It’s nice to see that Anthony Fauci is beginning to earn the solid international reputation that he deserves. Yen Makabenta, an acute observer and regular contributor to the Manila Times, recently acknowledged Dr Fauci as COVID’s “fearmonger-in-chief.” At long last, a departure from treating Fauci as an infallible demigod.
Dr Fauci’s panic patina started to become obvious as his much feared post-2020 holiday season “surge on top of a surge” failed to materialize. Rather than an objective and dispassionate scientist, it began to appear that Fauci is more a brilliant cheerleader for catastrophe, unerringly finding and fanning the flames of fear for the worst-of-all-possible-worlds scenario.
Over the opening months of 2021 Dr. Fauci’s gleaming ineptitude has been further burnished by repeated warnings of “impending doom” (to borrow from his colleague, Dr. Walensky):
- In mid-February there were major blizzard-induced delays in COVID new case reporting, followed immediately by a compensatory upswing in reporting. Dr. Fauci, referencing one of the myriad of omnipresent COVID dashboards, informed the nation that this glitch in reporting was not an accounting artifact, but in fact “a plateau” in the US national epidemic curve (it wasn’t), heralding the next deadly “surge” (it didn’t).
- In March, following the withdrawal of the statewide mask mandate in Texas, Dr. Fauci warned the world that Texas would soon be in the grip of a new COVID surge. When this particular prophecy of doom failed to make its appearance, he admitted that absence of a new Texas “surge” was “confusing.” Dr. Fauci went on to speculate that it might be due to everyone in Texas displaying their Neanderthal worldview by “doing things outside”(c’mon, man, really?).
- In April, at the recurrence of a spring outbreak in Michigan (just like last year), Dr. Fauci sounded the alarm that Michigan was likely the “bellwether” for the “fourth wave” in the US. As it turns out, the “dire” Michigan outbreak epidemic curve peaked on or about April 5, two days before Fauci’s April 7 “bellwether” pronouncement. This “disturbingly high level” of new COVID cases in the US peaked out on April 9, accompanied by a monotonic decline in new COVID associated deaths, which continues through today. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, of course, made more headlines at that press conference with her lurid confession of “recurring feelings of impending doom” and being “scared” by “bellwether” Michigan.
- As we make our way into May, Dr. Fauci insists that herd immunity can be reached only when 80-90% of the population have been vaccinated, due to the dire ravages of the B.1.1.7 strain of SARS-CoV-2, better known as the “British variant.” His latest foray into fanning the flames of doom ignores the transmission characteristics of a viral pathogen whose R value has never been reasonably calculated as higher than about 3.8 (50% higher than the wild type R value of 2.5). This yields a first order estimate of herd immunity threshold occurring at something like a 73% prevalence of immunity in the human population (not 80 to 90%). Further, Dr. Fauci ignores that 30% or so of the US population have recovered from and are immune to SARS-CoV-2 infection, thus reducing the need for vaccine induced immunity to something like 45% in order to reach a herd immunity threshold. Finally, Dr. Fauci seems uninterested in the body of research which strongly suggests that somewhere between 10 and 30% of the human population is able to mount a robust immune response to SARS-CoV-2 even in the absence of exposure to the virus. Investigators believe that this may be due to exposure to other so-called “common cold” coronaviridae. If even 10% of the US population can mount such a response, this could drop the need for vaccine induced immunity to as little as 35% of the population. Better, though, according to the dogma of Dr. Fauci, to cling to the impossible goal of 80 to 90% vaccination prevalence, which allows him to declare herd immunity an impossibility, mandating all the rest of us to: stay home indefinitely, wear two masks at all times, nurture symptoms of anxiety disorder with panic attacks (the symptoms reported by Dr. Walensky), and wait breathlessly for the next pronouncement by Dr. Tony Fauci. This is called “following the science” and “saving lives.”
None of Fauci’s above warnings have any basis in empirically derived fact. Indeed, none of these warnings is even rational. I base this argument solely upon the published knowledge base regarding COVID-19, available to anyone who can read.
I would like to acknowledge, with all due deference to Dr. Fauci, that he is not the only effective agent for pandemic fearmongering. He is ably assisted by high level representatives of for-profit corporate entities. The recent statements by Dr. Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, that booster shots of mRNA vaccine will probably be necessary 6 to 12 months after initial vaccination, and that annual booster shots will probably be needed into the indefinite future, have no basis in demonstrated fact. These are pure speculations, based, I suspect, upon the profit motive. There exist no methodologically sound studies and, therefore, no valid data sets which do, or which reasonably could, support statements of probability as to the risk reduction provided by any of the extant vaccines at 6 months, 12 months, 2 years, or any other time point in the future. Dr. Bourla’s phlegmatic assertions of probable future events would be laughed out of a serious and objective scientific conference, and might not even pass Daubert muster in trial courts. They are fit only for “science journalism” and cable news.
Dr. Bourla’s predictions are equal in stature to those of Dr. Fauci: facially self-serving, irresponsible, and as deserving of criticism as any of Dr. Fauci’s cavalcade of failed predictions. Recent assertions by Dr. Scott Gottlieb on behalf of Pfizer, Drs. Sahin and Tureci on behalf of BioNTech, and Dr. Bancel on behalf of Moderna are very much along the same line. One must acknowledge that these companies have turned out impressive products in the last year. The mere fact, however, that these “experts” are accomplished profit motivated capitalists – as opposed to being self-serving, irresponsible, unelected government bureaucrats -- does not guarantee against unconscious biases or even intentional misrepresentations.
I applaud Mr. Makabenta for his refreshing and insightful award to Dr. Fauci, the title of Fearmonger-in-Chief. Better than Gov. Cuomo’s Emmy by a long shot. I sincerely look forward to Mr. Makabenta’s presentation of similarly shiny trophies to Dr. Bourla and his colleagues in the life sciences industries.