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Christian Drosten, enduring virologoid villain, demands mass livestock virus testing and scientific truth panels to enhance pandemic preparedness and marginalise people who disagree with him
Christian Drosten, the malevolent virologoid at Berlin Charité who achieved international prominence in 2020 as court virus astrologer to the Merkel government, and who acted for years as the public face of hygiene restrictions in the Federal Republic, is one of the great villains of the pandemic. From lockdowns to mass testing to school closures, there’s literally no odious Covid policy that Drosten hasn’t left his fingerprints on. Since the West has recovered its senses, our unflushable pandemic turd has been chased off Twitter and surrendered his state media podcast, but he’s always lurking somewhere in the frothing toilet water, likely at any moment to resurface with another obnoxious sermon about the absurd and oppressive things we need to do because Science.
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Drosten last left his laboratory to instruct the world on the necessity of reorganising society around the threat of viral pathogens on 16 October. The occasion was a World Health Summit panel discussion on “Future Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response”; his fellow speakers included a Swiss pharmaceuticals lobbyist, the co-chair of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, some Indian woman from a Dutch NGO and fellow villain-of-the-blog Karl Lauterbach.
These are the people who seek to run our lives now. While the third-worldists on the panel mainly babbled about vaccinating poor people and the pharma lobbyist sang hymns to private sector innovation, our German guests distinguished themselves with much more ominous pronouncements.
Asked about how we should pRepArE fOR tHe NeXT pAnDEmIC, Drosten delivered a rambling speech in which he outlined “three top priority items,” each of them very bad in its own way.
First of all, Drosten wants to start mass animal virus testing, because “every respiratory virus that we know historically came through livestock.” He claims that “We have MERS knocking on the door in a major livestock species in the Middle East,” even though all the evidence suggests that MERS has been knocking on this door for generations if not centuries, without ever managing to get it open. But you can imagine how fantastic this will be: Once Drosten’s livestock surveillance programmes are up and running, we can begin to panic not only about human viruses but also about cow and chicken viruses too. We can track them in real time, they can generate headlines and scare people, and prompt heavy-handed government interventions of their own. Perhaps we’ll even have preemptive lockdowns or vaccination campaigns to stop these fearsome livestock viruses from spilling over; the possibilities are limitless. And most importantly, as Drosten explains, these programmes will be “very expensive” – steering vastly more funding into the coffers of virologists like Drosten, which is really the only reason he’s making these demands.
Secondly, Drosten wants to vastly expand and improve human virus surveillance. This also means more money for shiny new laboratory equipment, so we can track “herpes viruses, measles, respiratory viruses in normal clinical practice and in normal public health surveillance.” Right now, most countries have influenza surveillance programmes which tabulate a handful of respiratory viruses every year, but should pandemicists like Drosten get their way, we’ll be having regular updates on dozens and dozens of viruses. We’ll be sequencing them all, tracking regional outbreaks, developing new vaccines against viruses you’ve hardly heard of and that never mattered before.
Thirdly, Drosten is very, very worried about “communication and disinformation.” This is what you’d expect for the rumpled and vain professor who spent the pandemic getting regularly trashed on Twitter by anonymous anime accounts and lashing out with strange anger at things like the Great Barrington Declaration. The problem for our peerless virus propagandist is that “political decision-making” regarding whether to house-arrest citizens indefinitely or impose hours-long mask regimes on school children at the height of summer “is influenced and contorted by disinformation and propaganda.” You can’t just have “anybody who has some academic degree talking about” these issues “in the middle of a pandemic.” What we really need instead, according to Drosten, are Scientific Truth Panels to decide what’s what and exercise a unilateral influence on politics:
We have to address the institutions of science to make some selection to set up panels of experts, who are really experts, and … who are … qualified to summarise the state of knowledge, and this can only happen via the institutions of science. These institutions have to offer this function to society, and these institutions of science, they are actually consisting of scientists, of top scientists …
It can’t be emphasised enough that Drosten, who surely considers himself a “top scientist” candidate to serve on these Truth Panels, is a laboratory virologist. He’s not an immunologist, or an epidemiologist, and still less is he an expert on economics, public health, society, human psychology, or anything else. Although this tiresome twit was granted a platform to lecture the rest of us on how we need to respond to viruses, he has no more expertise to justify the prescriptions he has spent years promoting than any of us do in opposing them.
While the rest of the doubtful pandemic preparedness panel let Drosten’s disinformation anxiety pass in silence, Lauterbach quickly seized on the theme, elaborating on the deeply dangerous “misinformation pandemic, which is now widespread … so we are …. even in a more difficult position than we were before the pandemic.” That’s true, of course. Through their sheer immoderation and insanity, the Lauterbachs and the Drostens have provoked an entire grassroots resistance movement across the globe, where before there was none. What a bang-up job these monumental idiots have done, and how persistently devoid they remain of any hint of introspection, even now.
Like everyone else of his ilk, Drosten experienced an extreme conversion to virus hysteria in the course of March 2020. He used to have much different opinions about all the things he rants about today, such that all you need to do to refute post-2020 Drosten is consult the pre-2020 version of the man. In 2014, for example, he openly doubted that the great MERS threat knocking on our doors was anything much to worry about. Only after the wealth of new funding opportunities opened by Covid did he begin screeching (in November 2020) that MERS is “a candidate for the next pandemic virus” and (in May 2023) “that a [MERS] variant will form … that can lead to a worldwide pandemic.” These are all deeply self-interested appeals. Since 2017, Drosten has been directly involved in government-funded MERS research, which includes gain-of-function elements. Like the other Top Scientists likely to serve on his Science Truth Panel, Drosten does little more than steer policy in directions that enhance his personal prestige, power and funding opportunities.
In the beginning, of course, Drosten also didn’t think Covid was a big deal. In a 2 March 2020 press conference, which state media has done everything in its power to memory-hole, he said this about SARS-2 mortality:
We have many mild cases. This disease is a mild disease, it’s above all a cold, a cold that affects the lower respiratory tract, and in principle it’s not a problem for the individual. So if I get a cold I won’t just survive it, but normally I’ll not suffer much from it at all. So the question is, what are we actually concerned about here? And we’re concerned about society, not individuals. All right?
Two weeks after these remarks, Drosten and RKI Director Lothar Wieler were beating down the door of the interior ministry to demand indefinite lockdowns. What seduced Drosten to the ways of mass containment was not any new data, but rather the political possibility of mass containment, which the Italian response opened after 10 March, as well as the specifically technocratic lockdowns proposed by Neil Ferguson, which promised to grant Corona astrologers an outsized and enduring role in the years of fruitless doomed-to-fail virus suppression campaigns to follow.
There’s another curious moment from Drosten’s World Health Summit pontifications worthy of mention here. In support of his tiresome pleas for always more virus surveillance, he argues that more testing could have spared the third world their devastating lockdowns. The problem, he claims, is that places like Africa weren’t running millions of PCR tests every day, so we just didn’t know the “age profile of mortality” and could “not anticipate that … strong social distancing and contact measures were somewhat less necessary in many countries for instance in Africa because of the age profile.”
This is a totally infuriating lie. The vastly underwhelming Diamond Princess outbreak in February furnished very clear data on the minimal risk Covid posed to youngs before anybody locked down, and what is more, Drosten himself knew this. In that very same press conference from 2 March 2020, he says that “if I get infected today, me as a person, then maybe I have a [mortality] risk of 0.5% on average,” but clarifies that “at my age I don’t have that risk personally, it’s the older people who have it.” Drosten, despite his quite extravagant claims to ignorance, knew exactly what was happening. He and others like him chose to lie about the risk to scare people into shutting themselves up at home, strapping ridiculous plastic diapers on their faces and accepting an indefinite vaccination regime that had no clear upside even according to their own statistics for any healthy person much under 50.
The truth is that Drosten is not only a liar and a self-interested bad actor, but also a eccentric mediocrity who was never equipped for the renown to which the pandemic raised him. This is a man who pontificated at length about his fear of draught beer, because of the evil germs lurking in pub glasses. This is a man who, at the height of the vaccination campaign, declared that “If you think you can train your immune system through infection, you must also believe that you can train your digestive system with steak.” This is a man who claimed the German literary giant Friedrich Schiller would’ve happily donned a face mask to stop Corona, and proposed to elaborate upon Kant’s categorical imperative with a new “Pandemic Imperative,” according to which everyone should behave as if they’ve just tested positive for Covid and everyone they meet is old, vulnerable, and likely to die of the virus.
Drosten is an oppressive and vile hygiene clown, and his enduring presence in the public discourse is the real Long Covid.
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