Last Tuesday, the University of Arizona (UArizona) defended claims by one of its department heads that COVID-19 jumped from infected animals to humans at a Chinese wet market. UArizona’s news followed the publication of its department head’s research in Science magazine, picked up by mainstream media outlets like the New York Timesand CBS Newsas proof of the wet market theory.
UArizona asserted that Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department Head Michael Worobey’s research pinpointing the COVID-19 outbreak to the Huanen Seafood Market “virtually eliminate[d]” all other possibilities for COVID-19’s origins — though not ruling out the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where the U.S. funded research on coronaviruses.
Worobey’s research acknowledged that a significant percentage of the first individuals infected by COVID-19 neither worked or shopped at the market. Additionally, the research never tested market animals supposedly linked to the initial outbreak. As AZ Free News reported, Chinese police shut down and disinfected the market almost immediately. Chinese scientists’ research of the market only included samples of the market interiors and stray animals in January 2020. It wasn’t until one day before Worobey’s initial version of his research earlier this year that the Chinese scientists released their research — which ultimately conflicted with Worobey’s findings.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology is less than nine miles from the Huanan Seafood Market; about 30 minutes by car.
One of the principal researchers in the wet market studies, Kristian Anderson, claimed to CBS News that he was “convinced” of the lab leak himself prior to investigation. However, as AZ Free News reported in April, Andersen attacked evolutionary biologist Jesse Bloom for publishing a paper noting that several Chinese papers detailing SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences predating the pandemic had disappeared. In response to the paper, Andersen accused Bloom of unethical behavior for investigating what Chinese scientists deleted, and told the public that genomic sequences from the Wuhan Institute of Virology weren’t relevant.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who received Bloom’s research, sided with Andersen’s take on the subject and defended the Chinese scientists. Fauci and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins had a vested interest in supporting natural transmission theories rather than lab leaks due to their relationship with EcoHealth Alliance: the nonprofit research organization that funded the coronavirus bat research at Wuhan Institute of Virology.
As reported previously, emails obtained through public records requests revealed that EcoHealth Alliance CEO Peter Daszak thanked Fauci for using his platform to dismiss the lab leak theory as the origins of COVID-19 pandemic; Fauci responded in kind.
Other researchers in the papers defending the wet market theory appear to have reigning conflicts of interest as well. Virologist Robert Garry was hand-selected by Collins to dispute whistleblower research from summer 2021 that COVID-19 was engineered at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Netherlands molecular expert Marion Koopmans served on the World Health Organization (WHO) mission to China in early 2021 to analyze COVID-19’s origins, which resulted in an error-riddled report blaming wet market animals that WHO leadership rejected, later connected to plausible Chinese government interference and walked back on by several mission members.
This latest publication in Science magazine was the peer-reviewed and revised version of papers Worobey and his colleagues published in February proposing the wet market theory. At that time, too, the New York Times covered Worobey and his colleagues’ research in a feature story.
On Monday, the Arizona Senate passed the “Glenn Martin Act” unanimously requiring hospitals to allow daily, in-person family visitation. Only the Arizona State Hospital will be exempt from this bill, HB2633.
The bill now heads to the governor for final approval.
State Representative Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott Valley) explained during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in February that the wife of the bill’s namesake, Glenn Martin, was unable to visit or serve as a patient advocate for her husband while he lay dying in the hospital. The Martins were married 38 years. Nguyen read a letter from Martin’s wife.
“The reality is, a complete stranger was the one who got to hold Glenn’s hand to comfort him, and to sit next to him as he said his final, dying words. This should have been me,” read the letter. “How would you feel if your spouse or child was left to take their final breath without you there to kiss them gently and ensure them [of] how much they were loved?”
In a tweet announcing the Senate’s passage of the bill, Nguyen reiterated the message of the letter from Martin’s wife.
“No one should die alone,” asserted Nguyen.
Last year, Nguyen sponsored a similar bill on hospital visitation policies, HB2575, to ensure that terminal patients have a right to have clergy visitation — even during a pandemic. Governor Doug Ducey signed that bill into law last May.
As AZ Free News reported earlier this year, Arizonans testified in favor of a similar clergy and visitation rights bill from State Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix): SB1514. That bill was passed in the Senate but never made it to the House floor. Those Arizonans in support of SB1514 recounted their own experiences with hospitals preventing them from visiting their loved ones due to COVID-19 policies.
In addition to their inability to visit their sick and dying loved ones, the families explained that the policies rendered them unable to serve as health care advocates to their loved ones — similar to what Glenn Martin’s wife described.
The overwhelming majority of people are done with COVID restrictions. Just look at the reaction when mask mandates were put to an end on airplanes last month. Cheering. Celebration. Throwing masks away. There’s nothing surprising about this—unless of course you’re a member of the liberal media.
With a desire to tackle COVID overreach head on, our own state lawmakers got to work last year. And through a series of Budget Reconciliation Bills, they took important steps to protect Arizonans from more COVID mandates.
But then in November, some of the protections were thrown out in court on procedural grounds. Thankfully, the Arizona legislature didn’t ignore the problem and got back to work this year. Now, they have passed several significant bills that are officially signed into law to protect against future COVID and government overreach…
Last Friday, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08) joined a letter asking Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky what legal authority her agency had to purchase Americans’ location data.
The CDC reportedly shelled out $420,000 for one year of phone data from at least 20 million Americans’ phones. The CDC’s transaction and its purposes were exposed through documents obtained by VICE through open records requests.
The CDC documents outlined plans to use the data to not only track COVID-19 curfew and quarantine compliance but visits to places of worship, K-12 schools, pharmacies, neighbors, parks, gyms, weight management companies, grocery stores; as well as the movements of Navajo Nation peoples, K-12 bus route users, and college students, to name a few. According to the documents, the CDC purchased the geotracking data from the controversial data broker SafeGraph. In doing so, the CDC relied on the same type of data currently being scrutinized for its use to track potential ballot harvesters, or “mules,” as highlighted in the controversial documentary “2000 Mules.”
Lesko joined 18 other legislators led by Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) to demand answers from the CDC. They expressed concern over the legality of the CDC surveilling Americans, citing a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that determined that mobile location information fell within a reasonable expectation of privacy.
“This violates the rights of Americans!” tweeted Lesko.
The congressman asked the CDC to explain what legal authority they had to acquire location data (especially concerning places of worship and its relation to the First Amendment), whether they obtained legal advice in order to do so, and whether they informed Congress of their intent to do so; if they’d requested Congress within the last five years to enact legislation specifically authorizing the purchase or acquisition of location data; what specific appropriation line item funded the purchase of the location data, and if they conducted an internal review to ascertain the compliance of their purchase; what form they purchased the data and if it included any personally identifiable information or it was in an aggregate, anonymous form; whether the data had been deleted or was being repurposed for other uses; what conclusions, analyses, or other methods were the results of their data acquisition; whether this was the only instance of them purchasing location data; who decided to purchase the data; and who has access to the data.
This wasn’t the first time that the CDC relied on SafeGraph. Throughout the 2020, they relied on SafeGraph information to conduct their reports on Americans’ compliance with stay-at-home orders. According to the documents obtained by Vice, the CDC continued relying on SafeGraph’s public data until the company no longer provided their data for free last March.
After more than two years, Arizona is finally out from under the COVID-19 Declaration of Emergency ordered by Gov. Doug Ducey on March 11, 2020.
“Today I am terminating the state’s COVID-19 State of Emergency. Thanks to the hard work of many — health care workers, businesses, public and private sector employees — COVID-19 is no longer an emergency in Arizona,” Ducey said Wednesday of his action which takes effect immediately.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) reports that suspected COVID-19 cases now represent less than 1.5 percent of emergency room visits and hospital admissions. Ducey noted that while COVID-19 is not gone, the availability of the vaccine and other measures has allowed Arizonans to be better positioned to manage and mitigate it.
“COVID-19 challenged us in ways we never could’ve imagined. No corner of our state – no corner of our country or the world – was spared,” he said. “But we met that challenge head on by prioritizing lives, livelihoods and individual liberties. The time is right to move forward.”
ADHS’s website shows 29,268 death in Arizona attributed to COVID-19 since the pandemic started in 2020. Less than 400 COVID deaths were reported across the state in the last week.
Dr. Richard Carmona, who is serving as Ducey’s special advisor for public health preparedness, expressed confidence Wednesday that Arizona is prepared to address an expected future increase in cases due to virus mutations.
“We now have the experience and tools in place to address what may be to come while public health continues doing what we do best: infectious disease surveillance, prevention, and control,” Carmona said.
The termination of the public health state of emergency does not mean the end to various tracking of COVID-19 cases. According to ADHS, information about immunizations, deaths, hospitalizations, and lab results will continue to be gathered.
Ducey’s announcement allows each of the state’s 15 counties to continue any emergency declarations they currently have in place. The same is true for any cities and towns.
In response, the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors formally ended the county’s own emergency declaration from March 2020. That won’t stop the county from expending millions of dollars of American Rescue Plan Act funds to address the ongoing economic impact COVID-19 has had on Maricopa County residents, businesses, and schools.