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America's number one health official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, because of those ballgame photos, should be the most notorious unmasked person since the Phantom of the Opera. But, he insisted to Fox News "I had my mask around my chin. I had taken it down. I was totally dehydrated and I was drinking water, trying to rehydrate myself," Fauci. Actually, the published ones either show his hands together or wrapped around a cell phone. Further, in a virtually empty stadium, he also found no room for "social distancing," sitting between two others seat-to-seat.
Still, it may be hard to accuse the director of the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, "the nation's most trusted disease expert," of hypocrisy on anything since he has been all over the map on masks, epidemic severity, and pretty much every other aspect of COVID-19.
Further, in fairness he should be sharing the stage of infamy with America's other top health official, CDC Director Robert Redfield, both of whose antics I have been documenting since they "blossomed" during the first epidemic hysteria of our time, that of heterosexual AIDS. Yet Redfield is virtually never found culpable for anything.
Let's start with Fauci.
The left-wing publication Vox.com notes it was not coronavirus but, "an earlier crisis that shaped (Fauci's) career — and that's crucial to understanding his position today." Indeed. Nobody did more to kick off the U.S. AIDS alarm than Fauci, who was sole author of a 1983 piece in the prestigious JAMA in which he declared the disease might be transmissible by "routine close contact, as within a family household."
He shortly thereafter ascended to the position he holds to this day. Long after it was established that AIDS was actually extremely hard to transmit, Fauci nonetheless continued to raise hue and cry. In 1987, columnist George Will asserted on national TV that the threat to heterosexuals was overstated. "That's not correct," Fauci protested, followed by a prediction that the percentage of AIDS cases contracted via heterosexual transmission (then at 4%) would rise to 10% by 1991. No, it never rose above 4%.
He repeated the pattern during successive disease panics, such as when he declared 16 years ago that we're "due" for "massive person-to-person" spread of Avian flu A/H5N1. How massive? While Fauci didn't define the term, according to one estimate by a CDC modeler "even in the best-case scenarios" worldwide it would "cause 2 to 7 million deaths."
British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson (whose later prediction of 550,000 coronavirus deaths in Britain and 2 million in the U.S. would lead to economically ruinous nationwide lockdowns in both countries) scaled that back to "only" 200,000. As it turned out, the disease killed 440 worldwide.
More recently, Fauci sounded alarm over the threat of the Zika virus, demanding billions more in taxpayer funds. It barely touched two U.S. states before burning out on its own.
Now COVID-19 has become Fauci's "worst nightmare." According to The Hill, Fauci during a taped interview at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization's annual conference said the virus behind the disease (SARS-CoV-2) met all four criteria for a nightmare scenario: It is new, respiratory-borne, easily transmissible, and has a significant degree of illness or mortality.
Fauci also said the virus surprised him with "how rapidly it just took over the planet." However, it appears to spread with the same speed as seasonal flu, which covers the world map annually. And, of course, seasonal flu is also respiratory and has significant mortality.
An inarguable nightmare would have been the original World Health Organization mortality estimate of 3.4%, as opposed to the more recent CDC "best guess" estimate of about 0.26%. Meanwhile, the "Asian flu" of 1957-1958 (H2N2) had a death rate of about 0.67%, well over twice that the CDC estimates for COVID-19. Asian Flu killed an estimated 116,000 Americans and 1.1 million worldwide, according to the CDC. That's 223,000 Americans and 3 million worldwide adjusted to today's populations. The "Hong Kong flu" of 1968-1969 (H3N2) killed an estimated 100,000 Americans and 1 million worldwide, or 165,000 Americans and 2.1 million people worldwide adjusted to today's populations.
Those estimates are not for deaths "with" the virus or "suspected" as having been caused by the virus even without a test, as the CDC explicitly allows in its COVID-19 guidelines. They indicate death directly from the flu.
Yet life in those times continued essentially as normal. For neither flu pandemic were there mandatory facemasks in the U.S., no "social distancing," no quarantining of the healthy that triggered rises in alcohol and other drug abuse, domestic violence, depression, and suicide, or what Fauci himself described as "irreparable damage." They occurred without panic, caused no recessions, much less the possibility of a worldwide depression.
I've related how Fauci rose to fame, but how has he kept it? One way is by saying what the MSM wants to hear, be it with AIDS, avian flu, Zika, or COVID-19. But in the academic world, Fauci is famous for is his incredible output on an equally incredibly number of subjects. "In a 2019 analysis of Google Scholar citations, Dr. Fauci ranked as the 41st most highly cited researcher of all time," states his official NIAID bio. "According to the Web of Science, he ranked 8th out of more than 2.2 million authors in the field of immunology by total citation count between 1980 and January 2019."
Actually, he's just a bit too incredible.
I first realized this when I worked at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1987-88) and invited him to a hearing on AIDS. Even back then, his CV listing all the papers on which he was lead or co-researcher was so heavy it practically required a forklift. Today, according to his official NIAID bio, he is "author, coauthor, or editor of more than 1,300 scientific publications, including several textbooks." This would be extremely impressive in any case, but remember we're talking about someone who for the past 36 year was supposed to be working full-time as an administrator when he's not throwing first pitches, not doing individual research.
As one can see by entering Fauci's name in PubMed, the government's archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, there are simply too many papers listing Fauci on too many disparate subjects, and too often as lead researcher. (Note: For medical journal papers the lead researcher is listed last.) Some papers that list him as lead researcher are of labor-intensive clinical trials.
Keep scrolling and you find Fauci is apparently a published expert on virtually every medical topic.
Something is going on here. And unless Fauci has had himself cloned, the best guess might be considered plagiarism by consent. There's always steep competition to get in the top-ranked journals and it would appear that the true researchers are putting Fauci's name on their papers to push them up the ladder in exchange for which he gets yet one more academic publication attributed to him, as noted usually with him as lead researcher. It's a shame he's not part of Marvel's Avengers.
CDC Director Robert E. Redfield seems to have stumbled and bumbled his way to the top of the world's most important epidemiological service and came into the public eye by being spectacularly wrong about AIDS far more so even than Fauci. Like Fauci, and unlike, say, his Swedish counterpart Anders Tegnell — who was architect of his nation's non-lockdown approach — Redfield has no degree in epidemiology. (He does in virology, a vastly different field.) He never spent a day in the field studying what real diseases do to real people. Redfield doesn't pretend to excel in publications, which is fine, but what stands out is the vast majority are on a single subject: HIV.
In other times, unqualified CDC heads would be of less importance, but Redfield's incompetence is a clear and present danger. And yet the media (both liberal and conservative) have almost without exception let him pass "Go" and collect rather more than $200. (In one of the few instances of criticism, his initial salary was almost twice that of his predecessor before the revelation of this caused him to request it be cut back to his predecessor's level.)
It's not just that Redfield is a one-trick pony; he's very bad at that trick. In my 1990 book, "The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS," he is mentioned on 24 pages. (Can a person set himself up as a straw man?) A sample: "Dr. Redfield, amazingly, has declared (the chances of) male-to-female vaginal HIV to be 50% per contact." Yet data already available at that time showed that if neither partner had genital sores or other openings, odds approached zero.
Redfield's public career has at times seemed to straddle the line between medical research and political activism. In the early 1990s, he backed federal legislation that would have subjected people with HIV to forced testing and the loss of their professional licenses and would have effectively quarantined them — for a disease essentially transmitted by anal sex and transfer of blood and blood products. Redfield also threw his weight behind an HIV vaccine in 1992 that proved worthless. An Army investigation (he was a colonel at the time) found no official misconduct, but at the same time didn't explain its decision. There is still is no HIV vaccine today.
Under Redfield, it's now the CDC that's stumbling, bumbling, and covering up. Foregoing a test developed in Germany for the World Health Organization and used widely across the globe, the CDC opted, in keeping with its standard practice, to develop its own test. In doing so, however, the CDC failed to follow appropriate manufacturing procedures, according to a Washington Post investigation. This led to contamination of one of the components used in the tests and further delay.
Finally, "On February 28, nearly 50 days after the virus's genetic sequence was made available, the FDA approved the CDC's existing tests to be used in the U.S.," noted Vox. This was long after essentially the rest of the planet. But Redfield has sounded content with his agency's performance. "Confronting global outbreaks and protecting Americans is what we do," Redfield wrote in an email obtained by ProPublica. "More and more, people are turning to us for guidance, and we respond consistently with evidence-based information and professionalism."
ProPublica's article is among the very few that both criticize the CDC and bother to name its chief.
Criticism of the CDC has even come from such unlikely sources as White House Task Force member Dr. Deborah Birx. Yet she too — at least in the newspaper that quoted her – avoids saying Redfield's name as if it were proscribed by religious belief. "Birx and others were frustrated with the CDC's antiquated system for tracking virus data, which they worried was inflating some statistics — such as mortality rate and case count — by as much as 25%," according to the Washington Post. The newspaper quoted two sources who alleged Birx said, "There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust." But no names were named.
Redfield has also been an adamant "2nd Wave" advocate, tying it to the return of cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere, even as Fauci won't address the issue except for seeming a bit dismissive. "There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through," Redfield warned in a Washington Post interview. "We're going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time."
He added that "when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don't understand what I mean."
That's actually rather understandable. For one, the first time around we had flu and COVID-19 at the same time. And while yes, COVID-19 appears to prefer cooler weather, several key differences this fall should tend to make coping with the virus easier, not harder:
(An acceptably tested and safe vaccine for this year is not likely, and likewise the process for testing new drugs is very time-consuming; therefore tying such a vaccine or drugs to "unlockings" or school openings or whatever is not wise.)
Like Fauci, Redfield has (if indirectly) said coronavirus could be worse than the worst epidemic of modern times, the so-called "Spanish flu." Said Redfield in an April radio program, "I think it's important for the American public to understand about the potential magnitude of the challenge that we have," that "This is the greatest public health crisis that has hit this nation in more than 100 years." He emphasized, "That's not a hyperbole; that's just a fact."
"More than 100 years" means at least to 1919, the second year of the "Spanish flu." I debunked this comparison in recent article (as well as one 10 years previously), noting not only that COVID-19 is vastly less lethal but also that medical care has advanced just a tad since when there was little more available for treatment than aspirin. That includes antibiotics, pneumonia vaccines, pulmonary intubation, antivirals, and even the seemingly simple concept of IV tubes for hydration, nourishment, and continuous medicine injection.
No matter; no virus can be so benign nor occur after so many medical advances that this dread pandemic isn't invoked. Imagine Star Trek's Dr. McCoy exclaiming, "Dammit Jim, this looks like it could be another Spanish Flu!"
But they don't call it mass hysteria for nothing. During these events people see that which doesn't exist and don't see that which does. Invisible in this mass hysteria is the utter incompetence of Dr. Robert R. Redfield and to only a lesser extent the conniving of Dr. Anthony Fauci.