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Psaki: ‘Even after you’re vaccinated, social distancing and wearing masks will be essential’



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On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that even after a person has received a vaccine, “social distancing and wearing masks will be essential.”

A reporter had asked Psaki at Thursday’s press briefing what the Biden administration will do to combat people refusing to wear masks beyond urging people to wear them, amid new strains of the coronavirus starting to reach the United States.

Psaki replied saying that the White House is trying to communicate about wearing masks “as frequently as possible” and she went on to say that she and all the reporters were listening to health experts by wearing masks. She also touted President Joe Biden mandating mask-wearing on public lands and airplanes as a step taken in enforcing masks.

“But part of what we are also trying to do is make our health and medical experts available to ensure people understand—and I’ll reiterate it here today—it’s not just a vaccine,” which she called a “medical breakthrough” and said “we want every American to have one”.

“But even after you’re vaccinated,” she added, “social distancing and wearing masks will be essential.”

As of Thursday afternoon, 35 million vaccine doses have been administered to Americans, according to state-by-state data compiled by the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. While the tracker says that 8.5% of Americans have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, only 2.1% have received two doses. So far during the pandemic, over 450,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and 26 million have tested positive, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Adviser to Fauci bragged about helping him evade FOIA, ‘he is too smart’ to get caught



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The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic published evidence ahead of a hearing that explains the senior scientific adviser to then-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci actually bragged about helping Fauci evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The adviser, David Morens, admitted in his own communications to intentionally evading FOIA by using a Fauci’s private Gmail address or just handing him documents in person, according to the newly disclosed emails.

The 35-page report on Morens includes previously unreleased emails including:

An April 21, 2021 email shows Morens contacted EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak, whom Morens has described as his “best friend” and a U.S. taxpayer conduit for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as well as Boston University and New England Biolabs researchers.

The subject line references “CoV research in China, GoF, etc.,” referring to EcoHealth-facilitated coronavirus research at WIV that could make a virus more transmissible or dangerous. The National Institutes of Health recently admitted it funded gain-of-function research under that definition but not a stricter regulatory definition.

“PS, i forgot to say there is no worry about FOIAs,” Morens wrote. “I can either send stuff to Tony on his private gmail, or hand it to him at work or at his house. He is too smart to let colleagues send him stuff that could cause trouble.”

A May 13, 2021 email to the same recipients referred to “our ‘secret’ back channel” by which Morens connected Fauci to a journalist named “Arthur,” apparently to discuss the feds’ preferred narrative that SARS-CoV-2 emerged naturally rather than via lab leak. The email cited an article on the message board Virological.

Gerald Keusch, associate director of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory Institute at BU, emailed Daszak Oct. 25, 2021 to relay a phone conversation with “David,” who is “concerned about the privacy of text” and email sent and received on his “government phone” because they “could be FOIA’able.”

“Tony has told him not to be in touch with you and EHA for the time being,” Keusch wrote. Morens relayed that Daszak should get his story straight on EcoHealth’s claim that NIH locked it out of the system when it tried to file its year-five progress report that disclosed an arguable gain-of-function experiment.

Earlier in the day, Morens told Daszak “i will be meeting with Tony about this later on.” The subject line of the thread was “Draft response to Michael Lauer,” deputy director for extramural research at NIH.

Morens also told Daszak that Fauci and then-NIH Director Francis Collins are “trying to protect you, which also protects their own reputations,” apparently meaning against allegations that U.S. tax dollars passed through EcoHealth funded research that may have led to SARS-CoV-2’s emergence.

The subcommittee said it found emails that revealed “likely illegal” practices, including an April 2020 email in which Morens shared a “new NIAID implementation plan” with Daszak and an August 2020 email in which Daszak mentioned a “kick-back” to Morens after NIH awarded $7.5 million to EcoHealth.

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