White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci traded barbs with South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem on CBS Sunday, speaking one after the other on the flagship political program over whether aggressive endless lockdowns serve the public’s best interest.
Fauci first responded to Noem, who celebrated her state’s triumphant success protecting the vulnerable while its economy remained open, in direct rebuke to Fauci, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) over the weekend.
“We never focused on the case numbers. Instead we kept our eye on hospital capacity. Now Dr. Fauci, he told me that on my worst day, I’d have 10,000 patients in the hospital. On our worst day, we had a little over 600,” Noem touted at the annual gathering of grassroots conservatives. “Now, I don’t know if you agree with me, but Dr. Fauci is wrong a lot.”
Fauci called the governor’s remarks “unfortunate.”
“It’s not really helpful,” Fauci told CBS’ Margaret Brennan. “Just take a look at the numbers. They don’t lie.”
Fauci responds to @govkristinoem saying that he "is wrong a lot."
"It's unfortunate but it's not really helpful… just take a look at the numbers they don't lie." pic.twitter.com/5xmGZtuVIA
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 28, 2021
The numbers don’t lie, but Dr. Fauci does, and he’s openly admitted it. When asked what the threshold must be for the nation to reach herd immunity in the early days of the pandemic, Fauci kept putting the number at 60 to 70 percent vaccination. Later, he upped the number to “70, 75 percent,” before he pushed it to “75, 80, 85 percent.”
In December, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) director admitted he had been lying about those numbers because “when polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine… I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit.'” In other words, it was time to make threats.
“What I did though, was tell my people the truth,” Noem said on CBS directly after Fauci’s appearance.
Gov. @KristiNoem responds to Dr. Fauci:
"You indicated I ignored medical advice, and I didn't listen to my health experts. I most certainly did. What I did, though, is tell my people the truth." pic.twitter.com/McI8B7KSUc
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 28, 2021
Yet Noem hasn’t enjoyed even a fraction of the glowing press coverage endlessly afforded to the infectious disease expert who spent a career failing upwards to make the government bureaucrat something more than just a political celebrity: the ultimate arbiter of pandemic truth.
At this point, it’s not just presidents and governors who stand in the way of a return to normal, although their opposition to the draconian lockdowns they’ve implemented with remarkable ease would certainly help. It’s our new obsession with Fauci’s every word far beyond the confines of the White House coronavirus task force. What help is it if a state governor repeals a mask mandate only for your local mayor to implement his own? What good is the total absence of a government mask mandate if your local establishments mandate their own?
Of course, the latter way of operating is always how things should have been, where a free society allows an educated public to decide what’s best in their own interest. If nothing else has been made clear in the last year, however, it’s the United States is no longer actually a free society.
There will be no return to normal for as long as Dr. Fauci’s word reigns supreme. There’s too large a population that now just wants the government to tell them exactly what to do, accepting the pandemic era as a new normal while demanding everybody else live their lives in a way to afford them absolute zero risk. Like Fauci, these types usually haven’t worried about a forgone paycheck amid endless lockdowns.
“If normality means exactly the way things were before we had this happen to us, I mean, I can’t predict that,” Fauci said on CNN on when the U.S. could return to normal, as if the decision were up to him — which, at this point, it is.
Viral infections, Fauci said, must be “to a baseline that’s so low it is virtually no threat” to even consider normality. Then he went on to raise hysteria about new variants, which will allow Fauci to extend the lockdown timeline indefinitely.
There’ll always be a new variant around the corner. There’ll always be another excuse for a new lockdown. That’s the precedent that’s been set. That’s the new normal, even as one professor at Johns Hopkins University estimates the United States will reach herd immunity by April.
On masks, Fauci says Americans ought to prepare to wear them through 2022. In fact, he went on the “Today” show to teach Americans how to wear two masks just less than a year later after infamously telling the public in March 2020, “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”
Vaccination status, on the other hand, doesn’t render a golden ticket for Americans to return to restaurants and movie theatres in Fauci’s world, or even a ticket to drop the mask.
Meanwhile, Fauci has been one of the most inconsistent individuals on the coronavirus of the past year. Vaccines and masks aside, Fauci flip-flopped on schools, as outlined by independent journalist Jordan Schactel, demanding schools be closed then open based on local infections then primarily online then back in-person if community infection rates are low then closed in-person. Then he claimed he always said schools should be open.
On protests last summer, such as the militant Black Lives Matter protests excused and encouraged by leftist reporters and politicians, the nation’s preeminent COVID authority told House lawmakers, “I’m not in a position to determine what the government can do in a forceful way,” then demanded church choirs shut their mouths
“Choirs should refrain from singing,” Fauci said. “When you sing and you project your voice, the aerosols of the virus come out.”
Fauci has been critical of governors who rebuke his demands while propping up leftist governors who obeyed them, much to their expense.
“We know that when you do it properly, you bring down those cases. We have done it. We have done it in New York,” Fauci told PBS in July, touting Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the next six months before legacy media finally picked up on the governor’s nursing home scandal, the severity of which Cuomo covered up.
But the numbers don’t lie. New York is home to the highest death rate in the country.