I’m posting in the main comments so it doesn’t get buried in nested comments. This is a response to “well, there is no objective standpoint.” It’s an assertion I’ve met lately but conflicts with what we know. I hope this adds to the discussion and clarifies what seems muddy right now.
“When I say “objective,” I’m speaking not as a politician but as a scientist. When I say the response was poor, I speak only from the field I know. When I say “objective,” I mean what we knew from research. Though we knew this spread human-to-human by Jan 22 and by Jan 17 and Jan 19 we knew it could be anywhere in the world — I suspected it by Jan18 and felt certain by Jan 21 — the only mitigation strategy we received was a Jan 31 travel restriction.
Infectious disease scholars told congress on Feb 5 that restrictions would not stop this and would not keep us safe.
The evidence told us that; history told us that. Nearly 6 weeks passed before we got evidence-based mitigation. Although no evidence suggests the virus to be a bioweapon, political pressure led credible intelligence figures to clarify:
Former CIA Deputy Director confirmed Apr 22 that no evidence says anything other than a natural spillover event.
Intelligence Statement COVID-19 from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:
“The entire Intelligence Community has been consistently providing critical support to U.S. policymakers and those responding to the COVID-19 virus, which originated in China. The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.”
I do not believe this to be a partisan issue and will not discuss it in terms of inflammatory politics. I do not discuss it in terms of things we cannot prove.
I am someone who strongly defends the truth, even when it does not favor us and even when none want to hear it.
If we are unwilling to turn our critical natures inward for the betterment of ourselves, we have little hope.
We watched the days slip away, days when we might have prevented our present state. Scientists are a diverse bunch, but we often agree to a startling degree because when we remove opinion, we can see the same picture.
Evidence is our only bipartisan ally, and we can ill afford to spurn it.
The experience has left me disheartened, with much less faith that good wins out than I once had.