The Department of Health and Human Services is investigating a controversial series of tweets posted by a Black scientist who has been a vital researcher in the race to create a vaccine for COVID-19, Fox News reported.
Many know Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a viral immunologist working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as a lead researcher with Dr. Barney Graham’s coronavirus team in the Vaccine Research Center, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
Recently Corbett has been drawing public attention because of her social media presence, particularly several controversial tweets on her Twitter page. Some of the tweets date back to the beginning of February.
On March 29 Corbett tweeted a link to a Bloomberg article about the impact of the virus on poor communities. In her accompanying comments, she suggested that doctors may choose to overlook Blacks if ventilators are in short supply.
“I tweet for the people who will die when doctors have to choose who gets the last ventilator and ultimately… who lives,” the tweet states. “The poor. And, while the article doesn’t explicitly say it… the black.”
She further suggested in a follow-up April post that she subscribes to the notion of the pandemic being an act of genocide against Blacks.
“Some have gone as far to call it genocide. I plead the fifth,” the April 11 tweet states.
During a news conference on April 10 Surgeon General Jerome Adams said data that shows American Blacks and Latinos in America have been dying at a higher rate than other ethnic groups is attributable to the fact that minority groups suffer more from underlying causes such as diabetes, obesity and other health issues. He also called for the underserved to abide by stay-at-home orders and other guidelines created to slow the spread of the contagion.
“We need you to do this if not for yourself than for your abuela. Do it for your granddaddy, do it for your big momma, do it for your poppop,” the nation’s top doctor said at the daily task force briefing after pleading for minorities to stop their use of alcohol and tobacco and become more diligent about hand-washing and social distancing. “We need you to understand, especially in communities of color. We need you to step up and stop the spread so that we can protect those who are most vulnerable.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top infectious disease doctor and key member of the White House pandemic task force, backed Adams’ comments.
“Jerome, you did it beautifully. You can’t do it any better than that,” Fauci said after gesturing to speak following a PBS reporter at the briefing questioning the tone of Adams’ remarks. “I know Jerome personally. I can just testify that he made no — not even a hint of being offensive at all with that comment.”
The same day, in response to a tweet from another user regarding Adams and Fauci’s statements, Corbett tweeted, “Pasting this thread here because it’s appropriately put. Black people are not dying more because of their behaviors. That is just a cop out to adjust accountability.”
An HHS official told Fox News that “career ethics officials are reviewing the matter” and that the situation is very serious. If the investigation rules Corbett’s posts as unprofessional, she would therefore be found in violation of federal guidelines.
After Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight aired the doctor’s recent tweets, Corbett’s once-public Twitter account was made private. But it did not stop those who were able to view her posts for the past few months from responding.
“Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett’s remarks that have raised such a stir are hardly far off the mark — given the long history of medical experimentation on black folk under dint of coercion and/or without informed consent, plus frequent medical maltreatment,” Twitter user Sandy Darity tweeted Saturday.
“In the past, so called “resurrection” men, surreptitiously, would dig up recently buried black bodies to be used as instructional cadavers by white medical schools. Even in death the black body was subjected to exploitation,” he continued.
“And in the present crisis it’s been an open secret about whom are the ‘preferred’ subjects for pharmaceutical and vaccine trials for Covid-19, black folk here and overseas. Dr. Corbett has marked another evolving atrocity.”
“Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is a racist to suggest that the pandemic was utilized to get rid of the black race!💩💩💩💩,” Twitter user Van Meyers said.
“I don’t care about Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett’s tweets; just let her work on creating a vaccine. Kizzmekia, get off that phone, and get in the lab! You don’t have time to be on Twitter,” another Twitter user said.