The outbreak of coronavirus in winter 2019 leading to the COVID-19 pandemic, has given rise to unwavering endeavours by experts and the general public to explain off its emergence. The main question was whether COVID-19 was a natural virus that developed inside one or more species of animals then moved to humans, or was created in a laboratory as a form of devastating chemical weapon. Conspiracy theories abounded and spread; some claiming that the virus was synthesised, ran out of hand and lodged in humans. Others alleged it was intentionally leaked out of virology laboratories, with accusations that China was behind that conspiracy, especially given that COVID-19 first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Needless to remind that most of these recriminations started during the end of the term of former US President Donald Trump, a period which stood out for the unprecedented levels of unbridled statements and contrived trouble making.
We then moved from the conspiracy theories around the origin of coronavirus to a more peculiar and frightening phase with the discovery of vaccines against it. Two types of vaccines were introduced: the first was traditional in the sense that it involved injecting the human body with the attenuated virus which then stimulates the body to produce antibodies to fight the virus, creating immunity to the disease. The other type of vaccine was produced through a new technique which involved injecting the human body with micro genetic cells that address the body’s genes in order to boost their capacity to identify the virus and battle it. Once more, it was heyday for conspiracy theories; this time claiming it was a terrifying plot to inject people with genetic “chips” that would relay to authorities or stakeholders all their genetic characters and allow programming them into creatures with compromised awareness and will that could then be exploited to serve specific objectives.
Despite the heavy impact of these conspiracy theories, we at Watani fully realised our responsibility as media professionals and refused to be dragged into unsubstantiated, unjustified allegations. This remained our editorial policy for the weeks and months when news of COVID-19 literally took over our lives. Recently, however, unexpected news tipped the balance and induced me to write on the topic.
On 19 June, video footage was circulated of US Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, in which she calls for the dismissal and trial of Dr Anthony Fauci, 81, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical advisor to the President. Dr Fauci has been a pivotal figure in drawing US policy to fight coronavirus, and appraising the cautionary measures Americans should observe, as well as drawing policies related to lockdown and vaccines.
Dr Fauci had set 4 July 2021 as the prospected date to complete the vaccination of 70 per cent of the American people with at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, in order to achieve herd immunity and get closer of the goal of wiping out the pandemic. However, one glitch which could stand in the way of reaching that goal, Dr Fauci said, is that American adults between the ages of 18 and 26 do not get the vaccine, also those younger than 18.
Dr Fauci declared that the US was not sure whether COVID-19 emerged and developed in a natural way. The World Health Organisation, he said, must carry on with its investigation on the nature of the virus, and into whether it could have leaked out of Wuhan labs following its creation there. These declarations by Dr Fauci came after he had earlier acknowledged WHO confirmations that followed investigations in China that COVID-19 developed in a natural way, and that there was no possibility that it was synthesised in a lab; casting doubts on that would propel a second round of investigations.
But what was it that prompted Congress to wage war on Dr Fauci US Rep Taylor Greene announced in a recently-released video that she was very proud to sponsor the “Fire Fauci Act”, and that she was grateful for her colleagues in Congress to co-sponsor the bill. After pointing out that the American people deserve answers, she explained that the “Fire Fauci Act” will bring Dr Fauci’s salary to zero, and will require the Senate to confirm someone to fill his position. The congresswoman explained that Dr Fauci was neither elected by the American people nor chosen to guide American economy. “He was not chosen to rule over parents and their children’s education,” she said. “Yet Dr Fauci very much controlled our lives for the past year,” she said. She added that there is a lot of information on Dr Fauci that needs to come out, especially after the emails concerning him that came out. Ms Taylor Greene stressed that Dr Fauci owes the American people and the world a lot of answers. “Businesses have closed, small businesses have suffered, people have truly been depressed, health consequences, people have died alone in hospitals and nursing homes, children’s education has been delayed by a year, and then we even witnessed suicide numbers going up not in just adults but young people in college, children in high school, children in middle school, and even younger,” Ms Taylor Greene said. “This is not how our country was set up, this is not how people should be governed, yet it was Dr Fauci and through his advice that constantly changed that is how things happened,” she said, adding that answers and evidence need to be given. “American people deserve the answers, and accountability should be held for Dr Fauci and all those involved,” the US congresswoman said. “And whether American tax dollars went to the Wuhan lab and funded this virus,” the video concluded.
As I already said, we were never dragged and will not be dragged behind the conspiracy theories. Yet listening to the declarations of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene leaves us holding our breath, closely following what the coming days may reveal.
2 July 2021