The Covid Commission: Putting the Groundwork for a National Commission of the Epidemic. Reply to Burr, Renowned Senator Burr
Any investigation of the pandemic would necessarily be vast and complex, encompassing topics such as better detection of new pathogens, improvements to the public health system’s antiquated data collection apparatus, supply chain vulnerabilities, the harmful effect of lockdowns on many schoolchildren, the spread of misinformation and a lack of public trust in agencies like the C.D.C.
One of the sources said that the new assessment from the Department of Energy is similar to information from a House Republican Intelligence Committee report released last year on the origins of the virus.
But those inquiries are partisan. A panel of experts would be appointed by the congressional leadership from both parties if the bill is passed. Similar to the Sept. 11 panel, it would hold public hearings. The purpose of the organization is to look at the origins of the epidemic as well as the response from theTrump and Biden administrations.
“There’s no substitute for showing the vision that we showed in the early 2000s at creating an architecture that fixes things that we got wrong then, that addresses things that we didn’t think of then that we’ve learned, having gone through it,” said Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the health committee’s top Republican, who is sponsoring the measure with Ms. Murray.
Mr. Zelikow has been leading the Covid Commission Planning Group for two years and is paid by a private company who funds independent experts to lay the groundwork for a national inquiry. The group, which has held several hundred interviews, grew tired of waiting for Congress and plans to publish its findings in a book this spring, Mr. Zelikow said. He refused to talk about it.
After nearly three years of strict “zero-COVID” policies, in recent days Chinese officials have rolled back most of them following rare protests across the country. Mass testing and mass quarantining are now things of the past.
If Liang was shifting focus to less stringent protocols, another prominent public health expert, Dr. Zhong Nanshan, a pulmonologist who made his name fighting the SARS outbreak, made outright misleading claims about the virus. He went from touting China’s mass quarantine strategy in May to telling a state media outlet that he hasn’t seen cases of COVID-19 causing obvious long-term organ damage.
Zhong also said that 78% of patients infected with the Omnicron variant won’t be reinfected for quite a long time. Most people are reinfected every two years, according to studies.
Confusion and falsehoods spread as China reverses its zero-covid-policy: Why China should shut down its COVID infection?
The Chinese internet did not take the about-face lightly. The posts juxtaposing experts’ TV appearances before and after a change in state policy has gotten more than 100,000 views.
Wu Fan, a member of Shanghai’s disease outbreak containment expert commission famous for insisting that Shanghai could not shut down is now receiving apologies online.
Whiplash aside, much of the online discussion has moved to how to deal with the aftermath of the policy change, including what preventative measures and treatments are available.
There are many untested remedies that have flourished in recent days. An internal medicine doctor who’s a member of the prestigious Academy of Engineering recommended rinsing out your mouth daily with iced salt water. Commenters online were baffled. “Wasn’t salt water rinse debunked two years ago? Does an iced version make a difference?
A local government in southwest China suggested making tea out of orange peels and monk fruit – both common ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine – to prevent infection. According to Dr. Xiao, there hasn’t been a medication that is effective at preventing a COVID infections.
COVID Spreading in China and its Implications for the Global Times, Daily Mail, and CNN’s Likewise in China (Part II): The Last Twenty Years
The uncertainty and chaos reminded Chen, an associate professor of media studies and sociology at the University of Texas, of early 2020 when COVID was starting to spread. It’s kind of flying in the dark.
Non-state media outlets are vulnerable to government actions. In August, social media platforms suspended an online health information outlet that debunks health myths and criticizes the government’s promotion of traditional Chinese medicine after it criticized the zero-COVID policy. The accounts on the popular Chinese social media site remain silent today.
A recent example was how The Global Times, a Communist Party controlled newspaper, used a misleading report in the British tabloid, Daily Mail, to suggest that Moderna manufactured the virus. The Global Times extensively cited the coverage, using it to criticize other theories about the virus’s origin, including one that implied it leaked from a government research lab. Smaller social media accounts put “British Media” in the headlines when they filmed the report.
“The Chinese diaspora has played a very useful role here to share with people back in China about their personal COVID experience,” Chen says, “knowing that in most cases it will not be that serious.”
She points out that while researchers and journalists often pay attention to social media discourse, many rural, often elderly residents rely on television and family members in larger cities to stay informed. People are vulnerable to the disease and live in places with limited healthcare resources.
With the disease rapidly cascading from large cities to towns and villages, the Chinese government needs to act fast to get medically-sound public health messages out to the most vulnerable people, says Chen.
As NPR reported, public health authorities don’t base their messages for the public entirely on science – many considerations are also pragmatic and culturally-based.
In the next couple of years, Chen says scientists have some soul searching to do. “If we know that politics is going to play a role in public health and also in science, how do we conduct ourselves? What do we think about our ethics?
Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Meanwhile in China newsletter, a three-times-a-week update exploring what you need to know about the country’s rise and how it impacts the world. Sign up here.
2022 was supposed to be a triumphant year for China and its leader Xi Jinping, as he began his second decade in power with a pledge to restore the nation to greatness.
The Beijing Olympics, Tokyo, October 17, 2004: A country free of Covid as the Omicron variant blasted the world, but the city of Shanghai had a key role
In its tightly sealed, meticulously managed Olympic bubble, the ubiquitous face masks, endless spraying of disinfectant and rigorous daily testing paid-off. Any infected visitors arriving in the country were swiftly identified and their cases contained, allowing the Winter Olympics to run largely free of Covid even as the Omicron variant raged around the world.
The opening of the congress brought a huge endorsement to the Covid policy from the president, who said it had prioritized the people and their lives above all else. He secured a third term in office, and used his allies to get the party’s top ranks to agree on his Covid policies.
Many questioned why the government let the viruses rip through a population with little prior warning as an unprecedented wave of infections and deaths sweeps the country.
The party said its political system is superior to those of Western democracies in how it handles the virus, a message that was driven home by the success.
The hub of financial activity in China was the city of Shanghai. The city reported 3,500 daily infections and local officials initially denied a lock down was necessary.
The lockdown also wracked havoc on the economy. China’s GDP shrunk by 2.6% in the three months ending in June, while youth unemployment hit a record high of nearly 20%.
The authorities wasted the next months building larger Quarantine Facilities, rolling out more frequent mass testing, and imposing wider lockdowns on hundreds of millions of people after they failed to flu vaccine the elderly and bolster ICU capacity.
Migrant workers walking for miles to escape an outbreak at China’s largest iPhone assembly site in a locked-down factory. A 3-year-old boy was dead of gas poisoning when he was kept from being taken to the hospital. A 4-month-old girl died in hotel quarantine after a 12-hour delay in medical care.
Then, in late November, a deadly apartment fire in the western city of Urumqi finally ignited public anger that had been simmering for months. Despite official denials, many believe the lockdown had hampered rescue efforts.
There were protests across the country that had never been seen before. On university campuses and the streets of major cities, crowds gathered to call for an end to incessant Covid tests and lockdowns, with some decrying censorship and demanding greater political freedoms.
In Shanghai, protesters even demanded that Xi step down – an unimaginable act of political defiance toward the country’s most powerful and authoritarian leader in decades.
The nationwide demonstrations posed a challenge to the leader. By then, Omicron had seemingly spun out of control, with the country logging a daily record of more than 40,000 infections, and the economic strain becoming too severe, with local governments running out of cash to pay huge lockdown bills.
On December 7, the central government made a dramatic change in approach, rolling back the tests, and allowing people to go to their homes.
While the easing of stifling restrictions is a long-awaited relief for many, the abruptness and haphazardness of it has caught an unprepared public off guard and left them to fend for themselves.
The medicine sold out instantly on online shopping sites and at the pharmacy. Huge lines have formed outside clinics and hospital emergency rooms. Some crematoriums are having a hard time handling the influx of bodies.
Now, the true scale of the outbreak and deaths could deal a serious blow to the credibility of a government that had justified years of painful restrictions on the grounds that they were necessary to save lives.
Some studies have estimated China’s abrupt and under-prepared reopening could lead to nearly a million deaths – close to the Covid death toll of the US.
The World Health Organization has accused China of “under-representing” the severity of its Covid outbreak and criticized its “narrow” definition of what constitutes a Covid death, as top global health officials urge Beijing to share more data about the explosive spread.
The director-general of the World Health Organization said during a Wednesday media session that the WHO still asked China for more rapid, regular, reliable data on hospitalizations and deaths.
He said that the WHO is concerned about the risk to life in China and wants to make sure that immunizations are done to protect against illnesses.
There, the outbreak overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums, triggered shortages of basic medicines, and sparked fears of an even darker month ahead as experts warn of a spread to less resourced rural areas during the upcoming lunar new year.
Expanding the Wastewater Surgeries: How are we going to test the Blue Water in One Flight? A Comment on Swedish President Andreev Tedros
On Wednesday, the European Union “strongly encouraged” its member states to introduce a requirement for a negative Covid test for passengers traveling from China to the EU, according to a statement released by the Swedish presidency of the bloc.
Tedros said it was understandable that some countries were taking these steps, with the circulation in China so high.
Chinese health officials presented recent genomic data to a WHO advisory body during a closed-door meeting Tuesday. The variants detected there are known and have been circulating in other countries, with no new variant yet reported by the China CDC, the body said in a statement Wednesday.
“We need more information on sequencing around the country, (and for) those sequences to be shared with publicly available databases like GISAID so that deeper analyses can be done,” she said. The global initiative that provides access to the data of different influenza Viruses is called GISAID.
“So they’re looking at that, and it does require some agreements to be made with the airlines and so forth – and then how and when to do this – but it does look like a promising area of surveillance for the future,” she said. There is a less intrusive way of doing disease research and Expanding the Wastewater Surgeries just is another data point that can be helpful.
She said that the program could be used for multiple flights, as well as a single airport, to test the blue water in one flight.
The China-US Collaboration on COVID-19: Report on the CDC, China, and U.S. Reply to the CNN Report on 2021
The carrier told CNN that it has been in touch with the CDC and is evaluating its participation. CNN requested comment from the CDC and other US carriers that serve China.
There will be a requirement for travelers from China to have a negative Covid-19 test result before flying to the US as a result of Beijing easing Covid-19 restrictions. The UK, Australia, and Canada have the same measures. The Chinese government has warned that China would take countermeasures against the restrictions.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Dept., told reporters that China prevented investigators from obtaining information that they need to understand the origins of Covid-19.
One US official said the Biden administration isn’t going to impose punishment on China if they don’t release more Covid-19 data.
Nature has learned that the World Health Organization has put off the second part of its scientific investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 epidemic due to difficulties in carrying out studies in China.
While scientists still predominantly believe the virus occurred naturally in animals and spread to humans in an outbreak at a market in Wuhan, China, the US Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence is now the second tentacle of the US government intelligence apparatus, along with the FBI, that endorses the “lab leak theory” – the minority view that the virus occurred as a result of work in a Chinese lab.
That July, the WHO sent a circular to member states outlining how it planned to advance origins studies. Proposed steps included assessing wild-animal markets in and around Wuhan and the farms that supplied those markets, as well as audits of labs in the area where the first cases were identified.
But Chinese officials rejected the WHO’s plans, taking particular issue with the proposal to investigate lab breaches. Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said the WHO proposal was not agreed by all member states, and that the second phase should not focus on pathways the mission report had already deemed extremely unlikely.
CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta did a long-form report in 2021 about all of the available evidence and talked to multiple people who had assessed the available evidence. A. Chris. According to an extensive report from Gajilan, a WHO assessment was flawed because of a lack of cooperation from the Chinese government.
Thea, who is a public-health doctor at the University of Copenhagen, is one of the members of the mission that went to Wuhan.
PRESIDENTIAL COVID-19: Why the DOE DOE DOE Office Is a Direct Intelligence Activated under the Biden Administration
Intelligence agencies are able to make low, medium or high confidence assessments. A low confidence assessment can mean that the information is not reliable enough or that there isn’t enough information available to make a more definitive analytic judgement.
The assessment for the Department of Energy did not convince the majority of intelligence agencies.
A Department of Energy spokesperson told CNN that the Department of Energy supports the intelligence professionals who are investigating the origins of COVID-19 as ordered by the President.
The DOE office is one of 18 government agencies that make up the intelligence community and are under the umbrella of the Director of National Intelligence.
The intelligence assessment was provided to Congress as Republicans on Capitol Hill pushed for more research into the theory, while accusing the Biden administration of playing down the possibility.
“I’m pleased the Department of Energy has finally reached the same conclusion that I had already come to,” Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.
“I have requested a full and thorough briefing from the administration on this report and the evidence behind it,” the Texas Republican said in a statement.
The committee’s work will be based on the premise that after years of trying to integrate China peacefully into the global system as a competitor not an enemy, the US is switching to a tougher stance in a belief that a new generation of Chinese leaders is trying to dismantle the US global order and international law.
We need to do a lot of hearings. I hope the Democratic colleagues in the Congress support that. I know the Republicans in the House are certainly supportive of that,” the Senate Armed Services Committee member said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Why Does It Matter Where Covid-19 Comes From? An Analysis of the Energy Department Declassification Report on Wuhan, China, in late 2019
The US intelligence community is still divided over the matter, and such statements don’t reflect that. Many Republicans want to know why the epidemic was created by China, and they have been trying to prove that Trump is responsible for the situation because he didn’t handle it properly.
A spokesperson for House Oversight Chairman James Comer, a Kentucky Republican, said in a statement that the committee was “reviewing the classified information provided” by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in response to a letter requesting information earlier this month.
Sullivan told Dana Bash that there wasn’t a definitive answer to the question. There are some conclusions reached by some elements in the intelligence community. A number of them say they don’t have enough information to be sure.
So why does it matter where Covid-19 came from? Finding the answer can help prevent the next epidemic, said Relman in an interview with CNN.
But now, three years removed from the start of a pandemic that is still disrupting daily life, an assessment from the US Energy Department is only adding to the confusion about what really happened in Wuhan, China, in late 2019.
In 2021, the intelligence community declassified a report that showed four agencies in the intelligence community had assessed with low confidence that the virus likely jumped from animals to humans naturally in the wild.
Three intelligence community elements were not able to come up with an explanation without more information.
The Covid-19 pandemic lasted 20 years, but the threat from China was too great to fail: A bipartisan Select Committee on Competition with China
For the better part of 2020, advocates of the lab leak theory had to fight against claims they were being xenophobic or racist — in part thanks to anti-Chinese rhetoric from then-President Donald Trump, who embraced the theory.
An inquiry launched by Trump’s State Department, which sought to investigate whether China’s biological weapons program could have had a greater role in the pandemic’s origin in Wuhan, was shut down early on in the Biden administration.
The letter from public health experts was published in The Lancet, an influential journal, in February 2020 and declared that the virus had a natural origin.
The entire analysis of the intelligence community needs to be looked at, she said. The evidence can’t say if there is one theory or not.
Past pandemics have emerged from natural transmission through animals, and it often takes months or years to discover the host that the virus passed through as it adapted to infect humans.
Yet a decision by China to throw in its lot with Russia in Ukraine would amount to a radical change in foreign policy – and another massive plunge in US-China relations. China will likely be worried as the country is slowly recovering from years of Covid isolation, because the United States and the European Union will likely retaliate with sanctions on Chinese firms.
This trio of confrontations – along with rising tensions between US and Chinese forces in Asia and escalating standoffs over Taiwan – are dramatizing a long-building and once theoretical superpower rivalry that is suddenly a daily reality.
Washington-Beijing tensions have rarely been worse, but the GOP-Controled House is introducing a bipartisan Select Committee on Competition with China, during a hearing on Tuesday night, due to be politicized.
Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher, the new committee’s chairman, told CNN’s Manu Raju that Tuesday’s hearing would not focus specifically on the latest drama – after the Department of Energy assessed with low confidence that the Covid-19 pandemic originated with a lab leak in the Chinese city of Wuhan. He said that he wanted to show Americans on Tuesday that the threat from China was not just an over there problem, but in reality, right here.
“We want to understand what we got wrong about the Chinese Communist Party and what we need to understand about it going forward in order to get our policy right,” the Wisconsin Republican said.
On CBS News on Sunday, Gallagher warned: “We may call this a strategic competition, but it’s not a tennis match. This is about what world we would like to live in. Do we want to live in a libertarian world or do we want to live in a free world? he said, referring to the Chinese region where the US has accused China of inflicting genocide on the Uyghur minority, a charge China continues to vehemently deny.
The committee is one of few areas where the Congress and White House are able to find something in common. The Biden administration strengthened the stance of China that Donald Trump adopted later in his presidency. A new law was signed by President Joe Biden, which will let the government spend up to $200 billion in a bid to take over the lead of the chip industry, which could determine the economic race between the US and China in decades to come.
The bottom line: Do we live in a democracy with no animal spillover or lab leak? Republicans need an excuse to stop crying about Covid-19
The bottom line is that neither lab leak nor animal spillover can be ruled out. Tom Frieden was the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Wall Street Journal report about the new intelligence causing the Department of Energy to think that a lab leak was to blame in the first few hours of Monday, allowed Republicans to claim a political victory. Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has been accused of spreading conspiracy theories, said on her website that the media is “obsessed with conspiracy theorists.”
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas tweeted: “Re. China’s lab leak doesn’t matter if you are proven right. It is important that the Chinese Communist Party is held accountable so this doesn’t happen again.
It doesn’t mean that it was created by a man or that the rest of the world was exposed to it.
This week, the issue has once again given Republicans an excuse to focus on scientists and government health experts and to make a story of Covid-19 that doesn’t exist.
China has never spent any money for its support of Russia. It is the first time that this would be the crossroads and it is very important.
This new front in US-China antagonism is also beginning to seep into US politics. While being tough on Beijing is a bipartisan position, the idea of a broadened conflict in Ukraine conflicts with the more limited view of US power projection abroad among “America First” Republicans. Republican Senate leaderMitch McConnell supports more US aid for Ukraine but some conservatives, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have warned against escalating conflict. He mentioned potential Chinese involvement in his foreign policy comment last week.
The comments reminded him that everything in Washington is a political issue. And few issues are as politicized as tortured US relations with China.
Is Covid-19 Really Coming from a Lab Leak? The First Three Years of the COVID-19 Commission are Bringing America Back Together
Three elements of the intelligence community did not believe there was enough evidence to make a determination. CNN has reported that the FBI has medium confidence in the lab leak theory.
The theory has been the subject of much focus by Republican lawmakers, and polling in 2021 suggested a majority of Americans believe the Chinese government had something to do with the origins of the virus. The majority of people said that they believed a lab leak was responsible for the virus, while only 22% said it was from contact with an animal.
Some US politicians who have pushed the lab leak theory seized on the news of the DOE assessment, but details of what happened are not yet public.
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri demanded more information about the Department of Energy’s assessment and promised to push for more such reports to be declassified.
While the intelligence community is very much split over what led to the virus, they were completely united on three key points when they first issued a two page unclassified report in 2021.
Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the man who Republicans say they will call before congress to testify about the origin of the disease, has said many times that he believes the virus most likely occurred naturally.
“We have never had a Covid commission like the 9/11 Commission,” he said. I think that we need it. Because more Americans have died of Covid than have died in every American war since the American Revolution, which is an astonishing number; that is a major national security issue.”
CNN’s John King asked Megan Ranney, deputy dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, why she thought it mattered.
We know the next step, regardless of what happened. We’re not spending time about how to keep America from going through the last three years again since we’re focusing on where Covid-19 started.
What we don’t know yet about the China investigation of the report by the Associated Press, Washington, D.C. Moser, J.R. King, and T.S. Sanner
King also talked to Beth Sanner, the former deputy director of national intelligence for mission integration during the Trump administration, about the report.
She said that China hid it, did not move quickly enough, and is now blocking the investigation.
“We don’t just take information or just take a feeling and turn it into analysis,” she said. “We’re actually doing a rigorous process and that’s why we don’t know yet. The evidence is not there.