Ever since getting a big spotlight in the public eye, the National Institutes of Health's Dr. Anthony Fauci, billed by a fawning press as America's foremost expert on infectious diseases, has revealed himself a slippery chameleon or magician of sorts, constantly changing his recommendations and positions on public health in a bid to extend the coronavirus crisis as far out as possible.
He's pretty well burned up all of his credibility with the public as a result, as New York Post columnist and Instapundit-himself Glenn Reynolds notes here, but he doesn't seem to know it. He continues his role as snake-charmer, or snake-oil salesman, assuming a fawning media will continue to carry him through.
He got called out. By probably the sharpest guy in the Senate, (and my favorite), Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who questioned his ever more elaborate mask mandate recommendations. According to the New York Post:
"You've been vaccinated and you parade around in two masks for show," Paul told Fauci. "You can't get it again there's almost zero percent chance you're going to get it."
"And you're telling people that have had the vaccine who have immunity — you're defying everything we know about immunity by telling people to wear masks who have been vaccinated," he continued.
"You want to get rid of vaccine hesitancy? Tell people to quit wearing their masks after they get the vaccine," Paul added.
In response, Fauci quipped, "Here we go again with the theater."
"Let me just state for the record that masks are not theater, masks are protective," Fauci said.
Paul snapped back: "If you have immunity they're theater. If you already have immunity you're wearing a mask to give comfort to others."
"I totally disagree with you," Fauci responded.
What Fauci revealed in that exchange is that he has a stake in continuing the coronavirus lockdowns and maskings forever. That's his source of power and influence and he's not ready to leave the spotlight or go back to his former obscurity. Fauci essentially told Paul that the vaccine is a nothingburger, COVID-19 will never end (despite the evidence seen in Texas and Florida) and masks are to be a way of life.
Paul, who has actually had COVID-19, has no reason to wear a mask, he after all has immunity even without the vaccine. No matter how many COVID patients cough all over him, he can't spread the disease to anyone.
Yet Fauci persists in his call to wear masks, presumably based on that rare case that might but isn't certain t happen where someone who has the vaccine still catches COVID. Paul rightly calls it a lot of theater. He's ready to move on.
What Fauci seems to be advocating for is masks as a convenience device for the authorities, or maybe retail workers being regulated by authorities, to ensure that people who should be wearing masks are wearing masks. It's a marker. It's an instrument for state control, not an actual COVID prevention device.
But it's also bad policy, essentially creating no way out from the COVID crisis. If people are never free to make their own common-sense choices, based on their vaccinations and past exposure to COVID, then they never will be. The entire country could be vaccinated, and have its vaccine passports in hand, and Fauci would demand that the entire country continue to wear masks, based on tiny exceptions embedded in irregular outcomes within the vaccine. He won't bend for anything, and he sure as heck won't let this crisis end.
It's about par for Fauci, who on the mask issue, has called it wrong every time. Reynolds notes that Fauci, last March 2020, advised the public not to wear masks and to feel free to go on cruisees, later claiming that he wanted the mask supply to be reserved for medical personnel. There's also this string of idiocies. Reynolds writes:
Fauci also told us last April that it would be at least a year to 18 months before we saw a vaccine, when in fact one was deployed as early as November of the same year. When asked about herd immunity, Fauci moved the goalposts, when experts were saying that the threshold for herd immunity was 60 percent of the population being vaccinated or immune. Then he revised the number up to 70, 75 and eventually 85.
Why? As Fauci admitted, he was manipulating us: "When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent. . . . Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, 'I can nudge this up a bit,' so I went to 80, 85."
People noticed, partly because he was bragging to a New York Times reporter when he said that.
Likewise, lockdowns were widely prescribed, and continue to be, even though the World Health Organization admits they don't work. (A recent paper in Nature came to the same conclusion.) Where's the science?
All of those flip flops and slippery snake maneuvers are those of a political manipulator, not a practicing doctor with authentic concern for public health.
Paul is trying to move the country on from this COVID crisis, based on science, including science a baby can understand, such as the knowledge about how post-disease immunity works.
Fauci is responding by doubling down on the mask mandates, now calling for double-masks, even for people who have had COVID or had the vaccine and aren't going to catch it either once or again, citing "variants." Even that's questionable science because in every pandemic, real experts say such variants tend to come out as weaker faded Xerox copies of the original, until the whole pandemic burns out.
Fauci is clinging hard to variants as his latest slippery excuse to call for coronavirus lockdowns forever and wants us to be forever terrified of variants now, since they extend the vaccine and social distancing mandates, which by the way, he hasn't bothered to follow himself.
He ought to be terrified of common-sense voices like that of Rand Paul, which show some seriousness about responding to science and ending the pandemic. But he doesn't. He just goes on looking for as many excuses as he can to continue the masks, lockdowns, and public spotlight on himself. Paul exposed him for it, and deserves thanks.