Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Wednesday blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying the nation’s top immunologist “selectively lied to the American public about the coronavirus and what was needed for our national recovery.”
In a Fox News op-ed, Rubio noted that Fauci and other top scientists told Americans for months that about 60 to 70 percent of the U.S. population would need to develop antibodies — either through getting COVID-19 or taking the vaccine — in order for the country to reach herd immunity.
But in a recent New York Times interview, “Dr. Fauci admitted that he believes the real number is in fact significantly higher — perhaps 75 to 90 percent — and he declined to be forthright because he felt the country wasn’t ready to hear it. Only now did he say that he feels he has the freedom to ‘nudge this up a bit’ without discouraging the nation,” Rubio wrote.
“I am sure that Dr. Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — made the decision to mislead with nothing but good intentions. However, let’s be clear about what he was doing: lying to the American people in order to manipulate their behavior,” Rubio wrote.
“The American people deserve the truth; they also deserve accountability. When elected representatives make decisions, they can be held responsible by the public. But when public health officials with decades of experience and leadership within our nation’s institutions short-circuit the political process and make these decisions themselves, they deny the American people that same opportunity — and to change course if desired.”
On Sunday, in a CNN interview, host Dana Bash pressed Fauci on moving the numbers and asked him why he was not “straight with the American people about this to begin with.”
“No, actually, Dana, I don’t think it can be interpreted as being straight or not,” he responded. “We have to realize that we have to be humble and realize what we don’t know. These are pure estimates. And the calculations that I made — 70, 75 percent, it’s a range. The range is gonna be somewhere between 70 and 85%.”
“The reason I first started saying 70, 75, I brought it up to 85 — that’s not a big leap to go from 75 to 85 — it was really based on calculations and pure extrapolations from measles,” he continued. “Measles is about 98 percent effective vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is about 94, 95 percent. When you get below 90 percent of the population vaccinated with measles, you start seeing a breakthrough against the herd immunity, people starting to get infected, like we saw in the upper New York state and in New York City with the Orthodox Jewish group, when we had measles outbreak.”
“So, I made a calculation that COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, is not as nearly as transmissible as measles. Measles is the most transmissible infection you can imagine,” Fauci added. “So, I would imagine that you would need something a little bit less than the 90 percent. That’s where I got to the 85. But I think we all have to be honest and humble. Nobody really knows for sure, but I think 70 to 85 percent for herd immunity for COVID-19 is a reasonable estimate. And, in fact, most of my epidemiology colleagues agree with me.”
But Rubio concluded his piece by blasting Fauci’s “arrogance.”
“I do not question Dr. Fauci’s motives — I trust they are noble — but I am appalled by his arrogance. If he wants to lead the nation, he should run for office. Otherwise, he should give us an honest and transparent reading of the science, not polling data, and let the rest of us —policymakers and the American people who have elected them — do our jobs,” Rubio wrote.
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