The Volokh Conspiracy

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And We Should Trust You Now, Dr. Fauci, Because …?

"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."


From the New York Times (Donald G. McNeil Jr.) [UPDATE: link updated; the original one stopped working for some reason]:

At what point does a country achieve herd immunity? What portion of the population must acquire resistance to the coronavirus, either through infection or vaccination, for the disease to fade away …?

In the pandemic's early days, Dr. Fauci tended to cite the same 60 to 70 percent estimate that most experts did. About a month ago, he began saying "70, 75 percent" in television interviews. And last week, in an interview with CNBC News, he said "75, 80, 85 percent" and "75 to 80-plus percent."

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….. [H]e believes that it may take close to 90 percent immunity to bring the virus to a halt ….

Dr. Fauci said that weeks ago, he had hesitated to publicly raise his estimate because many Americans seemed unsure about vaccines …. Now that some polls are showing that many more Americans are ready, even eager, for vaccines, he said he felt he could deliver the tough message that the return to normal might take longer than anticipated.

"When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent," Dr. Fauci said. "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."

Errors happen; scientists' understanding changes; but Dr. Fauci's statements here aren't just about changed medical understanding, right?

Thanks to Randy Barnett for pointing this out, in a post on a discussion list that I'm on.

NEXT: Trump's Pattern of Self-Serving Pardons Continues

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  1. Fauci refused to quarantine the early AIDS patients after the viral cause was found. He loosed a $trillion pandemic that killed 20 million people. He is a politically correct Washington, Deep State, Democrat insider.

    He is really an HIV physiology lab guy. He has no knowledge of epidemics. He is a Clinton operative, who helped to take down Trump.

    1. They didn’t quarantine as it would make no difference. The median time from infection to symptomatic is 10 years. Irwin Blood Bank SF studies showed the virus had been spreading since 1976. Isolation of symptomatic would have done no practical good and isolation of positive antibody tests would have just meant people wouldn’t take the test.

      can’t put genies back in the bottles.

      1. Well, they could have shut down the bathhouses...

        I look at the behavioral changes which have been imposed upon us versus the lack of imposed behavioral changes back then.

        1. Hmmm SF moved to close bathhouses in 1984, the same year HTLV-III was confirmed as the etiological agent of AIDS. While some bathhouses resisted full closure the last one was closed in 1987. Again, all show with no substance. Only a minority of SF gay men frequented bathhouses, users were repeat customers and most of them had probably been infected long before 1984. The last one closed for lack of business - once the virus was identified people reasonably avoided them.

          again no indication that bathhouses were a primary vector for the disease once the etiology was known.

          1. In 1986 Scientific American impeached itself by removing disappearing an article reporting HTLV-III (caught my eye) in mosquitoes in Belle Glade, Florida. I had a 30 year old subscription but never looked at it again. Faux FauXi and his PLANdemid

        2. Eventually they did close the bathhouses. And I certainly am not a person that says that everything that the gay community did and did not do in response to AIDS was beyond criticism. There were certainly some irresponsible voices out there who were advocating some very bad ideas.

          But the gay community did a ton on HIV. They got condom use way way up (and this even bleeded into straight people using them more). They did, as I noted, eventually close bathhouses and other places that were infection vectors. You can even argue that the gay marriage movement became a bigger priority after the AIDS epidemic.

          The reality is one of the reasons we didn't do more restrictions on AIDS is because a lot of the people calling for restrictions were just homophobes hoping they could use the epidemic as a way to punish gays or force them to stop having same-sex relationships and encounters. And this made it really tough for public health.

          The best comparison I can think of is the politics of harm reduction regarding opiate usage. It took a long time for governments to fully embrace it, in part because there were a lot of people who just wanted to punish drug users and make their lives as miserable as possible.

          You need to build trust on these things. Which means you have to have everyone agree ex ante that they aren't going to try to take advantage of the crisis to advance their political goals. We didn't have that during the AIDS crisis, and that made the whole thing more difficult.

          1. The reality is one of the reasons we didn’t do more restrictions on AIDS is because a lot of the people calling for restrictions were just homophobes hoping they could use the epidemic as a way to punish gays or force them to stop having same-sex relationships and encounters.

            Citing allegedly evil motives on the part of those advocating for policies that could have saved many lives that you claim to care about is a pretty stupid rationalization for resisting those policies, and is really just an attempt to blame other for the consequences of your own actions.

            1. Citing allegedly evil motives on the part of those advocating for policies that could have saved many lives that you claim to care about is a pretty stupid rationalization for resisting those policies, and is really just an attempt to blame other for the consequences of your own actions.

              Jesse Helms was one of those voices. His motives weren't allegedly evil, they were evil. He eased off at the end of his life, saying he was "ashamed" of how little he had done to combat AIDS and saying the fact that he would soon meet his maker was a reason for his change of position, revealing that he himself thought his prior actions were evil. So, your allegedly evil motives bull is just that: bull.

              On whether that impacts the best course of action, of course it does. As Eugene's stirring of the pot to undermine confidence in Fauci's recommendations, having the wrong "allies" can be worse than not having allies at all. Adopting restrictions on bathhouses when notorious homophobes are advocating for that and further criminalization of homosexuality could easily be counterproductive. You lose your credibility because you might be seen as either a dupe or a turncoat on the issue of gay rights. People have to trust you before they follow your advice. If gay people seeing you locking arms with notorious homophobes, they won't think you have their best interests at heart and, because voluntary changes in behavior are far more effective than government restrictions (see Prohibition, Drug War), it is better to be persuasive than dictatorial and, if mandates are required, you need to have credibility that you are issuing mandates for the stated purpose rather than as a secret way to stop people engaging in conduct you don't like.

              The rather stupid handling of houses of worship in many places is a good example of how (allegedly) well-intentioned policies can backfire or, at least, create significant secondary problems, if not handled with respect for the affected population.

              So, no, homophobes pontificating about AIDS being a judgment from God and attempting to use that divine mandate to further marginalize and criminalize homosexuality does not excuse people of good will for culpability for not advocating "policies that could have saved many lives" but it very well could change what those policies are.

              And, as noted above, the only policies advocated above were:

              1. Closing bathhouses (which was done expeditiously)
              2. Quarantining people who tested positive (which would have done far more harm than good, as discussed above, because people wouldn't get tested and the virus was already widespread in various communities among asympomatic and untested individuals).

              In other words, your point is, to this point, a rather stupid one. Talk about a specific policy that should have been followed but wasn't because of homophobes' support, or admit you are wrong on the only two options put forward so far. (Wanna try education and distribution of condoms? You'll lose again. Those were policies vociferously advocated for by people who gave a shit about their fellow human beings, but were decried by homophobes like Jesse Helms. I only hope his maker had a sufficiently long memory and looked unfavorably upon opportunistic changes of heart near the end of life.)

              1. "Experts agree, Meese is a pig," was a DC punk protest poster back then.

              2. I remember a 1988 AIDS workshop as being 60%-70% gay rights and only 30%-40% medical information.

                1. Oh no, that sounds awful!

                  1. It was if you wanted the medical information.

              3. Talk about a specific policy that should have been followed but wasn’t because of homophobes’ support, or admit you are wrong on the only two options put forward so far.

                All of that verbose bullshit just to end up proving that you're too dumb to even keep track of who said what in two relatively short posts? I didn't make so much as a single claim about any specific policy/policies that wasn't/weren't followed because they were advocated by "homophobes". It was Esper that made that claim. I was pointing put the disingenuous nature of citing that as a rationalization.

                Read more, respond less.

              4. Hi, Nova. Do you support the Democrat Governor lockdown of uninfected people to prevent COVID?

            2. Allegedly evil? I remember Bill Dannemeyer, who was a congressman here in California, SPECIFICALLY advocating isolation and quarantine because this was a "gay plague" that proved that the "homosexual lifestyle" was dangerous. He said those things.

              There was another guy named Pete Knight who was doing the same thing. As was "B-1" Bob Dornan.

              This isn't "alleged". This was reality. A lot of conservatives saw the AIDS epidemic as "here's our chance to stamp out homosexuality". And that made it very difficult to propose restrictions.

              That blood is on conservative hands- and you are carrying water for them when you dismiss this as "allegedly evil motives". Those people are some of the most evil people who served in public office in my lifetime. Nothing alleged about it.

              1. LOL! Never stop being the disingenuous asshole you've always been. Distraction via focusing on 2 words while ignoring the actual point about your lame excuse-making and blaming others for your choices is amateur hour stuff.

          2. "Which means you have to have everyone agree ex ante that they aren’t going to try to take advantage of the crisis to advance their political goals."

            Tell that to Rahm Emanuel.

      2. Hi, Blake. Castro did that. No AIDS in Cuba. Washington is gayer than San Fran. I attended their dinner parties in the 80's. Fauci is a politically correct Democrat hack operative.

    2. Not quite: the real story seems to be a bit different, but at least as damning.

      This Hoffington Post story from 2014 describes Fauci's reprehensible behavior about AIDS treatment inthe late '80s/early '90s:

      This describes a man that should NEVER be allowed a position of authority. And the man about which the legal principle, "Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" might well have been invented...

  2. No, and I'm not sure what possible case Fauci could be making. The coronavirus isn't as contagious as the measles. It just isn't.

    He's "nudging up" the numbers in order to elicit a commensurate public response, in terms of diligence with vaccines, social distancing, etc. The same thing happened with their mask guidance. Nothing changed about the underlying rationale for not advising that everyone wear masks, earlier in the pandemic; they just adjusted their communications strategy and concluded that mask-wearing guidance would achieve more benefits than costs.

    1. Correct. initially the masks people were going for were the N95 masks needed by medical personnel and it wasn’t known how COVID spread. Once we knew it was primarily by super spreader events of usually asymptomatic carriers, the benefits of even cloth masks and other exposure reduction strategies became more important.

      It’s all about reducing the Reinfection rate below 1 to end a pandemic. Masks can reduce the number of people a spreader infects by 50% or more by itself with virtually no economic impact. Unfortunately the COVidiots refused even this simple measure and we are where we are today.

      1. Oh screw you.

        People are wearing masks all over the country. The worst places to be are the places where mask use is the highest (California). The fact is they’re not working as well as you Karens think, and you’re too stubborn to admit it.

        1. And yet no anti masker can explain the relative success in handling the outbreak in Asian countries, despite their much higher population densities. The obvious difference is diligence in mask wearing.

          1. There are plausible genetic factors. A vaccine against tuberculosis (BCG) that is commonly administered in Asia and Australia seems to protect against COVID-19. The location tracking are much tighter, and the punishments for quarantine violations more severe.

            For example, a former coworker of mine moved to Taiwan two years ago. His daughter and her fiance returned to Taiwan, from Vietnam, earlier this month; for two weeks, they must keep their cell phones on and with them at all times, because the government uses that to monitor their quarantine. Any close contact with them, however brief, would lead to stiff fines all around. Those kinds of measures would be thrown out by US courts.

            In short, your claim can only possibly be made from a position of gross ignorance.

            1. Please. I was answering a question that brought up California and I compared it with a state lead by a #cult45 sycophant that has loudly been against masks. That isn’t cherry picking, that’s being on topic.

              And that things in South Dakota are getting better after its recent peak is just an indication that some COVIDiots can learn from their mistakes.

              The rates are still magnitudes greater than states that did promote masks and that is shown in the total mortality rates even though California has had a greater problem for longer than South Dakota.

              1. A good comparison of mask wearing and lockdowns to a more relaxed approach is Minnesota and Wisconsin. Minnesota has had fairly tight mask mandates and lockdowns through out the pandemic. Wisconsin's supreme court struck down the governors authority early in the pandemic, and large swaths of the state have no controls.

                WI and MN have same size as, same demographics, climate, urban rural mix etc.

                And despite the quite different controls, WI has a slightly higher number of infections (+10%), and a slightly lower number of deaths(-10%).

                1. And all those curves look the same. The Dakotas, MI, WI, IA, they ALL look the same no matter what the rules are.

          2. The obvious difference is...

            Things like this are only obvious to those who are too simple-minded to grasp the complexities involved.

          3. The obvious difference is more cross-immunity, coupled with no insane desire to test the healthy.

        2. You aren’t looking at cases rates per population. Places with low mask compliance have higher case and mortality rates per population. eg

          mask usage 79%. total deaths 57/100,000 daily deaths 0.6/100,000
          South Dakota with an anti mask governor
          Mask usage 54% total deaths 157/100,000 daily deaths 2.0/100,000

          Yes high population areas are at higher risk for super spreading events even while doing essential tasks but COVIDiocy is a far greater risk.

          1. You aren’t looking at cases rates per population.

            And yet you go on to not cite case rates at all.

            mask usage 79%. total deaths 57/100,000 daily deaths 0.6/100,000
            South Dakota with an anti mask governor
            Mask usage 54% total deaths 157/100,000 daily deaths 2.0/100,000

            And who could refute an argument that's based on 2 cherry-picked states? Also, your total death rates are for the entire period for which the pandemic data has been tracked, which is not confined to time periods during which the states' current mask policies have been in effect. For instance, CA's case rate / 100K population for the past week is 105.9. SD's is only 55.5.

            You're attempt to build an argument based on extremely limited and inapplicable data points is not to be taken seriously.

            1. Please. I was answering a question that brought up California and I compared it with a state lead by a #cult45 sycophant that has loudly been against masks. That isn’t cherry picking, that’s being on topic.

              And that things in South Dakota are getting better after its recent peak is just an indication that some COVIDiots can learn from their mistakes.

              The rates are still magnitudes greater than states that did promote masks and that is shown in the total mortality rates even though California has had a greater problem for longer than South Dakota or similar states late to the party.

              1. Despite a harsh shutdown, California now has a seven-day average of 1,062 cases per million per day.

                South Dakota? No shutdown, and voluntary mask usage. 555 cases per million per day.

                1. Not even close to reality. you are looking at confirmed cases but ignoring that South Dakota is only performing 183 tests per 100,000 while California is performing 762, over 3 times as many. Of course California has a higher rate of confirmed cases when they are performing far more tests.

                  and since testing is targeted at ‘at risk’ populations - those with history of known exposure or having possible symptoms - it’s not a good metric for actual prevalence, it’s not a population study.

                  1. Wait: You're saying that we should ignore case numbers because it's based on testing volume? Isn't that what Trump was saying? Are you a member of Cult45 too?

                  2. First you complained that...

                    You aren’t looking at cases rates per population.

                    Now, when those case rates are pointed out you complain...

                    you are looking at confirmed cases

                    Make up what little there is of your mind.

              2. Your song-and-dance routine is as weak as your understanding of well as words like "magnitude".

          2. Doesn't SD have an older population?

            1. The median age for South Dakota 36.8 years, for California 36.2.

              1. Oh and 14.7% of South Dakota’s population is over 65, 14.8% of California’s.

          3. You're looking at the scoreboard at halftime and thinking the game is over.

            SD is far off its peak. CA hasn't gotten there yet.

      2. A) N95 masks are useful to prevent the spread of the disease, and it was rational to ask people to stop hording them.
        B) Cloth masks as worn by almost everyone in the public sphere now are not useful, as demonstrated by major metastudies by the NIH, CDC, or published in Lancet or the NEJM. The Church of Masks continues to deny the science and insist upon their ritual fetishes, but the real world has already determined the truth.
        C) Asymptomatic carriers are not a significant cause of spread of the disease. Studies have shown this as far back as Feb, and concluded again in Jun, Aug, Oct, Nov, and Dec.

        1. "N95 masks are useful to prevent the spread of the disease, and it was rational to ask people to stop hording them."

          Faucci's not an expert in logistics or mask distribution, and he had no business lying about their medical efficacy in order to achieve a result he had no business trying to achieve. It's quite possible that his lies increased deaths by encouraging people to keep n95 masks unused in their garage without increasing the supply available to first-responders.

          1. Actually yes he does. You treat an emergent pandemic strategically, conserving resources for those that can not mitigate their risk by other factors such as behavior modification. Self-quarantine and other exposure avoidance actions is far more effective than merely wearing a mask. Reserving the limited resources of medical grade masks initially for those that can not take avoidance measures because of their work was the proper thing to do. And at that time they didn’t know the vectoring modeling. Once it became clear the majority of spreading was at ‘one to many’ super spreader events, universal masking became an additional priority.

            1. "Reserving the limited resources of medical grade masks initially for those that can not take avoidance measures because of their work was the proper thing to do."

              Says who? I mean, maybe that's true, but neither you nor I nor Faucci is an expert on mask distribution, and if medical experts lie about mask efficacity in order to promogulate non-expert mask distribution policy, they sew disinformation that prevents proper mask distribution policy from being established, and sew distrust in medical expert information.

            2. "You treat an emergent pandemic strategically, conserving resources for those that can not mitigate their risk by other factors such as behavior modification."

              If you lie to people in order to conserve resources, people stop believing you. If you lie to people, people SHOULD stop believing you. Hence the title of the piece: "And we should trust you now because?"

        2. A. true
          B. false. No study shows cloth masks don’t work quite the opposite. In lab studies show that they reduce the amount of viral RNA in respiratory droplets by 70%+, decrease just droplets by a similar almost and at large studies show about 50% reduction in cases when their use is requires. (the recent study using the country by county voluntary requirement demonstrated that fairly conclusively.
          C. Asymptomatic infected are the primary vehicle, you are confusing those that never develop symptoms with those who are as of yet asymptomatic because they are in the prodrome of the active disease.

          1. ‘county by county’ obviously

          2. You are wrong about cloth mask effectiveness.
            Please, read some of the peer reviewed studies done by government agencies or published in professional journals. Cloth masks have no statistically significant effect in the spread of viral matter, or in the spread of disease.
            Here's a quick reference for you: Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis

            The primary issue is that cloth masks stop less than 5% of virus bearing materiel even if used perfectly - which, since they don't have airtight seals, never happens. And that five percent results in a statistically insignificant change in infection rates.

            Asymptomatic people are responsible for no statistically significant spread of the disease. You seem to be confused over the difference between those that are asymptomatic and those that are presymptomatic - who are responsible for a significant portion of infections. But those are people who develop the disease, and are not asymptomatic carriers. If you want to discuss them, fine - but don't use the wrong term which refers to a different group of people.

            1. In all likelihood, the difference in spread between asymptomatic and presymptomatic is entirely due to accidentally attributing transmission after symptoms appear to the presymptomatic phase.

              The symptoms such as sneezing and coughing are actually instrumental in disease transmission, you know.

              1. Well, there is always the edge cases of things like kissing, sex, or other activities where one would come into contact with another's bodily fluids...

                But in general, yeah - without the symptoms that induce spread of the viral material, the spread of the disease is significantly reduced.

          3. blakes' comment - " .. mask... In lab studies show that they reduce the amount of viral RNA in respiratory droplets by 70%+,"

            No mask changes the amount of viral RNA in respiratory droplets. The masks only reduces the distance the viral RNA and the distance the respiratory droplets travel.

            1. Also, given the longstanding evidence that masks don't reduce transmissibility of respiratory viruses (lots of experimental studies over almost 100 years), droplets are probably not the primary vector for respiratory virus transmission. They're probably getting aerosolized, and masks don't do a damn thing about aerosolized particles.

              Regardless, that droplets are important for infection rates is a hypothesis that is unproven, so demonstrating anything about the mechanics of droplets is putting the cart before the horse.

      3. No. It's about power.

        The actions we've seen from the authorities indicate a lack of good faith on their part. They say: do social distancing; don't do anything but quarantine until you need to be hospitalized; then use an incredibly expensive pharmaceutical for the treatment.

        This is a two-stage disease: first, there is a respiratory infection, which then may transform into the dangerous systemic infection. The first priority should be stopping the disease before it goes systemic, but they have rejected multiple effective measures for early-phase treatment. (The "HCQ is dangerous" paper used 12-times-overdose dosages on patients already in the severe phase. If you used a high pressure chamber to give you that big an overdose of air, it would kill you from oxygen poisoning before you got halfway there.)

        There is a very strong correlation between severe-phase CoVID-19 and deficiencies of vitamin D and zinc. Does one hear the authorities saying _anything_ about supplementing one's diet with them?

        Virologists have known for more than a decade that this category of virus is very sensitive to UV, relatively sensitive to humidity, and only mildly sensitive to temperature: there has been an extensive body of research in this field since the 2003-2004 SARS epidemic. Homeland Security's research department has followed up for this virus in particular; you can play around with their on-line CoVID-virus-lifetime calculator at for yourself, and then ask yourself: Why have the authorities not pushed for humidifiers in public buildings? (As an aside: this has been known for more than a decade. A Mayo Clinic study using schools found that maintaining 50% humidity reduced influenza cases by a factor of 2.3. Since about 40,000 people per year die of influenza, then humidifiers in public buildings would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives over the last decade -- incidentally, probably keeping CoVID-19 from becoming a pandemic as a side effect!)

      4. BlakePaine comment - "Once we knew it was primarily by super spreader events of usually asymptomatic carriers, the benefits of even cloth masks and other exposure reduction strategies became more important."

        True, most of the spread is from coming from superspreader events / individuals,

        however, very little of the spread is coming from asymptomatic individuals. Best estimate is between 1-4% of the spread is from Asymptomatic individuals.

        1. I will add that several recent studies combine presymptomatic individuals with asymptomatic individuals inorder to claim a much higher rate of transmission from asymptomatic individuals

          1. The number one cause of death in the US is clowns and/or cancer!

  3. Herd immunity is just a buzzword anyway.

    1. You're getting dumber by the day, Ben. I strongly suggest you shut up for a while and seek out a Doctor's opinion on what the hell is wrong with you.

      Start with an fMRI to see if there's actually a brain inside your skull.

        1. That's the best you have to offer? lol

          Seriously, share with us your input of how herd immunity isn't real, and is just a 'buzzword.' Epidemiologists around the globe are quite eager to have their field of study revolutionized by your basement-wisdom.

          PLEASE help save the world, Ben. Think of how much better we could all be if you just cured all the scientific misunderstandings the rest of us have. THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

          Fucking tool.

  4. Two weeks to slow the spread!

    1. "Flatten the curve" so as to not overwhelm the hospitals -- many of which are now in bankruptcy because they were empty and didn't get the income from the other stuff they do.

      1. Right now, there are overwhelmed hospitals in some parts of the country. Flattening the curve is very important.

        1. But, umm, if we hadn't done it in March, this wouldn't be happening now...

          1. Yep. Some places 'slowed the curve' right into flu season.

            Really smart.

  5. Did you see that the CDC changed the definition of herd immunity on its website? It use to reference both vaccinations and people who had suffered the disease, and it was changed to refer just to vaccinations.

    1. That's because a lot of idiots on the right were actually arguing that it would produce "herd immunity" if we just let tons of people get the disease.

      "Herd immunity" DOES mean vaccinations plus people who have already got it, but that doesn't mean there's a policy where you let everyone get it and you get to herd immunity.

      1. That doesn’t make them idiots. It makes them correct. There have been all of 30 reinfections across the country out of millions who’ve contracted the disease.

        When college kids went back to school, all 60K of them, there were 5 total hospitalizations. So explain to me why letting the youngest and strongest among us go back to school and become immune is an idea that only right wing idiots would think would work?

      2. We will never know, but I think if some country tried a policy of innoculating everyone under 60 with Covid 19 in batches, then quarantining them until they tested clean, that death tolls would be much lower.

        1. This blog aside, we're a Kantian society, not a pure utilitarian one; a policy to affirmatively kill a few to save many doesn't play well.

          1. I think I need to take a course in ethics so I can learn a theory of why that makes sense. I think it has something to do with, "it doesn't matter how many people, in general, die as long nobody, in particular, is responsible."

            1. Two points:

              1. Partly, it's the trolley car problem. We get really squeamish about choosing who lives and dies, even if the utilitarian calculation seems pretty clear. If you don't get squeamish at that, you should recognize you are not a typical human.

              2. There is, I think, a good reason for the trolley car squeamishness. The trolley car problem makes things clear and certain. But the farther you get away from it, the less certainty you can have that it's a clean, 0.001% of young people versus 0.07% of old people (or whatever you think the statistics are (I just made those up)). There are always unintended consequences, have you factored in life-years into your equation? One young person might live 70 years while one old person might have only a life expectancy of a year. Now, a 70 times higher survival rate balances the equation if you make it life-years instead of lives. But is that ethical? Who are you to choose to sacrifice some young people? Also, we don't know what the long-term effects of serious-but-not-deadly infections are. Or even mild infections. We don't know how allowing rampant spread might affect the lethality and/or transmissibility or a virus capable of quickly evolving.

              Basically, once you acknowledge this isn't a math equation, but a moral calculus infected with lots and lots of uncertainty and questionable moral choices, then "let's just intentionally infect all the apparently health young people" becomes a morally dubious proposition. This is why virtually no one is a strict utilitarian on ethics, because life is not a math equation.

              3. The other uncertainty is: Once you adopt utilitarianism even to the point of killing some to save others, you give license to all sorts of evil. Utilitarianism was a justification for the Holocaust, for example. Granted, a misguided misuse, but one of the justifications. That sort of utilitarianism is the calculus of terrorists everywhere. "Killing these innocent people will save X people (or souls), so it is justified." Kant and pretty much every other serious ethics philosopher recognizes that humans are susceptible to rationalizing their behavior, so some things just have to be off limits. Killing innocents is typically seen as one of those things that is just off limits.

              1. You already know more young people are dying from the lockdown than from covid.

                SF just set an all time record for drug overdose deaths and has almost exactly the same excess drug deaths (2020-621 vs 2019, 444), 177 as covid deaths this year 178. And of course almost all the the overdoses are under 60, and almost all the covid deaths are over 60.

                1. You're straining for causation to prove something that was just explained to you is irrelevant to most typical humans.

              2. Well on that point you spared me the labor of a course in ethics.

                Now riddle me this...

                It would be easy to get thousands of people to volunteer to be exposed to SARS-COV-2 under controlled circumstances. We could test such scenarios as a classroom with three infectious individuals and ten more wearing masks, ten more not. In that way, though the scheming health overlord would get to define the risk scenario, his would-be victims are voluntary participants who are provided with a reasonable measure of "informed consent."

                I know the volunteers are available and willing. But the test scenarios aren't happening. We have, to my knowledge, NO controlled testing of the spread of this virus. Why not?

                (My theory is that the requisite "institutional review board" can't come up with an informed consent form that accurately discloses all the risks. And if they can't accurately disclose the risks, then they can't protect themselves from the possible moral stain of hurting somebody. Many will die because we don't have any approved studies, but at least none will die because of studies we approved.)

                And having learned now about the trolley problem, I can tell you I have no problem pulling the lever. (Time is of the essence, as is body count.)

                1. In April we could have filled up the empty dorms and hotels with low-risk volunteers who contract the virus under medical supervision.

                  This would have given us tons of great information, but we simply never did it.

          2. Tell that one to the CDC, they were all ready to go for a policy that was 99% certain to cause more deaths because too high a percentage of the elderly is white.

            1. Yeah, that's not what was going on, but you keep your white grievance demonization train agoin'

              1. No, it's exactly what was going on. The presentation that was approved unanimously by all 13 CDC personnel on the committee explicitly stated that they would prioritize young health minorities over white elderly because of social justice, and that they expected this policy to allow more elderly to die than the reverse, including among elderly minorities.

                1. Correct. The CDC policy would result in more elderly deaths, including more elderly minority deaths. But the ratio of minorities to whites would be "better".

                  These people are literally willing to kill in the name of Social Justice.

              2. "Yeah, that’s not what was going on,"

                The the CDC shouldn't host presentation with slides that say that that's what was going on.

                1. I saw the post on this blog. That's not what they said, you're distorting it to make it something that conforms to your angry manichean worldview.

                  1. It is precisely what has been said. In any case, it is clear that immunizing the elderly will save more lives—this is called 'science.' It is clear that immunizing people based on racial identity will save fewer lives but satisfy some vague notion of 'racial justice.' This is called 'choosing political favorites.'

                  2. "I saw the post on this blog."

                    The post on this blog was on an different issue.

                    From Vox:

                    "The concern raised by critics about vaccinating essential workers before older adults is that it is projected that doing so would cause far more deaths than focusing on the elderly first...(The ACIP explained that it recommended vaccinating essential workers over older people in part because of equity considerations — essential workers are more racially and socioeconomically diverse than elderly Americans.)"

                    The APIC slides are not hard to find.

                    "...your angry manichean worldview."

                    Leave the Chinese out of this.

                  3. Oh, you read a blog post on a different topic! Great! That makes everything different.

                    On the other hand, I read the actual slides from the presentation, delivered directly from the CDC. You can do the same! They're available on the CDC's website.
                    How about you go read them, then come back?

              3. Once again, Sarcastr0 lies, with ease. It is exactly what was going on, and it's well documented in the CDC slide deck.

      3. Dilan comment - “Herd immunity” DOES mean vaccinations plus people who have already got it, but that doesn’t mean there’s a policy where you let everyone get it and you get to herd immunity."

        prior to the development of the vaccine, developing herd immunity via letting the virus spread through the general population was the only viable strategy .

        As late as July, the prospect of a vaccine was still 18-24 months away.

  6. Here is Dr. Fauci on March 8 telling Americans that they "should not be walking around with masks" (2 minute video from CBS)

    In March, Fauci told 60 Minutes that masks should largely be reserved for healthcare providers.

    Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci tells 60 Minutes: "There's no reason to be walking around with a mask."

    1. Yeah, I mean we know Fauci has been doing this. He keeps acting as if he can manipulate the public to do what he wants ... his job is to report the facts, not be the gatekeeper of information.

      His put down of the UK vaccine approval was frankly embarrassing.

      I dont think he has a lot of credibility at this point. And this is generally true of medical professionals who try to offer expertise outside their knowledge space.

      1. I'm reminded of the infamous "Five O'Clock Follies" during the Vietnam War, and how eventually no one believed *anything* that the Army said.

        Fauci's getting really close to that...

      2. Yet he’s on the front page of magazines, held up as a beacon of morality by the media, and any politician that holds his feet to the fire is treated like a crank.

        To those of us who don’t buy the BS he’s got no credibility. To the unknowing public, who’s still in the majority, he’s the sage of the whole Covid mess.

        We’re screwed.

    2. Fauci openly admitted that his 60 Minutes comments were a blatant lie to keep people from hoarding masks.

      When Bob Woodward said that Trump deliberately downplayed the virus, people called for another impeachment ("Trump lied, people died"). But, for some reason, the press keep listening to Fauci after he himself told us all that he had lied. Why is ANYONE still listening to him?
      Why is ANYONE still listening to him?? When

      1. People listen to him, but not Trump, because they think that Trump has bad intentions and Fauci has good intentions. They forget which road is paved with the latter, and why.

      2. "Fauci openly admitted that his 60 Minutes comments were a blatant lie to keep people from hoarding masks."

        So if we listen to the experts were likely to get ignorant economic policy masquerading as expert medical policy? Sounds about right.

      3. At that time they weren’t clear on the vectoring of the virus. If one infected person was only infecting a couple others, wearing a mask that only reduced the new infection rate from w to one per vector would not be that much help, contact tracing would be the way to mitigate spreading. Only those that must be in known high risk exposure situations like health care workers would need them, just like their use in hospitals for similar vector models.

        when we found out that most cases come from ‘one to many’ super spreader events, universal masks become more important as wearing them could prevent 1 person from infecting dozens overwhelming contact tracing efforts. look at the 300 person wedding in Washington, it took weeks to track down all the cases from this super spreader event, with many not found before they had vectored it to others.

        It is the high potential of ‘one to many’ incidences that made universal masks the preferred.p modality.

        1. "At the time" doesn't cut it for Fauci. Have you seen the 60 minutes interview and read the article I linked?

          A scientists says things like "to the best of our knowledge" or "based on what we know now". In the interview, Fauci did none of that. He was adamant and absolute. He outright mocked mask wearing. Later he admitted that he intentionally lied in that interview to manipulate public behavior.

  7. At what point does a country achieve herd immunity?

    At the point where EVERYONE becomes a sheep.

    1. Yes, we all became sheep when the polio and smallpox vaccines were universal - though, uh, turns out both diseases are literally eradicated, practically.


      1. Those two diseases are WAY worse than Covid. Clean miss.

        1. No one was drawing any lines about disease badness. So not really a miss.

          If you want to move the goalposts, what line would you draw?

  8. My first law firm boss used to tell young lawyers, that your number one asset as an attorney is your credibility. Lose that, and you have nothing to give the client.

    Many of the "experts" have squandered their credibility.

    1. The University of Maine at Machias lost its library to a fire because the drunken delinquents in the dormitories were pulling so many false fire alarms that the volunteer fire department got tired of getting out of bed for them -- and when there was a real fire, no one bothered to show up.

      Viri mutate, it appears that this one is mutating -- and if Team Fauci had to tell us some really bad news, would any of us believe them? (I wouldn't...)

      It's the story of the little boy who cried "wolf" -- and he got eaten...

    2. You guys hated Fauci from the moment he came on the scene, so don't feed me that nonsense.

      The right has been pathologically anti-expertese for at least 20 years. I see y'all keep saying their trust has been lost, as though they ever had any to begin with.

      1. I don’t hate Fauci and never have. You’re not addressing the issue he’s creating as to his credibility with this constant changing of his opinion. And after the change, he’s admitting that he was intentionally misleading before.

        That’s not good.

        1. I leave his tactics to him.

          But I do know that the science is sufficiently soft and full of opinion as of yet that nothing he's saying has been a lie.

          Also, I wasn't addressing you. You seem *extremely* legit in policing your more factional impulses, so all I can do for you is appeal to my first paragraph.
          Bored Lawyer not so much.

          1. I think what I’m saying is that I’m less trusting as to things he says than I was at the start. Back in spring when he said we should ignore masks I strongly suspected without knowing that he was trying to save masks for front line folks.

            But the fact that he’s now at least twice said something then changed it while admitting that he was intentionally misleading the public in order to influence behavior makes me wonder. The next time he says something is he being straightforward or is he just influencing again?

            This problem isn’t related to science.

            1. Bevis, for policy guidance on this nation's public health emergency, who do you prefer, Fauci, or the folks who are trying to sew distrust of Fauci?

              I'll take Fauci any day. He has the the knowledge, experience, and judgment to be a public health scientist, but he is not one. He is a senior public health administrator, forced to operate in an unprecedented political maelstrom. Every other person who has tried it has failed spectacularly. Against powerful opposition which has been literally insane—and wantonly destructive—Fauci continues to lead the nation in the direction of a public health outcome consistent with science. Do you suppose anything better has been possible?

              1. So you'll take the admitted liar over those who point out that he is a liar?

                May I point out a third option -- someone else who doesn't lie?
                Like any one of the many that Faux-Fauci has driven out of the CDC...

              2. Stephen - I detest all of those who have politicized the virus. And there are a lot of those - left and right. And particularly the media. But I don’t believe that Fauci has done that. As an example, Fauci is one of the few public figures that I’ve seen that said that going to protests wasn’t a great idea. Right or wrong, at least he’s been intellectually consistent.

                But this opinion switching while admitting he was intentionally misleading is harming his credibility. And that’s bad.

            2. Makes me yearn for the good old days when Leo Strauss was being lambasted by Liberals for daring to suggest that there was anything to be said on behalf of Socrates 'noble lie' in the 'Republic.'

      2. "I see y’all keep saying their trust has been lost, as though they ever had any to begin with."

        Trust is earned, Sarcastro. You don't get it to begin with.

        1. Ehhh, you trust the crap out of Trump, so you act as your own counterexample.

          1. Lol reduced to this type of crap? I've repeatedly said that Trump is full of shit, Gaslightro.

            1. Dude, you believe a bunch of stuff that is straight out nonsense about Trumps cronies and Russia and the election.

              I don't know who you trust, but they certainly haven't earned it.

              1. "Dude, you believe a bunch of stuff that is straight out nonsense about Trumps cronies and Russia and the election."

                Bullshit. Everything I believe is justified by facts and evidence.

                You, on the other hand, believe that the NY Post story is a Russian Op, even though experts said that they have no evidence that that's true.

        2. TwelveInch, Henry Stimson disagreed.

      3. I dunno if I'm one of 'you guys', but my default position is to assume people like Fauci and the Surgeon General are competent and trustworthy (as opposed to, say, congresscritters). But it is a rebuttable proposition, and when the SG said masks don't work ... that's really bad. How stupid does he think we are?

        It's always bad to lie to your boss, and in a democracy the electorate is the boss.

        Ditto for the various pols saying 'stay at home' ... from their hotel room in Mexico, etc, etc, etc.

        1. I would agree that as a matter of public health policy, that was a bad idea.

          Though honestly the science at the time looked equivocal - I looked into it and the main study was from 2009 that was basically bad science (and the CDC was ignoring all the Asian studies for the most part).

          1. And the various pols saying "stay at home" . . . honestly, what is it with these guys? (And girls, she added, remembering London Breed). It would be funny were it not so frakkin' sad. Everyone who is anyone (no, not you, you prole) violated the COVID restrictions that they'd placed, ostensibly, on all citizens. CA alone: the Governor, plus the mayors of LA, SF, and San Jose. (Apparently not literally everyone can eat at the French Laundry, b/c only half of them make the list.) The mayor of Austin, telling "his" citizens to stay home via a call from his Mexican resort. Muriel Bowser, whose travel to party with the Bidens was so "essential" that she, unlike the proles, didn't need to obey her own quarantine strictures. Cuomo . . . but let's leave it there; what I see is a lot of Democratic pols deciding that COVID isn't actually as nasty as they are telling us it is. Where do they get that info? Because I am inclined to believe that COVID is quite nasty, myself, having met more than one person who has died of it, and a student of my husband's who was seriously ill and now has one of those youth heart complications they are always talking about. If COVID is known to just skip high-level Democratic operatives, I'll take that under advisement.

        2. But cloth masks don't work. There are literally decades of studies on coronaviruses showing this.

          This was an accidental honest statement from a group that has consistently shown that it is willing to lie to us "for our own good".

          1. You're using old science. Science partially based on a cultural bias against Asian studies on the same thing.

            1. "Old science", because coronaviruses and physics before 2020 are different than they are now. And publications from May, June, September, and November are so outdated in the face of new developments in, um, something.

              Or not.

              2019-SARS-COV-2 is genetically different than other coronaviruses, but the physical means of transmission have not changed. Unless you are claiming you have new studies that show that COVID-19 is explicitly different in how droplets containing the viral matter float through the air? If so, I look forward to reading your publication! It would be a truly groundbreaking discovery.

          2. Literally none of that which you claim to exist, can you be bothered to actually demonstrate in support of your argument.


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      4. I knew almost nothing about Dr. Fauci, but I recognized his mask advice in March to be BS.

        1. I know. The first thing I said to myself when they said not to wear masks was, "sounds like bullshit to me."

        2. Whatta genius you are.

          People just rewriting history now.

          1. I have the receipts for the last batch of N95 masks that I was able to buy before they became impossible to find. It wasn't rocket science for me and many others to recognize the contradiction between "Our healthcare workers need masks" and Fauci's "No one needs to wear a mask"

            But hey, just rewriting history. Feel free to follow Fauci's advice and die.

            1. KevinP, maybe you were just a little dim. There was a quiet-part subtext there which you didn't pick up on, but plenty of folks did. I heard Fauci saying, "No one needs to wear a mask like a healthcare worker doing an intubation needs to wear a mask, and there aren't enough masks."

              I concluded that meant I was going to have to wait until N95 production ramped up. I suspect Fauci thought so too. No one knew then that Trump intended to obstruct PPE production.

              Don't you remember the months afterward, when the entire national leadership—healthcare leaders and politicians in both parties—were going around looking baffled, saying, "Where's the PPE?" It took months for it to sink in that Trump was malevolent enough, and crazy enough, to leave the nation in the lurch.

              You expected eventually to be able to get PPE yourself. That's what you were really saying above. Right now, you could think more clearly, just by asking, "What happened to the PPE? Why don't I have it now?" Was it Fauci who got in the way, or Trump?

              1. Obama/Biden depleted the national stockpile of PPE -- that's where it wasn't.

                1. This was 4 years into Trump's term, so that doesn't really fly.

                  1. Obama had 7 years to replenish the stockpile, but neglected to do so. But it's Trump's fault that he didn't figure this out!


                      Trump didn't bother to fix the problem, and he disbanded the Pandemic Response Team.

                      So yes, the blame falls on his shoulders. He could have addressed the issue, and chose not to. COVID came on his watch, so the fault is his because he was President.

                      You don't get to say "well my predecessor didn't fix the problem, so my not fixing it means I don't have to accept any blame." Only in Trumptardville does that shit fly.

              2. Lathrop, I understand that you are a partisan, so you won't ever blame Obama for depleting the national stockpile of PPE in 2009 and not replenishing it for the next 7 years:

                PBS: Depleted National Stockpile Contributed to COVID PPE Shortage


                Unlike you, I have little faith in government bureaucrats to protect my life, so I made sure I had a personal supply of N95 masks to protect myself and my family.

                And your defense of Fauci is amazing:

                I heard Fauci saying, “No one needs to wear a mask like a healthcare worker doing an intubation needs to wear a mask, and there aren’t enough masks.”

                Fauci didn't say any such thing. He said: "There's no reason to be walking around with a mask."

                People like you and your blind faith in clueless government bureaucrats are at least partly the cause of our mass death rate.

  9. Most spreading is by super spreader events. When one vector can potentially contaminate many vectors this way a higher herd immunity is required to keep the Reinfection rate below 1 over all. My estimate has been 85% since early summer.

    1. Care to show a single link where that’s the case? Because based on what the rest of us have seen, every “Super Spreader” hyped up has produced no evidence of actually super spreading.

      1. How can we possibly properly celebrate the new "Dr. Fauci Day" here in DC if we can't get together in groups to dine and drink to his health?

      2. SciAm article titled "How ‘Superspreading’ Events Drive Most COVID-19 Spread".

        1. Poynter dot org spreadsheet of superspreader events.

          1. Absaroka, thank you for those links. Everyone should check them out.

    2. This statement is just wrong mathematically.

      Standard herd immunity threshold calculations assume populations mix homogenously. Any deviation from homogenous mixing *reduces* the herd immunity threshold.

      Fact: human populations don't mix homogenously.

      Ergo, Fauci's estimates are too high.

      Getting a good estimate would depend on the nature of the connectivity graph for the population.

      My best guess starts around 25%, since that's the population penetration flu pandemics in the 20th century achieved. Looking at data from New York suggests it might be significantly lower than that. If covid-19 is really as infectious as they say (ie, more infectious than pandemic flus), it should naturally have burned through the US in under 2 years. We're almost a year in. (And these things spike and tail off in an area - so infections won't be evenly distributed over that time).

      Of course, vaccination rates will need to be higher - unlike naturally catching the disease, vaccines won't preferentially target the highly connected nodes, so many vaccinations won't do anything to slow the spread. Social distancing will make vaccines less effective too (social distancing increases the average distance between nodes on the connectivity graph - it definitely works, and that decreases the herd immunity threshold for as long as social distancing lasts).

  10. Is "90%" the number to stop meaningful spread of any other infectious disease, let alone any ones of comparable infectivity?

    (This is not sarcasm, but an "I don't know, but that seems awfully high" - at only 10% of the population even capable of being infected, you'll see a LOT of dead-ends when it spreads at all.

    Other models for natural spread [where "the most exposed behavior patterns and most infectable people get infected preferentially, naturally"] suggested numbers in the low 40s for enough to get herd immunity to basically dead-end a virus.

    Vaccination rates need to be higher, of course, because lots of vaccinations will go to people who were never going to spread it anyway for the above reasons, natural random immunity, or unknowningly already having been infected and developed it.)

    1. Think about it. we have a number of examples of super spreader events where 1 individual infected 70%+ of the others attending. The risk that infect-able people will be in that group is greater if herd immunity is low. The higher the herd immunity the greater chance there will not be a superspreader event.

      To break the pandemic the Reinfection rates must be kept below 1. Not hard to figure out how - avoid potential super spreader events, practice preventative measures to reduce chance of catching and spreading at all times, actively help in tracking contacts of all those found infected by keeping a list of our own contacts and locations.

      1. Is the number of such events, where "1 individual infected 70%+ of the others attending", significantly greater than zero? Is the likelihood of being such a superspreader uncorrelated with the likelihood of catching the disease? Do you even know why "The higher the herd immunity the greater chance there will not be a superspreader event" is so wrong?

      2. we have a number of examples of super spreader events where 1 individual infected 70%+ of the others attending.


        1. The same source as most of the other numbers; some asshole.

  11. Shocking! I wonder if the global warming people do anything similar.

  12. Dr. Fauci has always said herd immunity will be achieved at 80%, he also has always said everyone should wear masks all the time.

    Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

  13. "[Fauci] believes that it may take close to 90 percent immunity to bring the virus to a halt …."

    Mao Tse Lung has non-human reservoirs; there will be no bringing it to a halt.

    Just like all the other corona viruses.

    Which is something you'd think he'd know.

    1. Yeah but it has always had non-human reservoirs, if their isn't a ready transmission pathway it probably won't keep cropping up.

        1. Cats, yes (though so far as I know, the only transmission seen is from us to them, not the other way round). Dogs, so far there's no evidence that I know of.

  14. Fauci is a construct of the Marxist/Orwellian concept that truth comes from authority. If the little jerk was a lab rat at a research facility or a professor, he would be ignored for being scatterbrained, inconsistent, and opinionated without any references or clinical trial. He is a jew plant in the scam of virus hoax to crash the western world economy, create government control under pseudo emergency powers of jewish owned politicians. He is un-American to say the least. Next he will make opinion that zyklon b came through shower heads, exterminating millions of non-christians, with total disregard for the detrimental health effects of lice.

    Guy is a jerk. But the jewish media loves him!!! Wear a mask, shut up, get in the box car.

  15. "Dr. Fauci's statements here aren't just about changed medical understanding, right?" Correct. The 'science' is guided by polling data and political whim.

    We can't forget Fauci's role in the Anthrax Matter (in which a Postal Service contractor detected anthrax faster and more reliably then Fauci's department at the CDC). We also can't forget President Carter's overall evaluation of the Atlanta CDC Machine in the wake of the swine flu 'epidemic' of the early 1970's. And some of remember how the government could, prior to a couple's marriage, distinguish an octoroon's 'black' blood from pure 'white' blood.

    The CDC has always been guided by popularity, not science, and has had self-perpetuation, not public health, as its goal.

  16. Science doesn't have a rock-solid number; when asked for one he picks among the best guesses.

    This is not dishonesty.

    1. He's not making a guess, and if he is actually doing so, then he has to honestly say so.

      He has no actual idea, but is instead telling people what he thinks they want to hear.

      This is not science. It is dishonest politicking.

    2. The OP quotes Fauci as saying ""When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent," Dr. Fauci said. "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.""

      That's not him giving us his best estimate of an accurate number.

      1. I don't know that there is what one could call a best estimate right now, other than based on past diseases in the range of 70-95%.

        In situ data is super noisy. We probably won't know anything for sure on the population health level until like 2024.

        1. There's no magical number for herd immunity. It depends on many factors, including socioeconomic factors. Other things being equal, dense crowded cities are likely to need a higher number than dispersed farming communities.

          There is some evidence that East Asians may have some genetic protection against Covid due to millenia of SARS-like diseases.

          1. There needs to be a goal number, Kevin. As a matter of policy and public assurance.

            I won't trust the some study about East Asians until I see something longitudinal. Again, the data is very noisy right now.

            1. The goal has to be based on some science, not on Fauci's "feelings" and his reading of when to tell people what they may want to hear.

              In any case, this is a moot point. Support for public health measures depends upon the Consent of the Governed, which is being withdrawn slowly but surely. After the groups that are most vulnerable to death are vaccinated, the death rate will plummet and the remaining fear mongering will fail.

        2. Sure. I'm not quibbling about what his best guess is. I'm quibbling about ‘I can nudge this up a bit’. He's not giving us his best unvarnished estimate - he is spinning his number to try and evoke the behavior he wants.

          Merry Christmas!

        3. We could look at real life, where we see the virus gets to roughly 20% prevalence and then starts crashing. Over and over and over and over.

    3. If he was being a scientist, we would tell us his number, and then he'd tell us how he calculated that. If that number changes, he'd tell us how the calculation changed with respect to the virus.

      What he wouldn't do is tell us he was changing it based on public opinion about vaccines. That's not being a scientist.

      No, there's no right answer. Science is about using evidence to become less wrong. But to do that, you have to actually base your decisions on evidence material to the question you're answering.

  17. Comments here show hostility to the notion of public health. From ideologically anti-government types, that is par for the course. Public health, everywhere, has been one of the most effective government endeavors on record. It has done more at less expense to save lives, lengthen lives, and improve lives than practically anything else government does.

    So of course right-wing ideologues want to tear it down. Public health is inherently collective, run by government, successful, and popular. Programs the ideologues want for government are none of those things. Naturally, the ideologues worry that public health success will make government programs more popular. Whatever makes government popular, right wing ideologues will sabotage if they can. They don't even care if their sabotage efforts turn deadly. Rebellion against mask wearing shows that.

    1. Team Red isn't the one saying "SCIENCE!" then mandating mask-wearing and lockdowns, neither of which have ANY actual scientific evidence that they work.

      So take your bullshit and shove it right back up your ass where it came from.

  18. Errors happen; scientists' understanding changes; but Dr. Fauci's statements here aren't just about changed medical understanding, right?

    Dr. Fauci is not primarily a scientist, let alone a pure scientist. His principal responsibility is as a public health administrator. Students of public health techniques have long studied the best ways to win public cooperation for scientifically defined goals. They do not do that in secret. They have always been forthright that their methods blend science with communication techniques, and even propaganda techniques. They write about that, and openly advocate what they write as policy. Again and again, those kinds of policies have proved effective, giving public health a long record as a standout among the examples of government success.

    At the outset of this pandemic, this nation had a public health policy which was largely based on that previous work in the public health community. This time, that policy was at first ignored, and then opposed by the national government. The President himself repeatedly urged Americans to flout the public health policy, to make the pandemic worse. As ghastly as it is to face the implications, the President wanted the pandemic worse. No other conclusion is reasonable. The President did what he could to make it so.

    The result of that is plain to see—a needless advent of mass sickness and death. Decent people ought not view with equanimity the disaster that perverse opposition to saving methods inflicted. As the nation races toward ~ 400,000 excess deaths during less than a year, the time has come for the failed advocacy against public health to quiet itself.

    1. I have a word for this: PSYCHOP....

    2. This is a lot of words to say, "Of course the 'experts' are full of shit."

    3. Lathrop: The experts in the public health community prevented the Moderna vaccine from being widely distributed until just last week. It was first invented in February and tested as safe by June.

      How many hundreds of thousands of Americans have been killed by your public health experts in the name of vaccine safety?

  19. When the public fails to "follow the science" we call them stupid.

    When the scientists make up the science as they go along, it would be stupid to not take what they say with a grain of salt.

  20. Eugene, dear, your link to NYTimes doesn't say what you quoted it saying (the longish blockquoted stuff), and your link to Vox under the words "went to 80, 85" doesn't say anything about him changing his mind or why. So where did the line about moving the number because of public opinion (poll) come from, really? How do you know it's not a fake quotation?

    Oh, the NYTimes page was updated 33 minutes ago. So maybe it did support you when you linked to it, but it doesn't, now.

  21. Fauci is not a scientist, he’s a celebrity, with about the credibility of Schiff, Pelosi, Schumer, Streisand, Reiner, Cher....

    1. He's a scientific public-relations guy. But so are most professors in scientific fields. Very few actually do experiments. They spend their time giving lectures at seminars and writing grant proposals and other administrative work. They're glorified secretaries-plus-salesmen. The real scientists are the technicians, and the grad students, and some of the post-docs.

      1. It's actually pretty interesting; it depends on what you mean by science. The folks that are the senior professors and who become principle investigators have done science, but now direct it. It is their curiosity, tempered by their experience which is the engine.

        Making the observations could be done by a sufficiently advanced robot, but not the intuition of what to observe.

        So which is the scientist?

    2. ...have you looked at his past history?

    1. Thanks, here are the quotes:

      Recently, a figure to whom millions of Americans look for guidance — Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an adviser to both the Trump administration and the incoming Biden administration — has begun incrementally raising his herd-immunity estimate.

      In the pandemic’s early days, Dr. Fauci tended to cite the same 60 to 70 percent estimate that most experts did. About a month ago, he began saying “70, 75 percent” in television interviews. And last week, in an interview with CNBC News, he said “75, 80, 85 percent” and “75 to 80-plus percent.”

      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,” Dr. Fauci said. “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.”

  22. Hold on guys...Science is not a religion, they get it wrong until they get right!

  23. Out of curiosity, how many of Reason's readers know about this?

    Dr. Fauci Backed Controversial Wuhan Lab with U.S. Dollars for Risky Coronavirus Research

    Quotes (but read the whole article):
    ... the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the organization led by Dr. Fauci, funded scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other institutions for work on gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses.

    Many scientists have criticized gain of function research, which involves manipulating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans, because it creates a risk of starting a pandemic from accidental release.

    SARS-CoV-2 , the virus now causing a global pandemic, is believed to have originated in bats. U.S. intelligence, after originally asserting that the coronavirus had occurred naturally, conceded last month that the pandemic may have originated in a leak from the Wuhan lab. (At this point most scientists say it's possible—but not likely—that the pandemic virus was engineered or manipulated.)

    1. Lathrop will jump in to defend Fauci, but note that the article I posted has links to the NIH grants which are public info.

  24. Dr. Fauci is the main reason I hate everyone just shouting "Listen to the experts!" Okay, which ones, and when? It's not like there's just one thing we pick up labeled "Science!" that has all the right answers. There are a lot of experts with a lot of different opinions, and as Dr. Fauci has shown on several occasions, they give opinions based on more than just pure scientific results.

    So yes, we definitely need for follow science, but it's not a clear path with no questions. You still have to allow for biases and mistakes and decide WHO you're going to listen to.

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