“…they sent signals to me in the Summer of 2020 that if I just stayed silent, they would leave me alone.”– Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, rofessor of medicine, economics, and health policy research at Stanford University.

The Plot To Silence A Fauci Critic

On Jan. 19, joint reporting from The Intercept and The Nation made public a collection of newly unredacted emails between Anthony Fauci, recently retired National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins, and a select few virologists, in which the group discusses the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 originated in a lab – specifically, the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

The hook in the reporting by investigative journalist Jimmy Tobias, beyond its illuminating document cache, is his observation that three of those virologists went on to publish a March 21, 2020, paper in Nature Medicine entitled “The proximal origins of SARS-CoV-2,” in which the authors asserted “We do not believe that any laboratory-based scenario is plausible.” The emails unearthed by Tobias, however, show a far more conflicted view behind the scenes, with one of the paper’s primary authors writing in an email to the group on Feb. 8, 2020: “I believe that publishing something that is open-ended could backfire at this stage.”

Nonetheless, the paper enjoyed a cushy institutional reception a month later. Fauci endorsed it in an April press conference; Collins wrote a blog post promoting it; ABC News ran a story using the study’s conclusions to dismiss lab-origin conjectures as conspiracy theories. It is now one of the most-read scientific papers in history and has been cited over 2,700 times.