Dr. Anthony Fauci has attempted to absolve himself of responsibility for the tyrannical measures that were enforced during the pandemic.
During a testy interview with the New York Times published Tuesday, Fauci denied playing a role in lockdowns.
“Show me a school that I shut down and show me a factory that I shut down,” Fauci said when asked about the consequences of “heavy-handed” public health policies.
“Never. I never did,” he asserted.
“I gave a public-health recommendation that echoed the CDC’s recommendation, and people made a decision based on that.
“But I never criticized the people who had to make the decisions one way or the other.”
The response was just one of several in which Fauci defended his guidance during the pandemic.
Fauci, Democrat President Joe Biden’s former chief medical advisor, pushed back against critics who have accused him of being wrong about everything from masks to how effective vaccines would be.
He also admitted public health officials were sometimes wrong.
Fauci, who recently retired from his post as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), argued that the ever-changing nature of the evidence meant it was nearly impossible to get everything right.
“Communication in pandemics is difficult under the best of circumstances,” Fauci said.
“What has been so troubling to me as a health official is when you are dealing with a moving target, the evidence is evolving and new data becomes available, but you get so many different people with their own sets of data that are not real data, but even in a perfect world, it would not be easy.”
One of the most controversial issues Fauci confronted as the face of the pandemic response was the mask mandates that eventually spread across the nation.
Although Fauci had initially told Americans masking was unnecessary, he would later become a vocal supporter of the benefits of wearing face coverings.
He even called on the public to wear two masks at once, arguing that it would be “more effective” than wearing just one.
When asked if his change of tune on masks and the divisive nature of the mandates may have intensified opposition to vaccines later, Fauci agreed that anything that “intensified the culture wars just made things worse.”
“When it comes to masking, I don’t know,” Fauci said.
“But I do know that the culture wars have been really, really tough from a public-health standpoint.
“Ultimately an epidemiologist sees it as an epidemiological phenomenon.
“An economist sees it from an economic standpoint. And I see it from somebody in bed dying.”
The retired top federal health official noted that policies meant to spread the use of the vaccine may have backfired as many people across the country were already becoming skeptical of public health guidance.
“I think, almost paradoxically, you had people who were on the fence about getting vaccinated thinking, why are they forcing me to do this,” Fauci said.
“And that sometimes-beautiful independent streak in our country becomes counterproductive.”
He also defended his views on the origins of the pandemic, arguing that he was open to the idea that the virus could have leaked from a Chinese lab despite believing more evidence exists to support the notion that the virus originated from a Wuhan wet market.
“I feel that until you have a definitive proof of one or the other, it is essential to have an open mind,” Fauci said.
“But I want to highlight the difference between possible and probable.
“If you look at what’s possible, I absolutely keep an open mind until we get a definitive proof of one versus the other.”
Fauci also stressed the limitations scientists have when confronting a pandemic, arguing that future leaders should learn lessons from the country’s response to Covid and stressing that public health officials need to stay vigilant ahead of the next pandemic.
“We don’t need an infinite budget,” Fauci said.
“We just need a sustained commitment to science and public health.
“The next pandemic may be 25 years from now.
“It could be 50 years from now.
“Remember, the last transforming pandemic was 1918.
“We had pandemics in 1957, 1968, and 2009, but nobody hardly even noticed them.”