In a startling interview with the New York Times, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the government’s coronavirus taskforce, admitted that he did not level with the American people about how many people would need to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity because he didn’t think the public was ready to hear his true thoughts, which he feared might discourage people from getting vaccinated.
The Times article catalogued Dr. Fauci’s changing position on how many Americans would need to be vaccinated, which he initially stated would be 60-70 percent. As noted by the Times, about a month ago, Fauci’s tune began to change and he suggested that the figure was actually 70-75 percent. Last week, in an interview with CNBC, he upped that figure (again) to “75 to 80-plus percent.” In the interview with the Times, he changed his estimate yet again and suggested that the figure actually may be “close to 90 percent.”
According to the Times, in the telephone interview, “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.”
In other words, Fauci’s advice to the American public on one of the most critical aspects of the coronavirus pandemic, has not consisted entirely of his honest opinion, formulated by the best science, but rather on what he thinks the country is ready to hear.
Dr. Fauci went on to even more expressly admit that he had fudged his public pronouncements in order to encourage people to take the vaccine. According to the Times, Dr. Fauci was ready to raise his estimates “weeks ago” but refused because “many Americans seemed hesitant about vaccines, which they would need to accept almost universally in order for the country to achieve herd immunity.”
Blithely continuing to explain how polling, rather than science, informed his public pronouncements, Fauci went on: “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 Iwent to 80, 85.“
Moreover, Fauci went on to explicitly state that his future pronouncements might still be based on his feeling of what the public thinks, not what the science says: “We need to have some humility here. We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I’m not going to say 90 percent.”
Why won’t he say 90 percent? According to the Times, the answer is that “Doing so might be discouraging to Americans, he said, because he is not sure there will be enough voluntary acceptance of vaccines to reach that goal,”in light of the fact that “sentiments about vaccines in polls have bounced up and down this year.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci is defending startling comments he made last week in which he admitted he was not completely honest about the number of Americans who needed to get the coronavirus vaccine before the American population can achieve so-called herd immunity.
Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
What’s the background?
Fauci admitted in an interview with the New York Times that he moved the goal posts on herd immunity percentages partly based on public polling data to covertly encourage more Americans to get vaccinated.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Fauci stated publicly that 60-70% of the American public would need to be inoculated with a vaccine to achieve herd immunity. But Fauci slightly increased his percentages as the pandemic raged on, suggesting in his interview with the Times that achieving herd immunity would require 90% of the American public to receive the vaccine.
The Times reported:
In a telephone interview the next day, 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.
“When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,” Fauci told the Times. “Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ʻI can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85.”
“We need to have some humility here,” he added. “We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I’m not going to say 90 percent.”
What did Fauci say on Sunday?
Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Fauci denied that he was not being straight with the American people.
“The reason I first started saying 70, 75, I brought it up to 85 — that’s not a big leap to go from 75 to 85 — it was really based on calculations and pure extrapolations from measles,” Fauci said. “Measles is about 98 percent effective vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is about 94, 95 percent.”
“When you get below 90 percent of the population vaccinated with measles, you start seeing a breakthrough against the herd immunity,” he continued. “So, I made a calculation that COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, is not as nearly as transmissible as measles. Measles is the most transmissible infection you can imagine. So, I would imagine that you would need something a little bit less than the 90 percent. That’s where I got to the 85.”
When show host Dana Bash confronted Fauci over his admission that public polling played into his public statements, he initially denied that — then admitted that polling did contribute “a bit.”
“I want to encourage the people of the United States and globally to get vaccinated, because, as many as we possibly get vaccinated, we will get closer to herd immunity. So, the bottom line is, it’s a guesstimate,” Fauci said.
In an interview last week with The New York Times, Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted something that many of us have suspected for some time: The media-anointed, all-knowing guru of COVID has been fudging the truth in order to encourage what he views as better behavior from the American people. Put simply, Fauci has been acting less like a public official and more like a parent keeping certain truths from his children.
This quote, which has been rightfully making the rounds, really tells the whole tale. Asked why he changed his mind about how much vaccination would result in herd immunity, Fauci said, “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. We need to have some humility here …. We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I’m not going to say 90 percent.”
This is a problem. Fauci is clearly admitting that he was not simply telling the American people what he believed to be true, he was instead trying to manipulate us into behaving how he wants. And it’s not the first time. Back in March, Fauci told Americans not to wear masks. He now claims he did so largely because he feared a shortage. So, once again, instead of just giving us the unvarnished scientific truth, as he understood it, he told us only what he thought it was good for us to know.
Sen. Marco Rubio was quick to point out how obvious it has become that Fauci has been operating more as a public relations flack than a scientist for some time now, tweeting:
Rubio is correct that it is not just Fauci who has failed to be straight with us. For months it was clear that in-school learning was not only safe, but hugely advantageous for children compared to remote learning. But teachers unions, politicians on the left, and the media refused to acknowledge it. They refused to listen to science because it wasn’t about science, it was about power.
It was also about power when social media giants like Twitter and Facebook censored posts that contained accurate scientific information that questioned the efficacy of lockdowns. This happened when Dr. Scott Atlas was banned from Twitter literally for posting scientific studies. Twitter thought that we were not prepared for that information, that it might make us less vigilant, or something. Meanwhile, the very big tech sector that is silencing lockdown doubt is also the lockdown’s biggest financial beneficiary.
The bottom line is that we are not being told the truth by our public officials or the media; they are trying to manipulate us, not inform us. How a society chooses to deal with and respond to a pandemic that lasts months on end is inherently a political choice. It is not a matter for experts to simply decide and then lie about the science to compel adherence to their plan.
Enough is enough. The American people are not children to be guided with half-truths to the decisions that their betters deem best for them.
If you have the sense that you are not getting the whole story, and that you have not been getting the whole story for some time now, it is because you aren’t. It was only under pressure from Republican elected officials that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the contact tracing data that showed restaurants only caused 1.4 percent of the virus spread in his state. Even so, he closed the restaurants anyway, because this isn’t about science, it’s about power.
It needs to be made completely clear to Fauci and every one of our public officials that the American people expect to be told the accurate truth, not whatever unelected officials think is best for us to know. With more officials moving the goalposts to suggest that even after the vaccinations we might not get back to normal, we need the real science, right now.
We need, not what Fauci thinks is best for us, not what Joe Biden thinks is best for us, not what Andrew Cuomo thinks is best for us, just the truth. Then, and only then, can we decide how to proceed.