Lab leak – analysis

I’m interested in Tucker Carlson’s view that the explanation for the willingness of the US democratic political class (and their lackeys by implication) to supress the lab leak theory is that they have already accepted that China (and thus the Chinese Communist Party) has eclipsed the US as the world’s leading power and they don’t want to upset their new masters. This chimes with my view that this is why the liberal-progressive Guardian and other liberal outlets are suppressing the lab leak theory; they don’t want to offend China which they understand is the new economic power which their system depends on.

(One error in this programme. They claim that Fauci is on record as saying that it was better to conduct dangerous research in China. Based on the content of Fauci’s quotes in the video extract they use they have not backed this up).

Science is not the same as Public Health – (and Dr Fauci does not ‘represent science’!)

The below is an extract from a Guardian article which is reporting on some remarks made by Dr Fauci to CBS. We can be fairly confident that he will not have been asked any challenging questions. Such as where did the virus come from.

–——————

On CBS, Fauci was also asked about Republican attacks over federal research prior to the pandemic and his role in the Trump administration.

“Anybody who’s looking at this carefully realizes that there’s a distinct anti-science flavor to this,” he said. “They’re really criticizing science because I represent science. That’s dangerous. To me, that’s more dangerous than the slings and the arrows that get thrown at me.”

Asked if he thought attacks were meant to scapegoat him and deflect attention from Donald Trump’s failures, Fauci said: “You have to be asleep not to figure that one out.”

“I’m just going to do my job and I’m going to be saving lives and they’re going to be lying,” he said.

—————–

Comments:

The coyly worded “federal research prior to the pandemic” is a (dishonest) journalistic cover for the funding of risky and controversial gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, an unsafe, according to other US officials, research facility that was playing with the same type of viruses as have caused the pandemic- just a few Km from the epicentre of the pandemic. Some of the funded projects have end dates in the future. So the “prior” is also a lie. How do these people (the journalists) live with themselves?

“I represent science”. An extraordinary remark. Was it challenged by CBS? It isn’t in the Guardian. Perhaps we should say “Fauci falsely claimed to represent science”? Of course; a) no single person “represents science” even if science was a homogenous whole it belongs to many people, b) most science and especially epidemiology cannot be reduced to a ‘single truth’ – most science is in fact contested (a healthy process) and so no one can ‘represent’ ‘it’. Even the best scientists will often disagree on certain points. What Fauci does represent is his own bureaucracy. He is confusing science and public policy. This is precisely the point that Senator Rand Paul has been making; these are different matters (both at a theoretical level and at a practical). For example; it seems that in the US previous exposure to Covid is not considered an alternative to vaccination. Since natural exposure offers comparable immunity to a vaccine this is an unscientific position. It may arguably make some kind of sense from a Public Health perspective; but even so this is not ‘science’. Many countries do accept that natural infection ‘counts’ as being ‘vaccinated’ for Covid pass purposes. There is nothing ‘anti-science’ about making this argument; this is not sour grapes from Trump-aligned Republicans. It is a scientifically literate questioning of public policy; Rand Paul is fulfilling his democratic mandate in asking the questions he does. What we see in these comments is a planned and careful lie being deployed by Fauci to discredit his critics.

Fauci’s rather blatant attempt to make his failures a political partisan issue is surprising given he is supposed to be a non-partisan public official. But then he did – according to Trump – sit through many meetings on Covid with Trump and never once mentioned the lab…..

“They are lying”. Well – Fauci certainly knows how to take the fight to the enemy. But anyone who watched his lies around “not gain-of-function” fall apart under Senator Rand Paul’s questioning will know who is lying. Most telling was the moment when he said “We did not fund gain-of-function research” only to be forced to clarify that he did not think that ‘gain-of-function’ work includes animal viruses. [1] In this moment his supposedly solid ‘defence’ was exposed as the semantic games it is.

Dr Fauci is a serial liar. He may have direct responsibility for the pandemic. He is certainly doing his best to cover himself against that possibility while at the same time trying to play down the idea of a lab leak. A very dishonest position.

Update 30/11/21

This is Rand Paul discussing these comments: https://rumble.com/vpzoft-dr.-rand-paul-addresses-president-bidens-covid-hypocrisy-november-29-2021.html

Paul makes the point better than me. What Fauci ‘represents’ is Public Health. Public Health is public policy informed by some science. It is not the same as science.

Paul also makes the interesting point that the only things which work against Sars-Cov-2 are vaccines and natural immunity. The lockdowns and mask-wearing and all the rest of it haven’t substantially affected the trajectory of the pandemic. This is probably true. Paul is a qualified physician and he seems to have a better grasp of the science of this than Fauci.

(I advocated for a lockdown in the UK right at the start and it is clear that had that been done it would have slowed the pandemic in the UK. At any event the point of my posts at that time was they were doing nothing and there were steps they certainly could have taken – in line with WHO guidance, including testing. In fact of course they did worse than nothing; they dumped lots of Covid-infected patients in care homes killing 20,000 people wholly unnecessarily).

Notes

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pnb2Yxri6eY 2.02

The false basis for dismissing the lab-leak theory

I don’t know if the original source of this ploy is Dr Fauci himself but I’ve certainly seen this line as one of the primary ‘arguments’ against lab leak. It goes like this – previous pandemics, such as Sars-Cov-1, have come from nature and zoonotic spill over so it is likely that this one does too. This is a video of Dr Fauci explaining this in May 2021:

As Senator Marco Rubio points out in the video the intermediary animal for Sars-Cov-1 was found in 4 months. (I’ve seen the 4 months figure for Sars-Cov-1 quoted by some researchers e.g. here. I’ve also calculated a longer timeline of 11 months – see my post here and note 1, still less than the current 22 months and counting for Sars-Cov-2). As the Senator says despite China’s huge interest in finding the intermediary animal now – about 22 months after the start of the pandemic it has not yet been found.

The idea that previous pandemics have come from natural spill over so this one must too really seems to be one of the main ‘arguments’ for the natural emergence theory. But it is not scientific. 1) It simply ignores the coincidence of the epicentre of the pandemic being within a few Km of a lab conducting risky experiments with precisely this type of virus 2) if natural emergence happens then so do lab leaks; if a lab leak has not yet led to a pandemic that isn’t proof that it won’t. This line breaks the basic rules of probability. If you toss a coin ten times and you get heads 10 times what are the odds you will get tails on the eleventh toss? Still 50-50. The fact that previous pandemics have emerged from natural spill over does not mean that this is what happened in this case. Nor does the fact that previous lab leaks have not led to pandemics mean that this is not what happened in this case. – Further; this view does not take account of the specifics of what was happening in Wuhan; sustained handling of bats, playing with viruses which had already infected humans, (the one from the mine), and mutating viruses in the lab specifically to see how infectious they could be to humans. Ironically – one of the other arguments which is deployed against the lab-leak theory goes like this: “ok; the genetic structure of Sars-Cov-2 is a little unusual for nature but hey we are talking about natural selection and there is a first for everything.” (See this argument reported by Wade here: in the section ‘Comparing the rival scenarios of SARS2 origin’). On the one hand the argument is “unusual events tend not to occur” and then on the other hand “unusual events even very rare ones can and do occur”.

Fauci has two threats. 1) A serious Congress or Senate (I don’t know exactly which it would be) investigation taking all the evidence including subpoenaing key players from Eco Health Alliance concluding that the lab leak was almost certain and 2) some unexpected leak from China confirming the lab leak. The latter is unlikely. One imagines that if it was a lab leak all the forensic evidence has long since been cleaned up and a defector would only have their word and could be dismissed as unreliable. It is interesting that the Democratic party is blocking all enquiries. (Who wouldn’t want to find the origins of a world-wide pandemic?) But that might not last for ever.

Making gain-of-function research disappear

We have covered how Fauci has lied to Senator Rand Paul.

Emails obtained from Fauci’s NIAID (apparently they had to be dragged out of them by a lawsuit) show that the key player in all this Peter Daszak who channelled NIAID/NIH funds to the Wuhan lab via his Eco Health Alliance certainly thought he was doing gain-of-function research with Fauci’s dollars. He even thanked the NIAID for funding gain-of-research funding at the Wuhan lab! “We are very happy to hear that our Gain Of Function research funding pause has been lifted“.

This confirms what Rand Paul has established by his hard work – the work done at the WIV and funded by the NIAID/NIH was to all intents and purposes “gain-of-function”. Fauci’s NIAID simply messed about – and continues to mess about with – the definition in order to be able to fund the work despite a ban on such work and then (after 2017) a requirement to have it approved by a special committee.

Basically it was Gain of Function work to the people doing it but for technical compliance reasons the funders used a different definition.

See the email obtained a by a US campaign group White Coat Waste.

Cross-check the grant number in the email to confirm this was coronavirus research in China. (The grant text doesn’t say WIV but this was the WIV work).