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Fauci On People Skeptical Of His Claims: They Don’t ‘Understand’ That ‘Science Is A Dynamic Process’

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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 26: From left: Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Dr. Diana Bianchi, director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talk after a Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, May 26, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed criticism during an interview Wednesday, saying the problem was essentially that those who have a problem with him do not understand science.

“I wonder if you feel like you’re still making up some of that loss ground from many months under the last administration of not just no information, but disinformation being out there,” MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace said. “Do you still see some hardness among his supporters around the vaccine or around some of these messages you’re sharing with us today?”

Yeah, I mean, there’s no doubt that there are people out there who for one reason or other, resent me for what I did in the last administration, which was not anything that was anti-Trump at all, it was just trying to get the right information, to try and get the right data and what they didn’t seem to understand. I guess that’s understandable, that they didn’t understand it, is that science is a dynamic process,” Fauci said. “So something that you know, in January, you make a recommendation or a comment about it. But as you get more and more information, the information leads you to change, because that’s what science is, it’s a self-correcting process. So when you hear someone say something at one point, and then two or three months later, if you stick with what you said, at the original time, when you had one-fifth the amount of data that you have now, I think that would be inappropriate.”

“It’s appropriate, although sometimes it’s difficult for people to understand how as you learn more and more, you’ve got to continue to evolve with the data,” he added. “And that’s what I was trying to do is to always tell the truth on the basis of what the data is. And it was never deliberately something against the president. In fact, he spoke about my emails. He looked at my emails, I never in the email said anything derogatory about President Trump.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: President Biden today announcing new vaccination efforts while also touting our vaccine success so far as a country, nearly 63% of U.S. adults now have received at least one shot while new COVID infections are staying way down, levels not seen since our first wave 15 months ago. And now this headline out of New York City our first COVID epicenter, zero COVID deaths reported yesterday for the first time in months, and an all time low positivity right there. Dr. Anthony Fauci says we should not declare victory yet, given the unpredictability of this virus and its variants and the very different story we’re seeing with a virus all around the world. Dr. Anthony Fauci is our guest. He’s the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as the chief medical adviser to this president, President Joe Biden. Dr. Fauci I know it’s a complicated answer. But as we sort of head into this push that the President announced today in June so that we can realize his stated goal for July 4, what should we feel? Are we out of the woods? Is it durable? Is it tenuous? How do you characterize this moment in our country’s fight against the pandemic?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, we’re definitely very, very forcefully and strongly going in the right direction, you show the numbers of the people, the adults who are vaccinated fully, and those who have at least one dose, and the numbers are good, but they’re not where we ultimately want them to be. The one of the things that we get concerned about at the public health sector is that we’re seeing the numbers come down, as you just showed on your chart, that’s really good news. But we don’t want people to look at those numbers and say, ‘We’re out of the woods,’ because we’re not and that’s what I mean about making sure that we don’t declare victory prematurely, because once you reach the goal of the president of 70% of adults having at least one dose by July 4, but we want to exceed that. We want to get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can. Because even though the average for the entire country are the data that you showed, there are some states, some regions, in which the vaccination rate or the numbers and percentage of people that are vaccinated are considerably lower than the national average. And what you don’t want to see is many little outbreaks in those areas as you pull back prematurely. The answer to all of this is to continue to get people vaccinated as quickly and as effectively as we possibly can because we know is a fact, there are things that we don’t know about what to expect, but there are things that are facts. And the fact is that the more people that you get vaccinated, the lower the risk of there being infection dynamics where you get blips of infection. So that’s what we mean that, even though we have clearly going in the right direction, it isn’t over yet.

WALLACE: And I think this question about the durability of the numbers we see today is, you know, if you take a minute and read about what’s happening anywhere else in the world, and you look at the travel numbers from this past weekend, as that travel includes international travel, are you concerned about new variants coming here and people starting to move around at a level that recirculates the virus?

FAUCI:  Well, there are two elements of that concern. The first is that we know that we have variants that are in other countries giving them problem. We have them here in the United States. We have them at a low level, the dominant variant for us, is the one that we originally called b-117. That seemed to have originated or at least be first recognized in the U.K. Fortunately for us, the vaccines that are being distributed to us in this country, work extremely well against that b-117. We have the other variants, the one that is dominant in South Africa, the one that’s in Brazil, the P-1, the 617 in India, but they’re at a lower level. We know that the vaccines that we have, although they may not be as effective against those variants, they are against our dominant variant, we know that the vaccines clearly have some effect again them so that you may lower the level of efficacy when you get these unusual variants. They don’t disappear, which means if you are vaccinated, you will decrease somewhat, not the 94, 95%. But considerably but importantly, the chance of getting a severe outcome, even with the variant is markedly diminished almost to be negligible when you get vaccinated with the vaccines that we have right now, which is the reason why we almost plead with people to get vaccinated because it is ironic, and in many respects tragic, where you have hundreds of millions of people in other regions in the world who are begging for vaccines. We have all the vaccines we need, we just need our people to take it, for their own protection ,for the protection of their family, but also to break the chain of transmission because there’s this feeling well, I’m young, I’m healthy, if I get infected, the likelihood of my having any symptoms is very low. So who cares? You should care. Because if you get infected, and you’re not vaccinated, there is a chance, maybe a likelihood, that you will be part of the dynamics of the continuation of the chain of transmission, mainly, you will inadvertently or innocently transmit it to someone else who will then transmitted to someone else. Now, I don’t think anyone would intentionally want to be part of the transmission chain, you want to be a dead end to the virus. So when the virus gets to you, you stop it, you don’t allow it to use you as the stepping stone to the next person. So those are the things that we ask people to consider. Not only your own health, but your societal responsibility to really knock this epidemic out in this country. Everybody wants to get back to normal, many of the people who don’t want to get vaccinated want to get back to normal, as we all do. Well, we can get back to normal much more quickly, if you get more and more people vaccinated.

WALLACE: Well, and this and this, you know, being part of the solution on the transmission side, I’ve often wondered, you know, with younger people, if that might be more persuasive message, and just on this point of of your public profile, I read through your emails that were released, and I just want to read one of them. There were a lot of inquiries about your public profile. I mean, this very conversation was much harder to have under the ex president. And this was your response to one about whether or not you’d have a press conference, you wrote, ‘yikes, that would make four days in a row without a press conference for me Saturday, Sunday, Monday and tomorrow.’ I wonder if you feel like you’re still making up some of that loss ground from many months under the last administration of not just no information, but disinformation being out there. Do you still see some hardness among his supporters around the vaccine or around some of these messages you’re sharing with us today?

FAUCI: Yeah, I mean, there’s no doubt that there are people out there who for one reason or other, resent me for what I did in the last administration, which was not anything that was anti-Trump at all, it was just trying to get the right information, to try and get the right data and what they didn’t seem to understand, I guess that’s understandable, that they didn’t understand it, is that science is a dynamic process. So something that you know, in January, you make a recommendation or a comment about it. But as you get more and more information, the information leads you to change, because that’s what science is, it’s a self-correcting process. So when you hear someone say something at one point, and then two or three months later, if you stick with what you said, at the original time, when you had one-fifth the amount of data that you have now, I think that would be inappropriate. It’s appropriate, although sometimes it’s difficult for people to understand how as you learn more and more, you’ve got to continue to evolve with the data. And that’s what I was trying to do is to always tell the truth on the basis of what the data is. And it was never deliberately something against the president. In fact, he spoke about my emails. He looked at my emails, I never in the email said anything derogatory about President Trump.

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