Former NIH director: ‘No science to warrant social-distancing; lab leak not a conspiracy’

by | May 16, 2024

The nation’s leading public health official during the Covid-19 pandemic claimed that the origins of the coronavirus are still ‘up for debate’, the lab-leak theory is a plausible consideration, and there was no scientific evidence backing the government's social-distancing guidelines.

Dr. Francis Collins, former director of the National Institutes of Health and supervisor of Dr. Anthony Fauci, testified behind closed doors earlier this year, admitting these points to the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. This information comes from a transcript and accompanying subcommittee memo provided to the National Review.

The subcommittee implicated Collins and Fauci in a report published last year, detailing how top public health officials orchestrated the “Proximal Origin” paper. In an email sent after the February 1, 2020, conference call, Collins warned about “voices of conspiracy” harming science. He later influenced the content of the “Proximal Origin” paper.

Collins testified similarly to Fauci, who had admitted that the six-foot social distancing guidance seemed to have “just appeared.” He claimed that Fauci invited him to a February 2020 call that led to the publication of the “Proximal Origin” paper in Nature, which aimed to discredit the lab-leak hypothesis. Before this call, Collins had not formed an opinion on whether the virus originated from a lab. Afterward, he did express an opinion, trusting the experts on the call. Collins defended his stance, emphasizing the importance of challenging claims that the coronavirus was engineered by humans.

When asked if the origin of COVID-19 remains unsettled science, Collins replied, “Yes.” Additionally, when questioned if the idea that the virus may have leaked from a lab was a conspiracy theory, Collins responded, “Not at this point.”

When asked if he recalled any science or evidence supporting the six-foot social distancing guidance recommended by the Centers for Disease Control during the pandemic, Dr. Francis Collins responded, “I do not.”

Collin’s was then asked to clarify if his answer meant he did not recall, or that he did not see supporting evidence, which he answered that he had seen no evidence, but was unsure if he “would have been shown evidence at that point.”

The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday suspended taxpayer funding for EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization involved in bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is central to the lab leak theory. This decision followed a recommendation from the subcommittee to debar EcoHealth and criminally investigate EcoHealth president Peter Daszak. The subcommittee had accused Daszak of obstructing its ongoing investigation.

When asked about the NIH’s vetting process for foreign collaborators, Collins deferred to staff and appeared to have limited knowledge about the process.

The subcommittee reviewed classified State Department documents suggesting that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan lab and was covered up by the CCP, according to Chairman Brad Wenstrup, as stated in a recent letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Lawrence Tabak, Collins' former deputy, is scheduled to testify publicly before the committee on Thursday. Fauci is set to testify publicly next month, and one of his top deputies is expected to testify in the coming weeks.


Source: National Review



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