The structure of this story is a bit confusing, but it does make clear the sequences are a) not new, b) not telling a new story, c) possibly useful. As an editing matter, I’d like those points up front, ahead of speculation about why they were deleted.…
Just to add, it isn't news that the Chinese government is pretty secretive about everything, and that they are secretive about viral sequences would thus not be dispositive about the existence of a coverup.
Also, given how politicized all this got, a Chinese researcher preferring not to rely on US infrastructure (absent any government pressure) makes sense.
Again, this isn't an argument that there *wasn't* a coverup. But these events don't do anything to indicate one. There are too many benign explanations. As the piece notes, there were 8 other database deletions in that time requested by US researchers.

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More from @JoshRosenau

25 Jun
This is so true and rarely said in breathless reporting on lab leak claims. Some letter in Science or The Lancet doesn’t shut down people who thought they might get a Nobel Prize.… Image
In my experience, no one wishes Bigfoot or aliens existed more than skeptics do. That’s what gets them so upset about sloppy claims. The issue with the “lab leak” isn’t that science suppresses the inquiry, it’s that the inquiry isn’t turning up actual evidence.
As @antonioregalado writes, the evidence and methods that Chan’s approach rests on are exactly the sort that make a skeptic’s BS detector tingle. Arguments based on what we don’t know, and requiring elaborate conspiracies, just sound like nonsense. Image
Read 5 tweets
17 Jun
There's a lot interesting in this interview between @dwallacewells and @mlipsitch, but I'm not understanding this concluding exchange. How would our pandemic response have been different if we knew SARS-CoV-2 was a lab escape?…
At best, this idea that the West would take the pandemic more seriously if we knew it came from a lab reflects some really poor reasoning on the part of the West (if true). I mean, we'd been lucky that SARS, MERS, and Ebola hadn't spread globally, but we know they could've.
We should take zoonosis seriously! We're pushing further and further into wilderness areas where novel viruses may hide, and we're bringing all sorts of domesticated species with us, some of which are potential intermediate hosts for viruses! Ebola alone should've warned us!
Read 5 tweets
17 Jun
I wish this piece wasn't framed around a "leak," but it does a good job debunking some of the nonsense.…
Immediately after explaining why the viruses we know WIV possessed couldn't be the ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, the piece quotes @Ayjchan defending the possibility of genetic manipulation, without clarifying that she could not possibly be talking about RaTG13.
Or maybe she is? I see her citing RaTG13 in her tweets, but the whole "lab leak" discourse is so filled with equivocation and strategic ambiguity that I don't know what the actual hypothesis is. Is RaTG13 supposed to be the source, or is it some other virus that WIV kept secret?
Read 10 tweets
17 Jun
WIV could be much more transparent, but given the conspiracy theories circulating, I don’t know what WIV could say or release to demonstrate that they didn’t have anything close to SARS-CoV-2 on file. People would just call it a coverup.
What’s already public is exculpatory. They did what antibody testing they could early in the outbreak and found nothing, and say that RaTG13 is the closest match in their records (and it’s not very close). They also say (IIRC) that they haven’t got any close spike match.
But people don’t take it as exculpatory because they think there’s more. And it isn’t clear that the demands of the conspiracists could ever be satisfied.
Read 6 tweets
16 Jun
Years ago, in Oakland CA (where there is no voter ID rule), I went to vote early in the day and the poll worker asked for an ID. I reached for my wallet and was opening it before my brain kicked in and I asked “why do you need it?” The other poll worker said “you don’t.”
That was that. We show ID all over, and I get why Manchin would feel like we should also do it for voting. And I suspect it can be done in ways that are equitable. Many voter ID laws are bad because they restrict admissible ID in ways that disenfranchise non-Republicans.
People in cities, poorer people, and younger people are more likely transit-dependent and also more likely to vote for Democrats, so only accepting a drivers license will put a thumb on the scale. Accepting gun licenses but not student IDs, ditto.
Read 7 tweets
16 Jun
Free speech rights for teachers are quite circumscribed, and that’s OK. They teach a government-approved curriculum and act for the state. The solution to bad policy is not that liberal communities get accurate lessons and conservatives get bullshit.
In almost no instance is there any right for students to be taught *accurately*. Some states mandate that health lessons be medically accurate (a legacy of HIV/AIDS). But it hurts any student to be misinformed about how the world works.
Racism is real. Structural racism is real and ubiquitous. Racism is baked into the structures of America from its very beginnings. Texas was created to protect slavery, and the Alamo is a monument to how much enslavers will sacrifice to maintain white supremacy.
Read 5 tweets

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