Monday, January 25, 2021

The Serial Failures of Dr. Fauci

Among the greatest non-scientific mysteries of the current pandemic is the current reputation of Dr. Anthony Fauci. Considered by many to be nearly godlike, considered by others to be a buffoon, the good doctor, head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases has emerged as something of a hero. For reasons that no one understands the hundreds of thousands of coronavirus deaths seem not to have tarnished the Fauci aura. Nor have they tarnished the Andrew Cuomo aura.

And yet, Fauci has often been wrong. Surely, he deserves some discredit for his mistakes, mistakes that cost lives.

Miranda Devine explains that in January of last year Fauci vigorously opposed the Trump administration travel ban on China. Like Joe Biden, a man who Fauci loves almost as much as he loves Hillary Cllinton, Fauci thought that it was xenophobic. No one knows what this has to do with science.

Take, for instance, Fauci’s serenity back on Jan. 21 last year, when he assured us that the virus convulsing China at the time “is not something the citizens of the United States should be worried about.”

To be fair, the pandemic caught a lot of people unaware, but the thing about Fauci is that he always is so sure of himself.

The following week, he was at it again, vehemently opposing Donald Trump’s proposed flight ban from China, which Biden at the time decried as “xenophobia.”

In a more extensive analysis of the Fauci role, Sam Adler Bell, writing for a progressive publication, The Drift Magazine, makes the case against Fauci. 

He opens thusly:

But a comforting bedside manner has done little to mitigate catastrophe. Over 400,000 Americans are dead, twice as many as any other country. Infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are currently at record highs. And although we have a vaccine, the rollout has already been stymied by a dearth of resources and coordination. As one public health expert told The New York Times on January 17, our pandemic response has been “a colossal failure at every level of government.” And herein lies a paradox. America is suffering from a disease outbreak whose morbid scope is the consequence of world-historic negligence. We are desperately and needlessly sick. And yet, the man known as “America’s Doctor,” the undisputed personification of public health research and pandemic preparedness, faces no reputational consequences. On the contrary, Dr. Fauci remains one of our most beloved public figures.  

One suspects that the important point was not idolizing Dr. Fauci, but demonizing President Trump. One can be clear that the Trump administration bears some considerable responsibility for mishandling the situation, but clearly, the media, in its infinite bias, made it all Trump’s fault. And it invented a narrative whereby another president, one who would have listened to Fauci, would have done better.

Adler Bell presents the argument:

To put an even finer point on it, the precise conditions that would maximally exonerate Fauci — i.e., Trump is solely at fault; Fauci had no influence — are conditions under which Fauci absolutely should have bolted. The more aberrant Trump’s behavior, the more he diverged from the medically prudent course of action, the greater Fauci’s responsibility to leave and blow the whistle. If Fauci knew better but didn’t say, what use was he inside the room? If he didn’t know better, then he shares the blame. 

Cogent analysis, to say the least:

Meanwhile, liberal pundits like Ezra Klein have praised Biden’s “maddeningly obvious” Covid plans, describing their simplicity as a “damning indictment” of Trump’s negligence. But if Biden’s life-saving interventions are so straightforward and crucial, why weren’t Fauci and Birx loudly demanding them months ago? 

Obviously, the point was to demonize Trump. Now, the media is hard at work building up Biden, so that he will gain the credit when we conquer the virus.

Adler Bell continues that Fauci was often wrong. Obviously, he never admitted that he was wrong. In that he could thank the media for covering for him.

Still, for Fauci, the public record is not uniformly flattering. For the first few months of 2020, Fauci appeared to toe the administration’s line that the emerging disease was not a major threat. On January 26, just days after China locked down the eleven million residents of Wuhan and started building a new 1000-bed hospital, Fauci said, “The American people should not be worried… It’s a very, very low risk to the United States.” (He added, “It’s something we, as public health officials, need to take very seriously.”) A month later, on February 29, when many scientists believed thousands of undetected cases were present in the US — testing was still non-existent — Fauci said, “the risk is still low… there’s no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis.” And on March 9, after superspreader events on four cruise ships had been reported, Fauci told Fox’s John Roberts, “If you are a healthy young person, there is no reason if you want to go on a cruise ship, [not to] go on a cruise ship.” 

Of course, the nation’s scientists were not paying any attention to what Trump was saying. They were following the science, and Dr. Fauci.

If Fauci had embraced more dire predictions in early 2020, many other prominent scientists would’ve followed suit. It’s impossible to say how much difference Fauci’s warnings would’ve made. But those countries that took the outbreak seriously, early — imposing lockdowns, travel bans, and mask mandates right away — are those that have weathered it best.   

And, of course, Dr. Fauci was against wearing masks, before he was for wearing masks. An inconvenient fact that has been easily ignored.

Then there was the mask fiasco. In February and March, Fauci, the World Health Organization, and the CDC all recommended against protective masks for non-symptomatic members of the public. Their line was: don’t bother. On February 19, Fauci told USA Today, “In the United States, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask.” On March 8, as scientists estimated tens of thousands of undetected Covid cases in the US, Fauci told 60 Minutes, “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is.” In the same interview, laying the foundation for a fog of disinformation that is still very much with us, Fauci suggested wearing a mask might actually increase the risk of contracting the virus, “Often, there are unintended consequences — people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.”

And also,

But the mask flip-flop did not rely on new, definitive proof that people without symptoms could spread the disease. We knew that already.  Moreover, as Fauci is aware, people in East Asian countries regularly wear masks to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. They’ve continued to do so during this pandemic. The efficacy of masks was not a new discovery.

On the question of herd immunity, Fauci simply lied:

e now know that Fauci — in addition to his subterfuge about masks and asymptomatic transmission — lied to the public about herd immunity, gradually raising his estimate of the percent of the population that needs to be inoculated to defeat the virus. As The New York Times reported in December, “Dr. Fauci acknowledged that he had slowly but deliberately been moving the goal posts. He is doing so, he said, partly based on new science, and partly on his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.” This admission betrays his carefully cultivated image. Clearly, Fauci is willing to indulge in pious fictions when he decides they’re necessary. In truth, the cult of Fauci is based on a character; a performance that has served him, and sometimes the public, very well. 

Not a very good track record, but nothing about it has interfered with the media effort to construct a narrative between the good Dr. Fauci and the bad President Trump.


Sam L. said...

Ahhhh, "Fauci the False".

jmod46 said...

My take on the article is that when Fauci isn't the personification of The Peter Principle, he's more or less incompetent. Oh, and maybe a bit of a suck-up. And possibly past his sell-by date. Otherwise a terrific made-for-TV kind of guy.

IamDevo said...

And yet, the 80 year old F(raud)ci was, in 2019, the HIGHEST PAID FEDERAL EMPLOYEE! According to Forbes, in that year the execrable liar pulled in $417,608.00 taxpayer dollars. Remember, he is the same jackass who was in charge of the AIDS program--no vaccine even on the horizon. He is the same jackass who posted his undying love of Hillary Clinton. He is also the same jackass who promoted "gain of function" virus research. The idea was to take a naturally occurring virus and manipulate the genetic code to make it stronger and powerful to engineer the most contagious deadly viruses in lab conditions. This research was carried out around the world, with Wuhan, China being home to a leading laboratory, funded in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, headed up by Dr. Anthony Fauci. His upward failing trajectory is spectacular, and built on the dead bodies of hundreds of thousands of innocent victims. He is a hero, indeed to the same morons who elected Biden. God help this country.

Lowghost said...

I will add that of all my friends my one scientist friend was least worried of all. "It's nothing more than a flu!" she reassured me in mid March. She later tried to organize a dinner party for her at risk partner's birthday, in New York City in April! No one accepted the invitation and thankfully the dinner never happened. You've said this before but I'll say it again: the problem with "following the science" is that the science is always changing. When there is no data there is no problem. The virus wasn't a threat until after it had killed enough people to make a threatening data set. Scientists, if you've ever known one, are a special breed of people, brilliant but not made of common sense.

Anonymous said...

fauci was also in charge of the fight against AIDS. like in his decision to downplay masks so there would be enough supply for the front line workers -( dishonest but with a noble purpose), he began the campaign that AIDS was as much a threat to heterosexuals as it was to homosexuals so that the homophoebic public would endorse higher spending to fight the disease. again, maybe noble but dishonest (and insultingly wrong). he's a politician. nothing more. he'll lie for the better good. the antithesis of what science is supposed to be.

The Elephant's Child said...

From what I have read, Fauci is the highest paid person in the federal government. Which may explain quite a bit.