A report released Wednesday by Republican lawmakers on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis reveals that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coordinated quite closely with teachers’ unions.
The partnership had “an extraordinary level in crafting its school reopening guidance, despite the agency’s earlier claims that such coordination was routine and nonpolitical” reports Fox News Digital which reviewed the report.
Republicans write in the report that emails between the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the White House, and the CDC shows that the AFT’s “cozy relationship with the Biden administration’s political leadership at the CDC positioned the union to impose line-by-line edits” to the reopening guidance.
The behavior was despite the CDC’s insistence of “past practice to keep draft guidance confidential.” Fox News previously reported how the AFT and National Education Association teachers’ unions received a copy of the CDC’s guidance before they released it to the public.
On February 11, 2021, AFT’s senior director of health issues, Kelly Trautner, personally emailed CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky asking her to make an edit to add this specific line:
“In the event high-community transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.” Walensky then forwarded the email to Dr. Henry Walke, the director of the CDC’s Center for Preparedness and Response. Walke then made the addition for the union, and it was released the very next day.
In a joint statement provided exclusively to Fox News Digital, Republican Reps. Steve Scalise and James Comer accused President Biden of rewarding one of his biggest political donors while millions of children suffered from school closures.
Republican Representatives Steve Scalise and James Comer sent joint statement exclusively to Fox News Digital:
“The facts are clear: Biden’s CDC overrode routine practice to allow a radical teachers union that donated millions of dollars to Democrat campaigns to bypass scientific norms and rewrite official agency guidance,” Scalise and Comer wrote.
“The damaging edits by union bosses effectively kept thousands of schools shuttered across the country, locking millions of children out of their classrooms. The Biden Administration abandoned medical science and replaced it with political science to reward one of their largest donors, harming millions of children in the process. They bypassed the science to put union bosses ahead of children.
“Millions of Americans are still outraged at what these Washington Democrats put their children through, and all because union bosses demanded they keep schools closed longer,” they continued.
“America’s children are suffering, academically and mentally, because of the Biden Administration enabled school closures. Republicans will not rest until we uncover all the facts and hold everyone accountable who was involved in holding back millions of children from having equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”
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Fauci’s NIH gives another $3.5 million to EcoHealth despite dangerous past of coronavirus research
Just before he retires, Dr. Anthony Fauci has pushed through a new five-year grant for EcoHealth. EcoHealth Alliance, is the U.S. nonprofit that Fauci and the National Institute of Health’s funds, “to conduct dangerous coronavirus research in partnership with China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology prior to the global Covid-19 pandemic” reports National Review.
Over the next five years, the troublesome EcoHealth will receive over $3.25 million; their first check comes this year for $653,392. The grant is one of four concurrent NIH grants that EcoHealth has; three of the grants were awarded after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The description of the grant on the NIH RePORTER website is to analyze “the potential for future bat coronavirus emergence in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.”
“This is high-risk research that involves going into remote, often inaccessible areas, and sampling bats and bat excreta, and then returning those samples to laboratories in population centers where they attempt to isolate the virus … and then seek to characterize the threat level posed by the virus,” said Richard Ebright, a biosafety expert and professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University. “This is one of the kinds of research that may have been directly responsible for the current pandemic.”
The term gain-of-function research has become very controversial since the global Covid-19 pandemic, and National Review reports on the subject:
This newest EcoHealth project wouldn’t qualify as gain-of-function research, Ebright said. Gain-of-function research involves extracting viruses from animals and engineering them in a lab to make them more transmissible or dangerous to humans. But Ebright said two of EcoHealth’s grants do involve gain-of-function research and enhanced potential pandemic research on coronaviruses. And even if the current description of the new project doesn’t involve gain-of-function research, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t later.
From securing funding to completing the research, it is a six-year process, Ebright said, and the project is bound to change over those six years. “If researchers robotically followed what they proposed six years ago, they would not be taking into account developments in their own labs and in the field at any point along the way,” he said. “You have to have this flexibility. That also means you need oversight to make sure the flexibility isn’t going into forbidden areas.”
Going into forbidden areas is exactly how EcoHealth and its president, Peter Daszak, previously got into trouble. Starting in 2014, the U.S. government temporarily paused funding for gain-of-function research due to concerns over biosafety and biosecurity. When some of EcoHealth’s research – involving infecting genetically-engineered mice with hybrid viruses – seemed to cross that line, NIAID staff and EcoHealth leaders crafted work-around guidelines to allow the nonprofit to continue its work.
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