G7 leaders push for a ‘transparent’ investigation into the origins of COVID

G7 family photo
The 2021 G7 family photo in Cornwall, England.

  • The G7 leaders want a “transparent” investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
  • Biden signed a joint communiqué that outlined plans to defeat the virus and plan for the future.
  • The G7 also committed to giving 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need.
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The Group of Seven (G7) leaders on Sunday expressed support for a “transparent” investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, while also seeking ways to better prepare for future pandemics.

President Joe Biden joined the leaders of the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan in signing a joint summit communiqué that addressed everything from strategies to end the current pandemic to a guideline for combatting climate change and an examination of international law regarding online safety and hate speech.

The international leaders are pushing for “a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China.”

The G7 also committed to giving 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need as they continue to weather the pandemic.

Read more: What we learned about Joe Biden from riding Amtrak with a Senate colleague who has known the president for five decades

In recent weeks, the debate over the origins of the coronavirus has become a huge issue among US lawmakers and several health experts who question if the coronavirus possibly originated in a lab in Wuhan, China.

However, China has refuted the claim, and Republicans have been critical of involvement by the World Health Organization regarding any possible investigation.

Last month, Biden asked for the intelligence community to “redouble their efforts” in ascertaining the origins of the coronavirus after it was revealed that there was COVID-19 evidence that had not yet been analyzed, according to The New York Times

At the time, the president also requested a report on the findings to be issued in three months.

Last year’s in-person G7 summit was set to be held at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Google does not auto-fill some searches like ‘coronavirus lab leak’ in part to avoid leading users to results that aren’t ‘authoritative’, according to the head of Google’s health division

Wuhan Institute of Virology lab
The P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province, April 17, 2020.

  • Google does not auto-populate searches for “coronavirus lab leak.”
  • Google’s health lead David Feinberg said the firm aims not to lead people to non-authoritative info.
  • Biden set a 90-day deadline for intelligence officials to report the likely origin of COVID-19.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The head of Google’s health division David Feinberg said the company does not auto-complete searches for certain unverified theories to ensure users aren’t led “down pathways” to more misinformation.

During the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Health conference on June 9, WSJ reporter Jamie Heller said her colleague noticed Google does not autofill searches for “coronavirus lab leak” the way it does for other queries.

a google search for 'coronavirus lab leak' does not autofill
A Google search for ‘coronavirus lab leak’ does not autofill.

Feinberg responded by saying Google employs a group of clinicians on its Search team and YouTube team to make sure the tech giant isn’t “leading people down pathways that we would find to be not authoritative information.”

He added users can find whatever they are looking for using Google – including misinformation – but the tech firm aims to ensure the first thing users see is information coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, national health systems, and other authorities.

“If you’re looking for a conspiracy, you can certainly find it on the internet,” Feinberg said during the conference. “We just don’t want it to be the first thing that you see.”

Read more: Why a top vaccine expert thinks we won’t need COVID-19 booster shots for 3 to 5 years

A Google spokesperson told Insider autofill on search queries depend on a variety of factors, including whether the predicted search is common or trending. Google does not have a blanket ban on autocomplete for all search queries related to the Wuhan lab theory, as “lab leak” predicts “lab leak theory” for some users.

“We do have policies around medical misinformation and our systems will avoid showing predictions that may provide information that could lead to serious or acute physical harm,” the spokesperson said over email.

The World Health Organization reported the virus that causes COVID-19 likely jumped from bats to people through an intermediary animal host, potentially at a wildlife farm in China. But the AP reported the Chinese government had strictly controlled all research into the origins of the new coronavirus as of December 2020.

Some experts, including David Relman, an immunologist from Stanford University School of Medicine, penned a letter pushing back on the WHO’s report and requesting more research into the lab leak theory.

President Joe Biden set a 90-day deadline in late May for US intelligence officials to gather evidence into the origins of the deadly virus.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Google doesn’t auto-fill searches for the lab leak theory to avoid leading users to results that aren’t ‘authoritative,’ according to the head of Google’s health division

Wuhan Institute of Virology lab
The P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province, April 17, 2020.

  • Google does not auto-populate searches for “coronavirus lab leak” to curb misinformation.
  • Google’s health lead David Feinberg said the firm does not want to lead people to non-authoritative info.
  • Biden set a 90-day deadline for intelligence officials to report the likely origin of COVID-19.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The head of Google’s health division David Feinberg said the company does not auto-complete searches for certain unverified theories to ensure users aren’t led “down pathways” to more misinformation.

During the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Health conference on June 9, WSJ reporter Jamie Heller said her colleague noticed Google does not autofill searches for “coronavirus lab leak” the way it does for other queries.

a google search for 'coronavirus lab leak' does not autofill
A Google search for ‘coronavirus lab leak’ does not autofill.

Feinberg responded by saying Google employs a group of clinicians that on its Search team and YouTube team to make sure the tech giant isn’t “leading people down pathways that we would find to be not authoritative information.”

He added users can find whatever they are looking for using Google – including misinformation – but the tech firm aims to ensure the first thing users see is information coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, national health systems, and other authorities.

“If you’re looking for a conspiracy, you can certainly find it on the internet,” Feinberg said during the conference. “We just don’t want it to be the first thing that you see.”

Read more: Why a top vaccine expert thinks we won’t need COVID-19 booster shots for 3 to 5 years

The World Health Organization reported the virus that causes COVID-19 likely jumped from bats to people through an intermediary animal host, potentially at a wildlife farm in China. But the AP reported the Chinese government had strictly controlled all research into the origins of the new coronavirus as of December 2020.

Some experts, including David Relman, an immunologist from Stanford University School of Medicine, penned a letter pushing back on the WHO’s report and requesting more research into the lab leak theory.

President Joe Biden set a 90-day deadline in late May for US intelligence officials to gather evidence into the origins of the deadly virus.

Google did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for additional comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Rand Paul says he and his family have received death threats amid ‘outspoken’ clashes with Fauci over origins of COVID-19

fauci paul coronavirus 2x1
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

  • Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said he’d received death threats for his criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci.
  • Paul has recently accused Fauci of misleading the public on the possible origins of the coronavirus.
  • Fauci has called attacks from the right “nonsense” and a “distraction.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told Fox News on Friday that he’s been receiving death threats for his public criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert.

In recent days, Paul has accused Fauci of misleading the public about the origins of the coronavirus.

The accusation is based on recently released emails Fauci exchanged at the beginning of the pandemic, discussing the possibility of COVID-19 being created in a lab, at a time when he was publicly downplaying the theory.

He also said Fauci lied about funding research into the weaponizing of coronaviruses at the Wuhan lab now being considered as a possible site COVID-19 originated.

“I’ve had five death threats just for being outspoken on it this week,” Paul told Sean Hannity on Friday. “I’ve had five death threats. I don’t know what the world is coming to, you can’t ask honest, difficult questions that in the end have proved out that Dr. Fauci was not being honest with us, but as a repercussion, my family had white powder sent to our house, and five death threats phone in.”

A representative of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, in Paul’s home state, referred Insider to the US Capitol Police for confirmation of the death threats on Sunday. As of Sunday morning, the US Capitol Police had not returned Insider’s email requesting confirmation of the death threats.

Meanwhile, Fauci has defended himself against the attacks he’s been receiving from the right.

In an interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC Friday night, Fauci called the accusations that he lied to the public “fabricated,” “nonsense” and a “distraction.

“My job was to make a vaccine and use my institute and these talented scientists that we have there and that we fund in the various universities to get a vaccine that was highly safe and highly effective,” he said.

“We succeeded. All the other stuff is just a terrible, not happy type of distraction. But it’s all nonsense.”

He also maintained in a CNN interview on Thursday that he believes the coronavirus originated naturally.

“I still believe the most likely origin is from an animal species to a human, but I keep an absolutely open mind that if there may be other origins of that, there may be another reason, it could have been a lab leak,” Fauci said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump demands China pay $10 trillion of ‘reparations’ to US for damage caused by COVID-19

Trump speech
Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the NCGOP state convention on June 5, 2021 in Greenville, North Carolina

  • Trump demanded that China pay $10 trillion in “reparations” to the US during a speech on Saturday night.
  • The former president urged countries that owe money to China to cancel their debts as “down payment” on reparations.
  • He said that he blames China for the damage caused by COVID-19, and cited the lab-leak theory.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump has demanded that China pay “reparations” to the US for the damage caused by COVID-19, the Independent reported.

During his first public address in three months, Trump argued that China should have to pay up to $10 trillion to the US.

He also suggested that any country that owes money to China should cancel their debts as a “down payment” on reparations and that the US should put 100 percent tariffs on incoming Chinese goods, the Independent said.

“We demand reparations from the Communist Party of China. China must pay. They must pay,” the former president said during the speech.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Documents reveal how Trump is spending taxpayer money on his postpresidential offices – from printer toner to Stephen Miller’s salary

Trump once again expressed his belief that the coronavirus was created in a Chinese laboratory. “We had this horrible thing come in from China, we got that one right too, by the way, do you notice, you see what’s going on, it’s called the lab, that was an easy one, Wuhan,” he said.

As early as April 2020, Trump claimed that he had evidence showing that COVID-19 had originated from a lab in Wuhan. It was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory.

At the time, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence put out a statement saying that the US intelligence community agreed with the “wide scientific consensus” that the coronavirus was not “manmade or genetically modified,” Insider’s Sonam Sheth reported.

In recent weeks, however, the lab-leak theory has gained traction, Insider’s Tom Porter wrote in late May.

British spies have said that the thesis that COVID-19 leaked from a lab in China is “plausible,” The Sunday Times reported.

And President Joe Biden has asked the intelligence community to “redouble their efforts” to determine the origins of the novel coronavirus and to search for an answer as to whether the Chinese government covered up a leak, Insider’s Erin Snodgrass said.

The idea that the coronavirus leaked from a lab hasn’t been totally ruled out, though a WHO report said it was unlikely, Insider’s Aylin Woodward reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider