by David Keltz
No matter what we are told by the “experts,” science is constantly evolving and is rarely ever as settled as those in power want us to believe. Doctors are often forced to make consequential decisions and recommendations based on partial or incomplete sets of data and information. Perhaps no one knows this better than Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
According to Fauci, it is now safe for schools to reopen. All it took was the passing of President Biden’s “COVID relief bill,” which will likely be signed into law this week. “As we now have the relief bill signed at $1.9 trillion — a lot of that is going into addressing COVID-19 including help to the schools to allow them to more safely bring the kids back,” Fauci said on Monday. Considering that the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 95 percent of the money appropriated from the bill to fund schools will not be spent this year, there was no reason for Fauci to present its passing as a prerequisite for reopening schools — unless of course we fool ourselves into believing that he is motivated by science, and not by whatever the Biden administration tells him to say.
Over the past year Fauci has been tasked with the immense responsibility of providing recommendations on virtually every subject related to COVID, including when schools can “safely” reopen; how many people we can have at our dinner table for Thanksgiving; whether it is safe to travel on an airplane, hook up with people we meet on dating apps, attend church services, or dine at a restaurant; and whether we should walk around covered with face shields and goggles. His answer to the last is yes and yes.
Whenever Fauci speaks, many people listen. They hang on to every word he utters as if their lives depended on it. And in some ways our lives do depend on it. Fauci literally has the power to turn the stock market bullish or bearish based on his predictions about when he believes COVID will end.
We have been told by the Fourth Estate that we should take Fauci’s recommendations very seriously, not only because he is portrayed as a sage individual who “follows the science” and supposedly provides accurate information about COVID but also because it is believed that he will provide us with the best indication of when we will have some semblance of normalcy in our lives again.
As Fauci said at his first press conference under the new Biden administration, “One of the things that we’re going to do is to be completely transparent, open, and honest. If things go wrong, not point fingers, but to correct them. And to make everything we do be based on science and evidence.”
But as we have learned, Fauci has not made decisions based on “science and evidence.” He has taken two sides on virtually every COVID issue and has constantly shifted his stance, not because the science changed, but because political circumstances have. Instead of playing it straight with the American people, he has misled us. After a year of blunders, it is worth questioning why he still remains the country’s preeminent spokesperson on handling the pandemic.
Let’s look at his track record. A year ago, on March 8, 2020, Fauci famously went on 60 Minutes and told the correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook, “Right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks…. There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”
Fauci has taken two sides on virtually every COVID issue and has constantly shifted his stance, not because the science changed, but because political circumstances have.
Less than a month later, Fauci changed his mind. And now he recommends wearing a minimum of two masks. It’s just “common sense,” he said in January. In reality, Fauci was probably always an advocate for wearing a mask, but he wanted to be certain there were enough for medical workers and first responders. Was that “following the science”?
Last April, after 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in just two weeks, Fauci justified the continued draconian lockdown measures by describing them as “inconvenient from an economic and a personal standpoint.” But, he concluded, “We just have to do it.” But for the thousands of business owners who have now lost their livelihoods and are struggling to pay their bills, lockdowns are much more than an “inconvenience.”
Aside from being tone deaf, Fauci has also shown that he is willing to sacrifice our children’s futures for political reasons. Last July, once it became clear that children aged zero to 18 were not efficiently spreading the disease and were far less likely than older people to be impacted by COVID, Fauci said that we should “try to get the children back to school as best as we possibly can.” He also maintained that the development of a vaccine should not play a role in the reopening of schools.
But the teachers unions disagreed. And when President Biden came into office, Fauci curiously changed his tune. Now he says schools should not reopen until the president’s inflationary and disastrous $1.9 trillion “COVID relief bill” is passed: “I think that the schools really do need more resources, and that’s the reason why the national relief act that we’re talking about getting passed — we need that.” Is that following the science?
Fauci has two different sets of standards, depending on whether or not he supports the cause. Last fall, during the heart of election season, Fauci had no problem blasting Trump for holding outdoor rallies. “We know that that is asking for trouble when you do that,” he said.
Yet all throughout last summer, when thousands of people were gathering for BLM protests and riots, Fauci refused to show any concern about the health risks associated with them.
During a congressional hearing last July when Fauci was asked by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) if the protesting should be limited, Fauci replied by saying, “I don’t think that’s relevant.”
When Jordan pointed out that people were unable to open gyms and barber shops or go to church, but somehow protesting was fine, Fauci went on to say, “I’m not favoring anybody over anybody…. I don’t judge one crowd versus another crowd.” Was refusing to call out the COVID risk associated with BLM rallies following the science?
Meanwhile Fauci has stopped short of praising any Republican officials who have handled the virus exceptionally well, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has managed to reopen his state’s economy and schools while protecting the most vulnerable. Yet Fauci has commended the disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “leadership” as a model that should be emulated. Evidently, asking Congress for a $61 billion bailout, signing an executive order last spring that allowed COVID-positive patients to return from hospitals to their nursing homes, causing thousands of avoidable deaths, and then covering it up is just the type of leadership that Fauci admires.
As Fauci told PBS last summer, “We know that, when you do it [follow coronavirus mitigation guidelines] properly, you bring down those cases. We have done it. We have done it in New York,” Fauci said. New York currently has the second most deaths in the country per capita. Is that following the science?
Fauci has also shifted his stance on what percentage of the population he believes needs to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity. Initially he said 60 to 70 percent should be vaccinated; now he says 85 to 90 percent. The New York Times explained that Dr. Fauci was hesitant to publicly raise his initial estimate because many Americans seemed reluctant to take the vaccine. In other words, Fauci knew all along that the 60 to 70 percent estimate that he initially cited was likely too low, but he did not want to scare the country into believing that we were far away from reaching herd immunity. So instead he chose to mislead us. Was that following the science?
More recently, when both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) lifted mask mandates and pushed towards reopening their states due to a lower number of infections, Biden called it “Neanderthal thinking.” Fauci quickly echoed Biden’s sentiment, describing the reopenings as reckless behavior and saying that declaring victory over the pandemic will “likely lead to another surge of new coronavirus cases.” Is advocating for never-ending lockdowns following the science?
Public health experts, especially those on whom we rely for information, should not be in the business of mirroring political talking points from politicians whose agenda they support and agree with, at the expense of providing accurate information. One way to easily lose public trust is for health officials to selectively tell the truth in an attempt to compel people to do whatever they want. If Fauci really cared about our well-being, he would be transparent with the facts, as soon as he knows what they are. This would not only be more beneficial from a public health perspective but would also ensure that we have faith in our medical experts. On that front, Fauci has failed miserably.
Over the last year, while millions of Americans have suffered, Fauci has done very well for himself. He has become a celebrity, the world’s most famous doctor, and the highest-paid employee in the federal government.
And, as he continues to prove to us, he is also a political hack.
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David Keltz was a speechwriter in the Executive Branch and is the author of Media Bias in the Trump Presidency and the Extinction of the Conservative Millennial. He previously served as a White House Intern for Vice President Mike Pence.