1/10: Today we are commemorating the loss of 500,000 American lives from #COVID19. Looking forward to the remarks by the POTUS later on today or tonight. How did we get to this awful place?
2/10: From my perspective there are 4 major factors:
1) Unique aspects of SARS CoV2 and COVID19
2) Missed opportunities in our national response
3) Insistence in 2020 to have the states lead
4) White House anti-science disinformation campaign
3/10: Regarding the unique aspect of the virus, for me it was the "Janus Face" of the SARS-2 coronavirus and its ability to replicate in high numbers in mouth, nose, throat. It meant there were 2 groups of individuals: asymptomatic spreaders, and those becoming very sick.
4/10: That combination proved to be extremely difficult to stop. We did not really see that with SARS or MERS. If you had it, you were sick and went to bed or the emergency room. With SARS and MERS you weren't going to ball games, concerts, restaurants, bars, or going to work
5/10: But then there were the missed opportunities. Failure to detect entry of the virus from S Europe into NYC - a month before an infected individual was detected, and then the failures to get diagnostic testing up and running, or inability to do virus genomic sequencing....
6/10: The list goes on. For me, a mystery is how much of this was due to White House meddling and incursions vs internal failures at CDC and other aspects of HHS in 2020. I just don't have insights on this one, some hypotheses, but no special knowledge.
7/10: Then there was the insistence that the states had to lead, when we knew this is impossible. The states never had the epidemiologic models, knowledge base. We needed the full force of the federal government and CDC in the lead. It never happened.
8/10: The result was predictable: First a terrible surge across the southern states including Texas in the summer, and then despite my efforts to push WH to adopt an Oct 1 plan, they ignored it sciencedirect.com/science/articl…
9/10: A massive surge ensued starting after Thanksgiving, this was both predicted and predictable. And finally, there was the anti-science disinformation campaign that downplayed the epidemic, said it was a hoax, said Covid deaths were due to other causes, discredited masks
10/10: I was one of the first to call out the disinformation campaign being an expert as the lead target by the antivaccine lobby, the "OG Villain" as they call me. Details here @PLOSBiology journals.plos.org/plosbiology/ar…
11/10: Tying political allegiance to defiance of COVID-19 prevention turned out to be almost as deadly as the virus itself. Hoping for better things to come and to the remarks and commemoration tonight

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More from @PeterHotez

21 Feb
..and they were pretty brazen about it. In 2020, second to deconstructing the Trump White House antiscience disinformation campaign, I worked to downplay the spectacular claims of pharma company press releases, remindIng American audiences they were meant for shareholders, not us
This was a flaw of Op Warp Speed: never adopting a communication strategy. The gap was filled by company press releases making it appear like vaccines appeared like magic without reference to the more than a decade of NIH Wellcome investments in spike protein targeting R&D.
This in turn caused a segment of the public to distrust COVID19 vaccines, something for which I’m still doing damage control
Read 6 tweets
20 Feb
Many thanks ⁦@kendisgibson⁩ ⁦@LindseyReiser⁩ for hosting me ⁦@MSNBCweekends⁩: Due to our power disruptions, Texas has now fallen to the bottom of % population vaccinated according to NYT Tracker. We need to make up for lost time to get ahead of B.1.1.7 variant
I certainly share POTUS statement that we can get to normalcy by end of 2021, actually I’m even more optimistic, I think by August-Sept if the stars ⭐️ align. The issue is this: the American lives lost between now and then. Maybe a range between 0.5 million to up to 1 million?
The former number is what happens if we get ahead of the variant and move us up quickly to 3 million immunizations per day. The more devastating number is what happens if we screw around and don’t pick up the pace
Read 4 tweets
18 Feb
1/4: Many thanks ⁦@NicolleDWallace⁩ for hosting me today ⁦@DeadlineWH⁩ with ⁦@MaraGay⁩ ⁦@DavidJollyFL⁩ speaking on sharp declines in life expectancy from #covid especially in Black and Brown communities, I pointed that life expectancy numbers = averages
2/4: but that my read between the lines is that it means losing a generation of African American and Hispanic moms and dads in their 40s 50s 60s parents of teenagers or young adults, young grandparents. I called this “historic decimation”
3/4: I also very much appreciated @MaraGay comments on the stark reality that every African American adult knows someone who has suffered or lost their life from #COVID19. Last year I predicted this and said COVID will go from a public health to homeland security crisis from this
Read 4 tweets
16 Feb
Not sure how many times we can revisit this, but this is the last of it from my side: 1. I receive no funding from industry or vaccine manufacturers, either personal or institutional. 2. Bill Gates does not give me his money (although that would be nice). Additional info below:
1. Our only link with industry is German Merck KgaA (totally different from the American Merck & Co, the vaccine manufacturer, they were permanently separated due to WWI) graciously helps us improve production yields for our schistosomiasis vaccine for poorest people in Africa
2. With Gates, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation previously funded our human hookworm vaccine, but no longer. That program continues through NIAID NIH support
Read 5 tweets
15 Feb
Many thanks ⁦@wolfblitzer⁩ for hosting me on ⁦@CNNSitRoom⁩ re: the good news is that we’re on a path to fully vaccinate the US adult population by late summer or fall, but uncertainty on how we navigate through March April May with B.1.1.7 from the UK on the rise
Also discussed the spike gene target failure (SGTF) variants: the current OpWarpSpeed vaccines should be fine for UK now accelerating in US, but all of the vaccine developers including us are shaping modifications to address the ZA variant
I’m especially worried for the African continent which so far seems to have weathered COVID19 better than expected until possibly now. I’m concerned that ZA variant could become all consuming and precipitate a global health crisis.
Read 4 tweets
11 Feb
Despite the unfortunate title, let me state emphatically, the scientists stand with the teachers. There’s no daylight between us. We are scientists in part because of our K-12 teachers. There’s no choice, our teachers/staff should be vaccinated, we must. washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/…
We have opportunities to mobilize more vaccines, we should take advantage of this
With the variants coming, really important to vaccinate the teachers and staff, we should be able to do this quickly
Read 7 tweets

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