Add this to the list of things I’ll miss once President Donald Trump has been excommunicated from the holy hallways of DC, long after he’s been exiled off to a distant locale where the natives won’t care about their new neighbor: the mainstream media’s abundant use of the term “baseless.” The word, mute, faint, has never been on my radar. When I think of the base word of “baseless,” I think of 1st, 2nd or 3rd. I think of urban daredevils and their life-risking feats.
I certainly never thought of the word “baseless” before Trump. Not until the mainstream news media grew an affinity for it in order to diminish anything remotely Trump and anything remotely eyebrow-raising he might say if it inferred events which happened outside the media’s radar. If the media doesn’t accept the narrative, it doesn’t exist.
So I was amused when the media began having to manufacture disavowals of their coverage of something that Dr. Deborah Birx “thought out loud” during a Coronavirus Task Force meeting. Apparently what she said appeared grave and important enough that it made the weekly report sent to state governors. The news media got a hold of the baseless report and, deferring to Birx’s eminently palatable and authoritative standing, reported it immediately.
Reports of a highly contagious new coronavirus variant in the United States, published on Friday by multiple news outlets, are based on speculative statements made by Dr. Deborah Birx and are inaccurate, according to several government officials.
The erroneous report originated at a recent meeting where Dr. Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, presented graphs of the escalating cases in the country. She suggested to other members of the task force that a new, more transmissible variant originating in the U.S. might explain the surge, as another variant did in Britain.
Her hypothesis made it into a weekly report sent to state governors. “This fall/winter surge has been at nearly twice the rate of rise of cases as the spring and summer surges. This acceleration suggests there may be a USA variant that has evolved here, in addition to the UK variant that is already spreading in our communities and may be 50% more transmissible,” the report read. “Aggressive mitigation must be used to match a more aggressive virus.”
Dismayed, officials at the C.D.C. tried to have the speculative statements removed, but were unsuccessful, according to three people familiar with the events.
That is an interesting theory from Birx and certainly worthy of intelligent consideration. The United States represents a tremendous swath of infections, a Petri dish of 300 million possible mutative vectors, “mutation opportunities” so speak. Many more than England or South Africa, so why can’t this country join in the variant fun? The-beach-is-my-right liberty-consumed America represents a most ripe opportunity for the rampaging virus to mutate. Birx was postulating about the tremendous Fall resurgence of the virus and just wondering…
Among the variants circulating in the U.S. are B.1.1.7, first identified in Britain and now driving a surge and overwhelming hospitals there. The variant has been spotted in a handful of states, but the C.D.C. estimates that it accounts for less than 0.5 percent of cases in the country so far.
Another variant circulating at low levels in the U.S., known as B 1.346, contains a deletion that is also present in B.1.1.7. “But I have seen nothing on increased transmission,” said Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona who discovered that variant.
That variant has been in the United States for three months and also accounts for fewer than 0.5 percent of cases, so it is unlikely to be more contagious than other variants, according to a C.D.C. scientist who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter.
All viruses evolve, and the coronavirus is no different. “Based on scientific understanding of viruses, it is highly likely there are many variants evolving simultaneously across the globe,” Mr. McDonald, of the C.D.C., said. “However, it could take weeks or months to identify if there is a single variant of the virus that causes Covid-19 fueling the surge in the United States similar to the surge in the United Kingdom.”
That is a weak refutation from the scientists. The virus’s prevalence of “0.5%” is undoubtedly based on statistical sampling only since DNA sequencing is not performed routinely on patient samples. We need to know when the sample taken and its size to form informed context. They narrowed the American birth of this virus to “three months ago” but the exponential growth of a contagious mutation surely eludes studies if is more than a month old. Keep in mind that the UK variant surfaced in September or October and it didn’t cause a commotion until December on the heels of the vaccine rollouts.
Most curious is the fact that there is a new American mutation, B 1.346, which has similar sequencing the the UK’s B.1.1.7, but we haven’t exactly been “told,” have we? The health authorities, complicit with governmental CYA measures, seek to avoid alarm but in doing so, repress important information. We owe Dr. Birx a debt of gratitude for saying something that the CDC apparently did not.
This story does not use the description “baseless.” Either the events truly are, or the news media will not call it that since it doesn’t involve President Trump.