No one’s star has risen so sharply (nor, some would argue, flamed out so disappointingly) in relation to COVID-19 as Dr. Anthony Fauci’s has. As Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci was tapped for the Trump administration’s Coronavirus Task Force and, throughout the pandemic, has been at the forefront of dispensing the administration’s admonitions regarding best practices in relation to the virus.
Through an undeniably unsettling time, the nation has looked to Dr. Fauci, in particular, and taken our cues from his guidance. Some have noticed, however, that his advice has shifted like the tide as the pandemic has progressed. (READ: Dr. Fauci Decides He Is Galactic Commander and Warns That Protests Will Delay Reopening the Country; No, Fauci and Scientists Are Not God.) In fairness to Fauci, this virus has been a slippery little sucker. We’ve all faced a steep learning curve with it. But he’s the guy who’s supposed to have a better, more scientific handle on it.
So when we look back at this article from February 17, 2020, and note the following comments:
Coronavirus is predominantly spread in the air from humans to humans. “Inanimate things” that are placed in a container in China and sent to the U.S. don’t carry any risk of transmitting the virus, Fauci said. Neither do medications made in China.
The only people who need masks are those who are already infected to keep from exposing others. The masks sold at drugstores aren’t even good enough to truly protect anyone, Fauci said.
“If you look at the masks that you buy in a drug store, the leakage around that doesn’t really do much to protect you,” he said. “People start saying, ‘Should I start wearing a mask?’ Now, in the United States, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask.”
Fauci doesn’t want people to worry about coronavirus, the danger of which is “just minuscule.” But he does want them to take precautions against the “influenza outbreak, which is having its second wave.”
…it’s a little difficult not to take into account how different the perspective is on these matters just four months later.
It’s also rather difficult to put a ton of stock into Dr. Fauci’s latest opining. For instance, he’s now warning that “Football may not happen this year.”
Days after recommending that baseball wrap up its season early because of an expected second wave of the coronavirus in the fall, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases had this to say about a sport that typically would just be getting started around that time:
“Football may not happen this year.”
His recommendation for the limited circumstances under which it could be feasible? “Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and … tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall.”
Something tells me that a nation weary from months of lockdown, weeks of protests (over lockdowns, racial inequities, police brutality, and, apparently, history in general), a spring-into-summer sans baseball, basketball, and hockey, and heading into what is sure to be the nuttiest of election seasons ever isn’t going to be overly receptive to Fauci’s dire warnings at this point.
At some point, our restless republic is liable to conclude that Tony Fauci has…well…jumped the shark.