Dr. Fauci warns coronavirus could be as bad as 1918 flu pandemic, even as unearthed report shows he backed the controversial “Gain-of-function” research in Wuhan Lab
To date, United States has more than 3.4 million infections and 136,000 deaths reported, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. With United States leading the world in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths, Dr. Fauci is again warning the country that coronavirus pandemic could potentially reach the level of the 1918 flu pandemic, the virus that ravaged the world between 1918 and 1920 and killed millions of people.
During a Georgetown University Global Health Initiative Tuesday, Dr. Fauci said, “This is a pandemic of historic proportions. I think we can’t deny that fact. It’s something I think that when history looks back on it, it will be comparable to what we saw in 1918. We have a serious situation here in the United States.”
Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said:
“If you look at the magnitude of the 1918 pandemic, where anywhere from 50 to 75 to 100 million people globally died, I mean, that was the mother of all pandemics and truly historic,” Fauci said. “I hope we don’t even approach that with (COVID-19) but it does have the makings or the possibility of approaching that in seriousness.”
Fauci went on to talk about the “strong similarities” between the two health crises, including that both situations involved the emergence of a new infection.
“That was influenza, this is coronavirus, that essentially thrust itself onto the human population,” he said. “It had two characteristics that are the thing that make it, as I say, ‘the perfect storm.’ And that is a virus that jumps species, but that almost immediately has an extraordinarily, capable and efficient way of spreading from human to human. Simultaneously with having a considerable degree of morbidity and mortality.”
Fauci also warned young people about the risks of Covid-19 saying that young people must not be “part of the problem.”
“There is an understandable situation where a young person could say, ‘You know, statistically the chances of my getting into trouble by getting infected are much smaller than an elderly person,’” he said. Fauci discussed the current challenges facing the U.S. as it relates to the novel coronavirus, adding that “the numbers are quite sobering.”
However, it’s ironic to hear Dr. Fauci warning us about the risk of coronavirus giving the role he played in the “Gain-of-function GoF” research work supported by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the early 1990s. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who headed NIAID since 1984, has played a major role in promoting and funding gain-of-function research, both in the US and China.
GoF is the euphemism for government-sponsored biological research conducted for biodefense purposes and aimed at increasing the virulence and lethality of pathogens and viruses. Those deadly science-enhanced pathogens can, and do escape into the community where they infect and kill people. NIH said “certain gain-of-function studies have raised biosafety and biosecurity concerns, including the potential dual use risks associated with the misuse of the information or products resulting from such research.”
According to an extensive report from Newsweek, “Dr. Fauci backed controversial Wuhan Lab with U.S. dollars for risky coronavirus research. In 2019, with the backing of NIAID, the National Institutes of Health committed $3.7 million over six years for research that included some gain-of-function work. The program followed another $3.7 million, 5-year project for collecting and studying bat coronaviruses, which ended in 2019, bringing the total to $7.4 million. Many scientists have criticized gain of function research, which involves manipulating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans, because it creates a risk of starting a pandemic from accidental release.”
Below is how Newsweek describes the roles Dr. Fauci played during the period:
A decade ago, during a controversy over gain-of-function research on bird-flu viruses, Dr. Fauci played an important role in promoting the work. He argued that the research was worth the risk it entailed because it enables scientists to make preparations, such as investigating possible anti-viral medications, that could be useful if and when a pandemic occurred.
Meawhile, below is a video of Dr. Fauci talking with Georgetown students on the unique risks and responsibilities young people have in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.