My first memory of the term “flip flop” came from a 2004 JibJab video. For those old enough to recall, JibJab released a cartoon sung by presidential candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry. In one of the verses, Cutout Bush accuses Cutout Kerry of a common dig used against the latter. Namely, that he put his finger to the political winds. According to Wikipedia, my memory is justified; the term was “used extensively” in that 2004 race whereas it was used sporadically in previous political writings.
Fast forward to 2020, and the notion of flip flopping has gone “nucular” (you’ll have to watch the video to get that reference). Anthony Fauci, who deserves to lose his medical license and the title it commands over his serial mendacity or incompetence (it’s one or both, with no third option), has taken the political art to a different dimension. Simply put, if there is a stance to take on coronavirus measures, he’s taken it.
As the title suggests, there is simply too much that has happened to condense it into a single column. Come back for Part 2, which will cover large congregations, school openings, vaccination, herd immunity, and reprehensible references to Santa Claus (so that kids can be brainwashed, too!).
Begrudgingly, let’s begin.
In January of 2020, which seems like a lifetime ago, Donald Trump initiated a travel ban against the country of origin for coronavirus. This came just two weeks after the first publicly documented case, and despite the World Health Organization’s reassurance that shutting down travel and trade was unnecessary. Trump later said that he enacted the ban against the advice of Fauci.
In February, Fauci didn’t seem to think that increasing the ban from just China to include the European continent made much sense. He intimated that given the worldwide flow of goods and people, a larger ban just didn’t make sense. In his words, stopping COVID would be “impossible,” so why do it? Notwithstanding that nugget of advice, when President Trump did shut it down a few weeks later, Fauci observed that it was the right and prudent choice to make.
Americans will more recently recall that this same person instructed them to cancel Thanksgiving. Although American Airlines produced evidence that passengers who are masked and seated during a flight have a ZERO percent chance of transmitting or contracting the virus, Fauci nonetheless asked Americans to stop travel not only by air, but by any means, as he suggested limiting the number of guests altogether.
On March 9th, Fauci infamously delivered, in a quite matter-of-fact manner, this following message:
“Right now, in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks,” Fauci said during the interview. “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.”
It is unequivocally straightforward: Americans didn’t need to be and shouldn’t be wearing masks. What is more, in the larger context of the interview, even the host offered him a chance to walk back the statement or even qualify it by mentioning that “you’re sure of this, because people are listening really closely to this.” Fauci was resolute and declined to take anything back.
By July, an equally infamous backtrack came from a Washington Post interview. In it, Fauci said this about masks:
“Back then, the critical issue was to save the masks for the people who really needed them because it was felt that there was a shortage of masks. What happened as the weeks and months came by, two things became clear: one, that there wasn’t a shortage of masks, we had plenty of masks and coverings that you could put on that’s plain cloth…so that took care of that problem,” Fauci said. “Secondly, we fully realized that there are a lot of people who are asymptomatic who are spreading infection. So it became clear that we absolutely should be wearing masks consistently.”
This flip flop is the main focal point of contention for anti-Fauci sentiment. It is the most blatant and clearcut example of him doing a complete policy reversal, all of which transpired in less than four months. How much new science could they possibly have gathered, especially new evidence that ran counter to fifty years of research stating the opposite? There are only two explanations, both of which reflect extremely poorly on the man. The first is that he simply lied to the public in March. Of course, that assumes masks work. Mounting evidence suggests they do not, which means he was then brazenly lying in the July interview. This is worse, because the only reason for lying by then was purely for more government control. Either way, he lied one of the times.
Curiously, this statement – which I hadn’t seen since the day it was published – includes a comment on asymptomatic transmission. It is worth nothing that Fauci gave this statement in July. A full month prior, the WHO had come out with a report in which they stated “asymptomatic spread is unlikely to be a major driver of clusters or community transmission of infection.” Wouldn’t he have known about this, too? And, since he was giving the interview a full month later, it stands to reason that more evidence would continue coming in regarding the dearth of asymptomatic transmission. Now, with the alleged report of a full 10,000,000 Wuhanese showing no evidence of any asymptomatic transmission, this quote reads like a flagrant abuse of American trust. As we learn more about the virus, particularly how it doesn’t spread willy-nilly, this statement is pure putrescence.
Of course, the icing on the cake is a quote from September 9th, when Fauci declared:
“In all the history of respiratory-borne viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks. The driver of outbreaks is always a symptomatic person.”
Surely he knew this the entire time, right?
On March 25th, Anthony Fauci appeared on a Philadelphia radio program in which the discussion covered, among other things, the prescription of hydroxychloroquine. Between the television and radio appearances, one wonders if the man had any time to read scientific studies between prepping for his shining spotlight.
In the interview, the head of the NIAID was asked if he, as a practicing doctor and in conversation with a patient that would want to try the drug, would prescribe it. Fauci’s reply came as this:
“Yeah, of course, particularly if people have no other option. You want to give them hope. In fact, for physicians in this country, these drugs are approved drugs for other reasons. They’re anti-malaria drugs and they’re drugs against certain autoimmune diseases, like lupus. Physicians throughout the country can prescribe that in an off-label way. Which means they can write it for something it was not originally approved for. People do that all the time, and it really is an individual choice between the physician and his or her patient as to whether or not they want to do that.”
A few months later, Fauci had morphed into an anti-hydroxy crusader, railing against peer doctors who had the temerity to continue pushing for the use of the cheap, generic, and readily available treatment. Dr. Harvey Risch was among the more prominent voices at the time, and he found himself bullied and belittled for offering a course of treatment that was found to be effective in early stages of treatment for low-risk patients.
Dr. Risch notes that the FDA and Fauci alike attacked his character and competence as a doctor. This, as opposed to seeking validity in the claims or disproving them clinically. Perhaps the most obvious observation made by Dr. Risch toward the end of his op-ed (see: link above). The passage is worth reading in its entirety:
“I can only speculate about the cause of the FDA’s recalcitrance. Hydroxychloroquine is an inexpensive, generic medication. Unlike certain profit-generating, patented medications, which have been promiscuously touted on the slimmest of evidence, hydroxychloroquine has no natural financial constituency. No one will get rich from it.
Further, it seems quite possible that the FDA, a third of whose funding comes from drug companies, is under intense pressure from those companies to be extremely conservative in its handling of hydroxychloroquine. If hydroxychloroquine is used widely and comes to be recognized as highly effective, the markets for expensive and patented COVID-19 medications, including intravenous drugs that can only be used in the hospital, will shrink substantially.”
Stay tuned for Part 2.