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This is the most shocking article I have ever read in my life. I'd ask everyone to please read it because it is incredible.

One thing I did not realize is that US researchers who conducted gain of function research tried to downplay and discredit the possibility of the virus originating from the wuhan lab. There was an anti-lab theory Lancet statement signed by scientists, and "Daszak had not only signed but organized the influential Lancet statement, with the intention of concealing his role and creating the impression of scientific unanimity."

Plus there's all the stuff about the miners shoveling bat poop for weeks and then dying of coronaviruses, and the Wuhan institute collecting and doing gain of function research on these similar-to-SARS samples. And then several of the lab's gain of function researchers became ill in late 2019. And there's the weird renaming of samples to hide the unmatched closeness of the mine samples and covid. This is just the absolute surface of the article. There's too much to list here

Edit: here's another amazement for the list: "Shi Zhengli herself had publicly acknowledged that, until the pandemic, all of her team’s coronavirus research — some involving live SARS-like viruses — had been conducted in less secure BSL-3 and even BSL-2 laboratories." And the article says "BSL-2 [is] roughly as secure as an American dentist’s office."




It gets worse - gain of function research was banned under Obama until the ban was lifted in 2017 under Trump - https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3...

I can’t find sources for this right now but apparently Dr Anthony Fauci played a key role in getting the ban lifted. He’s also the head of the NIAID ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Fauci ) which (apparently) is the ultimate source for all funding on gain of function research.

So the lead guy we’ve been listening to (and still are) for scientific advice on this pandemic is entangled in a massive conflict of interest.

Edit: I assume this is getting down-voted either because is sounds like conspiracy theory or just everyone has already heard it and it's not news. Fauci has already admitted having been involved in funding Wuhan - https://nypost.com/2021/05/25/fauci-admits-nih-funding-of-wu... - that on it's own should not have been something he first admitted to in May 2021, while holding such a responsible position. Looking for more sources right now...

Edit 2: In this article from December 2011 - https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-flu-virus-risk-wor... - you have Fauci making the case for creating viruses in a lab;

> "Given these uncertainties, important information and insights can come from generating a potentially dangerous virus in the laboratory."

It doesn't explicitly mention gain of function but - while raising the concerns, it's arguing for research which would include gain of function. Meanwhile listening to this panel discussion which included Fauci from Nov 2017 - https://www.c-span.org/video/?437187-1/johns-hopkins-forum-e... ... again he's arguing for more aggressive types of research


You are getting downvoted because it's muckraking. There is nothing shady about NIAID giving a (verrrry small for this type of research) grant to a foreign research lab, which is doing research about a topic of interest. That's how you ensure the U.S. government gets a copy of the results.


I'm not saying it's shady to provide that funding. What I'm saying is it demonstrates conflict of interest. Last year in May 5 2020 Fauci dismissed the idea that the virus came from a lab that his own organisation was providing funds to - https://www.cbsnews.com/news/anthony-fauci-wuhan-lab-coronav...

Whether or not anything shady was happening, the conflict of interest is clear.


Would Fauci have even known? Budget numbers say NIAID clears around $5 billion in grant funding per year and this grant was more at the $100k per year level. Another source shows that NIAID receives around 3,000 grant applications per year and that's just in two of their multiple grant types. It seems most likely to me that the grant was approved and funded by a subject-area committee without Fauci being involved at all. I would guess that when he "admitted to it" was probably the first time he knew.


Pretty sure if I ran an organization that funds a bunch of labs that do virus research, and a global pandemic started in the neighborhood of a lab doing virus research, and people started floating the theory that the virus leaked from that lab, one of the first things I'd do is call my grant-funding team and ask them if we funded that lab. If Fauci didn't do that, he's a strange dude.


100K from a 5B budget is peanuts and you couldn't reasonably expect the person at the top to know the details of what each recipient of 100K is doing exactly.

If all of the 5B is spent on coronavirus research then it's a different story. Most likely it's spent on an incredibly wide array of topics.


This is the difference between responsibility and accountability.

The person at the top might not know what each recipient is doing, but is still accountable for the funding decisions that were made (and oversaw the people and process that made those decisions on the organisations behalf).


Is this a different grant than what I'm thinking of? The institution that got the grant is a global non-profit(I think, and run by americans afair). They actually appealed this and said how damaging this is because they've had a long term working relationship with various labs across the globe relating to virus research. They've been on This Week on Virology many times on a variety of different subjects. Is the funding in question here different from that? Rand Paul makes it sound like the money went directly to China, which isn't the case.


Absolutely spot on. Who on Earth would downvote this?


Those who think it's acceptable to fund government very well, and then not hold them responsible for their choices.


Those who look at politics as sport and are mostly concerned that their team has lost this round.


Just take your excel sheet of funded project, filter by country then filter by city....


This amuses me because some people are going to incredulously think "you would never keep such important information in excel" and others are going to skeptically say "there's no way they've managed to consolidate that down to just one excel file".


I'm on the team thinking that there is no chance they got the city name correct and searchable on those Excel files.


I inherited a application for grants tracking database last year and the grants themselves do not have a location. There are persons and institutions associated with each Application/Grant, and each of those has a location.

Interestingly, the application is designed for a very specific workflow, audit and review as part of the intake, but has no facilities for auditing after the fact. The data and relationships exist and there is a wealth of information in the database including known conflicts of interest but there's no easy way to query or browse this data from the application unless you're reviewing a specific grant or application.

For example:

The application doesn't allow you to search for persons by location and doesn't show you grants associated with persons. Rather you can only see persons associated with grants.

You can search for institution by address but again, it doesn't show you grants associated with an institution.

These interfaces were designed to just update Persons or Institutions when changes occur. They weren't intended as a way to back into a Grant or Application.


They did filter, but the details for that lab showed the country as "Wuhan" and the city as "Chona".


Or the person searching it ctrl+f’d a typo. Or a Chinese intern who helped compile the spreadsheet deleted that row on “accident”.

People are too quick to notice conflicts of interest. Everyone of us lives a life filled with such conflicts, yet we manage somehow to rise above, for the most part. Fauci seems like a nice guy to me.


I am in the camp believing that there are actually at least 2 full time positions just for compiling/maintaining these excel files.


In our org there's an entire team in the Research department dedicated to maintaining grants/applications and they rely on staff in IT and Finance for continuous support. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say it's at least 15 people.


to expand on just how small comparatively that number is... 100,000 seconds is a little over 1 day worth of seconds... 5 billion seconds is a little bit over 158 years of seconds.


This isnt a good political argument for Fauci though, because the next question from a reporter would be something like:

> “So you are saying that the organisation you lead helped fund a lab that caused a pandemic, but that funding was without your oversight because you thought it wasn’t important/big enough for you to look at? Are you going to resign?”

Note, I don’t believe the above is a fair question, but Fauci has to be careful to not set himself up for a gotcha.


Given the extreme danger of gain of function experiments, whatever their claimed benefits, while Fauci per his early February FIOA found email(s) wasn't aware his NIH institute was funding at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, it could be argued he should have arranged to be in the loop for all of such grants and was doing his best to make sure they were done as safely as possible.

That's not to say it would have made any difference, unless per the article per the Bat Woman "The coronavirus research in our laboratory is conducted in BSL-2 or BSL-3 laboratories," "our" includes all the WIV's coronavirus research—it's a fair size outfit with a number of labs and there's no reason to assume she was the Principle Investigator for all of its coronavirus research—and he or a direct report could have insisted the funded research would be done at the BSL-4 lab or maybe one of the BSL-3 labs. This assume the gain of function research was being done at a lower level, which starting with the 2011 bird flu work in the West has been too often true, one or both of those labs were BSL-2, one of the reasons it was controversial and so alarming to a lot of people watching this including myself.

But it turned out without his knowledge gain of function research there was being funded by his institute through the EcoHealth Alliance, and in another email he's thanked by it's leader Peter Daszak for helping to push the zoonotic transfer explanation, which the latter was or had arranged through a group letter to The Lancet to be the only acceptable narrative until around now.

It would also have been good if someone had done a gut check on the EcoHealth Alliance's MO, which as described by a Rutgers' biological chemistry professor was "looking for a gas leak with a lighted match" by as the author of the Vanity Fair article as "bringing samples from a remote area to an urban one, then sequencing and growing viruses and attempting to genetically modify them to make them more virulent."

Again, nothing unique to the Alliance or China, the US is in the process of moving the research on animal pathogens done at Plumb Island, New York to college town Manhattan, Kansas. Which I'm sure is a much more pleasant place to work at, but just happened to be in the heartland of American animal agriculture. Someday one or more Congressmen who fought to bring home the bacon may be called to account for this, to the extent that ever happens.


There are many emails stating Fauci did know and people that worked for him panicking. Worried that it would be discovered and their research would get canned.


I think the first thing you would probably do is try and protect the population as best as possible instead of trying to find your tracks. As an organization that large why do you think Fauci would even know suspect that there is any funding connection.

Hindsight is wonderfully clear.

Maybe you should be in charge since you are so clearsighted and clearly so wise.


Does it really matter though ? The fist thing I would do is find how to keep people from my country safe, not worry about where did my funding go (especially since the lab's funding has absolutely nothing to do with how we can find a cure or a vaccine).


Yes, because you need to keep up the appearance of neutrality. If there is a conflict of interest, then you need to be careful to ensure that everyone knows you are ensuring those conflicts don't happen. That means you need to know and admit a lot of things that don't happen.

My company wants to know if my brother in law works for a competitor. It won't change my job, but they will be careful to ensure that I don't work on things that it would matter if I let something slip over dinner.


But what is it really in conflict with?

The only true conflict would be Fauci's opinion on whether the virus was a lab leak. Which really only matters for political reasons.

That conflict would have no bearing on how to handle the covid pandemic.


It does though. If it is a lab leak Fauci has to be fired for political reasons given that he made the mistake of funding the lab. Therefore he has incentive to hide evidence if it was.

We don't know that it was a lab leak or natural; and probably never will. There is the possibility the if it was a lab leak Fauci used his position to hide that evidence to protect himself.

Because of the above Fauci should have disclosed his potential conflict of interest. That way the rest of us can consider his actions to ensure we are more likely to catch him abusing his position.

The above is a normal thing that happens all the time. I'm accusing him of doing wrong by not disclosing this over a year ago. Do not expand that to accusing him of actually doing anything else wrong in handling the pandemic.


It matters for stopping this happening again.


"This" is life and evolution.

Regardless of whether this was a lab escape or not, there's a 100% chance of a pandemic virus happening again.


Regardless of whether it was homicide or not, there's a 100% chance of a person dying at some point in their life.


Yeah but you can mitigate.


And it makes a big difference to the world if there is a pandemic of 2018 flu and COVID-19 intensity every century or more often. Wikipedians found a gain of function experiment from 2000 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gain_of_function_research, but it became a big issue in science policy in 2011 when two groups used serial passage of H5N1 avian influenza in ferrets (a favorite animal model for respiratory diseases) to get it to transmit between them by respiratory droplets. This got a lot of people very concerned, including myself at the time, especially since one or both of the groups did this with no more than BSL-2 level protection against a leak.

So if this COVID-19 origin hypothesis is true and it took only 8 to 19 years for a lab leak of a gain of function experiment to cause the worst pandemic in a century, we ought to be very interested in making sure this happens a lot less often. Ideally not at all, but I see no way to impose a world wide ban on this type of research.


Until computational biology (including at the systemic macro level) becomes a viable alternative, GoF is one of our best tools to prevent nature from killing us.

That this should be done under the strictest protocols is obvious (and internationally-monitored, no less).

But pretending that dice aren't continually rolling in nature and hoping for the best seems shortsighted.


Please name a single consequential advance in science relevant to protecting people that's come out of the last 8 years of heavy duty gain of function research starting with bird flu and ferrets in 2011.


Considering it was a scientific ethical live wire from 2011 to 2014, and banned in the US from 2014 to 2017, that's a bit of a tall order.

I would point out that the some primary points against GOF utility in the 2014 survey report weigh very differently now: (1) lack of viral genetic surveillance at national levels, (2) inability to quickly generate novel vaccines, (3) inability to distribute vaccines worldwide.


There's quite a bit less to the US funding moratorium than generally recognized. It only covered the flu, SARS and MERS, and of the 21 studies in progress, 10 were given exemptions: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/19/health/lethal-viruses-nih...

Whatever chilling effect it had, tall order at this stage of this general program of research or not, it's high time its advocates including yourself point to tangible progress of one sort or another, for we now can reasonably assess the risk side of the risk benefit trade off.

See this comment https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27398081 on why the advancements in vaccines don't even begin to cover the risks, or note as of now how long it looks it'll be before the Third World gets vaccinated against as much as is humanly possible, no sooner than sometime in 2022. Consider the possibility of a sufficiently good escape variant requiring another dose or two.

Consider how little the the whole world can afford the expense of a pandemic, and the Third World in particular, including viral surveillance of any sort, "molecular" (PRC based) tests or sequencing samples. And this time they're lucky, COVID-19 mortality risks are highly weighted with age, something that hits the young harder will hit them a lot harder.

Consider how many possible, probable, or proven lab escapes will it take before the world's governments clamp down on a lot more than gain of function research.

Yes, nature wants to kill us, although your itemized points also address that issue. It's just not very good at it, and almost all of that was before the germ theory of disease was accepted in the end of the 19th Century.


Unless we forget how to make mRNA vaccines, we're likely to avoid pandemics forever. These vaccines are going to fix everything.


mRNA vaccine technology is just a platform for presenting antigens to the immune system, the fastest one to make vaccine candidates by far, literally over a weekend for Moderna after the first SARS-CoV-2 sequences were published by Chinese researchers. It also has many advantages in simplicity.

That doesn't mean we'll be able to provide safe vaccines for sufficiently novel pathogens, behind Moderna's candidate was a decade and a half of research into making safe vaccines for SARS type coronaviruses, with researchers at the NIH finding one solution in 2017 for the antibody-dependent enhancement issue that had been plaguing such attempts starting with SARS and inactivated whole virus vaccines.

A fast pandemic can also get a long distance before you can ramp up production and vaccinate 8 billion people, with vaccines that so far need freezing for shipping, and medical grade refrigeration afterwords until used. Plus you need to make at least 8 billion syringes and needles and so on.


Or maybe he just knew enough about his field to know that this theory is lala land and catnip for conspiracy nutheads.


"knew"?

That seems to be the wrong word.


What's been highlighted of the FOIA released emails so far suggests he didn't know if his NIAID was funding Wuhan Institute of Virology SARS type coronavirus gain of function experiments, but he was quite concerned that might be the case. Look for the one where he tells someone to keep his cell phone on.

It's something he'd likely be concerned about, because he's been a big booster of gain of function research, and the Institute famously houses China's first BSL-4 lab, although the article claims the Bat Lady said prior to the pandemic they were only using BSL-2 and -3 labs for their coronavirus research. This assumes she'd know about all that was going on the Institute.


The email trail is damning. Fauci knew that the possibility was there. Instead of pushing for discovery and transparency of what actually happened, he publicly and vehemently denied the possibility and gave fuel to those who wanted to call the "lab leak theory" people "conspiracy nuts".

Fauci's elevation to sainthood was way too premature. His constant media appearances where he hasn't been questioned on any of this should be an object lesson to the public on media bias and the subsequent narrative bubbles that impact our society.

It's not surprising that the same people pushing Michael Avenatti as the next great politician have been the same people promoting Fauci.


This is an issue for sure. The core reason though, IMO, was the contrast - for example, you have the president calling for injecting bleach, publicly. Any reasonable person is going to drift away from that, and towards someone who seems more reasonable, and thoughtful. Now that there is less extreme rhetoric, the seams in this particular leadership are starting to show. Can't say the same for Michael Avenatti, who seemed unhinged from the beginning although again just my opinion.


"you have the president calling for injecting bleach"

Please don't repeat that. If you do even a little bit of research, you'll see that he didn't say that, and by repeating it you're lowering the dialog you want to raising.


I'll do you one better than repeating it:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52407177

Thanks for your unsubstantiated comment though



Thanks for the source that proves GP's point: Trump heard something, and isn't a scientist, so he was asking someone knowledgeable if it was possible.

It's terrible how badly this was reported on.


Seems like a live press conference is a bad time to just "ask questions". It's a very idiotic time, in fact, to start spitballing medical treatment ideas to the general public.


Exactly, great point


> “I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen,” Trump said.

No he was not.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/24/disinfectan...


That trope is only slightly wrong. He didn't say bleach, he said disinfectant. And that was in the context of disinfectant used to clean surfaces.

"And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?

"So it'd be interesting to check that."

Pointing to his head, Mr Trump went on: "I'm not a doctor. But I'm, like, a person that has a good you-know-what."


I don't think anyone thought Avenatti had any substance to him.

Nice try and trying to equate Fauci with Avenatti - please return to the cable Fox hole which you emerged from.


I don't think anyone thought Avenatti had any substance to him.

What you're doing is called "gas lighting".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrJwjYPQvhQ

Avenatti was ALL over the place in left-leaning media, receiving endless accolades.


The bar is really low if the person helps push the narrative.


> Would Fauci have even known?

I think yes. Perhaps not upfront, perhaps not in the following days or weeks. But if your organization had funded a laboratory's gain of function research, and that laboratory is suddenly the topic of global speculation for potentially leaking a virus, a virus which is ostensibly a product directly of your funding and became one of the deadliest global pandemics ever... I think it would be hard to not know at some point.


>Would Fauci have even known?

So maybe he finds out before making statements?

I've lost faith in Fauci when he admitted he lied about the efficacy of masks early on in the pandemic. He literally came out and stated he lied in order to make sure frontline healthcare workers had enough PPE. That was the most insane statement I've ever heard a public health leader make - lying about healthcare to the public that may result in more infections. That is how you destroy public trust.

What's sad is that the population would understand if you just told them the truth, namely that masks help, but our frontline works desperately need them so getting them masks and PPE is a priority.


And in case there was any doubt he also came out and said he intentionally lied about the required level of vaccination needed to achieve herd immunity [0] so that people don’t get too discouraged. He seems to be squarely in the “ends justify the means” camp. While the effectiveness of that is debatable, I find it hard to believe anything he says at this point.

[0] “In a telephone interview the next day, Dr. Fauci acknowledged that he had slowly but deliberately been moving the goal posts. He is doing so, he said, partly based on new science, and partly on his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/24/health/herd-immunity-covi...


Yeah, I've seen that too. It's unbelievable that the press gave (and continues to give) him a pass.


>the population would understand

I don't like these "strategic" lies either. And I agree the population in general would understand, but I think there'd still have been plenty of people that would've hoarded every mask possible, and at the time they had to make decisions based on possible scenarios, whereas now we have hindsight. Especially if things were handled differently in the beginning and the mask vs non-mask polarization manifested differently, who knows.


>And I agree the population in general would understand, but I think there'd still have been plenty of people that would've hoarded every mask possible

And many people did hoard masks, and toilet paper, and sanitizers. So Fauci solved nothing except destroy trust in public health authorities. It also wasn't the last time that he lied for 'people's own good'.

I believed him. I did. I don't believe him anymore.


> What's sad is that the population would understand if you just told them the truth, namely that masks help, but our frontline works desperately need them so getting them masks and PPE is a priority.

Maybe elsewhere, but not in America. This is one of the most selfish/individualist countries on earth.


>Maybe elsewhere, but not in America. This is one of the most selfish/individualist countries on earth.

That's a disgusting statement. People are people. And the vast majority of people in every country are good people.

It's also not true, but even if it was, he has no right to lie to people about their healthcare and well-being. You can't do that because this kind of lie actually hurt people who would have wore a mask (homemade or otherwise) but didn't (and maybe got sick or died), all because they trusted him.


Fauci definitely knew about funding gain of function research. [1] Whether he was aware of funding going to WIV, that's a different question.

[1] https://twitter.com/ydeigin/status/1400321255824371714


> Would Fauci have even known?

Firstly, he has no excuse to be ignorant. Secondly, I’d wager every administrator and CEO who has any involvement with viral biomedical research were making urgent albeit possibly discreet inquiries into any possible involvement around February 2020.


Would Fauci have known that gain of function research was now legal again?! Of course he would. Whether or not to fund that sort of risky research that has gone back and forth in legality is precisely the kind of thing that his job required him to know, isn't it?


Yes, he knew. Here's the presentation he did on gain of function research back in January 2018 [1].

[1] https://twitter.com/ydeigin/status/1400321255824371714


According to Wade's article it's actually even murkier than that. Only Fauci or one other person could have actually overridden the ban to keep the money flowing and prevent oversight of it:

The moratorium, referred to officially as a “pause,” specifically barred funding any gain-of-function research that increased the pathogenicity of the flu, MERS or SARS viruses. It defined gain-of-function very simply and broadly as “research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease.”

But then a footnote on p.2 of the moratorium document states that “An exception from the research pause may be obtained if the head of the USG funding agency determines that the research is urgently necessary to protect the public health or national security.”

This seemed to mean that either the director of the NIAID, Dr. Anthony Fauci, or the director of the NIH, Dr. Francis Collins, or maybe both, would have invoked the exemption in order to keep the money flowing to Dr. Shi’s gain-of-function research, and later to avoid notifying the Federal reporting system of her research.


The moratorium was rescinded in 2017.


Right you are. But you're supposed to run grant proposals past a board which was created as part of the end of the funding moratorium, and it's been alleged this wasn't done, and that was routine for either Fauci's institute or the NIH as a whole.


It's not a conflict of interest because Dr. Fauci wasn't gaining anything. The agency he is head of is specifically interested in infectious disease and has a large budget for grants. $120K per year pays for a couple plate of genetic samples and tech time to run them. Maybe in China you can run a few more for that cost, I don't know.

As head of that agency, it's also his job to share his professional opinion with the public. For this, his reward is a public servant's salary. Seriously, what's he getting here for his supposed "deception"?


A conflict of interest does not depend on whether a person actually gains (or prevents himself from losing) anything, but whether he has some personal interest (such as fame, money, even gifts for a family member, etc.) that coexists with some duty-bound interest to some other party/society (e.g. fiduciary duty, professional ethical duties, etc.), and the person is entrusted with making a decision that implicated either interest depending on the outcome. Conflicts of interest are usually resolved either by disclosure or isolation from the adverse interest.

In this case, Fauci has sort of a small, debatable conflict. His personal stake is not money per se, but his reputation and clear preference for gain-of-function research. If it came out that gain-of-function research caused the pandemic, and Fauci was one of the leading cheerleaders for that since the early aughts AND Fauci may have provided some of the funding for this particular research, then Fauci would stand to lose quite a bit of reputation and standing. That's a real adverse incentive to determine that lab leak of a gain-of-function virus is not possible.

If his job is to share his opinion to the public, then he has a conflict of interest with respect to that decision, since the public doesn't know if Fauci-the-expert is talking or Fauci-the-reputation-seeking-bureaucrat. If he had merely disclosed any of his involvement with restarting funding of gain-of-function research in 2017 or his past advocacy for gain-of-function research, that would significantly resolve the conflict.

In my opinion, Fauci is simply an opportunistic bureaucrat and a liar (I repeat myself), and the conflict of interest claim against him is weak. Peter Daszam has much, much more problematic conflicts of interest. This is a guy who (1) discredited fellow scientists in the Lancet for considering an alternative hypothesis and (2) led a sham WHO investigation into the WIV lab, all while funneling NIH grant money to WIV, not complying with disclosure and review requirements and standing to lose his career if gain-of-function were to be seriously discredited. It would be hard for him to be more conflicted.

Also, for what it's worth, Fauci is the highest paid federal employee. He makes more than the president. Most "public servants" make $150k/year or less. Not to mention, Fauci had also made a book deal as a result of his celebrity.


By these standards, everyone (in such a position) is always in some "conflict of interest". Had Fauci blamed that lab, he certainly would have been, as his organization also funds its competitors, and of course because he works for the US administration.

The ideology behind throwing around this kind of allegations is: all facts are fabricated by somebody, nobody can be trusted (they all have a conflict of interest), so we can as well make up our own "alternative facts" that fit our ideology best. In the end, it's just "us against them", so arguments and facts don't matter any more.

As a side-note: I doubt that Fauci just spontaneously pushes out his personal opinion about this kind of affairs, so I suppose his organization largely agrees with him. All corrupt and in a "conflict of interest"? And I think his position should definitely be paid better than the president. Why not?

None of this says anything about Fauci as a person. He might be opportunistic, a bureaucrat, and whatnot, but that is hardly relevant in this context (other than discrediting everything he says).


> By these standards, everyone (in such a position) is always in some "conflict of interest".

Yes. But not everyone becomes the leading figure in a global pandemic which has killed 3.7 million people and thrown the world into complete disarray. At the point where you realise you're in that position, the correct, ethical thing to do is put all your cards on the table.


How is he "the leading figure"? Fauci is hardly relevant outside the US. As you mentioned we are discussing a global phenomenon and it's useful to distinguish between global and US specific matters.


If Fauci is responsible (in part, vis funding) for "assembling" the virus that caused the pandemic and is also responsible (in part) for abetting a sham WHO investigation, then certainly he would be relevant globally. The fact that the US NIH is sort of a clearinghouse for top-tier global medical research, by virtue of US hegemony, also makes him more relevant than just about any other national expert.

EDIT: Please don't downvote Pyramus. He asked a legitimate question and as far as I can tell followed HN rules. There are ~7.7B people who are not in the US.


You are mixing accountability and responsibility here - to give a less politically charged analogue: was Steve Ballmer responsible for the spread of the ILOVEYOU virus? No, but he held ultimate accountability for VBA being enabled by default.

I'm not disagreeing with the importance of US R&D spending, which is huge (25-30% of global spend), or that Fauci is an important public health official.

I'm simply telling you that the rest of the world is mostly indifferent to the persona Fauci, based on what I'm observing in the EU & UK and extrapolating to Asia.


In many English speaking non American countries fauci gets as much or more air time than their domestic experts


where?


> The ideology behind throwing around this kind of allegations is: all facts are fabricated by somebody, nobody can be trusted (they all have a conflict of interest), so we can as well make up our own "alternative facts" that fit our ideology best. In the end, it's just "us against them", so arguments and facts don't matter any more.

That isn't true at all. Mere disclosure (e.g. "Full disclosure: I ran gain of function research for years at NIH, a couple years ago got a ban on gain-of-function research lifted at the White House and our team is currently looking into whether WIV received our funding") is sufficient to mitigate most conflicts of interests. Conflicts of interest exist all the time, but they're fairly easy to disclose (as long as someone has an ethical backbone), and in extreme cases can be mitigated with things like divestment or blind trusts (in the case of financial conflicts of interest).

Suppose your doctor was also a paid consultant for a pharmaceutical company, advising them on their new drug X. One day, your doctor starts telling you all of the benefits of drug X for certain medical issues you have, and she's very enthusiastic about it. If she simply disclosed, "full disclosure: I'm consulting with the manufacturer on the effects of this drug; that said, I really believe in it," wouldn't that entirely change the ethical dynamic vis-a-vis nondisclosure? If she disclosed, you could get a (non-conflicted) second opinion, or maybe you implicitly trust your doctor and go along with her recommendation as is. But if she didn't disclose and you later learned some other way that she has this conflict, you would lose trust.

This is what happened with Fauci and the gain-of-function crowd. They stood on the pedestal of unbiased scientific expertise, failing to disclose their conflicts, and then enabled the browbeating of anyone with alternative hypotheses (literally anyone: scientists had their professional reputations and research funding threatened; social media users had their accounts suspended or posts deleted). Without alternative hypotheses, science entirely falters. Full disclosure on the part of Fauci and especially Daszak would have gone lightyears in evaluating their credibility.

I should note that conflicts of interest do not change facts or true scientific conclusions themselves; that would be ad hominem. But conclusions are typically dependent on myriad facts, and experts have a much better idea about the universe of discourse around these facts than laypeople. A conflicted expert may thus present cherry-picked facts that support his conclusions, ignoring those that cut against them. To be fair, non-conflicted scientists may do this as well, but their credibility is only harmed insofar as they should have addressed countervailing evidence when presenting conclusions. Having a non-disclosed conflict of interest undermines a scientist's credibility and a commitment to ethical inquiry.

In my opinion, the scientific community has severely undermined their ethical and persuasive capital over the past year and even longer. If disclosure were a normal part of scientific discourse where it impacted policy, we likely would have more people who believe that vaccines work, that climate change is a threat (though likely not an apocalyptic one) and that the scientific process generally works. Instead, we have this browbeating culture where not trusting the "experts" is like some sort of scarlet letter, at least until we learn the experts were looking out for their own interests and suddenly they lose their luster. I love science, so I wish the scientific community would get its fucking act together so that large segments of the population on my "side" start to believe in the scientific method again.

Finally, lost in all of this is the fact that gain-of-function was supposed to produce vaccines more rapidly. As far as I can tell, this never happened. The vaccines we received had been researched for a decade through a different program not funded by NIH, and did not depend on gain-of-function research, but instead used unmolested SARS viruses.


Is a scientist actually a scientist if they don’t adhere to the scientific method and try their best to maintain skepticism and abstract themselves from personal and political bias. I would say they are not actually scientists, they just think and claim they are.

Humans are flawed, biased, and fundamentally limited creatures that are wrong a lot of the time. So we invented a system to evaluate hypothesis based on experiments, data, etc... A person speaking gospel or pushing a trust “The Science” while prematurely rejecting unproven hypothesis is NOT a scientist. They are no better than those who sought to banish or kill Galileo and the like.


In my opinion, the scientific community has severely undermined their ethical and persuasive capital over the past year and even longer

I would agree with the "even longer". I think it most noticeably started with the scientific community's intermixing of concerns regarding climate change with political forces who have had their own agendas. It's made it extremely difficult even for scientifically-minded and informed people like myself to sort through the bullshit vs the good information. People without even my background have no hope of knowing whom to trust, so they've fallen back to just trusting their political inclinations.

This past year and the politicization around pandemic issues has definitely seen an increase in the the problem, though. It's been a sad year for Science. Hard-won public trust in scientists has been thrown away. You can see it in the hesitancy to get the vaccine.


Avoiding reputation and harm is certainly a major incentive, especially for a scientist, leading to a conflict of interest.


Setup for failure it is, then.


But it could be perceived as a conflict of interest, and that of itself is the reason to at least declare it (for transparency). This is how it works in ethics.


Indeed, avoiding the perception of impropriety is second only to avoiding impropriety itself. When people perceive impropriety, even when there is none, trust in the system is undermined.


Anything could be perceived as a conflict of interest. This entire subthread is an argument about whether it’s reasonable to consider this case a conflict of interest.


For a measly $120k grant, I doubt Fauci was involved in the award whatsoever.


EcoHealth secured a NIAID grant of roughly $3.7 million, which it allocated in part to various entities engaged in collecting bat samples, building models, and performing gain-of-function experiments to see which animal viruses were able to jump to humans.

It was a $3.7million dollar grant to EcoHealth Alliance, which I wouldn't doubt he was involved with. $600,000 was sent from EcoHealth to Wuhan Institute of Virology.


...except Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth, took it upon himself to thank Fauci for pushing the "natural causes" narrative - https://foxbaltimore.com/news/nation-world/new-emails-reveal...

More explanation of that here... https://youtu.be/jMr-fGmRGco?t=246


That's not all that big of a grant. It's roughly twice the standard NIH R01. I can't imagine the head of NIAID being directly involved in that.


He has now been called in to testify in front of congress on it ... twice. However insignificant the dollar amount, knowing the details of it is his job.


On its face, That’s an absurd statement. NIH offers Very small grants for fellowships ... should he know about those too?


Ultimately yes - but not at grant time, just like how a CEO is responsible for everything in a company either directly or indirectly. Shit flows up, he may not be personally involved in the decision but he absolutely has to be briefed on it (or know who to ask) if things go sideways so he can answer to Congress/President (just like a CEO to the board).


If congress starts calling him to the floor about those fellowships, he'd better make sure to know about those too, yes.


It’s an obvious conflict of interest. To be making public judgments about whether a lab could be responsible when you are partly responsible for what that lab has done is precisely the definition of conflict of interest.

It’s called self-policing elsewhere, and anybody would see the conflict of interest immediately at FAANG, for example. Was FB causing teen depression? Researcher says no. (Then it turns out the researcher had done consulting work for FB or had been in contact with FB, advocating that they use the timeline feed to run experiments on unsuspecting teens…


Just playing devil's advocate, not convinced fauci had any malicious intentions, but he has one of the most highly public jobs in America, he gets to keep his job/power and maintain a future in politics. But he definitely does not seem like some power hungry egomaniacal player to me. His beliefs before and after and actions after the outbreak seemed to be consistent with someone that was trying to do the right thing for our country.


I don't know about malice, but covering up or downplaying the possibility of a global pandemic being caused by activities he was involved in or encouraged... shit can be corrupt even if a person is not trying to take advantage of a situation.

Placing blame isn't really all that important. Making sure none of this happens again for the same reasons is.

If I was placing a bet, I'd say Wuhan researchers regularly got a handle on patents zero for cross species infection. In the course of the research a virus infected workers because of lax, sloppy, or otherwise inadequate controls; then despite the threat in order to save face government did everything they could to hide the mistake until it was far too late for anything to really be done about it.


So you’re criticizing a scientist for expressing skepticism toward a scenario that had (especially at the time) very limited evidence, and then just placing your own bet on a far more extreme, also non-substantiated version?


The article states that at the time people were denying the possibility of a lab leak, there was a lack of credible evidence for zoonosis. If I’m evaluating hypotheses, it’s generally better that I wait for hard evidence before ruling one out. e.g. some kind of patient zero animal population.

The lancet letter was at best extraordinarily premature.


Errr... yes? None of that is relevant to the claim GP goes on to make. Not only was skepticism warranted toward the lab leak hypothesis (and it continues to be), but going on to speculate that this "regularly" happened is a bit rich.


Seriously, what's he getting here for his supposed "deception"?

Fauci has been covering this up since early on. Have you not followed the story of the released emails from the FOIA request? He knew this research was being conducted. He gave cover to those who attacked people like Sen Tom Cotton, who was trying to get this looked into from the beginning.

For this, his reward is a public servant's salary

Fauci is the highest paid employee in the Federal government.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/01/25/dr-...


> It's not a conflict of interest because Dr. Fauci wasn't gaining anything. The agency he is head of is specifically interested in infectious disease and has a large budget for grants. $120K per year pays for a couple plate of genetic samples and tech time to run them. Maybe in China you can run a few more for that cost, I don't know.

So it is not a conflict of interest because of the sum of money? Someone doesn't need to gain anything to be in conflict, by definition: "a situation in which the concerns or aims of two different parties are incompatible."

Do you at least think he had a duty to disclose his involvement/investment in gain of function research? Specifically with the Wuhan lab at the center of this?

> As head of that agency, it's also his job to share his professional opinion with the public. For this, his reward is a public servant's salary. Seriously, what's he getting here for his supposed "deception"?

Did you know he's the most highly paid government official? His measly public servant salary only paid him $417K. [0]

[0]: https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/01/25/dr-...


It's still not clear to me what the conflict of interest is. The amount of money is kind of important, because it gives you an idea of the level of involvement. As I said, $600K over 5 years is very little money, it basically makes sure you get the results of whatever research is already being done.

> His measly public servant salary only paid him $417K.

The top scientist in the country, with several Ph.Ds, 50 years of experience in a both public leadership and an incredibly complicated branch of biology, is making roughly what a staff engineer at a FAANG company makes...and you are complaining? That's the bargain of the century. He's a sick fuck for actually sticking it out - he could have bailed and consulted on "return to the office" for all the big tech and entertainment companies. He is 80 years old, working insane hours, and probably would have made more money in 6 months than he has in his whole public career from a really nice beach. You will never convince me that THIS is the smoking gun that proves Dr. Fauci corrupt, finally, after 50 years in public service. It's too stupid.


> It's still not clear to me what the conflict of interest is. The amount of money is kind of important, because it gives you an idea of the level of involvement. As I said, $600K over 5 years is very little money, it basically makes sure you get the results of whatever research is already being done.

Maybe he's covering his own ass? Maybe he's trying to protect gain of function research? He was, after all, the most vocal proponent that the risks with gain of function research were worth it. [0]

> The top scientist in the country, with several Ph.Ds, 50 years of experience in a both public leadership and an incredibly complicated branch of biology, is making roughly what a staff engineer at a FAANG company makes...and you are complaining? That's the bargain of the century. He's a sick fuck for actually sticking it out - he could have bailed and consulted on "return to the office" for all the big tech and entertainment companies. He is 80 years old, working insane hours, and probably would have made more money in 6 months than he has in his whole public career from a really nice beach. You will never convince me that THIS is the smoking gun that proves Dr. Fauci corrupt, finally, after 50 years in public service. It's too stupid.

Oh, ok. So before his only reward was his "public servant salary", but now that you know he's the most highly paid government official (including the President) his salary is now being compared to FAANGs and he's underpaid. What a sacrifice.

[0]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3484390/

Edit: Fix typo.


> Oh, ok. So before his only reward was his "public servant salary", but now that you know he's the most highly paid government official (including the President)

He is far from the top paid government official. That honor, by a long shot, in nearly every state in the country, goes to college athletic coaches[1].

https://fanbuzz.com/national/highest-paid-state-employees/


> game of function research

I assumed this was a typo the first time, but since you repeated it - it's gain* of function. As in a virus gaining a new function.

Did you even read that paper? I doesn't say what you are claiming at all. It says they're going to hold a conference to determine if it's worth the risks, and says they should continue the moratorium while they do more research. Ah jeez.

> Oh, ok. So before his only reward was his "public servant salary", but now that you know he's the most highly paid government official (including the President) his salary is now being compared to FAANGs and he's underpaid. What a sacrifice.

Compared to what he could be making right now? Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate his sacrifice — he's criminally underpaid for how valuable his skills and experience are to the country.


> His measly public servant salary only paid him $417K

Oh please. The median CEO pay at a pharmaceutical company is nearly $5 million. It take all the way up to nearly $50 million per year, which someone with the incredible experience (not to mention government contacts) of Dr Fauci would be on the upper end of, and that's not too mention the tens of millions in signing bonus and retirement packages. [1]

1. https://www.biopharmadive.com/news/biotech-pharma-ceo-employ...


Agree. Do not underplay the value of status and power for people like Faucci. He needed to downplay to keep his grip on both


Who are "people like Faucci", successful people regarded as experts?

We do have representatives that are meant to have final say, but they went AWOL mentally.


The magnitude of a conflict of interest obviously matters.


Fauci is clearly dismissing the notion that it was engineered. He says pretty clearly that if a natural virus escaped the lab it would still be a natural virus and hence not a useful topic when it comes to treating it. I don't think he ever said it wasn't possible just that there's no reason to believe it. And it's understandably not his primary concern to figure out.


I think this whole thing is a great example of why you don't ban alternative viewpoints, even if considered "conspiracy theories".

Zerohedge was reporting this early on, and Twitter banned them for "misinformation".


But Zerohedge in turn is a great example of a stopped clock being right twice a day.


That newspaper scene from Men in Black. I’ve relived it a number of times over the past year particularly.

Local mainstream “fact checkers” have even called Covid-19 a “right-wing conspiracy theory” in early 2020.


People were dying of covid in hospital beds, still believing the virus is fake narrative.


I just want to point out that there is no real evidence of this. Statistically, I'm sure it happened at least once, you can find one example of anything, but this phrase originates with a single anecdotal story from a single nurse.

There was no trend or array of stories. Just one lady who said she had someone denying it on their deathbed with zero corroboration, and then she got 2 days of news cycle.


There were random interviews in the capitol saying all these weird stuff from the internet, and people in US often know someone who'd be convinced this way.

So its not like this crazy stuff is hard to prove is prevalent (pun intended) among certain groups.

What is hard is actually putting figures on it when worldviews get so warped due to circular logic. This is bad, because there are real reasons people are upset. Underlying reasons that need to be properly addressed.


Talk to the team of nurses in your local hospital.

Hell, if you're rural, it's pretty likely to have a nurse who doesn't really believe the current understanding of COVID


> Local mainstream “fact checkers” have even called Covid-19 a “right-wing conspiracy theory” in early 2020.

Would love a citation or two. I remember the right-wing administration saying it would disappear as if by magic and Fox News saying "0 deaths" and that playing up covid was a left wing invention at least up to april or so.


I don't know about this particular wording, but from my point of view here is what happened:

At first the loosely defined right-wing were panicking about the virus. Myself included, although I wasn't really panicking, just getting myself mentally prepared that this might possibly be the second black plague that could wipe out a similar percentage of the population. Meanwhile the loosely defined left-wing was ridiculing it, laughing about it, saying that there is no evidence that the virus is dangerous and calling people fearmongers and racists (?). And then everything switched. As it turned out, the virus wasn't as nearly dangerous as I initially though it'd be and the left-wing suddenly started acting like we're all going to die.


Fascinating how your PoV is so fundamentally different from mine, even when archive browsing the web a bit now.

Regarding:

> calling people fearmongers and racists (?)

I remember asian (or of asian descent) acquaintances being spit on and yelled at in the vein of "you're killing us!" on the subway for ostensibly looking Chinese (I'm guessing), at a time when the virus was already likelier to spread from other countries, and I'd say the more left leaning were pointing this out. People doing that don't reach that stage of racebased profiling independently without someone drumming up "chinavirus" as soon as it was no longer feasible to shrug it off. Is that maybe what you're referring to?


Yes, it really is fascinating how there are basically two entirely different worlds out there. But we're not in disagreement that the positions switched at some point, right?

I've seen people talking about the rise in anti-asian hate crimes and it being incorrectly blamed on white supremacy, but that happened somewhat recently. At the point in time we're talking about I haven't really heard about anything too much, although it's not hard to imagine it being the case. I think it's to be expected, what are you supposed to do about it? Should you ignore the actions of Israel, because it's associated with Jews? Or actions of Russian government, because someone could discriminate a Russian person over that? Or what happens in some Islamic country? And we're fine with talking about about "systemic white supremacy", so I find these concerns to be hypocritical frankly. I also don't believe that pretending like the virus didn't originate in China would help anything. People might be stupid, but they're smart enough to figure out that this is just BS.


> But we're not in disagreement that the positions switched at some point, right?

I think we are in disagreement. I don't remember such a switch, nor can identify one browsing backwards.

> I think it's to be expected, what are you supposed to do about it? Should you ignore the actions of Israel, because it's associated with Jews? Or actions of Russian government, because someone could discriminate a Russian person over that? Or what happens in some Islamic country?

I doubt everyone in Israel agrees with the decisions of the state of Israel, just as half of Americans don't agree with any current administration. Even further beyond that you shouldn't equate every jew with Israel, just as you shouldn't every muslim with Iran.

Talking about China as it relates to covid is fine. Calling it "chinavirus" (repeatedly) has no practical benefit, and is only used as a polemic.

> And we're fine with talking about about "systemic white supremacy", so I find these concerns to be hypocritical frankly.

I don't equate every white person with white supremacy, including myself. I don't see the hypocrisy.


> I think we are in disagreement. I don't remember such a switch, nor can identify one browsing backwards.

Well, I definitely remember left-leaning people ridiculing it when people were buying out the toilet paper, saying that there is no virus and stuff.

> I don't equate every white person with white supremacy, including myself. I don't see the hypocrisy.

And I don't equate every Chinese person with the virus or the Chinese government. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the criticism is that the narrative or the words you use, even if factually correct, might cause some people to have prejudice against the members of a certain group. You're (maybe not you specifically, I don't know) concerned about backlash against Chinese people over the virus, but you aren't concerned about the backlash against white people over systemic racism theory. That's what I find hypocritical.

But yeah, "china virus" might be a little bit over the top.


> Well, I definitely remember left-leaning people ridiculing it when people were buying out the toilet paper, saying that there is no virus and stuff.

I didn't even realize buying up toilet paper during early pandemics was partisan, but I definitely remember memes about how inconsiderate it is to buy up years worth of toilet paper at once, emptying the cache for everyone else with no indication that toilet paper manufacturing was affected. I admit I made fun of this too, but drew no political association to it. It had nothing to do with (the existence of) the virus.

> Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the criticism is that the narrative or the words you use, even if factually correct, might cause some people to have prejudice against the members of a certain group.

Yeah, I guess, but I don't think there's any valid and accurate criticism that would lead anyone to blame random Chinese people.

> You're (maybe not you specifically, I don't know) concerned about backlash against Chinese people over the virus, but you aren't concerned about the backlash against white people over systemic racism theory. That's what I find hypocritical.

I haven't experienced any backlash against white people for any and all systemic racism built by other white people. I still do not see your point.


I don't think there really should be any political association to the virus in general, it just so happened that the issue divided itself along the partisan lines as usual. The buying out toilet paper was just to give you the time frame, that's when overall people were being ridiculed over concerns about the virus. Personal anecdote, one somewhat heavily left-leaning friend we know was insisting on a meeting and we got laughed at when we refused, because we were afraid of virus.

> I haven't experienced any backlash against white people for any and all systemic racism built by other white people. I still do not see your point.

And I'm really glad you didn't. Not every Chinese experienced any backlash either. That's great for them too. But not everyone was so fortunate. Example from a BLM protest: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5ebji8


Vox downplayed Covid in a tweet in the typical smug liberal style: https://www.thewrap.com/vox-deletes-january-tweet-coronaviru.... I remember many left-leaning friends citing this ridiculous article about how the flu is worse than Covid: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/01/29/8008132....

I can't scroll to find the original tweets but many Trump loyalists were very early on the Covid concerns– while the left was ridiculing any concern with articles like what I linked above. See https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/03/coronavirus-mik... and https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/03/why-some-early-maga-.... Tucker Carlson talked constantly about the Covid from very early on as well.


I don't know if that NPR article has been edited, but the only thing it's saying is that in january 2020 there was low risk of contracting covid compared to a regular flu, not that the virus was less dangerous, which at the time seems accurate.

From your vanityfair link:

> As Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and much of the GOP parroted the president’s no-worries line, MAGA originals like Steve Bannon and Mike Cernovich sounded the alarm.

I did notice the difference in Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity coverage, but you're right, there seems to have been a split within the grouping. Seeing as how many on the right are Trump loyalists (to a fault), that was the generalization I was drawing.

Yeah, the Vox one is bad.


I think we are in disagreement. I don't remember such a switch, nor can identify one browsing backwards.

Concerns about COVID were being cast as "racist" by the Left and the media (but I repeat myself) in the beginning: https://news.yahoo.com/pelosi-denies-she-downplayed-coronavi...

https://twitter.com/newsmax/status/1246131288664408064

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JZ0Ruh89f0

If you don't remember that, then you should question your information sources. I remember the accusations of racism online quite vividly as I voiced my concerns in early February that people should start taking precautions: buying quarantine supplies, PPE, etc.

Tucker Carlson had some early reports on COVID and was attacked for fear-mongering by his usual left-leaning political opponents.


> https://twitter.com/newsmax/status/1246131288664408064

This is Fauci (serving under Trump) saying in January 2020 that he didn't think it was a threat, or am I missing something?

Are you saying that a then Trump official, now Biden official was speaking out of partisanship?

> I remember the accusations of racism online quite vividly as I voiced my concerns in early February that people should start taking precautions: buying quarantine supplies, PPE, etc.

I stocked up on ~3-4 weeks worth of supplies too, and replenished bi-weekly since early february, as well as many of my friends, neither of whom politicised it.

> Tucker Carlson had some early reports on COVID and was attacked for fear-mongering by his usual left-leaning political opponents.

Do you mean his fellow network hosts?

https://i.insider.com/5e5959a6fee23d09e47eae94?width=951&for...

https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/imag...


Conservative media has been and is almost exclusively doing the vocal delusional pandemic denial. You are completely right about this. The source claiming the right-wing conspiracy theory has been an outlier here.

There was an article from a popular outlet I've been particularly surprised about, since left-wing media otherwise mostly took the pandemic seriously here and around the world, and tried to stay science-based.

This article remained in my memory because they present themselves as fact checkers and are popular with many prominent people in my primary political and media spectrum.

They politicised covid early on and claimed it is just an anti-open-borders / anti-foreigners campaign: "The secret reasons why conservatives want you to be afraid of coronavirus": https://www.volksverpetzer.de/politik/rechte-panik-corona-vi...

This is from 27th January 2020, while many people here on HN likely have read the first concerning reports about this virus at the end of December 2019. I started being careful from mid January.

Until today this page self-righteously claims that "the available facts at that time" pointed towards nothing to be concerned about in the Western world, which is simple not true if you took your research seriously.

I mentioned that Men in Black scene. There were several other topics where I could find concerning evidence by carefully browsing otherwise questionable sources very early on – the lab leak theory (ProjectEvidence, Zerohedge), the aerosol transmission, that mask wearing is reasonable, the unclear and potentially harmful effects of the spike protein itself –, while I've been completely ignoring such websites before covid. ( Other things like people just dropping dead on Chinese streets did not turn out true ofc. )


Separate from the article, the damming thing in his email release is the strong suggestion that he knew it was engineered early on and may have participated in hiding this fact.


Can you provide citations for this because it just seems like FUD to me


er, who has shown any evidence at all that covid-19 was "engineered"? this whole discussion is about the unproven possibility that it leaked from a lab.


The article mentions the state department had Steven Quay present an analysis of the origin of the virus: https://zenodo.org/record/4642956#.YIa66ehKhPY

The “engineered” component is about the Furin cleavage site on the sars-cov-2 spike protein.

The virus shares 92% genetic similarity to bat coronaviruses, except the spike protein, which is nearly identical to a pangolin coronavirus(which is otherwise only ~38% similar) with one key exception: The Furin cleavage site using “lab standard” sequences.

  The gene sequence for the amino acids in the furin site in CoV-2 uses a very rare set of two codons, three letter words so six letters in a row, that are rarely  used individually and have never been seen together in tandem in any coronaviruses in nature. But these same ‘rare in nature’ codons turn out to be the very ones that are always used by scientists in the laboratory when researchers want to add the amino acid arginine, the ones that are found in the furin site. When scientists add a dimer of arginine codons to a coronavirus, they invariably use the word, CGG-CGG, but coronaviruses in nature rarely (<1%) use this codon pair.  For example, in the 580,000 codons of 58 Sarbecoviruses the only CGG pair is CoV-2; none of the other 57 sarbecoviruses have such a pair.


In this Twitter thread Immunologist Kristian G. Andersen is addressing similar claims about the Furin cleavage site and the use of CGG codons: https://twitter.com/K_G_Andersen/status/1391507230848032772

According to Andersen, the CGG codon isn't quite as rare in coronaviruses. He also comments that the stability of the CGG codon in the Furin cleavage site has been remarkably high over the course of the pandemic, which is a hint that the CGG codon may be selected for and crucial for the virus.

Quoting him:

> Now, the codons. Here, Baltimore is talking about the two codons coding for the first two arginines (R) following the P - CGG. The CGG codon is rare in viruses because it's an example of an unmethylated "CpG" site that can be bound by TLR9, leading to immune cell activation.

> Despite being rare, however, CGG codons are found in all coronaviruses, albeit at low frequency. Specifically, of all arginine codons, CGG is used at these frequencies in these viruses:

> SARS: 5% SARS2: 3% SARSr: 2% ccCoVs: 4% HKU9: 7% FCoV: 2%

> Nothing unusual here.

> Furthermore, if we go back to the FCoV sequences and compare them to SARS-CoV-2 at the nucleotide level you'll see that FCoV also uses CGG to code for R immediately following the P. The next R is CGA (non-CpG) in FCoV, while it's CGG in SARS-CoV-2 - one nucleotide difference.

> We see CGG multiple times in different ways - here's an example comparing another "PR" stretch between SARS-CoV-2, RaTG13, and SARS-CoV in the N gene. Note how SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13 both use CGG, while SARS-CoV-2 uses CGC for the first R, while later R's are coded by CGT or AGA

> One final point about the CGG codons in the FCS - if they were somehow "unnatural", we'd see SARS-CoV-2 evolve away from "CGG" during the ongoing pandemic. We have more than a million genomes to analyze, so what do we find if we look at synonymous mutations at the "CGG_CGG" site?

> Remarkably stable. Specifically, CGG is 99.87% conserved in the first codon and 99.84% conserved in the second.

> This is very strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 'prefers' CGG in these positions.


I'm only a former bioinformaticist (not a clinical practitioner), but people tend to anthropomorphize the blind idiot god of evolution a bit too much. "Selection" is just the end result of survivorship bias.

CGG-CGG is the most potent furin cleavage site because it works on the outer cell membranes and on the interior. Viruses that have it will outcompete all others -- but all this means is that SARS-Cov-2 with the CGG-CGG FCS has been well adapted to humans since the beginning of the pandemic and less potent mutations haven't been able to keep up. There's no "natural/unnatural" axis to consider. The most infectious virus "prefers" to be the most infectious, indeed. It's tautological. Evidence of efficacy doesn't disprove laboratory alteration.


That emails he received early 2020 from fellow scientists stating covid-19 had identifiable traits of being engineered.


WHICH messages, from which 'fellow scientists'. The mails are out there now, cite them. Not just parrot assumptions.


Fauci was responsible for the work of large swathes of the US medical research establishment, and was questioned on that work on a daily basis. Does it make any sense to say he can't comment on the work of an organisation he runs because he runs it?

In this case the lab didn't even work for him, it just got some small amount of funding from his organisation's budget but he had no say in it's operations. So he can comment on the work of his organisation, but not about the work of an organisation he partly funded?

We know perfectly well he is not an external observer. That's not the capacity in which he's commenting, any more than a president is commenting in an external or impartial capacity about the work of the executive branches, or e.g. UN agencies partly funded by the US.


Why is disclosure of potential conflict of interest made out to be such a high bar? And why do you put arguments forth that did not exist in what you replied to?

> Does it make any sense to say he can't comment on the work of an organisation he runs because he runs it?

Is a straw man argument, because what was said was that the conflict of interest should have been disclosed. And, not that he cannot make a comment.


Ok, that's fair, but what I'm saying is no reasonable person would consider Fauci to be an independent observer of any of this. That's just not his role.


"Conflict of interest" primarily describes situations in which you're deciding policy that applies to personal financial stake.

A situation in which you've (a) contributed to decision-making on multiple public funding priorities including this lab and (b) state a judgment that lab was not the source of the outbreak isn't a conflict of interest, it's everyday policy life. Especially given that there's nothing glaringly wrong with the reasoning Fauci gave for that judgment in the article you linked.

If you think that reasoning has shortcomings, by all means, feel free to actually come up with something resembling a counterargument instead of vaguely implying "whether or not anything shady was going on."


The conflict of interest is with Trump. He lifted the ban and should take all the blame for any bad outcome from gain-of-function research. Instead he pushed a deliberate leak conspiracy as cover.


For conflict of interest, please see Fauci's wife.


Wow you weren't kidding. His wife, Christine Grady, Christine is Chief of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. She's cited in papers on "conflicts of interest" in medicine. They must have some interesting dinner table talk...

Here's an interview with her... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhwrICQTcQg ... her opening statement (paraphrased) is "saving lives in the context of vaccines ... is about firstly maximising benefit and secondly about fairness and equity" ... make of that what you will.


It isn't muckraking. Fauci has a clear conflict of interest. Further he argued in favor of GoF research while acknowledging it could lead to a pandemic. He literally wrote that in an academic paper. https://www.nationalreview.com/news/fauci-argued-benefits-of...


From Fauci's paper:

>In an unlikely but conceivable turn of events, what if that scientist becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic? Many ask reasonable questions: given the possibility of such a scenario...

>Scientists working in this field might say – as indeed I have said – that the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risks. It is more likely that a pandemic would occur in nature, and the need to stay ahead of such a threat is a primary reason for performing an experiment that might appear to be risky.

So the basic risk calculation Fauci is using (which is disputed by many scientists and virologists) is this:

Lives saved by GoF research > lives lost by inevitable lab leak + lives lost by inevitable natural pandemic

Gain of function research has been going on for decades now. What evidence is there that this research has actually served its purpose to help save lives? Did GoF help us at all with the current pandemic?


The FT quotes: ‘120,000 a year for bat surveillance’.

Seems negligible as an outsider.


There is a lot of evidence that Fauci had quite a bit of conflict of interest, and knew about the gain of function research long before he denied it to Rand Paul in May.

It's not muckraking. There is heavy smoke, and people denying the existence of fire while trying to get people to stop looking for it.


Since when has muckraking taken a pejorative meaning - especially one that would justify somebody’s downvote. The early 20th century muckrakers enabled much-needed and widespread reform.


One simply don't give funding to an openly racist state that runs concentration camps. That's insanity!


by that same metric doing business with the US could likewise be problematic. Are you calling for that to stop, too?


Plain Jane American here: my gut sense is something is off : you do not give funding to the Chinese (that's government to government) for research in this area. Something does not sit right. In the recent 25 years the US outsourced too much ... There's no implied or explicit coequal on this kind of R&D.


Why wouldn't you? All the research is (supposed to be) shared with the world anyway. If you're interested in a topic, and some other country is also interested, and they have a lab ready to go - why not throw some money at them to study your thing? Cheaper than building your own lab - especially when the phenomenon is regional.


How could you ever expect the CCP to be even remotely honest in any “share this with the world” R/D scenario?


At the height of the Cold War, when the U.S. and Soviet Union governments were sworn enemies and on the verge of shooting nuclear weapons at each other, U.S. and Soviet scientists collaborated openly and productively on a wide variety of subjects. Even with government funding.

It’s not unusual to expect scientists to collaborate openly across national borders despite political winds, and in fact it is desirable.


Also funding the research is one way to ensure the results are shared.


Because they are competing on a vaguely equal footing with all the other researchers around the world. Funders want published results in return for funding, and will typically give funding to the researchers that have the perceived highest chance of publishing results if given the money. This incentivises researchers to publish anything they can. It means that money gets sent to China if it looks like the Chinese researchers are likely to make good use of it and return results. That's how academia works.


Because we're talking about research of biological weapons of mass destruction.


No, we're not. That wasn't the stated purpose of the research, and is deeply unlikely to have been a covert purpose either. What is the use of a "weapon" you can't aim?


Article gave me the impression that the Obama ban wasn't real. It included an "unless its important" exception and everyone just kept on doing it anyway.

>Inside the NIH, which funded such research, the P3CO framework was largely met with shrugs and eye rolls, said a longtime agency official: “If you ban gain-of-function research, you ban all of virology.” He added, “Ever since the moratorium, everyone’s gone wink-wink and just done gain-of-function research anyway.”


>“If you ban gain-of-function research, you ban all of virology.”

This is an absurd strawman. If it were true, why have there been so many virologists calling GoF unethical and seeking to prohibit it?


Wink wink, you/they should go to jail upon blatantly disregarding something meant to protect us.


Your May 2021 story includes the following quotes:

> But Fauci emphatically denied that the money went toward so-called “gain of function” research, which he described as “taking a virus that could infect humans and making it either more transmissible and/or pathogenic for humans.”

> “That categorically was not done,” he insisted.

> Earlier in the hearing, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) that researchers at the Wuhan lab “were not approved by NIH for doing “gain of function research” before adding “we are, of course, not aware of other sources of funds or other activities they might have undertaken outside of what our approved grant allowed.”

Are you saying these are still lies? It doesn't really matter if the NIH funded some other kind of research on coronaviruses if that research was not risky. Presumably the question is whether gain of function research performed there created covid-19. And the grant, which I assume is public record, is claimed not to be for that. Maybe there's more to the story, but seems like guilt-by-association at this point. If Wuhan used the funding for some research it was not supposed to be used for, then it might just as well have been funding for any other disease anyway.


They indirectly gave WIV funding to support research into Pig SARS -- Swine acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV).

There is exactly fuckoff zero evidence that funding wound up supporting gain of function research for anything.

And giving China money to study diseases in pigs happening in China that are closely related to a human disease that we were worried about it (or maybe a close relative) spilling over into humans only makes sense.


Money is fungible.


> There is exactly fuckoff zero evidence that funding wound up supporting gain of function research for anything.

From the Fauci e-mails: People Fauci directly worked with seemed surprised and shocked to learn otherwise, and could not even instantly say if their funding had made it abroad.

There are papers resulting from GoF research of concern at the WIV. There are grant proposals, which specify the exact modifications they will do to Bat SARS to increase infectivity on mice with humanized lungs. How can you speak so certain, if you are unaware of this?

> And giving China money to study diseases in pigs happening in China that are closely related to a human disease that we were worried about it (or maybe a close relative) spilling over into humans only makes sense.

It makes sense, but you'll see through studying the records that it was the cover for military funding. What was the Defense Threat Reduction Agency funding doing at the WIV where military researchers shared floors with civilian researchers working on the same animals? Making sense to research spillover?


- There was GOF research done on US soil at UNC Chapel Hill which collaborated with WIV. They took a SARS-CoV-1 backbone and splied in a surface protein from another coronavirus and ran it through mice to produce a mouse coronavirus.

- There's no papers out of WIV indicating GOF research

> but you'll see through studying the records that it was the cover for military funding.

You're offering a blatant conspiracy theory now with no substantiation.

The funding to WIV had nothing to do with GoF and there's no evidence of anything else. But it HAD to be GoF research. Circular, evidence-free logic.


> There's no papers out of WIV indicating GOF research

This is something I'm confused about. There are a bunch of papers from the WIV and the North Carolina lab which describe "reverse genetics", spike protein modification, and other obvious gain of function research which acknowledge funding from USAID and EcoHealth Alliance. (The most recently famous of these is Menachery et al, Nature 2015.) But it looks like the actual GoF was done at the Baric lab in North Carolina. The closest I could find was serial passaging experiments done at Wuhan to isolate viruses and test vaccines. One could argue that testing virus infectivity by serial passage is dangerous enough...

> The funding to WIV had nothing to do with GoF and there's no evidence of anything else.

The funding to EcoHealth Alliance specified GoF under such terms as "reverse genetics", "virus infection experiments ... humanized mice."

EHA may have put restrictions on how this money was used, but with the revelation in this article that WIV has lied about doing military research... I'm not so confident we can say no GoF was done there.


> I assume this is getting down-voted either because is sounds like conspiracy theory

I would imagine that is true and it's because how you are presenting it is absolutely conspiratorial. You seem to be very adamant about involving Fauci with weak evidence which is the MO for almost all other biased conspiracy theorists in regards to this topic.

Fauci seems to be a scapegoat for many peoples frustrations with very little rational reasoning - similar to Soros and BLM. Conspiracy theorists rarely talk about the repercussions of their perspectives or tangible calls to action and instead get obsessed with who to blame and nefarious-by-default tangential financial associations.

Maybe if you addressed some of the evidence in the article or even the content of the comment you are replying to then your comment wouldn't be perceived in the same light.


> So the lead guy we’ve been listening to (and still are) for scientific advice on this pandemic is entangled in a massive conflict of interest.

How does any role he might (or might not have) played in GOF research create a conflict of interest in terms of his advice about the pandemic?


Last year in May 5 2020 Fauci dismissed the idea that the virus came from a lab that his own organisation was providing funds to - https://www.cbsnews.com/news/anthony-fauci-wuhan-lab-coronav...

The conflict of interest is: was this statement actually what he believed to be true at the time, or was it to draw attention away from the Wuhan lab, so there wouldn't be ugly questions about why his organisation provided funding to it?

To me it seems like the right thing for Fauci to have done at the time was draw attention to the potential conflict of interest but that admission only became public last month - https://nypost.com/2021/05/25/fauci-admits-nih-funding-of-wu...


You write this as if NIH is a privately run foundation with Fauci at the head. He's not even head of the NIH, and while I have no doubt that he was directly involved in decisions to fund research at the Wuhan lab, this is a government agency, which as we're told over and over (when it's convenient to say so) means layers upon layers of bureaucracy and red tape , particularly when handing out money.

Is it your position that he was able to run it as some personal fiefdom?

Suppose that Fauci had known for a fact in May 2020 that SARS-COV-2 originated in that lab. How would that have changed the advice he (attempted to) offer regarding public health and safety?


>You write this as if NIH is a privately run foundation with Fauci at the head. He's not even head of the NIH

He has been the head of the NIAID, the infectious diseases arm of the NIH, for ~37 years.


> Suppose that Fauci had known for a fact in May 2020 that SARS-COV-2 originated in that lab. How would that have changed the advice he (attempted to) offer regarding public health and safety?

If he had known the virus was being researched and escaped the lab, certainly his recommendation should have included requests for any and all research and records related to the virus research. As such records have been very pertinent to public health guidelines and guidance, if not potentially toward treatments and future vaccines.

Also there is the very real financial and legal component if that were the case. On a much smaller scale it would be on par with destroying video evidence of a slip and fall, denying it ever existed, then when caught claiming it’s immaterial to the medical treatment of the injured…that’s still fraud and at minimum a clear attempt to escape legal and financial liability.


When I do incident command at my workplace, there are two goals in dealing with an incident: solving the problem, and preventing it from happening again. They are both extremely important, but they happen in order.

While the incident is ongoing, any attempts to prevent the problem from happening in the future are a complete distraction. Write down notes and ideas somewhere so we don't forget, but the priority is on solving the incident that actually happened and is causing problems. If you say "What if we fixed this longstanding piece of tech debt that led up to the incident," however reasonable it is to fix it in light of the fact that it caused an incident, it's useless to bring it up now if you can't fix the tech debt immediately to resolve the incident. Along the same lines, attribution is interesting if it will help you deal with what is going on (e.g., there's high load on a low-level system and you want to know if anyone deployed anything recently, so that you can ask them to roll back); it's not really interesting if you know what's broken (e.g., a machine is powered off and needs to be turned back on... figuring out who pressed the power button isn't yet relevant).

Similarly, "We should stop funding gain-of-function research" may (or may not) be a valid conclusion, but it wouldn't have dealt with COVID-19 in particular. It might be worth doing it to make sure there's no COVID-22.

Even if it turns out to be true that COVID-19 came directly from research that would not have happened if it were not for Fauci, absent a reason to believe that anyone's response to COVID-19 specifically would have been different if they knew that, I don't see any reason it was improper not to draw attention to it at the time, and quite a few reasons why it was proper to focus attention on the problem at hand.

His comments in that May 2020 article are spot-on. If we knew that it was engineered, then yes, publicizing the lab notes that were used to build it could perhaps speed up the process of a vaccine or other countermeasure (but COVID-19 had already been sequenced by January 2020 and the sequence published, and vaccines were already in development then). But theories like "what if the researchers brought it in from the wild, and then it escaped their lab" should just have prompted the response "yes, so what." It's interesting now to prevent the next COVID; it's irrelevant re COVID-19.

And I certainly don't see the conflict of interest - what was Fauci gaining? His continued role? Again, at the time, the role was not determining whether to fund gain-of-function research, the role was figuring out how to get rid of COVID-19.

You could say that the NIH should have paused all funding for new virus research projects (unless they specifically related to dealing with COVID-19 in the short term), but that would have been a good idea regardless of the NIH's previous role in funding.


And I certainly don't see the conflict of interest - what was Fauci gaining? His continued role?

Yes. Obviously you don't put an arsonist in charge of fighting fires, so if this information had come out early last year then he would have lost not only his role much sooner, but also his social status and career. If what's coming out now came out last year, Trump's replacement of him with Scott Atlas would have been more widely supported (maybe), and Biden may not have dared to put him back in his post.

That would have been a huge financial hit. Fauci does very well out of his position. "Very well" might even be an understatement. He is the highest paid federal employee [1], earning more in 2019 alone than the US President. Despite this fact, he has deflected questions about conflicts of interest by laughing it off and saying he has a "government salary", creating the impression he is paid far less than he really is.

Fauci charges between $50,000 and $100,000 per hour for motivational speeches [2].

Despite being theoretically in charge of a crisis situation in which nobody has time to ask how it started, Fauci has found time to write a book called, "Expect the Unexpected: Ten Lessons on Truth, Service, and the Way Forward". He has also appeared on TV more than 300 times [3].

This is not a man who is too busy to investigate basic questions that may have direct relevance to developing treatments for the virus. And given that knowing where it came from would be of immense scientific value yet he has every incentive to cover it up, he is also not a man who should be running things.

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/01/25/dr-...

[2] https://leadingmotivationalspeakers.com/speakers/anthony-fau...

[3] https://www.aier.org/article/fauci-has-chalked-up-300-media-...


This is a global pandemic that came out of China. In the worst possible case, Fauci hid the fact that an org he's involved in donated a minuscule portion of its budget to the lab from where the virus leaked due to incompetence.

It's not like he took the vial home for lulz and dropped it on the subway. His role in the origin of this thing is so small it's irrelevant.

The only thing that's up for discussion is that he may not have been 100% correct during one of his many public statements, hardly something that can be held against him considering the shitcreek the whole world is in.

Personally I'd give the guy some credit for everything he's done right, I mean he's been at it since 1968.

What is there to gain by nailing him to the cross, or pointing out his income and book deals?


> This is a global pandemic that came out of China. In the worst possible case, Fauci hid the fact that an org he's involved in donated a minuscule portion of its budget to the lab from where the virus leaked due to incompetence.

> It's not like he took the vial home for lulz and dropped it on the subway. His role in the origin of this thing is so small it's irrelevant.

By dissuading an investigation into the cause at the time, he might have shot down our only chance of ever knowing for sure. I sure as hell don't trust China to be truthful about it. There's no incentive on their part.

> The only thing that's up for discussion is that he may not have been 100% correct during one of his many public statements, hardly something that can be held against him considering the shitcreek the whole world is in.

He's been spreading mixed and misinformation for months and possibly lying to Congress. Many give him the benefit of the doubt by saying that he either did not know or he did it in the interests of the public as a whole (ex: We need the N95 masks so let's lie and say nobody else does). Neither is acceptable to some of us.

> Personally I'd give the guy some credit for everything he's done right, I mean he's been at it since 1968.

Past good behavior doesn't get you out of a trial. At best it's a factor during sentencing.

> What is there to gain by nailing him to the cross, or pointing out his income and book deals?

The book deal looks like a last minute cash grab before he gets sacked.


> He's been spreading mixed and misinformation for months and possibly lying to Congress. Many give him the benefit of the doubt by saying that he either did not know or he did it in the interests of the public as a whole (ex: We need the N95 masks so let's lie and say nobody else does). Neither is acceptable to some of us.

That very advice was offered here in Belgium as well and it smelled like BS. Obviously they had to make a hard choice: tell people they need masks, stocks get plundered and medical professionals have none. Or, say the opposite and grab every mask you can find for medical personnel. The second option was probably the best, hopefully you can understand that these kind of hard choices need to be made and this guy shouldn't lose his job over it.

Interestingly, in Jan / Fed before it really hit Europe and nobody was wearing masks in public they were already sold out in most places. At the time it was probably Chinese plundering EU stores and govt must have picked up on it.


No, this is the problem. Fauci and others in public health have confused everyone with their lies so badly now they're being defended.

There was never a mask crisis. Masks don't work, they have never worked, this had been known for a long time partially because the world went through this exact process with the Spanish flu. And scientists knew that which is why they originally said masks don't work.

This all fell apart quickly because they are collectivists at heart and were being lobbied by political forces that wanted something they could tell everyone to do. The WHO actually admitted this to the bbc! Masks seemed like a good fit, so the scientists promptly jumped on board and started saying masks worked. Problem: how to explain their prior position? So they came up with this double layered lie: we said masks didn't work because it was a noble lie to protect healthcare workers.

But it was never the case. All the documents before March 2020 are consistent on this, including the new Fauci emails.


There's plenty of peer-reviewed evidence that masks are aerosol barriers and that aerosol barriers help reduce transmission/infection.

The term "collectivist" has no particular meaning other than to those who have what they consider to be an opposite worldview.

This is just several lines of misinformation, the same nonsense that's been an issue since SARS-COV-2 emerged. It's all be debunked hundreds of thousands of times, both on HN and elsewhere.


But "peer reviewed evidence" is frequently either wrong, or irrelevant (e.g. lab studies without external validity), or both. The whole discussion here is that scientists have been engaged in political manipulations since the start.

Mask mandates don't work. If they did then the removal of masks would have caused a noticeable spike in cases in Texas, to pick just one example of many. The complete uselessness of masks has been "debunked" in the same vein the lab leak theory was "debunked" - a bunch of people asserting that scientists cannot be wrong, even as they say things that are clearly and very obviously wrong. Anyone can see the truth just by looking at government data sets for a while. It is ridiculous that people still aren't learning to think for themselves, even after all that's happened.


Source on masks not working?

Their usefulness in non crowded spaces in open air is probably debatable but if you're in an elevator with 10 people sneezing wouldn't you rather wear one? Why does every surgeon in the world wear one?

So the question is in what exact circumstances are they useful. I'd say during a pandemic it's probably better to err on the safe side.


The internet is full of them but my favourite source is just the raw data. Look at case graphs for different regions. Look at the dates when mask mandates were added and removed. There should be very sharp, inorganic looking drops and spikes but there are none.

Many people have put together the charts with arrows indicating the dates when things changed, for example

https://rationalground.com/mask-charts/

That site is old now but there have been many since.

You can also find plenty of studies saying the same of course, but you can also find studies saying the opposite - academic research has failed on this topic. Fortunately the question in simple, so you don't need any research papers to see the truth: mask mandates do not work because if they worked, we could see it in the graphs, and we can't.


https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-masks-fewer-positive-tests...

Wore mask at all times: 11% got infected Wore mask never: 23% got infected

Mask mandate doesn't mean people actually wore them. Maybe in shops they did cause it was illegal not to. If people kept having gatherings with friends & family then a mask mandate is meaningless.

And honestly, you should be ashamed to link to these type of websites. They don't hold up to any kind of scrutiny.


A poll by a news website that relies on self-diagnoses? Really? I was expecting at least a scientific study. Come on, you could try harder than that - it's easy to find peer reviewed published scientific studies that conclude masks "work" yet which are wrong.

Mask mandate doesn't mean people actually wore them.

Well, people do wear them, that's been studied quite extensively. Compliance >95% in the studies I've seen. If mask mandates don't affect the data even with the very high levels of compliance seen during COVID times then they will never work, because compliance won't be higher in future.

But even if "not enough" people wore them or didn't wear them 24/7 or whatever, that still means mask mandates failed. People were forced to wear masks a whole lot, in any crowded space, and they had no impact on the data at all. Affecting the data was the only justification for mask mandates, so their failure to do so is fatal to the concept - why they failed might make for an interesting debate, but given how tiny viruses are, how much airflow can occur around masks and that most transmission happens inside homes, care homes and hospitals where mask wearing 24/7 is not practical, their failure is no big shock.

And honestly, you should be ashamed to link to these type of websites. They don't hold up to any kind of scrutiny.

Look in the mirror, my friend. I've linked to examples of actual case curves, which is what matters. Mask mandates aren't intended to affect opinion polls on obscure news sites, they're meant to affect whole countries. They do not. Therefore they have failed.


Google will easily point you to mountains of evidence that they do work, from scientific studies. If you don't want to look at them or convince yourself you know better than the people who conducted these studies then that's unfortunate.


I've looked at a lot of COVID related research papers over the last year, which is exactly why I don't take them seriously anymore. The quality is extremely low and they routinely do things that aren't scientifically valid without any obvious repercussions for the authors.

Fortunately, again, one more time. You do not need scientific studies to see the truth here. The goal of mask mandates was to change case curves. That was their only justification. In a large number of places mask mandates were added or removed without the case graphs changing. Therefore, they do not work. Everything beyond that is irrelevant and frequently confused, e.g. studies on masks are not relevant to the question of mask mandates.


> You do not need scientific studies to see the truth here

Mind if I frame that on my wall?


Please do. Perhaps after a few more years of articles like the one this thread is originally about, you'll look at it in a new light. The sort of "scientists" who inhabit our universities have no monopoly on the truth, as the world is slowly coming to accept.


The argument is that China is covering up the origins of COVID-19 to protect Fauci and ensure he gets rich?


Nailing public figures who lie for personal gain to the cross serves a very important function by dissuading other public figures from doing the same. Otherwise, the math suggests that every public figure should be lying for personal gain since they can just get away with it. At least in the US, there are far too many politicians who think they can get away with lying through their teeth to the public.

However, it looks like Fauci has outlived his usefulness to the ruling class, and they are currently in the process of throwing him under the bus.


> Yes. Obviously you don't put an arsonist in charge of fighting fires

Sure, but to go back to my analogy, you absolutely do put the guy who hit the power button by mistake in charge of pressing it again - they know exactly where it is and they're already in the datacenter. You put the team that deployed a new service that's DoSing your infrastructure in charge of rolling it back. You don't say "You broke the system, so we're finding someone else to do the rollback."

If the allegation is that Fauci intentionally funded a lab in Wuhan to work on gain-of-function research with the express purpose of having the virus escape and cause a global pandemic because Fauci is a murderer rivaling Hitler, that's a very different (and much harder to substantiate) claim than that he merely was causally involved in an accident and like anyone else wants the accident to not have happened.

And if that is the claim, the "conflict of interest" argument becomes clearer: Fauci is on the side of COVID-19 and in charge of stopping it. It's the same conflict of interest as putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires.

Short of that, the idea that he had a conflict of interest is like the idea that the team that accidentally DoS'd the infrastructure has a conflict of interest because they each get Fauci-scale salaries and they might be fired. Technically yes, but we all know that firing them wouldn't help solve the problem and losing their expertise would make other things work, so it's not even on the table unless we suspect malice is involved.

(And if it is on the table, either at my workplace or in Fauci's case, so is criminal prosecution. Loss of salary is the least of your worries.)


I don't think anyone is claiming anyone wanted it to escape, only that it was very likely, they know it was likely, that's why it had been banned but Fauci overrode the ban then started constantly lying about it and many other things for career and financial reasons.

You make comparison to tech workers. Sure, if someone makes a genuine honest mistake then you can argue they should be retained as they won't make that mistake again. But that does require deep and total honesty. If a tech worker caused an outage and then manipulated management for a year to cover up their involvement, there would be no such leniency.


Because you can't trust him. Full stop. That's the problem with conflicts of interest.

And to get more particular, the reason you can't trust his advice about the pandemic is because you can't trust him to give advice that would be based on or would reveal information related to the conflict of interest. Pretending as if that's impossible is silly. It's obvious it could happen, whether it did or not.


> It gets worse - gain of function research was banned under Obama until the ban was lifted in 2017 under Trump...

I'm not sure that claim aligns with historical NIH funding for gain of function research: https://reporter.nih.gov/project-details/9819304


> It gets worse - gain of function research was banned under Obama until the ban was lifted in 2017 under Trump

It was never really "banned", there was a moratorium on such research after a string of safety lapses in US laboratories, moratorium's are always only of a temporary nature [0].

The often mentioned "GoF research" involving bats with US participation and funding, didn't even fall under that moratorium [1].

> you have Fauci making the case for creating viruses in a lab

Of course he would make that case, because that's a useful tool to have in research. No offense, but trying to make this out as something so binary and only bad, reminds me a lot about the more radical and clueless takes on GMO that see "All GMO as bad".

[0] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/10/17/3570109...

[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/nature.2015.18787


In retrospect, and knowing what we know now, do you think his advice and direction has been inadequate?


>In retrospect, and knowing what we know now, do you think his advice and direction has been inadequate?

No


> It gets worse - gain of function research was banned under Obama until the ban was lifted in 2017 under Trump - https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3...

The ban was actually lifted by the Obama administration, _11 days prior_ to Trump taking office.

Source: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2017/01/09/recomme...

JANUARY 9, 2017 AT 9:06 Recommended Policy Guidance for Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight

"Adoption of these recommendations will satisfy the requirements for lifting the current moratorium on certain life sciences research that could enhance a pathogen’s virulence and/or transmissibility to produce a potential pandemic pathogen (an enhanced PPP)."


_IF_ Covid-19 is the result of a lab leak on research that Fauci funded and promoted AND he colluded w/ a group of scientists to hide this fact, it literally is the greatest conspiracy of our generation.

It isn't a big if. The recently released e-mails support this line of reasoning but don't confirm it. To argue the opposite of this, you should have better than ad hominem attacks.


> gain of function research was banned under Obama until the ban was lifted in 2017 under Trump

There's no need to politicize the discussion.

1) There's no evidence any recent president or cabinet member had a clue, or if they did have a clue it was off their radar anyway.

2) All this gain of function research was administered either in academic circles or at lower governmental circles where politicians are not involved. See for yourself. Fauci's own email from January 2020 referenced research already published in 2015. (That's during Obama's gain of function research ban, for those of you keeping score at home). Start at 5:00 into the referenced video.

EDIT: The paper was published after the ban was initiated. The research began before the ban, but apparently continued.

The whole video is well worth watching and walks trough Fauci's immediate responses as soon as it became apparent this is the real deal, and still 6 FULL WEEKS before the WHO declared a pandemic. A whole lot of CYA going on here. Fauci knew enough to reference this paper in the wee hours of the morning after a very busy day and before another hectic day he was headed for. Think he was familiar with the topic?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNxoVFZwMYw


Fauci in2017:

> Fauci said the Trump administration will not only be challenged by ongoing global health threats such as influenza and HIV, but also a surprise disease outbreak.

https://www.healio.com/news/infectious-disease/20170111/fauc...

https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/07/29/fact...


Well, of course. Disease outbreaks happen all the time. Just from the top of my head I remember tropical fevers (like Zika and yellow fever), Ebola, Corona viruses (such as MERS and SARS), zoonotic flues outbreaks that threatened to become a pandemic. This happens every other year. Fauci said "thing that happens every 1-2 years likely to happen during a 4-8 year period".


That it was incidentally self inflicted makes it so much more delicious drama. (Even if accidental.)


I appreciate that you provided sources and yet the conversation seems to be focused on just your baseless conjecture.


Upvoting because you are right. All roads of investigation lead to Fauci. Many seem in denial about this.


Supposedly, Fauci only got an approval from a low level Trump administration official.

IMO it’s not clear anyone even approved the research. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NIH just pulled a fast one. There’s also no evidence Fauci never mentioned the research to anyone near the beginning of the pandemic. Several Trump officials came out and said they were never told.


So it sounds like Fauci is saying they didn't fund gain of function research in the Wuhan lab.

If they did doesn't that really mean Trump is either more responsible for Covid or equally as responsible as China?

Trump allowed the ban to be lifted after the Obama whitehouse explicitly shut down this kind of research. Fauci just worked for Trump. It was ultimately on Trump, not an employee of his.


No no, you see, responsibility goes to the top, unless it lands on your tribe. Then it only goes to the nearest opposing tribe.


The other astonishing things is the sudden about face by the media. I'm glad they allowed themselves the liberty of looking at alternative origins. But... they were SO adamant and complicit in any discussion about alternative theories being shut down under the guise of conspiracy, Trumpism, anti-China, etc. (These are the same people who have no qualms about attributing anything to Russia even if evidence is thin, so it's clear there is hypocrisy involved).

Edit: It looks like Twitter is suspending the account of the Fauci email leaker(s). So the MoT is still on it.


China supported this in a psyop. Remember when they tried repeatedly to push the origin of the virus to Italy? I'm ethnically Chinese, so I'm in contact with a lot of mainlanders. The brainwashing is very effective. Even if most mainlanders know that their state media is bogus, and that Xi is a dictator, they'll take it deeply personally when you say anything that threatens the whole China # 1 narrative. All they had to do was hire a few shitposters, feed a few media narratives and the US fights with itself over stuff like anti-china, racists etc, while the CCP takes over Hong Kong.


Or all the effort to not call it China Virus/Wuhan flu because that's racist and we don't name viruses after places anymore.

Virus variants named after places on the other hand are apparently perfectly fine. So we don't have the Chinese virus but we do have British, Brazilian and Indian variants.


This is incorrect given the new WHO guidelines https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/01/covid-19-varia...


Except it is TVs and newspapers that were lecturing us that it was racist to call it the chinese flu and that are now happily using the xx-variant designation. It is the obvious bad faith that I find appalling.


Because there was no other name they could use. Blame the WHO for moving at the speed of molasses on this issue.


By the time it is deemed a variant, it has been sequenced number of times across the country and the health authorities always have a code or name to refer to this particular strain.


They had a code but not a name. The media can't refer to things by a confusing jumble of letters and numbers, they need a name, and if there's no official name then the media will create one themselves. Hence "India variant".

This is basic PR, e.g. when Heartbleed was disclosed it was given a name so that people could discuss it and attach meaning to it.


I guess it's good that they realized that, but I don't really understand why this time it took half a year. We'll see if the newspapers follow it.


It's good, but it's not exactly easy to remember. Hence why the papers here in the UK now tend to say something like 'the Delta variant, which was first seen in India' - that's only marginally better than 'the Indian variant' tbh.


> It's good, but it's not exactly easy to remember [[.]

Saying "$origin virus" is _definitely_ easier to remember than - say - something like "Covid19".

Except that we were told that using "$origin" was racist, so we had to stop, and we had to use the non-easy-to-remember version.

Where we are the media has been happily talking about "the British variant" and "the Indian variant", but no-one seems to be calling _that_ racist. At least no-one who the media cares about.


Sure, let's just all blame it on the greeks!


Nobody in the world except the US right called it that, and it is indeed uncommon to name viruses after its place of origin.


Literally any new variant has been called by its origin in the last year: -kent/brit variant -indian variant -california variant

What are you on about?


> What are you on about?

Not those variants, obviously.


Back in the early days Singapore very quickly created a fantastic web based information panel on the state of the Virus in the city. It's still running but they no longer use the original url: http://wuhanvirus.sg


Mers, lyme, west nile, Rocky Mountain, Zika, hanta, Ebola.


Except for the Spanish flu, the Brazilian flu, almost every single mammarenavirus strain...


The Spanish Flu most probably originated in the US, not Spain. Spain just had a pretty free press and published much about it. Never heard about the Brazilian Flu and couldn't find out when and where this was supposed to be, so can't comment here.


The question wasn't historically if the place-of-origin names were accurate. The question was if they were historically common.

I think naming diseases after places is a bad practice we should probably do away with, but it certainly has precedent. Offhand, there's also the Marburg virus. My understanding is also that it was unusual to name the Ebola virus after the nearby river instead of the nearby town.


Isn't it similar to naming medical conditions after the people that discover them? After all, it's naming pathogens after the place where there were was adequate diagnostic expertise to identify them and in which there was sufficient scientific and press freedom to report on them. And geography is obviously important in the context of epidemics/pandemics. No country or locality should receive special treatment in this regard, but much of the MSM appears to have been bought or cowed into submission by the geopolitical influence of the CCP.


> we do have British, Brazilian and Indian variants

which will now be re-named by Greek letter names


Context matters. The trump administration used those phrases to stir up anti-Chinese and racist sentiments.


Context matters, but consistency too. If it's racist too call it the Wuhan flu (which I can agree with) then the Indian variant is too.


Sounds placist to me.


Not to forget WIV1 virus..


Does no one else remember the videos out of China with people laying dead in the streets, falling over as they walked, convulsing behind the steering wheels of cars? Who paid for all that acting, scenes, and filming and then have it presented as “news”?

CCP owns Hong Kong, that was over in 1997, the only surprising thing about HK is that China waited this long to make it better known. Now... The country of Taiwan on the other hand, it’s going to be a bit more tense there for some time.

EDIT: Added links from Jan, most videos have been removed but the articles and screenshots are there. The one I specifically wanted was removed from YouTube and I can’t find it, showed a guy being checked by a PPE marshmallow then nearly immediately going into spasms in his car.

EDIT2: To whoever might have been upset at my thoughts on Taiwan; I updated it with some italics for you.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7923981/Coronavirus...

https://www.ibtimes.sg/china-virusnew-videos-wuhan-show-coro...

Here is snopes with an eye roll worthy fact check https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/people-collapsing-coronavi... “Unproven” ok, thanks for that guys.


> Does no one else remember the videos out of China with people laying dead in the streets, falling over as they walked, convulsing behind the steering wheels of cars?

Could you provide a link? I never saw such video on YouTube.


These videos [1] were published by a number of tabloids such as The Daily Mail [2] and The Sun [3]. I also remember that a very popular french TV show (Quotidien [4]) published them as well.

[1] https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/people-collapsing-coronavi...

[2] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7923981/Coronavirus...

[3] https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10808633/coronavirus-wuhan-zom...

[4] https://www.liberation.fr/checknews/2020/01/31/les-videos-di...


I saw the videos but they weren’t on YouTube. There were pastebins listing dozens of links to videos and photos BUT there was also zero proof it was connected to the virus or any timestamps, so who knows.


I can confirm the videos existed. Saw them when they were posted, back in Jan 2020. They were never on youtube, though, that I'm aware of.


I saw these too, mostly on Twitter. I shorted Boeing based on them and made some nice money. My friends didn't believe me that this was looking real bad.


> didn't believe me that this was looking real bad

I think the problem was the world also didn't believe it. Perhaps if every other country had had the balls to just shut down travel in/out of China for a month or so back at the very start it might never have been so bad. I remember when the very first reports of a novel Coronavirus in Wuhan were making the news that it had the potential to be really bad, but also had some wishful thinking that it was probably just a storm in a teacup.


China should have shut down international flights. Instead they shut down internal travel and happily exported the virus to the world. They have lost the last bit of good will I had for them and I suspect this is a sentiment shared the world over. The WHO are also complicit.


I share your feeling and this concerns me most: China's leadership don't care anymore what the world think of China. China gave up the PR war because their next big move might be ugly.


Hang on a second, remember Trump was called racist and xenophobic for shutting down travel to China?

And how weird that Zuckerburg sent an email to Fauci about vaccine funding and offers of help exactly the same time Nancy’s Pelosi was literally saying come to Chinatown and hug and Asian person. How were they talking about a vaccine at that point?

There seems to have been a lot of public and private statements going on, and everyone wants to memoryhole it.


I remember when he shut down travel from China... On January 31st. There were ~2k new cases every day, and internal travel was heavily restricted.

Meanwhile, it took until March 11th to ban travel from Europe, which at the time was seeing ~10k new cases a day, with full freedom of movement from affected areas to unaffected ones.

The problem wasn't that he banned travel from China. The problem is that he didn't ban travel from Europe, until it got way worse than China.


You: The problem wasn't that he banned travel from China. The problem is that he didn't ban travel from Europe, until it got way worse than China.

Okay. Yes, you're a very pro-lockdown Seattlite with access to almost every comfort you could want without leaving your home. I believe that you were probably not mad at Trump for stopping flights, and wanted more to be stopped. That is within your character as read by your comments. I'm skeptical you understand what lockdowns actually meant for other people, but that's besides the point.

Me: [Democrats and the media called Trump racist for shutting down travel from China]

Okay, so we agree then? I don't think I said anything about Europe or if Trump Admin had gone far enough and when.


I could both have preferred a harder lockdown, and also be cognizant of the hypocrisy of banning travel from one country, but not from another region, when the other region is worse off by nearly every metric.

Was accusing him of racism for that particular thing on February 1st a bit early? Maybe.

Did history prove the critics right? Yeah. It did. It only took six weeks.

Addendum: I appreciate that you have gone to some length to research the context of my character and my previous posts, in order to best form a context in which to interpret my current ones. I suggest that perhaps Trump's critics on this subject may have done something similar. The man has given them a few years of material to work with by that point, after all.


There is a guy on r/China I think who archived a bunch of disturbing videos from last January /February. I think I saved them or links, but I'm away from my computer. Will update if I find it.


Please share


Well, this is genuinely irritating. I'm pretty sure I saved the post on reddit, saved a link, or saved some videos, but I cannot find anything. I must not have wanted to have a bunch of videos of people dying, so I think I might have just saved the post on reddit... Other reddit posts with a link to the archive had been deleted, so I should have taken more care.


Someone posted a video below that includes some of the videos i saw a year ago. Some busybody must have flagged it, as the comment is marked as dead.


> Some busybody must have flagged it

It's a new acount which only posted this link - likely just some automated link spam detection. If you to to the comment's page (click the timestamp) there should be an option to vouch for it.



> Even if most mainlanders know that their state media is bogus, and that Xi is a dictator

I am an ethnic Chinese, I don't see this impression at all.

Disclaimer: this is quite normal, China is huge with 1.4b people, there are a lot of social bubbles. And the readers should read this comment and the parent of proving that. Not that this comment or the parent is true.


Well its turtles all the way isnt it, "And the readers should read this comment and the parent of proving that. Not that this comment or the parent is true.".

The same standard would apply to your comment.


Yes, of course, my comment and the parent are to show that there cannot be a simple truth about a nation with 1.4b people.

Realizing that, is the first step to reach any meaningful truth about China.

That's true even to native Chinese people. That's even more true to outsiders (obviously).


I'm curious with Wikipedia which is normally neutral but was very anti lab leak in this case, whether China directly had people work as editors there.


Citation Needed


That's the weird think about propaganda. Even if you know it's propaganda, it works pretty well when it's heavily pushed. I come from a former communist country, and most people despised the communist party and risked their lives in a revolution. After the revolution, they began to parrot the same talking points the heard in the decades before. Even with all the information we have today, the talking points induced by communist propaganda remain alive.


> blame Italy

I would like to remind everybody that this happened in Milano just before the outbreak

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o_uXF9B4KI


This is the Iraq war situation all over again, by which I mean the same people (literally) are pushing the same angle through the same media outlets in the same way.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/intelligence-on-sick-staff-at-w... : Michael R. Gordon, WSJ on the "lab leak"

https://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/08/world/threats-responses-i... : Michael R. Gordon, NYT on "Iraq WMD"

The media are, in these cases, bad, but only because they've not adequately defended against the internal psyop by the US security agencies.


I'm not sure they're meant to "defend" themselves against US psyops

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/apr/12/julianborger: CNN [and NPR] let army staff into newsroom


It was obvious wmd angle was bs from the start. The was never any concrete evidence for it. None. It just appeared out of thin air. Hearsay. It was also obvious that the lab leak hypothesis is worth investigating because there is active documented research on these viruses happening there. I don’t think they are comparable.


The Fauci emails were published from an FOIA request, not leaked.


Most of the folks I recall from last year shutdown the thought that the virus was bio-engineered, not that I couldn't have come from the lab in Wuhan. Yes, people said there was no evidence of a lab leak (because there isn't) but few people were saying it was impossible.

People are conflating the virus being bio-engineered (pretty sure this did not happen) with it coming from the Wuhan lab (might have happened, need more evidence).


IMHO, we were in the middle of the problem. The important part to was to figure out how to get out of it. The investigation at that point would not be helpful as it may make cooperation more difficult. Even if the result is that is natural origin and it escaped from a Wet Market. It was China's responsibility and the whole world must make sure to force China to ban wet markets. But as I said before, it will come a time for that.


Suppressing the truth because you want to game the outcome is an extremely dangerous position to take. It never ends well for the little guy, who ends up getting neither truth nor the best outcome.


> It was China's responsibility and the whole world must make sure to force China to ban wet markets.

lol, have you ever been to a wet market? Are you sure you even know what they are? It’s a typical Asian stall market that they hose off every night.

I’ve been to “dry” markets that they’re still cutting the faces off hogs and slaughtering chickens next to fruit vendors. That’s not particularly better.

I’m not sure if you think “banning wet markets” is a thing, but it’s definitely not.


Essentially banning all slaughtering on place and relegating it to specialty businesses which would be no better regulated than any slaughterhouse anywhere.

Meaning, you'd change nothing besides forcing Chinese to use more transport and freezer cars.


They could ban wildlife. Chickens ok, pangolins no. Or enforce that if it's already banned.


> The other astonishing things is the sudden about face by the media. I'm glad they allowed themselves the liberty of looking at alternative origins. But... they were SO adamant and complicit in any discussion about alternative theories being shut down under the guise of conspiracy, Trumpism, anti-China, etc.

I agree. However, I can empathize with the media's position. Their business model has been under intense pressure for decades, so they're far too understaffed to do the kind of job we'd all like them to do; and viral disinformation/misinformation has become far more prevalent and influential in the last several years. Donald Trump also acted as a siren (in the Greek mythology sense) during his presidency to greatly exacerbate both difficulties. It's not surprising that, when they were faced with a crisis where they were arguably on one of the front lines, they were forced to take shortcuts out of expediency that were ultimately mistakes. After all the lab-leak theory is both 1) extremely plausible, 2) conspiracy-theory bait.


An alternative explanation is that the other COVID-19 narrative - that vaccines work, but those who are hesitant are essentially beyond convincing, and this is going to be both a long and boring years long slog to control globally and longer to find the origin - makes for exceedingly boring news.

On the other hand, talking about "If X is true, then..." and spending the rest of the section talking about the lab leak hypothesis as if it was true" is much more exciting.

Especially given there are now three "lab leak" camps - Bioweapon, GoF Gone Wrong, and Genuine Accidental Release of a Natural Virus all of whom claim they have the smoking gun for three mutually exclusive theories.


Where has ANYONE suggested lab leak is the 'truth' or they have a smoking gun. The news does not exclusively report on COVID either.


Maybe not here but check out https://thebulletin.org/2021/05/the-origin-of-covid-did-peop... and ^F for smoking gun. Good article by the way.


All over this thread, for one thing. Nate Silver and a number of other "data driven centrist" type commentators acting like there has been a massive shift in the weight of evidence. Dozens of "We're not saying this is true, but the next 10 pages will act entirely based on that supposition..." articles.


It’s almost as if we learned new information that contradicts old information and the media is doing its job publishing articles about it. How weird.


This is not at all what happened. This article has a good overview of the shifting narrative. The initial position was that it was crazy to even consider a lab leak.

https://www.slowboring.com/p/the-medias-lab-leak-fiasco


Parts of the media listened to a bunch of people who all had good reason to dismiss theories that would point to them as in some way connected to research they knew was dangerous and this assessment was used for widespread censorship of contrary opinions.

The media is supposed to be a bit more skeptical of their sources than that. At this point I follow rules that look a lot like these:

https://info.publicintelligence.net/USArmy-IntelAnalysis.pdf


Right, while ignoring their previous protests and their censorship of opposing voices who offered alternative theories from the beginning while theories were being developed and discussed. The CCP said "wet market" and that made it authoritative?


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