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Growing assaults on Dr. Fauci and one other "laboratory escape" story change into not very severe

Can we all agree that Jen Psaki can never leave?

Let White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explain to Joe Biden's presidency the priority of the COVID-19 crisis while showing that no one has ever achieved her performance as press secretary.

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"Beyond the falling virus numbers? Besides getting a pandemic under control? ’- Jen Psaki after a reporter told Pres. Biden's record "beyond the sinking virus numbers" pic.twitter.com/cOGnK6i88i

– NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 4, 2021

Less about red states, more about red counties

A look at a list of the states with the highest current COVID-19 cases per population reveals some reliable leading members of the Red State Crew, including Wyoming, Missouri, Alabama, and Florida. But unexpectedly, that list also includes Washington State – a state that is at the bottom of total cases per capita. When you consider that Washington had one of the earliest case clusters identified and was one of the states that was first known as the site of the spread of COVID-19 in the community, its performance makes it arguably the most standout state when it comes to dealing with the Pandemic carefully and effectively.

So what happens now? What happens is not a story that is easy to tell when you look at Washington totals. You have to go at least one level deeper.

This is what the state looks like in terms of total cases, according to the Washington State Department of Health. The biggest numbers are pretty much where you'd expect them to be, centered around Seattle with an eastern location for Spokane.

Washington State Pandemic Totals

But this is what the state looks like last week in the data collected by the CDC.

Cases per capita across Washington state last week

On a per capita basis, COVID-19 cases in rural Lincoln County are six times higher than in densely populated King County. With the exception of Spokane, which is still cooking at more than 200 cases per 100,000 (four times the national average), the roasted spots for COVID-19 are all in rural counties. This is a pattern that repeats itself in one state after another. At the start of the epidemic in the United States, it was clear that history varied greatly from state to state. Now that difference is even finer, as urban areas in states – areas where Democrats are concentrated – have high levels of vaccination and rural areas of many states have relatively low vaccine uptake.

All of this is a reminder that even if the United States manages to hit the new target of 70% of the population to be vaccinated by July 4th, it does not mean the nation is safe. This means that COVID-19 will continue to seep into these pockets of low immunization.

Attacks on Dr. Fauci are still growing in volume and ugliness

Earlier this week, thousands of emails between Dr. Anthony Fauci and hundreds of people around the world. Much of these emails were sent to colleagues within the government or health professionals in the United States and elsewhere. Others were media inquiries. Even more theories were passed on to Fauci, both by doctors and by those who simply thought they had a good idea. In almost all cases, Fauci's responses showed someone who worked carefully, tried not to meddle in politics, while providing the best information available. Most importantly, they show a tireless, if not indefatigable, civil servant working almost around the clock to overcome the greatest crisis in a generation.

So, of course, Republican MP Madison Cawthorn, the man who missed more House votes than any other member, immediately trundled to Newsmax to ask Dr. To call Fauci "lazy".

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D-student, college dropout Madison Cawthorn, who missed the most votes of any new congressman, attacked Dr. Fauci to tonight, “You can see this man's sheer laziness … he's such a bold liar. ”Pic.twitter.com/MAayHIOpF4

– Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) June 4, 2021

As Politico notes, this was by no means the only such attack on the 80-year-old director. Conservative media and talking heads have not only quickly extracted snippets of context from these emails to make it appear that Dr. Fauci "covering up the origins of COVID-19" or "conspiring with Chinese officials". And of course, because a party following Donald Trump is always ready with a scam and a cash box, Senator Rand Paul has posted a new series of charity ads on Facebook around the topic of "Fauci Fire". As Poltico notes, Fauci is "a meek infectious disease specialist who has earned the admiration of Republican and Democratic presidents alike," and who has a reputation for being bluntly honest.

But Republicans are still so eager to find a pandemic bogeyman who isn't Donald J. Trump that they are Dr. Attack Fauci with hammer and tongs. So far, the Biden government has more or less stood aside, worried that entering this struggle will only further politicize a position – and a career – that is decidedly non-political. But given the level of anti-science rhetoric that dominates the Republican position and the level of personal hatred against Dr. Fauci, it is unclear whether the White House can avoid a more direct role.

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Pool Report: Biden left the room in response to a shouted question about whether he'd be Dr. Fauci trust. Suddenly POTUS peeked & # 39; Head around the corner and he replied:

"Yes, I am very convinced of Dr. Fauci."

– Kyle Griffin (@ kylegriffin1) June 4, 2021

Don't believe everything you read about how COVID-19 came about

On Thursday, Daily Kos covered how the story most responsible for fueling the debate over the origins of COVID-19 was written by the same reporter who provided a number of ultimately false justifications for invading Iraq. The point of this story was not, "You see, the idea of ​​laboratory origin is a fake," just that the current attention being paid to this point is largely being driven by political gimmicks – and whipped by the media, who much prefer to speculate than waiting for the results of an actual investigation.

On Thursday evening, blogger Jake Eberts pointed out that another of the most cited sources for this story was also more than suspect. In this case, the story did not appear in the normal media, but in the journal Environmental Chemistry Letters, which seems to give it significant scientific authority. Apart from the fact that this “paper” was actually an editorial despite its format. And with what he calls a half-hour detective work, Eberts brought out some key facts about the authors behind the play.

For example, at least two authors had made media appearances in which face masks were called ineffective. One was a dedicated anti-vaxxer who claimed the real origin of SARS-CoV-2 was in a laboratory … a laboratory in North Carolina where it was the result of attempts to develop a vaccine for SARS. One of the authors is a urologist. Another political scientist. And one used the paper to promote a heavily racist fundraiser that claimed, among other things, that COVID-19 would become less contagious over time.

Racist fundraising to promote the Chinese origins of COVID-19
From Kevin McCairn's "Corona-Chan" streaming appearance

And again, this says nothing about whether or not the laboratory origin of COVID-19 is more or less likely. It can definitely have happened. But it is by no means proven, and that World health organization continues to consider it "extremely unlikely".

The people who actually researched and reported on this – like Dr. Dominic Dwyer, an Australian researcher who was part of the WHO team, goes on to point out that he has "found no evidence to support the laboratory escape theory". Dwyer spent four weeks on-site in Wuhan, and while from a distance it is easy to speculate that China was hiding information, Dwyer claims he has good access to relevant records. At the moment, there doesn't seem to be any reason to believe that Dwyer and other members of the WHO team are running a global cover-up to protect Chinese officials, or that they are all scammers.

Also, scientists who looked directly into the genetics of SARS-COV-2 advised from the start that they saw no evidence that the virus had been tampered with in any way. The authors of this original paper in Nature Medicine were appointed by a professor at the Scripps Research Institute, the Institute for Evolutionary Biology at the University of Edinburgh, the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and the University of Sydney. In other words, no scammers using their paper to push selenium pills and online fundraisers.

None of this guarantees anything. Prominent scientists are proven otherwise every day. What makes science science: your claims are testable and may change with new evidence. But so far this evidence has not appeared.

And while speculation is absolutely fine (I owe it a hundred times a day) it is worth doing, considering whether this speculation is unnecessarily helping to further undermine confidence in the researchers and institutions involved. Great emphasis on "unnecessary". Scientists are people too, and it's also easy to believe that the researchers who worked with local Chinese counterparts or corresponded with Chinese researchers in the early days of the pandemic may have been more anxious to get information on how to fight the disease , and less concerned about whether or not they were missing something about his origins. IIf the WHO and other researchers involved in tracking the origins of COVID-19 are found to be wrong on this point, they will well deserve – and get – a big metaphorical slap in the mouth.

But until I see the evidence, I'll take my punches off.

As you were …

I wouldn't exactly call this nostalgia, but this was the last time COVID-19 cases were up to date. I made a number of versions of this diagram, but by that point it was already more than exhausted.

Chart from March 21, 2020. Within a week of that date, the number of new cases was 15,000 per day.

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