Beyond the scientific and epidemiological reasons to doubt the lab escape theory of pandemic origin, let’s not forget that no US or allied intelligence has emerged with even a whiff of evidence that a lab was the origin by accident or intention.
To believe the lab escape theory you also have to believe the Chinese have mounted a successful, extended campaign to eliminate incriminating evidence and muzzle officials and scientists who knew or might have suspected it came from a lab.
It’s a pretty big secret to hold on to, especially for a sizeable group of people that includes an international network of scientists, other workers, and families -- many of whom are not exactly in the secrecy business.
It’s been 12 months now of intense pressure on Western intelligence services to uncover that secret. Doesn’t have to be a taped confession, slam dunk email, or official document (though that would be handy). It could be indirect evidence or suspicious behavior.
The White House in particular leaned has heavily on US spy agencies to uncover Chinese malfeasance or error. “Trump made clear...his interest in intelligence supporting the theory the virus emerged accidentally from a Wuhan lab”…
The ODNI said the US will “rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan”…
Some of the biggest proponents of the lab leak theory have been US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior national security staff. We can be fairly certain had any decent evidence been found it would have been leaked faster than you can say “China virus”
The Administration and Republicans more generally were motivated during an election year to deflect blame for poor pandemic response by linking the pandemic to China’s actions. Evidence linking to the lab would have been gold……
We can safely assume a leak would have happened, because the White House/State Dept *did* leak what appears to be all the incriminating evidence they have: a cable from 2018 describing a lack of trained personnel at the Wuhan lab…
For all the pressure it seems that no actual intelligence of substance has turned up. Back in April, the CIA determined that “no signs had emerged that the Chinese government believed the outbreak came from a lab.”…
There is “no signals or human intelligence backing up the speculation that the lab was the culprit. It also doesn't appear any person or neighborhood connected to the lab became sick at the start of the outbreak”…
Other intelligence services also found no evidence. Australians (with decent capabilities in China): “nothing that we have that would indicate that [a lab] was the likely source”. The theory is based entirely on "open source speculation".…
Five Eyes spy agencies found intelligence “contradicts theory Covid-19 leaked from lab”, concluding “it is highly likely it was naturally occurring and that the human infection was from natural human and animal interaction"……
So just be aware if you subscribe to the lab theory you also, by default, think China has successfully hidden all direct and circumstantial evidence supporting that theory from the prying eyes of many highly motivated intelligence agencies.
Possible that China buried all evidence of a lab leak? Sure, we can’t entirely discard the possibility. But the lack of relevant intelligence adds another layer of doubt, on top of the other layers, that lab escape was the source of the pandemic.
I wonder, in fact, if there exists intelligence showing the opposite: Chinese scientists/officials speaking among themselves saying they believe it WAS a natural zoonotic process and have evidence indicating as much
That kind of intelligence probably wouldn’t be leaked (at least not in the U.S.) because it would have served no political purpose. Only speculating.

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More from @joshmich

1 Jan
That the US might adopt a 1 dose regimen or significantly delayed 2nd dose for vaccines already authorized seems more fanciful thought experiment than tractable policy. Pretty much all institutions and incentives are lined up against such a change and not without reason.
Current vaccines are authorized via EUAs from FDA, which both clearly state terms of use including a two-dose regimen. Moderna’s EUA says the vaccine is “administered as a series of two doses 1 month apart…”
“…Individuals who have received one dose of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should receive a second dose of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to complete the vaccination series.”…
Read 20 tweets
31 Dec 20
CDC now provides more data on vaccine distribution and administration by state, agency, etc. Worth a look and a bookmark.

A few things that jumped out to me, in a short thread.…
2.17 million doses distributed through the federal pharmacy partnership prgm for long-term care, but only 167,149, or 7.8%, administered. This is the phase 1a component that needs to make up the most ground.

If this program were a state, it would easily be the worst performer.
States/jurisdictions' overall progress in administering the vaccines they have received continues to vary widely.

DC has administered over 50% of its vaccines on hand, while Kansas has administered just over 10%.
Read 6 tweets
30 Dec 20
Worth noting that Kathleen Hicks, President-elect Biden's pick for the number 2 spot at the Pentagon, would be that unusual senior defense official with some background in global health, as it relates to national security.
She's co-authored reports on the Department of Defense and global health, such as this one from 2009…
From that report: If "virulent diseases can destabilize economies and entire political systems, then it is in the national security interest of the US to address the causes of diseases and develop effective systems to detect and contain them."
Read 6 tweets
22 Dec 20
You may have seen CDC reporting 4.6 million doses of #COVID19 vaccine have been distributed & 614,117 administered. Why the huge gap between doses distributed vs administered numbers? (short thread)
Some of the gap is from reporting lag: it can take up to 3 days for providers distributing the vaccine to report to state/local health officials, and additional time for officials to report to CDC…
Also, doses distributed to states have been held for use in long-term care facilities via the federal pharmacy partnership, which is only now starting to ramp up. Its goal is to reach 4.5 million residents and staff at 55,000 nursing homes nationwide…
Read 8 tweets
4 Oct 20
I realize that without further details made public we're left picking up scraps of info about the White House cluster, but putting together a list of people and their test results and speculating about their exposures is not "contact tracing".
Contact tracing is supposed to be a methodical effort by investigators to speak with known cases, ensuring they have support and are taking proper precautions, and also ask them about their close contacts so those people can be told they have been exposed and take proper action.
Contact tracers:
-Let people know they may have been exposed and should monitor their health for signs and symptoms of the disease.
-Help people who may have been exposed get tested.
-Ask people to self-isolate if they have the disease or self-quarantine if a close contact.
Read 5 tweets
12 Sep 20
ICYMI: @KFF released the results of a new poll a few days ago, covering a number of #COVID19 topics.

I'll highlight a few of the findings in a thread.…
Among all registered voters the economy ranks as the most important voting issue, the coronavirus pandemic next. However, there is a stark difference by party, with 36% of Dems saying coronavirus is most important and just 4% of Republicans saying that. Image
If a Covid-19 vaccine became available before the election, just 4 in 10 said they would choose to get vaccinated (with Republicans slightly more likely to say no than Democrats). Image
Read 6 tweets

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