I found the reaction of the mainstream media to Redfield’s comments . . . troubling. To say the least. Yes, Redfield was appointed by HeWhoShallNotBeNamed as CDC director. But in addition to being a former CDC director, here are his qualifications:
- BS Georgetown University
- MD Georgetown University School of Medicine
- Clinical and Research fellowships at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in infectious diseases and Tropical Medicine
- US Army physician and medical researcher in virology, immunology and clinical research at WRAMC for ten years, HIV/AIDS focus for at least part of that time
- Founded Institute of Human Virology at University of Maryland School of Medicine, a multidisciplinary research center focused on developing research and treatment programs for chronic human viral infection and disease
- Tenured professor of medicine and microbiology, chief of infectious disease and vice chair of medicine at University of Maryland School of Medicine. Known for virology research, HIV/AIDS focus
- Led research that demonstrated HIV could be heterosexually transmitted
How did he do as head of the CDC? I personally have been very critical of the CDC, and particularly their public communications, and also their massive screwup in delays getting Covid tests out. However, I’d trust the CDC over anyone else, especially the WHO. They’re still the best we’ve got.
- On February 13, 2020, Redfield said that the “virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission”
- The test debacle: “During February 2020, the CDC’s early coronavirus test malfunctioned nationwide. Redfield reassured his fellow task force officials that the problem would be quickly solved, according to White House officials. It took about three weeks to sort out the failed test kits, which may have been contaminated during their processing in a CDC lab. Widespread COVID-19 testing in the United States was effectively stalled until February 28, when the faulty test was revised, and the days afterward, when the Food and Drug Administration began loosening rules that had restricted other labs from developing tests. Later investigations by the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services found that the CDC had violated its own protocols in developing the faulty test.”
- “On July 14, 2020, Redfield warned that the winter of 2020–2021 would probably be “one of the most difficult times that we’ve experienced in American public health”. He also said, “If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really do think over the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic under control.””
- Got it right on schools: “On July 23, the CDC called for reopening American schools, in a statement written by a working group at the White House that included Redfield but had minimal representation from other CDC officials.”
- On vaccines: “Redfield told a Senate panel that a limited supply of a COVID-19 vaccine might be available in November or December, but that the general public would not be inoculated until the summer or fall of 2021.”
There are controversies, like support for abstinence over condoms for AIDS prevention, which in 2021 seems pretty stupid, but I think the guy is as qualified to comment on the origins of Covid-19 as anyone who hasn’t actually been to China – which is almost everyone.
Here’s what Redfield said:
I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, you know, escaped. Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out. It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect a laboratory worker.
Here’s how it was reported:
New York Times: Ex-CDC Director Favors Debunked Covid-19 Origin Theory
New York Times: The C.D.C.’s ex-director offers no evidence in favoring speculation that the coronavirus originated in a lab.
USA Today: Former CDC director Robert Redfield believes the coronavirus escaped a lab in China. Scientists are dubious.
And so on. Basically, major papers discredited Redfield in the headline. Why? The NY Times headline is especially telling. Debunked? Really? I’ve read extensively on this topic, and I haven’t seen anything that “debunks” the lab origin possibility.
A quote from the Washington Post, “Former CDC chief Redfield urged to step aside as Hogan adviser after Wuhan lab comments”
Redfield’s endorsement of the so-called “lab-leak” theory of the virus’s origin on CNN outraged several state lawmakers, who saw his comments as exacerbating
anti-Asian sentiment that has been on the rise since the United States saw its first cases.
Here’s the thing, we HAVE to separate China, the communist country which is a clear and present threat to the US and democracies worldwide, from “Asians” living in the US. I realize that the distinction may be too fine for many Americans, liberal and conservative alike, to comprehend, but most Asians and Asian-Americans are not, in fact, in any way related to China. Only 21% of Asian-Americans are of Chinese origin. Also, newsflash, people living here who came from China, either recently or generations ago, came to the US because they preferred it to China. Many fled China’s oppressive regime and its poverty. Yes, SOME Chinese-Americans, particularly those living here temporarily for study or work, may support China over the US. However, they are a tiny minority of the overall US “Asian” population. It is critical and necessary for the US to maintain a suspicious and defensive attitude towards China, and for people, including the media, to recognize this has little to do with Chinese-Americans, never mind other Asian-Americans. The fact that political-correctness over AAPI hate now extends to firing highly qualified people who speak ill of China is very scary and foolhardy.
The response from the New York Times and others has focused on the fact that there is “no evidence” supporting the lab theory. They are completely right. Unfortunately, there is limited or no evidence supporting any other theory of origins either. The problem is that China will not release raw data from the beginning of the epidemic. So we are left without evidence supporting any theory of origin. Redfield seems confident that we’ll find out where it came from one way or another. I hope he’s right. We did eventually discover the origin of AIDS, which is incredible – I recommend reading about that – but it took a while.
From the WSJ:
A World Health Organization-led team investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic found that data examined during a recent mission to China was insufficient to answer critical questions as to when, where and how the virus began spreading.
The final report declared that the virus very likely spread from bats and then to humans via another small mammal species such as mink, raccoon dogs or ferret badgers, either on a farm or in the wild.
It stopped short of ruling out altogether the hypothesis that the virus could have escaped as the result of a lab accident, but said it would be “extremely unlikely” because there is no record that any laboratory, in China or elsewhere, had been working with either the new coronavirus, or another, closely related virus.
Most of the research for the report was conducted by Chinese scientists, almost all of whom work for the state. Under the terms of that study, China conducted the bulk of the research, which was presented to the team of international scientists recruited by the WHO, during their visit in January and February.
China claims the virus came from abroad via frozen food, which the report declares “extraordinarily unlikely,” unlike the lab theory, which is merely “extremely unlikely.”
Honestly, I don’t think we have any idea where this came from. I hope we find out at some point.