All things political. Coronavirus Edition. (1 Viewer)

Maxp

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I fear we are really going to be in a bad place due to the obvious cuts to the federal agencies that deal with infectious disease, but also the negative effect the Affordable Care act has had on non urban hospitals. Our front line defenses are ineffectual and our ability to treat the populous is probably at an all time low. Factor in the cost of healthcare and I can see our system crashing. What do you think about the politics of this virus?
 

MT15

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You’re being very kind about his sources, and I agree with your take on Jones. It was easy to spot the warning flags.
 

B4YOU

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I'm going to say something controversial for this board. He is being to simplistic but not wrong.

I haven't been a fan of Fauci since the mask debacle. He proved to me he would lie through his teeth, and put American lives at risk. Fauci was a proponent of gain of function research. He also states it wasn't a lab virus. It was an animal transmission, and then covid spent months circulating in China undetected. China has not produced proto-coronavirus samples when the virus should have been circulating in human populations for months. China has a lot of incentive to find this if it's true. It would kill the lab leak theory, and absolve them of some fault.

We also haven't found an animal reservoir that this virus originated from. In fact, the WHO said they thought this thing came from animal farms because china had them all shutdown. That little bit of circumstantial evidence is all they are going on.


This is a WAPO article talking about China's coverup:


P.S. I want to make it clear. I'm not saying it was a lab leak. We have no idea still on the origins of the virus. These people saying the lab leak theory is a conspiracy theory, and has been dismissed are wrong. I find it weird how hard the zoonotic origin theory has been pushed from the very beginning. I think some of this is political driven with the increase in Asian violence, and some CYA on the part of guys like Fauci.
I don’t worship at the alter of Fauci. I think there was a Faustian agreement on masks. The Trump admin didn’t want any action or alarm. Some wanted to mandate masks. Some wanted time to get N95 to hospitals and tamp down other sources of demand. I think they communicated extremely poorly on this issue. I don’t think he or politicians should be viewed as rockstars.

I also thought Cuomo’s and NYC’s response was very poor compared to DC metro area. We were still seeing packed NYC subway cars while DC limiting public transportation.

China’s policies on wet markets is indefensible. Whether it was a lab leak, wet market, or a researcher in a bat cave, it doesn’t matter. China shutdown communication of the virus internally until it couldn’t.

All that said, Trump will be the person most associated with the American failure on Covid-19. You can look to his press briefings and see a man only concerned for his re-election with no clue about preventing or responding to a disaster.
 

J-DONK

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I think you have substantially misinterpreted my comments and have misconstrued my post as "arguing with virologists." There's no such argument and I'd like for you to point to where anything I said contradicts or challenges anything they have said. I'm not assuming to know virology of SARS-CoV-2 (which I have followed enthusiastically since January 2020 as evidenced on the SR thread), I am only assuming to be able to read and think.

What I said was that the WHO's conclusions about the lab are supported by what appear to me to be some substantive findings including two that I think appear important: (1) the viral genome doesn't match any known samples in any lab in the world nor could it be cultured from known samples, and (2) the serological analysis from lab employees did not suggest a degree of exposure greater than the general population.

I never said those conclusions were rock solid or that the lab origin didn't happen. You made a comment that you thought the lab leak theory had a decent chance of being true and I responded by contrasting that with the WHO's report (which is, like it or not, the most thorough that we have, to date). But I also never said I thought the investigation was as thorough as it needed to be or that China provided the access necessary to make those conclusions reliable.

What I am saying, however, is that the report does not simply dismiss the lab leak origin, it labeled it as unlikely and it did so based on substantive findings. And what I'm saying is that to get passed the conclusion that SARS-CoV-2 matches no known viral sample nor is it close enough to any known sample to jump to humans or be cultured from them, there's going to need to be some evidence that the Wuhan lab was working with virus in total secrecy and had isolated SARS-CoV-2 or virus close enough to it to allow it to be cultured or to jump. I'm not naive enough to think that China wouldn't be doing something like this nor do I fail to recognize that China's less than full cooperation with the investigation makes conclusions on this issue unreliable.

Then why use WHO report as proof if the conclusions are unreliable. My honest opinion is that you had no idea of the nature of the WHO investigation, because this feels like a backtrack.

Also, you do/did disagree with Jamie Metzl's summation of the WHO report. I'm not sure why you thought your opinion was equal to that of an expert in the field. It comes off as arrogance. It turns you were unaware of flaws of the WHO investigation before giving that opinion.

Now, moving beyond the report and into more personal opinion that does not require a professional or academic association with virology or viral epidemiology, I do think that the zoonotic origin has two elements that are quite strong: (1) SARS-CoV-2 is the third of a series of coronaviruses recently originating from Rhinolophus bats to infect humans and cause disease. These three join four others, making seven known coronaviruses that infect humans. There is no debate whatsoever that SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV are zoonotic in origin. Other potential pandemic viruses (Ebola for example) are zoonotic in origin. Has there ever been a lab originated viral outbreak in the general public? (2) Humankind's continued growth and expansion into previously remote, natural environments means that humans and the livestock and domesticated animals humans bring with them will continue to encounter new exposures that could (quickly or more evolutionarily) lead to new viral infections or other pathogens - and this is particularly true of places like Asia where humans regularly interact with a much broader range of animals (livestock, food, culture, etc.)

I have yet to hear anyone use the previous history of SARS viruses as a defense. Why? There has never been a zoonotic disease that was this infectious as soon as it began infecting human host. Covid-19 should have circulated for some time before becoming virulent. A zoonotic origin shouldn't have it's first breakout in Wuhan. It should have started at these animal farms, or somewhere along the way. This outbreak, nor the less virulent strain can not be found. SARS, and MERS while very deadly could not be spread via aerosol, or were less virulent. Which is what you expect from a true zoonotic source.

I think these realities make zoonotic origin the starting point - demonstrating that it is something different requires more than plausible or circumstantial evidence. So for me at least, I will remain skeptical (in the academic tradition, not in any biased way). But I fully agree that any reliable conclusion requires China's full transparent participation.

Unless you believe China's investigation all you have is circumstantial evidence, which points to lab leak. This has been my point all along.

I'll add this as well. The lab leak origin would likely present itself as our current reality. China never giving hard proof of a zoonotic source, and continuing to obscurate any investigation into the origin of the virus. We are 15 months from the first Wuhan lockdown, and have no idea how the virus started.
 
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insidejob

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I thought the WHO said that COVID both didn't come from a wet market in Wuhan and also wasn't a lab leak back in February. At that time, they said that the virus was likely spreading for months before it was ever identified. That's what I remember at least.

And all I've seen recently is that they "aren't ruling out the possibility" of a lab leak. None of us have anything more than opinions and guesses about how this happened. Neither does the WHO or the CDC apparently.
 

J-DONK

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I thought the WHO said that COVID both didn't come from a wet market in Wuhan and also wasn't a lab leak back in February. At that time, they said that the virus was likely spreading for months before it was ever identified. That's what I remember at least.

And all I've seen recently is that they "aren't ruling out the possibility" of a lab leak. None of us have anything more than opinions and guesses about how this happened. Neither does the WHO or the CDC apparently.

The earliest known outbreak was in Wuhan. The wet market was ruled out as the origin because some of the early cases had no connection to the wet market. No other commonality has been found amongst the early cases. The current WHO/Chinese theory is that it originated in animal farms that carried, and made the leap in Wuhan, or one of the very early infected came to Wuhan. China did rule out a lab leak, but won't provide any access or data. There is also strong circumstantial evidence they are lying about the kind of work that was being done at this lab, as well as the samples provided.

You can watch the 60 minutes piece on it. The WHO did not in good faith investigate lab leak. The WHO also could not find the zoonotic source, an earlier outbreak, or the less virulent form of Covid-19.
 
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brandon

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This is an interesting interview from Fauci. He elucidates on his guidance to not wear a mask over a year ago.

He sums up basically what I was saying months ago. This whole "I don't trust Fauci because he originally said we shouldn't wear masks" has always been disingenuos bullshirt.

Changing your mind in light of new evidence should be encouraged. It's not flip-flopping. Staying stagnant in light of new information is the problem.
 

Optimus Prime

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He sums up basically what I was saying months ago. This whole "I don't trust Fauci because he originally said we shouldn't wear masks" has always been disingenuos bullshirt.

Changing your mind in light of new evidence should be encouraged. It's not flip-flopping. Staying stagnant in light of new information is the problem.

One of my favorite quotes

"I never change my mind, but I will make a new decision based on new information"
 

superchuck500

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Then why use WHO report as proof if the conclusions are unreliable. My honest opinion is that you had no idea of the nature of the WHO investigation, because this feels like a backtrack.

Also, you do/did disagree with Jamie Metzl's summation of the WHO report. I'm not sure why you thought your opinion was equal to that of an expert in the field. It comes off as arrogance. It turns you were unaware of flaws of the WHO investigation before giving that opinion.

Where did I say the WHO report was the answer? I only cited it and added commentary on what I thought it said. And where did I disagree with Jamie Metzl?
 

J-DONK

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He sums up basically what I was saying months ago. This whole "I don't trust Fauci because he originally said we shouldn't wear masks" has always been disingenuos bullshirt.

Changing your mind in light of new evidence should be encouraged. It's not flip-flopping. Staying stagnant in light of new information is the problem.

I found the "mask only work in a clinical setting" to be a horrible argument.
 

brandon

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I found the "mask only work in a clinical setting" to be a horrible argument.
That wasn’t the argument.

The argument was we didn’t yet have data that showed the masks work outside a clinical setting.

It perhaps seems intuitive, but under the circumstances of a potential shortage, I understand holding off until you at least had data showing efficacy before making the recommendation.
 

J-DONK

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Where did I say the WHO report was the answer?

This discussion was about needing a further investigation, and most of the circumstantial evidence points to a lab leak. You cited the WHO investigation as proof that the lab leak is not a likely scenario. That's literally how my conversation with you in this thread started.

I only cited it and added commentary on what I thought it said. And where did I disagree with Jamie Metzl?

This is the original statement

Jamie Metzl, an author, senior fellow of the Atlantic Council, an international policy think tank and signer of the scientists’ letter, said the renewed calls for a more thorough investigation reflected the need for greater monitoring of and restrictions on what viruses can be studied in labs around the world.

“This is not about ganging up on China,” Mr. Metzl said.

Mr. Metzl’s group was among those disappointed by the report issued last week, as it dismissed out of hand the possibility of a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, calling it extremely unlikely.

This is your retort.

I disagree with the characterization that the lab origin possibility was "dismissed out of hand" - the WHO report explains why they concluded it was "extremely unlikely" (which, by the way, isn't the same as being dismissed). The evidence on which that determination was made included genome evidence that pointed to the fact that SARS-CoV-2 matched no known virus under human control nor could it be cultured from known viral samples. It included other evidence (serological for example) as well. I don't see how this process can be characterized as dismissed out of hand, or even dismissed at all.

You are using yourself as an expert on the WHO report, and ergo investigation. You took their findings at face value for some reason. You either didn't know, or didn't consider the structural, and procedural issues that would cause many virologist to be critical of the WHO investigation.

To be blunt:

Why would anyone care if a lawyer disagrees with a virologist about the summations of a WHO report, and investigation into the origins of a virus? Who do you think you are?
 
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J-DONK

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That wasn’t the argument.

The argument was we didn’t yet have data that showed the masks work outside a clinical setting.

It perhaps seems intuitive, but under the circumstances of a potential shortage, I understand holding off until you at least had data showing efficacy before making the recommendation.

If mask work in a clinical setting. I think we can take a gamble on them working outside of it as well. It was by far the weakest part of his defense.
 

J-DONK

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This is a good article on some of the circumstantial evidence around lab leak:


A little-noticed study was released in early July 2020 by a group of Chinese researchers in Beijing, including several affiliated with the Academy of Military Medical Science. These scientists said they had created a new model for studying SARS-CoV-2 by creating mice with human-like lung characteristics by using the CRISPR gene-editing technology to give the mice lung cells with the human ACE2 receptor — the cell receptor that allowed coronaviruses to so easily infect human lungs.

After consultations with experts, some U.S. officials came to believe this Beijing lab was likely conducting coronavirus experiments on mice fitted with ACE2 receptors well before the coronavirus outbreak—research they hadn’t disclosed and continued not to admit to. In its January 15 statement, the State Department alleged that although the Wuhan Institute of Virology disclosed some of its participation in gain-of-function research, it has not disclosed its work on RaTG13 and “has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.” That, by itself, did not help to explain how SARS-CoV-2 originated. But it was clear that officials believed there was a lot of risky coronavirus research going on in Chinese labs that the rest of the world was simply not aware of.

“This was just a peek under a curtain of an entire galaxy of activity, including labs and military labs in Beijing and Wuhan playing around with coronaviruses in ACE2 mice in unsafe labs,” the senior administration official said. “It suggests we are getting a peek at a body of activity that isn’t understood in the West or even has precedent here.”
 

superchuck500

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This discussion was about needing a further investigation, and most of the circumstantial evidence points to a lab leak. You cited the WHO investigation as proof that the lab leak is not a likely scenario. That's literally how my conversation with you in this thread started.



This is the original statement



This is your retort.



You are using yourself as an expert on the WHO report, and ergo investigation. You took their findings at face value for some reason. You either didn't know, or didn't consider the structural, and procedural issues that would make many virologist critical of the investigation.

To be blunt:

Why would anyone care if a lawyer disagrees with a virologist about the summations of a WHO report, and investigation into the origins of a virus? Who do you think you are?


Dude.

My “disagreement” is with the characterization made by the author of the NYT piece that the WHO report "dismissed [the lab origin] out of hand." I don't see how several substantive conclusions can be considered dismissed out of hand. James Gordon said that, not Jamie Metzl.

I also said that those findings were persuasive and so they would have to be shown to be wrong (the lab did have samples of the virus or close enough virus to be cultured or leap) or otherwise inaccurate. I think that is an objectively correct conclusion.

Beyond that, you're completely off base about my comments. I'm not claiming expertise in anything and I'm certainly not disagreeing with any virologist. I don't know why you're being so aggressive about this, it's weird - but the whole basis of your attack is just wrong . . . you're making my comments out to be something different that what they are.
 

brandon

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If mask work in a clinical setting. I think we can take a gamble on them working outside of it as well. It was by far the weakest part of his defense.
Unless there’s a potential mask shortage in the clinical setting, where we already have data showing their efficacy and where they were definitely more needed in early March of 2020.
 

B4YOU

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California to fully re-open in June. I wonder if part of this is Newsom trying to hold off the recall effort.

California has the 2nd lowest rate of transmission in the US and the death rate has plummeted. Also the rate of vaccinations are exceeding most people’s expectations with 38% having received one dose in CA. It’s reasonable to think by June it will be over 80%. This seems more science than politics, but everything is politics. 😉
 

wardorican

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If mask work in a clinical setting. I think we can take a gamble on them working outside of it as well. It was by far the weakest part of his defense.
I'm not sure you're understanding the point doctors were making back then, however, to be clear, I do mostly agree with you. I didn't really follow that advice.

In a Clinical setting, they're usually talking about N95 masks, properly fitted to the person. If a mask is too small or too large, it doesn't seal properly, and is ineffective, or less effective. Also, if you're a guy with stubble or a beard, the mask doesn't seal as well. We had to go through training for Chemical respirator masks, and medical N95's seem to follow similar guidance on fit. That was the exact argument I think I had with Sammy last year. I may be wrong, but I recall discussing this.

Secondly, in a clinical setting, they may use surgical masks, but better than the ones we're buying from Costco, also properly fitted, and they know not to touch them. Fauci flat out discussed the unintended consequences of touching the mask, and then touching your mouth or spreading it around. That was when physical contact spread was thought to be the bigger driver.

So, when they were saying that, they meant that they're not 100% effective. If you aren't trained to wear one correctly, or know how to fit it, it won't work as well, so please don't' take all the N95 masks. To me though, if you are telling people to cover their cough's and sneezes with a hand or tissue, then crap, a cloth mask, or even a bandana would be advisable.

Many physicians were highly skeptical of cloth masks being effective. Then some quick studies were done that showed promise, and as we discussed on SR, many saw what most Asians were doing and didn't think they were wrong. Of course, their experience is with the flu, and the flu is more airborne/aerosol transmission. Once it was realized Covid-19 can travel the same way, masks were smart.

I started wearing a mask by late march or early April. Well before there were mandates. And well before I had a decent option, other than an old construction N95 mask that was like 10 years old, but never worn.
 

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