In a flooded news cycle, you may have missed the fiery exchange between Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Dr. Anthony Fauci. They went in circles again about the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Dr. Fauci repeatedly used weasel words to avoid admitting that the research conducted in 2015 fits the definition of gain-of-function.
Paul gave a detailed and convincing account of the studies done in Wuhan. He highlighted the researchers’ note in the published results that they took pieces of two different viruses, put them together, and the new virus infected the lungs of humanized mice. The new virus did not occur in nature and was capable of causing illness in human respiratory cells. Fauci continued to contend that this research was not gain-of-function because the term was too broad to assess what went on in the lab.
Instead, Fauci refers to a PC3O framework that replaced the gain-of-function definition. He attempted to use acronyms from that framework to bat down Paul’s accusations. After several contentious minutes, Paul finally said, “Coincidentally, the definition [PC3O] appeared on the same day the NIH said that yes, there was a gain-of-function in Wuhan. The same day the definition appeared, the new definition, to try and define away what’s going on in Wuhan.”
Paul continued, “Until you accept it, until you accept responsibility, we’re not going to get anywhere close to trying to prevent another lab leak of this dangerous sort of experiment. You won’t admit that it is dangerous, and for that lack of judgment, I think it’s time that you resign.” Of course, Fauci said no.
Astonishingly, Fauci continued to profess that there is a consensus that SARS-CoV-2 originated in nature, not in the lab. Paul pointed out that over 80,000 animals have been tested and nearly two years have passed. Investigators have not identified any animal host. In typical Fauci style, he was rude, spoke down to Paul as if he were a child rather than a physician, and closed by saying that Paul had gotten so much wrong he couldn’t cover it all. At that point, the committee chair would not allow Paul to respond.
Paul’s criticism follows several other prominent physicians speaking out. On Monday, Dave Rubin released an interview with Dr. Drew Pinsky. Pinsky worked closely with Fauci during the HIV epidemic and continued to defend Fauci throughout the pandemic. However, in this discussion, he asserted that the CDC and anyone associated with public health had created vaccine hesitancy due to a lack of transparency.
He notes that during HIV, Fauci promoted education to change behavior. Pinsky says Fauci’s emphasis on openness and education is the reason he started in radio. Pinsky struggled to understand the response to COVID-19, having practiced medicine through five pandemics with Fauci. In his estimation, H1N1 was also a horrible pandemic, and a comparison of the public health response makes little sense.
It appears that Fauci has now upset Pinsky. He, like Paul, is frustrated with Fauci being cagey and trying to obfuscate the research in Wuhan. Pinsky noted Fauci’s denials in previous congressional testimony and his ultimate admission that the lab manipulated viruses. Fauci referred to the activity as “change-of-function.”
Then he said as if talking to Fauci, “Why didn’t you tell us? That’s how you create vaccine hesitancy. Now, it’s like, okay, I can’t trust you. You knew what we were asking. Answer the damn question. Be open about this. Trust the American people to be able to digest what you’re telling them.” You have to wonder what Pinsky will think after watching Thursday’s CYA performance.
Two authors of the Great Barrington Declaration also detailed what they believe Fauci has gotten wrong in a Newsweek editorial on Monday. Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Martin Kulldorff are epidemiologists and health policy experts. Dr. Anthony Fauci is an immunologist. Bhattacharya and Kulldorff put Fauci’s mistakes into a series of primary categories:
- Ignoring natural immunity
- Protecting the elderly
- School Closures
- Contact tracing
- Collateral public health damage
The pair correctly notes that, by implementing a strategy that made it okay to suffer and die from anything but COVID-19, “Americans will live with—and die from— this collateral damage for many years to come.” They note cancer detection and treatment, cardiac disease, diabetes care, childhood vaccination rates, mental health, and opioid addiction as some examples of illnesses ignored or not properly treated during the pandemic.
At nearly 80 with five decades in government and accruing a significant pension, it is not clear why Dr. Fauci does not retire. As of today, the CDC reports nearly 750,000 deaths, more in 2021 than in 2020. It is not evident that there is any control over the spread of the virus, even with almost 80% of the eligible population vaccinated. Dr. Fauci’s strategy is failing. Given that he refuses to leave, one might wonder if the failure is by design.
What the exchange between Paul and Fauci below: