Will $30 billion prevent the next pandemic?
GAP thinks so. They also think it’s a worthwhile investment, given that “COVID-19 . . . cost this country $16 trillion. . . . That’s why GAP is pushing Congress to include a $30 billion investment in the upcoming budget. . .”
Just who and what is GAP?
GAP, Guarding Against Pandemics, is a relatively new organization that aims to promote vaccines, masks, “pandemic-proof . . . buildings,” and “faster, better testing.”
It used to have a page on its website titled: “Who We Are.” Unfortunately, that webpage no longer exists but it has been archived here, and here’s a screenshot:
GAP describes itself as a “group of scientific and political experts formed during the COVID-19 pandemic and committed to preventing the next one.”
They claim to “know what diseases may cause the next pandemic” and want to be prepared in advance with dedicated vaccines and therapeutics, as well as masks that are even more effective than N-95 models.
It’s all about focus – the right vaccine, the right drug, the right mask – and you can say goodbye to disease. There are currently no indications on GAP’s website as to who their scientists are, but if they’re anything like the experts with whom we are already familiar their ambitions seem overly optimistic.
The right vaccine? The “Omicron-specific” vaccine that it took Pfizer and Moderna months to develop has turned out to be worse at protecting against Omicron than the non-specific vaccine. Meanwhile, COVID continues to mutate.
The right drug? Well, there are actually plenty of good drugs already in the medicine cabinet, so to speak, drugs that help a lot when COVID is treated early. However, the “right” drugs such as Remdesivir and Paxlovid are questionable at best in their effects.
The right mask? Study after study has shown that masks are not just ineffective but actually cause harm, which isn’t really surprising when you consider the likely consequences of holding a damp rag over your face all day long.
And then testing! Those PCR and antigen tests which have so many false positives that one wonders whether that was the whole purpose of them – to inflate the numbers and panic everyone.
So, the chances that GAP will save the world seem slim. But bankrolled they are, or rather, were. Yes, SBF had a finger in GAP’s pie:
Now that FTX is no longer funneling gullible investors’ cash toward noble causes, GAP’s future most likely depends on the largesse of politicians (bankrolled by FTX) many of whom owe their seats not to GAP but to “Mind the Gap.”
Mind the Gap was formed in 2018 and since then, according to Vox, it has been “quietly routing millions of dollars to Democratic candidates and groups across the country . . . emerging as a new power center in the Silicon Valley political scene.”
In terminology reminiscent of the way Sam Bankman-Fried pitched his wares to the unwary, Mind the Gap describes itself as a “pro-bono donor adviser to people who are interested in evidence-driven decision making.”
Unlike FTX, Mind the Gap doesn’t promise financial returns to those who pour money into it. But given that one of the two leaders of the organization is Barbara Fried, mother of Sam, it’s not too surprising to find some of the same ideas at work.
“Most people have no idea whether their political contributions will actually make a difference,” Fried told Vox. “Our aim is to evaluate the efficacy of different forms of political and civic engagement, and provide our conclusions free to individual, interested donors so they can make more educated decisions about where their money would be most effectively spent.”
One of their tactics is to dump huge amounts of cash into political campaigns at the very last minute, making it too late for Republican contenders to respond in kind. Another is to focus their efforts on races that are slightly less likely to flip, where contributions are seen as more likely to make a difference – what Mind the Gap calls “efficient funding”.
In the words of one person affiliated with the organization, “We have figured out a way to game the system.”
Mind the Gap channeled around $11 million to Democratic candidates in the 2018 elections, and another $9 million went to Democratic groups.
Even those amounts won’t go far enough to compensate all those who lost money in FTX, but nonetheless, it would be a nice gesture if Democrats who owe their seats to Fried, mother and son, gave some of it back, as Sen. Ted Cruz suggested this week:
“Will Joe Biden and Democrats who cashed Bankman-Fried’s checks give that money to the people SBF [ripped off]?” Cruz wondered.