“If he wants to lead the nation, he should run for office.”
That sounds like Nancy Pelosi discussing the prospects of a Gavin Newsom presidency, but it’s really Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) calling out Dr. Anthony Fauci in a December 30 Fox News opinion piece.
For most of 2020, Fauci had been telling Americans that to reach herd immunity and make the coronavirus a non-issue, about 60 to 70 percent of the nation would need a vaccine. Then in a December 24 interview with the New York Times, Fauci said he had been looking at “polls” showing that only half of all Americans would take a vaccine.
Fauci thought “I can nudge this up a bit,” and boosted the number to 80-85 percent for herd immunity. So by “the beginning of the fall of 2021, we can start to approach some degree of normality.” If embattled Americans thought Fauci really had 2022 in mind it would be hard to blame them.
Rubio granted Fauci’s good intentions but “let’s be clear about what he was doing: lying to the American people in order to manipulate their behavior.” That was a long overdue spanking but Rubio was not the first to give Fauci the smackdown he deserves.
“This man thinks you can take a blood sample and stick it in an electron microscope and if it’s got a virus in there, you will know it. He doesn’t understand electron microscopy and he doesn’t understand medicine. He should not be in a position like he’s in.” As Sir Bedivere (Terry Jones) might say, “who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?”
That would be the late Kary Mullis, who earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from UC Berkeley and won a Nobel Prize in 1993 for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction, a discovery “of major importance in both medical research and forensic science.” Besides the Nobel Prize, Mullis received the 1992 Koch Award for excellence in biomedical science, and the 1993 Japan Prize for the advancement of science and technology. The Palau Islands even honored Mullis with a stamp.
Anthony Fauci is a medical doctor whose bio shows no advanced degrees in molecular biology or biochemistry, so strictly speaking Fauci is not a virologist. Even so, the 80-year-old has held forth at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, as Rubio observed, without once having to face the voters.
According to Mullis, who died in 2019, the bureaucratic types have a “personal kind of agenda. They make up their own rules as they go. They change them when they want to.” That squares with Fauci’s changes on herd immunity, masks, school openings and such, but as Mullis explained, there’s more to it. “Tony Fauci does not mind going on television in front of the people, face out, and lie directly into the camera,” the Nobel laureate said.
As Rubio has it, Fauci was “lying to the American people,” and his coronavirus task force partner Deborah Birx also has a problem on that front.
Birx recently violated her own guidelines with a post-Thanksgiving trip to a vacation home with family from two households. For virologist Angela Rasmussen of the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security, this “disqualifies” Birx “from any future government health position.”
“I’ve been reluctant to criticize Dr. Deborah Birx,” Rasmussen tweeted, “because she’s the only woman in an overwhelmingly male coronavirus task force, and she has a long history of doing critical work to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic.” Even so, “That ends today, she lied to the American public.”
Highly qualified scientists—Rasmussen earned a Ph.D. in microbiology from Columbia University—have now branded Birx and Fauci as liars. For Marco Rubio, that’s a problem.
“Passing the buck to unelected technocrats avoids accountability and means falling back on two fallacies,” Rubio wrote. “First, that science gives us a straightforward playbook for answering questions facing decision-makers; and, second, that those technocrats are the only legitimate interpreters of the facts.”
So if Fauci won’t run for office, “he should give us an honest and transparent reading of the science, not polling data, and let the rest of us—policymakers and the American people who have elected them—do our jobs.”
Fauci may check the latest polls and “nudge” normality all the way into 2022 or beyond. For their part, embattled Americans might check out the December 17, “How to End Lockdowns Next Month,” by Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford, and Oxford epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta.
They cite the Great Barrington Declaration, which they co-authored with Martin Kulldorff of Harvard Medical School. The key idea is focused protection of people who face a high risk of mortality should they become infected.
“COVID-19 is especially deadly for the old and others with chronic conditions,” Bhattacharya and Gupta explain, “but the lockdowns are deadly as well.”