “The possibility this was a deliberately released bioweapon can firmly be excluded.”
Earlier this month, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai pushed back on such theories on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“It’s true that a lot is still unknown. But it’s very harmful, it’s very dangerous, to stir up suspicion, rumors and spread them among the people. For one thing, this will create panic,” he told CBS host Margaret Brennan. “Another thing is that it will fan up racial discrimination, xenophobia, all these things that will really harm our joint efforts to combat the virus.”
Associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Vipin Narang, said, “These kinds of conspiracy theories are unhelpful.”
“I don’t think it’s particularly helpful, and it’s borderline irresponsible to -- and it’s without evidence, so at this point it’s a conspiracy theory -- peddle it,” he said. “Cotton should spend more time funding the agencies in the United States that can help contain and combat the virus rather than trying to assign blame.”