US should pay compensation if Covid-19 claim confirmed – Russia
The US may owe the world huge compensation for the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Russian State Duma, said on Wednesday. He cited remarks made by the chair of The Lancet commission on the disease, who suggested the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have originated from an American research program.
Speaking in Madrid last month, economist Jeffrey Sachs called the current situation “a mess” and blamed diminishing American leadership for it, identifying the pandemic as one of the US failures. He said he was convinced that the virus “came out of US lab biotechnology” as opposed to evolving naturally, citing his experience with the authoritative British medical journal.
Volodin asserted that the US government would not comment on Sachs’ remarks because President Joe Biden is “afraid that the world will know the truth about the true culprit of the pandemic.”
He added that the suffering of millions of people who contracted the virus, including the many who passed away, and the economic crisis caused by the pandemic were the US’ responsibility. “The US must compensate the damage to all nations affected,” he demanded.
The Russian official added that the US should “stop and declassify” its “military bioweapons research,” referring to the chain of biolabs scattered across the world that receive funding from the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The US says they are used to detect emerging pathogens, but some countries, including Russia and China, believe they may be used for clandestine military research.
Sachs himself called his remark “provocative” and lamented that the theory “is not being investigated, not in the United States, not anywhere,” despite evidence that warrants such a probe. “They don’t want to look underneath the rug too much,” he said.
The theory that Covid-19 started as a leak from a Chinese lab in Wuhan was popularized by the US government under President Donald Trump, who stated that Beijing should pay compensation for its supposed guilt. The Chinese government and Trump’s political opponents at home angrily rejected the idea. Major US tech companies even suppressed the lab leak theory as “disinformation” on their online platforms.
The censorship was reversed under President Joe Biden's administration, which accused Beijing of failing to subject its microbiology research to international scrutiny. The outbreak was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which hosts a top biosecurity lab that has extensive records of doing research funded by American grants.
The World Health Organization conducted a probe into the origins of Covid-19 and concluded last February that the virus most likely came from an animal host.