Kevin Roche: Schadenfauci

My friend Kevin Roche holds down the fort at the invaluable Healthy Skeptic site. I turned to Kevin yesterday to ask him a question that has been on my mind: Is it wrong to be happy that Dr. Fauci has contracted Covid? He took my call at his lake house up north and promptly responded to my question in the column below (also posted here at Kevin’s site).

A friend asked me if it was okay to have a little smiley burst of happiness when reading that the overpromoted and underperforming Dr. Fauci had contracted Covid-19. Let us wish ill on no one. Okay, almost no one.

Fauci draws more than his share of ire because he has been the most visible face of the “official” response to the epidemic. He stands or sits there with a sanctimonious expression on his face and this mild, reasonable tone of voice, and spews an endless stew of misstatements and lies. The lifelong bureaucrat in action — never really accomplished anything — survives by being politically adept. If such bureaucrats don’t start out as incompetent in their field, they quickly get the knack of it. In government it isn’t what you know, it is who you know and how much cow manure you can spread while blaming everyone else for the odor.

Fauci’s major sin was his participation in the terror campaign to have Americans believe that Covid-19 was the end of the world unless we ceased all social and economic interaction, locked ourselves and our children in the basement indefinitely and wore six masks, preferably N95s or maybe even N96s. Like all elitists, however, he thought it was okay for the underclass to take all the risks and keep working so they could produce and deliver food and other necessities to his home. This gentleman is the head of the infectious disease division of the National Institutes of Health, but the adequacy and accuracy of his information about the epidemiology of respiratory viruses wouldn’t fill a thimble. And he certainly didn’t know anything about those grants he was giving to labs in China to study making coronavirus more dangerous.

Dr. Fauci has been particularly fond of spreading misinformation about vaccines, including regarding the recent approval to inoculate children aged 5 and under. There is no evidence of any real risk to these children from Covid-19. Almost all of them have already been infected and thus have adaptive immunity and the vaccines carry some risks, particularly for young male children.

In a rational world the FDA would never have approved use for this age group and no other Western nation has, but this week our politically captive guardian of the public safety went ahead and gave its blessing to the practice. The Pfizer and Moderna trials showed no meaningful benefit. Our own analysis of the Minnesota data shows that children who have been vaccinated are actually at greater risk of infection and hospitalization than those left unvaccinated. If you want an outstanding analysis of the weakness of the case for vaccination in this age group, see Dr. Vinay Prasad’s Twitter thread here.

Notwithstanding his constant assurance that vaccinations would end the epidemic, apparently being vaccinated and boosted, probably at least twice, did not protect Dr. Fauci, who is at the other end of the age spectrum. On the other hand, we do have visual evidence that his mask-wearing technique and behavior could use some improvement. Of course, you can’t be a leader of the terror campaign if you aren’t a hypocrite. This has proved an iron law from A to Z, or from Newsom to Obama to Pelosi. What is that saying about karma? So yes, enjoy your smiley moment as Dr. Fauci joins the vast majority of Americans who have been infected, often multiple times.

Dr. Fauci has conscientiously resisted explaining to Americans the normal course of a respiratory virus epidemic and the nature of adaptive immunity. He may not understand it, but let’s assume that he does. He has described both infection and vaccine-derived adaptive immunity as essentially ending transmission when occurring to a large enough portion of the population–the widely ballyhooed “herd immunity.” As I explained in a post last week, there is no population immunity to infection, particularly in the era of overzealous PCR and antigen testing. Adaptive immunity does not stop exposure and subsequent infection as long as you are still breathing. Neither do masks for that matter. Adaptive immunity can provide good protection against serious disease, and we are experiencing that. So there is a strong level of population immunity to serious disease.

I am puzzled why he has been incapable of explaining that Covid-19, like most respiratory viruses, has reached the stage in which there will likely be ongoing exposure, there will be infections, but there will be only a minor number of hospitalizations and deaths, probably far fewer than occur with influenza. This is the standard end stage of a coronavirus epidemic, and Covid-19 will be the fifth regularly circulating coronavirus.

Earlier this spring he began to head down this path, but recanted under pressure from his fellow Covid-19 terrorists. It would have been nice if our leading infectious disease expert had from the start explained the likely course of the epidemic and been forthcoming about the limitations of any measures to suppress transmission. We would have ended up in the same place faster.

The good doctor has had a few useful moments during the epidemic. His interactions with Rand Paul at Congressional hearings, for example, have been epic episodes in weaseldom, and provided comic relief. But his greatest value may be that he has reminded many Americans that scientists and experts are fallible human beings. Very, very fallible as it turns out, full of biases, often ignorant and incompetent and increasingly driven by politics and ideology.

And he epitomizes the special danger that ensues from listening to government scientists and experts. If his conduct has caused us to exercise great skepticism and to insist on hearing and weighing multiple perspectives, he deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “Think for yourself” would be a great new motto for the nation.

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