Jon Stewart returns to late-night TV to explain why the Wuhan lab-leak theory isn't so crazy
via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart made Stephen Colbert and his audience uncomfortable on the "Late Show" Monday night when he went on a rant about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stewart believes the virus probably came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, instead of the once near universally accepted belief that it emerged from wet markets in the area.

"Science has, in many ways, helped ease the suffering of this pandemic … which was more than likely caused by science," he said to nervous laughter.



Jon Stewart On Vaccine Science And The Wuhan Lab Theory youtu.be


Colbert believes that there's "a chance" that the virus leaked out of the lab.

"A chance? Oh my god!" Stewart replied. "There's a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China, what do we do? Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab.

"The disease is the same name as the lab! That's just a little too weird, don't you think?" he continued.

Stewart then dealt a series of hilarious metaphors to put his theory in perspective.

"There's been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania — what do you think happened?" he said of another scenario.

"Oh, I don't know, maybe a steam shovel mated with a cocoa bean … or it's the f—ing chocolate factory. Maybe that's it!" he said.

"'I have been alone so long, and when I realized that the laboratory was having the same name — first name and last name — of the evil that had been plaguing us, I thought to myself, 'That's f–ed up,'" he said.

Colbert countered Stewart's opinion with a pretty strong argument.

"It could be possible that they have the lab … because in Wuhan there are a lot of coronavirus diseases because of the bat population there," he suggested.

Stewart's comments have been controversial because as a prominent liberal, they appear to confirm some of Donald Trump's thoughts on the virus's origin.

In late April and early May of 2020, Trump claimed he had a "high degree of confidence" that the virus came from a lab.

At the time, many of Trump's critics pushed back against the claim, calling it a conspiracy theory or an attempt to blame China for the virus. Which makes sense because Trump routinely peddled conspiracy theories and tried to scapegoat China for COVID-19 calling it the "China virus."

However, Trump backed off the theory after the spring of 2020 and never released any information that would have confirmed the idea.

Stewart's thoughts also rightly make many uncomfortable because Americans have a historical desire for retaliation and promoting the lab-leak theory could lead to an overreaction like we had after 9/11. It could also exacerbate the growing number of racist incidents against Asians.

The truth is nobody knows the virus's origin. But there is growing circumstantial evidence that the lab-leak theory should be considered. A Wall Street Journal report revealed that three researchers at the lab were hospitalized in November 2019. The new information has caused the Biden administration to order a new intelligence investigation into the virus's origins.

Last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted that it may be a possibility.

"That possibility certainly exists, and I am totally in favor of a full investigation of whether that could have happened," Fauci said.

Colbert's reaction to Stewart's opinion highlights a major problem in political discourse in the United States: if the other side believes something, it must be wrong. Democrats have leaned into being the party of science over the past generation by embracing environmental science and evolution.

Liberals have also been better at fighting back against the COVID-19 virus by wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

At a time when we don't know the origins of COVID-19, liberal thought leaders like Colbert should put science before party and keep an open mind, even if it means having to possibly say that Donald Trump was right about one thing.

As the old saying goes there are "those who want to get it right" and "those who want to be right." Regardless of party, we should all be on team-get-it-right so that we can prevent the next pandemic.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 06.28.21


After Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man, was pursued and shot by three white residents while jogging through a Georgia suburb, Ellen and Patrick Miller* of San Diego hung a Black Lives Matter flag in front of their house. It was a small gesture, but something tangible they could do.

Like many people, they wanted to both support the BLM movement and bring awareness about racism to members of their community. Despite residing in a part of the county notoriously rumored to be marred by white supremacists and their beliefs, their neighbors didn't say much about it—at first.

Recently, though, during a short window when both Ellen and Patrick were out of the house, someone sliced the flag in two and left the remains in their yard.

via Paula Fitzgibbons

They were upset, but not surprised.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."