Tag: wet market

Background Briefing: April 29, 2020


Investigating the Origins of the Covid-19 Virus

We begin with the Trump administration abruptly cutting off funds today to EcoHealth Alliance which was researching infectious diseases emerging from viruses in animals like the Covid-19 virus because of the New York-based organization’s ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Recently Trump was asked a softball question from a right-wing plant working for Trump’s friend the owner of Newsmax who incorrectly blamed Obama for funding EcoHealth Alliance, prompting Trump to promise, “We will end that grant very quickly”. John Latham, the co-founder and Executive Director of the Bioscience Resource Project and the Editor of Independent Science News, joins us to discuss the coincidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology has a Level 2 lab next door to the Wuhan “Wet” market and a BSL-4 lab eight miles from where the outbreak began. That Level 4 lab was working with EcoHealth Alliance capturing and identifying viruses in bats, some very similar to Covid-19. And while there is no suggestion of genetic engineering for a bioweapon, there were warnings in State Department cables of lax containment procedures at the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s BSL-4 lab. But as Trump tries to heap blame on China to distract from his unconscionable failures, the real villains responsible for these zoonotic leaps from animals to humans are the intrusions into nature caused by the Palm Oil industry which eradicates rainforests to grow a product that should be banned as an additive in food. And compounding this, as factory farms pen in animals shot full of antibiotics, new strains of swine flu and avian flu flourish, producing drug resistant viruses that can cause similar pandemics.


Trump Designates Meat-Packing Plants as Critical Infrastructure

Then we look into Trump’s Executive Order designating meat-packing plants as critical infrastructure and threats from Republican governors that if workers refuse to return to the plants where Covid-19 infections are rampant, they won’t be able to collect unemployment benefits. Given the choice between getting sick and possibly dying on the job or running out of money, we will discuss the options facing workers and the owners of the three big plants, Smithfield, Tyson and JBS USA and speak with John Grant the President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 who worked in the meat packing industry and was reinstated by the National Labor Relations Board after being illegally fired for strike-related activity.

Assessing the Rumors of Kim Jong-un’s Health or Incapacitation

Then finally we assess the rumors surrounding the health or possible incapacitation of North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un and speak with Dr. Ken Dekleva, a former senior U.S. diplomat and regional medical officer/psychiatrist who served in a variety of overseas assignments and has published leadership profiles on world leaders such a Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un. He joins us to discuss his article at 38 North, “I Am Kim’s Heart: The Health Status of Chairman Kim Jong Un” and Kim’s pre-existing conditions of morbid obesity, hypertension, diabetes and elevated cholesterol, along with being a chain smoker who drinks too much.