California Department of Incorrections

State Department of Public Health gets it wrong on covert biolab in Reedley

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is demanding that the California Globe correct a story about a secret biological lab in Reedley, near Fresno. The trouble is that the Globe did not publish the report in question, and the information in the story turned out to be correct.

Newsom administration muzzled Fresno Co. disclosure of Reedley COVID lab, county officials claim,” headlined the August 8 story in the San Joaquin Valley Sun. As reporter Daniel Gligich explained, “the State of California sought to limit Fresno County’s attempts to publicize the secret Reedley biologics lab that was found to contain various materials and infectious diseases, such as COVID-19 and malaria, as well as nearly 1,000 bioengineered mice.” 

Instead of notifying the Sun, California Department of Public Health communications director Ali Bay, contacted the California Globe. “See your story on the Reedley warehouse, and it’s not accurate,” Bay wrote. “I’m requesting you correct the headline and story ASAP.” 

Thomas Buckley of the California Globe acknowledged that reporters sometimes make mistakes that need to be corrected. “Extremely rarely though,” Buckley wrote, “are corrections requested for stories another reporter wrote and that ran in a different publication.” In addition, “even more extremely rarely are such corrections requested to ‘fix’ a story that is not at all incorrect.” And as Buckley had learned, Bay’s salary is $220,000 per year “in taxpayer money.” 

Bay also claimed, “the state has worked side by side with local and federal authorities to protect public safety and public health throughout the course of this ongoing investigation and helped swiftly shut down the unlicensed warehouse,” which was “not an operating laboratory, but instead a storage facility.” Californians might compare that claim with other reports on the Reedley operation. 

Hundreds of white mice had been genetically engineered to catch and carry the Covid virus, the MidValley Times reported. The illegal lab harbored potentially infectious bacterial and viral agents, including chlamydia, E. Coli, streptococcus pneumonia, hepatitis B and C, herpes 1 and 5, rubella, malaria samples, and “thousands of vials that contained unlabeled fluids.”

According to court documents, 35 separate refrigerators and freezers contained biological material, blood, tissue, bodily fluid samples, and medical waste. Freezers and refrigerators set at very low temperatures “raised concerns that infectious agents were stored on site.” The property, without any proper safeguards, harbored more than 2,000 gallons of biological material and medical waste. 

Had Reedley inspectors not spotted a garden hose hooked up to the facility, the illegal operation might still be happening. On August 11, the websites of Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health offered no report on the Reedley lab. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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