Anthony Fauci May Not Have 'Lied' About Face Masks, but He Was Not Exactly Honest Either

The COVID-19 adviser's unsatisfying explanation of his conversion feeds skepticism about the value of a sensible precaution.


Face mask skeptics are presenting a February 2020 email from Anthony Fauci, the federal government's leading COVID-19 adviser, as evidence that he "lied" about the effectiveness of masks in preventing infection by the coronavirus. Fact-checkers, in turn, are accusing those skeptics of falsely portraying Fauci's shifting advice on this subject as disingenuous. The truth lies somewhere in between: While both Fauci's initial doubts about the value of face masks and his subsequent strong endorsement of them seem to have been sincere, his explanation of the shift was misleading.

USA Today says the claim that Fauci was dishonest "lacks context." But that context shows Fauci changed his position on face masks without offering a satisfying reason. It is not surprising that his shiftiness on this point has reinforced the suspicions of people who always thought "face diapers" were a silly exercise in virtue signaling and social control.

To be clear: I am not one of those people. But in their eagerness to defend Fauci, mainstream journalists are whitewashing his implausible explanation for changing his mind about a precaution he once dismissed as little more than a placebo for COVID-19 anxiety.

In a February 5, 2020, email exchange that The Daily Beast recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell asked Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whether he thought she should take a face mask with her to the airport during an upcoming trip. Fauci's reply:

Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection. The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you. I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very low risk location.

That advice is consistent with what Fauci was saying publicly in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. "There's no reason to be walking around with a mask," he said during a March 8, 2020, interview with 60 Minutes. "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. And often, there are unintended consequences. People keep fiddling with the mask, and they keep touching their face…When you think 'masks,' you should think of health care providers needing them."

Fauci's position also was consistent with early advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which until April 2020 said only sick people and those caring for them needed to wear masks. It added that "facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers."

The CDC, like Fauci and then–Surgeon General Jerome Adams, conflated two distinct issues: 1) whether general use of face masks was an effective way to curtail COVID-19 transmission and 2) whether the limited supply of surgical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for health care workers. Adams illustrated that conflation in a tweet he posted a few weeks after Fauci's exchange with Burwell: "Seriously people—STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing [the] general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can't get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!"

As critics noted at the time, the implication that face masks protect health care workers from COVID-19 but somehow don't protect the general public was scientifically implausible. If there was enough evidence to think that wearing masks was a sensible safeguard for people who were in close contact with COVID-19 patients, there was enough evidence to think it was a sensible safeguard for people who might unwittingly come into close contact with coronavirus carriers. And if it made sense for COVID-19 patients to protect others by wearing masks, it was logical to think that people who might be infected by the virus without realizing it—pretty much anyone, in the absence of readily available COVID-19 tests—should wear masks too.

When the CDC began recommending general mask wearing in public places on April 3, 2020, in fact, it emphasized the risk of asymptomatic transmission. But this was not a newly discovered risk. It had been known for months that the mean COVID-19 incubation period was five or six days, and there had been several reports indicating that a substantial share of people infected by the virus never develop symptoms, meaning that carriers who did not feel sick could still spread the virus.

If face masks were useless in reducing the risk of virus transmission, of course, none of that really mattered. The evidence on that point was limited and mixed in early 2020. But laboratory studies had confirmed the commonsensical assumption that face masks block at least some respiratory droplets, as Fauci conceded on 60 Minutes and in his email to Burwell, although they clearly do not provide "perfect protection," as Fauci also noted.

An experiment described in the Journal of Hospital Infection exposed a "dummy test head" fitted with various kinds of surgical masks to live influenza virus. "The data indicate that a surgical mask will reduce exposure to aerosolised infectious influenza virus," the researchers reported in 2013. "Reductions ranged from 1.1- to 55-fold (average 6-fold), depending on the design of the mask."

Even homemade masks offer some protection, a study published the same year found. Surgical masks and homemade masks both "significantly reduced the number of microorganisms expelled by volunteers, although the surgical mask was 3 times more effective in blocking transmission than the homemade mask," the researchers reported in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. "Our findings suggest that a homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals, but it would be better than no protection."

In late June 2020, about three months after the CDC started recommending general mask wearing, six COVID-19 researchers published a systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence supporting that practice in The Lancet. "Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection," they reported, although they expressed "low certainty" in that conclusion. They noted that "N95 or similar respirators" were more strongly associated with risk reduction than cloth masks. The evidence was limited to observational studies, since the authors found "no randomised controlled trials." But overall, they concluded, the data "suggest that wearing face masks protects people (both health-care workers and the general public) against infection."

Around the same time, a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at COVID-19 trends in New York City, Italy, and Wuhan, China, from January 23 to May 9, 2020. The researchers concluded that "wearing of face masks in public" is "the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission."

As of May 22, 2020, a June 2020 Health Affairs study estimated, "more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases were averted" thanks to face mask mandates in the United States. A November 2020 study in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report similarly concluded that "countywide mask mandates appear to have contributed to the mitigation of COVID-19 transmission." In a preprint study last month, by contrast, University of Louisville biologist Damian Guerra and biochemist Daniel Guerra found that "case growth was not significantly different between mandate and non-mandate states at low or high transmission rates," while mask use (based on survey data) "predicted lower case growth at low, but not high transmission rates."

A randomized, controlled trial reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine last March found little evidence to support the belief that face masks protect people who wear them from infection by others. In the study, which was conducted in Denmark and originally reported online last fall, there was no statistically significant difference in positive COVID-19 antibody results between the group that was advised to wear masks in public and the group that was not. According to an editorial accompanying the study, "The evidence excludes a large personal protective effect, weakly supports lesser degrees of protection, and cannot statistically exclude no effect." The study did not address the effectiveness of masks worn by carriers in protecting other people, and the editorial emphasized that the study "does not disprove the effectiveness of widespread mask wearing."

Overall, the evidence that wearing face masks helps reduce coronavirus transmission is stronger now than it was at the beginning of the pandemic. But evolving science on the effectiveness of face masks does not explain why the CDC and Fauci changed their minds in early April 2020, and neither does the risk of asymptomatic transmission, which was recognized months before.

When the CDC began recommending general mask wearing, so did Fauci. "If everybody does that, we're each protecting each other," he told PBS that day. "There should be universal wearing of masks," he told ABC News in August. "If you look at the scientific data, the masks clearly work," he told CNN the following month.

In a July 2020 interview with The Washington Post, Fauci explained his conversion this way: "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. Also, we didn't realize at all the extent of asymptomatic spread."

But "as the weeks and months [went] by," Fauci said, federal health officials realized "there wasn't a shortage of masks," especially given the availability of "plain cloth covering[s]." At the same time, "we fully realized that there were a lot of people who were asymptomatic who were spreading infection." Both of those explanations are suspect.

While Fauci had previously mentioned that health care workers needed masks, he had also counterintuitively suggested that masks did not work. He especially dismissed the value of "the typical mask you buy in the drug store," which implied that DIY "cloth covering[s]" were even less useful. And while Fauci told the Post "we didn't realize at all the extent of asymptomatic spread," there was plenty of reason to worry about asymptomatic transmission well before he and the CDC changed their advice.

January 30, 2020, letter to The New England Journal of Medicine, based on several cases in Germany, warned that "asymptomatic persons are potential sources of [COVID-19] infection." A February 13 letter to the International Journal of Infectious Diseases estimated that 31 percent of people infected by the COVID-19 virus did not have symptoms. A research letter published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on February 21 described an asymptomatic carrier from Wuhan who seemed to have infected four other people. A February 26 Global Biosecurity report noted that "asymptomatic transmission has been documented" and "the viral load in symptomatic and asymptomatic people is not significantly different."

Even without asymptomatic cases, it was clear that presymptomatic transmission was a problem, given an incubation period that was estimated to be as long as two weeks. So that explanation does not hold water either.

Politifact labels the claim that Fauci "lied" when he changed his advice as "false." But it seems fair to say he was less than completely candid about the reasons for his initial position and the reasons for abandoning it.

[This post has been updated with information about the Danish mask study.]

NEXT: There Still Aren’t Enough People Getting Back to Work

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    1. No kidding.
      You’d think Sullum would be tired from carrying all that water for so long.

      1. I’m guessing the extra money from the brown envelopes afforded him a donkey to carry it.

        1. Two donkeys at least. He was a very busy boy last November.

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          2. ENB’s like ‘Jacob, it’s not that I have a problem with it, but why do I always have to wear this harness and saddlebag ? And honestly are the spurs really necessary ?’

    2. Regardless, they should never be mandated. Based on how I saw them used in real life, they spread more germs than they stopped. People laying their masks down on restaurant tables and bar counters where countless masks laid before. Then taking them off and putting them back on to go to the bathroom. You couldn't devise a better way to spread germs. Completely idiotic.

    3. Fauci's original statement was not a lie at all but his correct assessment as to the effectiveness of masks wrt transmission of ILI's. He knew they were largely ineffective.

      The lie is pretending it was a lie.

    4. Well, pay people to sit on their asses and do nothing for the factually false "danger" of not wearing a 5 cent mask will come back to bite the morons(s) who put the mask mandate out.

    5. A disturbing trend has persisted as states report data on illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19; Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color {BIPOC} more detail ............MORE DETAIL.

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  1. As critics noted at the time, the implication that face masks protect health care workers from COVID-19 but somehow don't protect the general public was scientifically implausible.

    Surgeons don't wear their masks to the grocery store then back to the OK. Inside a hospital and outside a hospital are two different things.

    Surgeons also don't wear homemade masks made out of tshirts.

    1. Respirators might protect health care workers. Masks probably don't. Surgeons don't wear masks to protect themselves.

      1. You sure about that? One reason ER surgeons wear masks is to protect themselves from blood and other fluids spurting from a patient whose wounds may only be inches from the face of the examining surgeon.

        1. It’s really both. When you are dealing with sick/injured people, you don’t want anything coming out of your mouth entering a wound, or anything coming out of a wound entering your mouth, and if you’re treating them your mouth is going to be nearby. Because it’s close to your eyes.

        2. The mask is PRIMARILY to protect the patient. The face shield and/or goggle (when worn) is more to protect the surgeon. If the mask provides ANY protection for the surgeon, that protection is mostly secondary and for extreme circumstances. So yes, if your covid carrier is spraying blood around the room, the mask MIGHT provide you some protection.

        3. It's to protect surgeons from blood spatter.

          They did studies in the 80s. Use of masks don't reduce likelihood of infection following surgery. So they aren't doing a thing for the patient.

          1. No it's not. As Diane said, goggles, gloves, aprons, and face shields are to protect from spray and bodily fluids.

            Surgical masks are to keep spit and saliva droplets from the surgeons mouth from entering the patients wounds/incisions. Mostly to prevent bacterial infections, not viral.

    2. Healthcare works wear N95 masks or better. They have been trained on how to properly fit the mask to their face. And, as noted, they don't wear masks outside of high risk areas.

      This entire "wear a mask" fiasco is nothing more than pandering to hysterical Karens and Tonys to make them "feel" safe. Part of Science my ass.

      1. Oh, there's science.
        Bernays style of science.

  2. Politifact labels the claim that Fauci "lied" when he changed his advice as "false." But it seems fair to say he was less than completely candid about the reasons for his initial position and the reasons for abandoning it.

    Suck that cock, Sullum. Suck it hard.

    1. Wonder if he'd cut a Republican (other than the likes of a Romney) that much slack.

      1. No chance.

        1. Disaffected, no-count, anti-social right-wing clingers are among my favorite culture war casualties.

          1. Just because it's legal for you to suck cocks doesn't mean you need to prove it 50 times a day, hicklib.

  3. Fuck you liar.

  4. Even Fauci has said that he lied about the masks. The only question is what exactly was the lie.

  5. If it requires this much explanation for how someone was honest, then they weren't honest.

    1. He only lied to protect us. Ain't he grand?

      Fuck off, Reason.

      1. Fauci lied to manipulate us into doing what he wanted. So how are you going to know when he is telling the truth to manipulate us, or when he is lying to manipulate us?

        And then there's the other factor: His entire career from the early AIDS epidemic on looks a whole lot like failing upwards. Even when he is telling the truth as he sees it, there's a pretty good chance he's wrong.

    2. Trump lies about everything! EVERYTHING!!! But even when Progressives are caught in a lie and MSM lines up to defend them. Yeah, no bias in our media.

    3. "From a certain point of view"

  6. Hey fucktard, you gonna discuss gain of function research or the source of the virus?


    I wonder how much under the table money Sullum and/or Reason gets from China.

    1. Judging from the hemorrhage of subscribers, China and rich Uncle Charles are now paying most of the bills.

      1. Literally no one has paid more than 1% of the Reason Foundation's operating budget since the Kochs skinsuited it 40 years ago. Take a look at their financial disclosures. The only donors are the Kochs, a political fund set up by the Kochs, and a political fund set up by several different politically active billionaires to hide their donations and that is a well-known vehicle for other Koch donations. Even most of their "donors" during the bi-annual beg-a-thon are shills.

  7. This report and all the others on this topic ignore that in the early stages of the pandemic it was thought that surface contact was a major transmission vector of covid. It only later became well known that covid was almost exclusively transmitted by respiration.

    1. It was never thought that for any reason beyond epidemiologists being scared shitless of an aerosol virus.

    2. You mean in the very beginning when Fauci said don’t wear masks?

    3. "" It only later became well known that covid was almost exclusively transmitted by respiration.""

      Care to cite that?

      If that is true then surgical masks would be almost useless for that.

    4. Hahaha, if you are looking for nuance, you've come to the wrong place. The fucktards here don't understand how science works and that sometimes scientists don't have all the answers and make an educated guess based on what is known at the time, and update that answer later with new information. In fact, that is one of the major differences between partisan ideologues and scientists - scientists update their priors, partisans don't.

      1. I was told the science is settled.

        1. Don't forget scientific "consensus".

      2. Then why isn't fauci talking about natural immunity combined with vaccinated immunity? And why did the cdc try change the definition of herd immunity to only vaccine induced immunity, until they were called out by several prominent medical writers?

      3. LOL, all of last year we were told "listen to The Science!" like it was a bunch of holy writ orders from on high. Now you want to make the claim, which most of "the fucktards here" were pointing out during that period, that science isn't, in fact, infallible?

        Go jump in front of a speeding semi-truck, you disingenuous boot-licking sack of monkey shit.

      4. You know all about being a partisan, eh Chipper?

        1. Chipper Morning Wood--------------------------------------------------------------------------
          May.26.2021 at 6:29 pm
          Flag Comment Mute User
          Libertarians have more in common with Marxism than with modern conservatism.

      5. How is it that our Top Men in government "science" didn't know things at the beginning of this pandemic that had been established in epidemiology, virology and public health since the late 1800s? Like the century of studies since the Spanish Flu demonstrating the ineffectiveness of cotton or paper masks at containing viral particles 100-1000 times smaller than the pores in the material? Maybe instead of wandering around with your head up your ass and hoping the guy in front of you might know which way to go you could actually use your brain and apply established bedrock principles of medical science in the same way they've been applied for 2 centuries? And by "you" I don't mean you of course. You're barely qualified to follow around the pied piper with your head stuck up your ass.

        1. Simple answer-because public health stopped being science-based about 50 years ago when leftists took it over who were more concerned about warm fuzzy things like inequality than viruses. At that time, many of them believed that infectious diseases had been conquered by vaccines and antibiotics, so it was more important to start harassing people into quitting smoking, not eating meat or sugar, etc than worry about the next pandemic.

  8. No, he lied. Stop journolisting if your interest in the truth has died.

    1. Died and disposed of, South Philly style.

  9. Fauci doesn't know which of his lies is the truth.

    Sullum is rapidly becoming the new Shikha.

    1. lol I was thinking Binion was the new Shikha just yesterday. it's a Shikha-off

      1. In the future everyone will be Shikha for 15 minutes.

        1. NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Who the holy fucking crap cares what left wing politifact thinks about anything. They managed to fuck up the fact checking on wuhan china virus and claimed it was impossible it was manmade.

    Fuck them to hell.

    1. And their bullshit fact check was Twitters justification for censoring actual virologists.

      1. pRIVaTE CoMPanIEs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        fOlLOw tHe sCIenCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. I hear Kellogg's was going to replace Corn Flakes with Fauci Flakes, but they were concerned with the cost of changing the nutritional information every 3 days.

  12. "When the CDC began recommending general mask wearing in public places on April 3, 2020, in fact, it emphasized the risk of asymptomatic transmission. But this was not a newly discovered risk. It had been known for months that the mean COVID-19 incubation period was five or six days, and there had been several reports indicating that a substantial share of people infected by the virus never develop symptoms, meaning that carriers who did not feel sick could still spread the virus."

    There is no scientific evidence that asymptomatic transmission is/was occurring. The entire idea is non-sense. If a person isn't sick and isn't coughing, how exactly does a mask help? Their exhaled breath is entering the space around the mask, the same as if they didn't have a mask on.

    And, there is no scientific evidence that an asymptomatic person can breath on others and get them sick.

    The more you really think about this, you don't have to have a PH.D to understand. It's pretty basic. But when you're scared shitless, you'll believe anything that makes you feel safe. IE.. Tony, Karens, etc.

    1. They were talking about pre-symptomatic cases, at the time. The media and then later the public health nazi's decided to conflate it with asymptomatic cases.

    2. If someone _is_ coughing or sneezing, non-rigid masks are still not very useful in containing it - wide gaps open up around the edges to let out the burst of expelled air. IF the straps hold or the wearer gets a hand up to hold the mask, large droplets flying straight out will be caught by the mask, but particles small enough to follow the airflow will mostly escape.

  13. Don’t stick up for fauci. He caused this entire debacle. He is solely to blame for all of it. A true monster.

    1. He's not solely responsible.
      Certainly responsibile, and deserves his head on a pike (literally, not figuratively), but he's an errand boy.

      1. Sent by grocery clerks. To collect a bill.

        1. Never get out of the house. Unless you were going to go all the way...

          Or, "Soldier, who's in charge here?"
          "Ain't you?"

  14. We shouldn't let experts make our choices for us or let the government inflict them on us. That was true before Fauci was exposed, and it's true now.

    1. This is what a libertarian publication’s stance would have been 18 months ago.

        1. 18 works.

          1. 17, and that’s my final offer.

  15. No, he 100% lied. Remember, he TOLD us that he knew masks always worked but wanted to save them for medical personnel.

    Here we see that he knows that they don't always work. So one way or another, he's lying. Which is understandable because he is the one responsible for funding risky research in a shoddy Chinese lab, whether or not that actually led to all this shitshow.

    1. Accidental leak, deliberate leak, bio-weapon; what is unquestioned is that once the Communist Chinese knew they had unleashed the virus, they locked down internal travel, but sent thousands abroad to carry the infections worldwide.
      There is no explanation other than they deliberately spread the misery to damage other economies at a level similar to theirs.

      So boycott every possible Communist Chinese product. I know there are some things not made anywhere else, but do try. No one needs to support the NBA, or Disney, or Apple, or Hollywood.

      1. What I say since 1 year.

    2. I knew this little bitch was a liar last April when he announced that masks were useless (regardless of whether that was objectively true). I rightly concluded that he was trying to prevent hoarding by private individuals so hospitals could hoard them instead. However, he’s lied so many times since then, I can’t figure out what he genuinely believed at any given point in time.

  16. First off, he lied. Period.
    (He even said so himself)

    Second, the CDC has not changed its recommendations on masking for every other virus in the world. It is, and has been, this:
    "Unvaccinated Asymptomatic Persons, Including Those at High Risk for Influenza Complications:
    No recommendation can be made at this time for mask use in the community by asymptomatic persons, including those at high risk for complications, to prevent exposure to influenza viruses"

    So the missing context is that the fascists took advantage of this one virus to enact and enforce a level of control over individual behavior they were only dreaming of. What became obvious is that the takeover has been lurking for decades, shown by the number of non-elected functionaries at multiple levels of the government jumping in with edict after edict to assume almost complete control of the economy. They learned with Obamacare that control of the economy is control of the individual.

    Aux barricades!

  17. In May 1983, amid the rapidly escalating AIDS crisis, a doctor at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) promoted a stunning theory about the newly encountered disease in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Noting that the same issue of the journal contained an article documenting one of the first cases of the immunodeficiency disease’s appearance in an infant, the author sounded an alarm about “the possibility that routine close contact, as within a family household, can spread the disease.”

    The article took an increasingly speculative turn in promoting this new theory. “If indeed the latter is true, then AIDS takes on an entirely new dimension,” it continued. “If we add to this possibility that nonsexual, non-blood-borne transmission is possible, the scope of the syndrome may be enormous.” Although the article reiterated the need to “be cautious” in accepting these findings as they awaited more evidence, the discovery “should at least alert us to the possibility that we are truly dealing with AIDS in children,” as transmitted through routine interaction.

    The author of the article has since attained widespread familiarity. It was Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a rising star within the NIH bureaucracy.

    1. Let's put this guy in charge of MORE shit.

      1. From your lips to some bureaucratic toady's ears.

      2. In the long run, it might have been a good thing he was if the credibility of Government officials is further reduced in the eyes of enough people. (Perhaps a little too optimistic)

        1. (Perhaps a little too optimistic)

          Unfortunately neither perhaps or too little.

    2. And notice that the left gave that particular virus civil rights. You couldn't even talk about quarantine for infected individuals, but they were happy as clams to quarantine the healthy for the Communists.

  18. Sullum, if you're referencing Politifact for facts, you're doing it wrong.

  19. The fact that Sullum is hedging over the obvious deceit of Fauci's statements isn't the annoying part.

    It's that he's subliminally suggesting that there might have been some hope that one could benefit from listening at all.

    At this point, why would anyone listen to anything that any government hack has to say? What part of the government message from the February of last year has been any better than confusing, and often complete and utter bullshit?

    Why would you ever disobey George Carlin's First Rule?

  20. The rational people learned how not to trust government and how their minions spread lies. The rest of the humans cowered and sweated and tweeted stuff.

    If you wore a mask and stayed away from your friends and family, you are the problem.

  21. Jesus Christ. Guess Jacob will be going up my ass, too.

  22. Fauci, along with Andrew Cuomo, is the main hero of the American pandemic response. If anything these two leaders look even better now than they did a year ago. (The two most prominent villains are, of course, Drumpf and DeSantis.)

    In other news today was especially profitable for's benefactor Charles Koch and the other richest people on the planet. Mr. Koch earned $541,000,000 today, bringing his 2021 haul to over $8 billion. See what happens when there's a Democrat in the White House?


    1. OpenBordersLiberal-tarian and his big-Koch obsession never dies.

  23. Sullum, don't ever stop wearing your mask in order to protect your sickly wife. I was practically never wearing one in the last 14 months, let alone now. And I will not get vaccinated. Stay scared.

    1. You're confused if you think I give a shit about you.

      1. Thanks for inadvertently revealing your screenname, Jacob.

        1. Holy shit that’s embarrassing.

          1. Grade A fucking comedy.

            1. Even more hilarious because Strazzy is one of the most consistently stupid trolls here. I'd buy some clown like DOL or WK being one of the writers---even though, Jesus, who would have the time to burn, plus have to crank out an article or two a day? But at least they don't come off as deeply and profoundly stupid as this dumb shit.

              This is just sad. Put a bullet in the head of these comments already, and we can get off our asses and move over to our own substack.

              1. Their articles are usually just the latest Twitter or journolist newsletter. Not like it takes then a long time to regurgitate it.

                Only robbie seems to have any interest on mining for primary sources.

              2. Still, I have to give ol' grizz credit here--the dude rarely comments, but this relatively benign rebuke got a writer to completely power level themselves, assuming it's actually Jacob.

                1. grrizzly is a Tulpa sock!

                  — Dee

                2. That really is some funny, next-level shit, Chris.

            2. Yeah, that's some real low-effort bullshit there.

      2. Gee, I'm shocked to learn that Sullum is just another dishonest and cowardly piece of shit propagandist masquerading as a principled "journalist".

      3. Speaking of confused, Jakie...

      4. grrizzly
        June.4.2021 at 10:13 pm
        Sullum, don’t ever stop wearing your mask in order to protect your sickly wife.

        Lord of Strazele
        June.5.2021 at 7:32 am
        You’re confused if you think I give a shit about you.

        Lol, oh wow!
        And one of the dumbest shitposters no less.

      5. Maximum autopwn3d. That's some LEEEEROY JENKINS levels of kicking your own ass, Jake.

        1. What a stupid motherfucker!

  24. Fauci never lied. He just changed his mind, over and over and over and over again. Maybe I missed an "and over" in there somewhere but you get the point, opinions of those in power are essentially verbal diarrhea.

  25. Im still trying to figure out how sullum sats the cases for mask wearing is stronger them ever them goes on to reference two studies that support his opinion but show to be worthless since two spikes directly followed the timing on these. Dude if you’re going to use old info at least make sure it doesn’t look like garbage immediately after they put it out. Also stop pretending to be scientific when covering for your fears. P.s. tony whatever you may reply your wrong an idiot and muted

  26. *Overall, the case that wearing face masks helps reduce coronavirus transmission is stronger now than it was at the beginning of the pandemic. *

    No, it isn't.

    1. Very. I’m sure msm will be very interested in flowing up on this.

  27. The evidence from before the pandemic wasn't limited and mixed. There were Randomized Control Trials for the effect of masks on the transmission of respiratory viruses, and meta-analyses of those studies find no effect.

    Now, I'm not going to dispute that there are mechanical studies that show masks block droplets. But, it turns out, respiratory viruses probably don't predominantly spread by droplets (and specifically, I'm aware of at least one paper concluding that the predominant means of covid-19 spread is aerosols), they spread by aerosols. Masks don't do such a hot job at stopping aerosols. (Which is why the mechanical studies are correct, but so are the mask RCT studies from before the pandemic - the mechanical studies are measuring the wrong thing!)

    Aerosols mix in the air - the air is effectively a fluid for them. Consider a simple experiment - you have two containers of water connected by a tube. One of those containers of water contains salt water (at known salt concentration), one of those containers has fresh water. The tube has a filter impermeable to salt ions, but it doesn't perfectly seal the tube (has areas along the sides the filter doesn't cover). If you let the system go to equilibrium, what is the salt concentration in each container?

    Now, water is incompressible, so you can't do the next logical evolution of this solely with water in the containers, so imagine a similar set up which is only half filled with water in each container (so there's compressible air). Put a pump on the salt-water side that you can use to mimic breathing. What happens at and around the filter when you pump salt water ('breathe') at it?

    Bottom line: if masks had an appreciable effect against respiratory viruses, it would show up in the RCT studies done before the pandemic. That it doesn't means any effect, if one exists, is small. *If* it reduces infection rate by 1% or 0.1%, is it really worth the expense and policing?

  28. Covid is still killing hundreds of unvaccinated peoole everyday.

    1. And their lives would have been saved if fauci, Redfield, walenski, or anyone other than our former president was pushing for, expanding access to, and educating the public on therapeutics. The monoclonal antibody treatments (regeneron which trump got, and Eli Lilly which my mother got) are highly effective, yet underutilized. And they were made free by trump, like the vaccine.

      My mother was actually interviewed by multiple Pittsburgh News channels after receiving her treatment because UPMC (university of Pittsburgh medical center) realized she was their 1000th patient to receive the treatment and they wanted to get the word out to more people locally since the national news and "scientists" weren't informing the public about it. She received it on her 8th day of symptoms (unbroken fever, coughing, fatigue, but thankfully stable blood ox and breathing) and was feeling better with no fever after 43 hours.

      At the time of receiving the treatment the 2nd week of March she was patient 1000 (with 998 not being hospitalized) . At the time UPMC had nearly 60,000 doses of the antibody treatments and had hoped to use nearly half f of them (30k) by that point. It wasnt a supply issue, it was an informing the public issue. Something they tried to do themselves by interviewing my mother, because the TV doctors, namely fauci, refused to push or inform the public about it.

      1. Incase you think I'm lieing here's the link

        Why hasn't fauci told us about this or tried to get it more widespread? I see real doctors in the video and quotes, maybe politifact should fact check them.

      2. Maybe it's best it was underpublicized. Any treatment Trump said was good would've been demonized as soon as the mass media knew about it.

    2. So are cheeseburgers and couches.

    3. So are falls from high places.

    4. No, people are dying while testing for covid comes back positive. That test comes back positive for e months post infection. The number of respiratory related deaths is at normal levels.

      1. 3 months.

      1. One of the best days ever for the commentariat.

        1. I wonder which one them operates the 6 or more cytotoxic handles or the 3-4 sarcasmic handles.

          1. Sarcasmic had a rare day of sobriety yesterday.

  29. Fauci is the head of a government agency.

    It is his job to relay the consensus of his agency, not his personal opinion.

    People suck at this distinction.

    1. Then why is he going on television doing interviews instead of having press conferences and press releases from the agency itself?

    2. I know right? Like, you wouldn't hold the CEO of a company accountable for things he said on TV about his company. He's just relaying the consensus of his board of directors, not his personal opinion.

      Next time you're this deep up old Tony Fauci's AIDS-infected asshole you should see if you find any polyps. Unless he tells you not to, of course. Mustn't question the measured wisdom of the relayor of agency consensus, after all.

    3. You suck at excusing incompetence.


    Why, from people who know better, is there so much interest in downplaying or erasing natural immunity?

    Is it because it’s hard to quantify how many people have natural immunity? Is it out of a mix of good intentions and worry, that discussing natural immunity would somehow discourage (“nudge,” in Fauci’s term) people from getting vaccines who otherwise would? Is it simple oversight, being so focused on vaccinations that they just plain forgot about natural immunity? Or is something else at work?

    Whatever the reason, it’s keeping Americans in the dark about how many people have active immunity from Covid-19. It’s keeping people needlessly fearful and suspicious of each other. It’s empowering executive overreach. Worst of all, it’s tempting people to consider government and business restrictions on the unvaccinated, regardless of their actual immunity.

    1. Or is something else at work?

      Natural immunity doesn't put any money into the kleptocratic, vaccinated-against-financial-liability-for-their-product pharmaceutical industry's pockets.

    2. I encounter resistance to the obvious fact the natural immunity is effective from local MD's. It is puzzling to say the least.

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    1. This is more believable than Fauci.

  32. He lied. Full stop.

  33. Remember kids, Fauci never lied and Trump intentionally and with malice aforethought started a full-blown insurrection that nearly toppled the United States government.

    We need to start adding a


    disclaimer like South Park did during their scientology episode.

    1. Why would we do that? There are no libertarians writing for Reason.

      1. We are the libertarians writing for Reason.

        1. Perfect.

  34. Didn't Fauci admit to lying to the NYT to get people to vaccinate and for wearing a mask as theatre?

    The way I see it is Fauci was telling the truth about masks and then shifted. I don't buy the health care excuse. The question is WHY did he change his mind because the science didn't change about masks being ineffective. The same thing happened here. The head doctor in Quebec said for two months masks don't work (like Fauci) and then - poof - changed his mind in June or thereabouts. Again. Why?

    The body of evidence on masks to that point clearly showed they weren't effective in BOTH hospital and community settings dating back decades.

    Seriously. Stop it with the supporting of this pseudo-science already.

  35. There is no science supporting house arrest for healthy citizens.

  36. Why are these doing this I'm really worried about it

  37. No one ever came out and said why masks work in Asia. It is stunning to me that the public health people never talked about that since they should know better.

    Masks work because they are a visual signal to others - keep your distance. That's it.

    If you understood that message, then good for you masks worked.

    If you chose to ignore that message by getting in someone's face to argue about masks...

  38. There was very little information coming from the government about how effective masks were, what types of masks were most protective, and little information about proper mask wearing protocol.

    Any old rag worn on your face would suffice. Or, apparently for African-Americans in my area, wearing one under your chin would do just as well.

    This made me suspect that Fauci's initial assessment was probably more accurate: the masks don't really protect you, but rather, they minimize the cloud of funk you spew about if you are infected.

    I'm guessing that their low-information approach of everyone mask all the time was meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator. This gave the Trump-humpers conspiracy orgasms. It also gave the progressive Karens confidence that they could go about their business as usual as long as they were wearing masks because science.

    1. Masks can be very effective, but not the joke homemade face rags that were recommended. I worked in an industry where I was required to wear everything from a 3M dusk mask to an SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus).
      I worked with chemicals that would kill you quickly, and others that would do it slowly with chronic illness. Masks must be fitted. Facial hair must be trimmed and not interfere with that fit unless it is a supplied air mask. Correct filter size and neutralizing materials are available for different hazards. Masks must be changed or cleaned after every use. Disposable masks should be thrown away and a new one used if removed.
      Masks filter what you breath in, not what you breathe out so your mask does not protect others.
      Fauci knew or should have known all this about masks. The whole thing was to show they were doing something, when they didn't have a clue what to do. Then the politicians latched on to masks and used them for power and control. At that point Fauci became nothing more than a political stooge.

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  41. Masks are really important...Not that homemade face rags.
    you cannot even imagine how many lives have been saved by masks.

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