Q&A of the Day – Did Fauci flip?

Q&A of the Day – Did Fauci flip?

Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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Today’s entry: #FauxChi Flips the Script!! Ridiculous?? Pathetic?? Maybe both?? In his burning desire to 'Follow the Science' (he) has discovered that we're not listening to him anymore...it's a sad attempt to remain relevant.

Bottom Line: A lot’s been made of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s seeming sudden flip on reopening and a timetable for a vaccine. Dr. Fauci’s two interviews on Friday were both newsmakers when he said this to CNBC: I don’t want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go.

And he offered this up to NPR: I think it is conceivable, if we don’t run into things that are, as they say, unanticipated setbacks, that we could have a vaccine that we could be beginning to deploy at the end of this calendar year, December 2020, or into January, 2021.

Both departures from prior messaging. To be clear, Dr. Fauci never specified that prolonged lockdowns were the answer but he did speak to the use of them being important without a proven vaccine and treatment options. His change in vaccine guidance is very much a specific change. Previously he’d indicated a minimum of 18 months would be required. Using that guidance, we’d have been looking at a vaccine being available in the fall of 2021 at the soonest. That his most recent guidance references the possibility for a vaccine this year, well it sounds an awful lot like what President Trump has been saying right along. So, what happened here? Did Trump get Fauci to flip? It well could be a case that the data changed and Dr. Fauci adapted. 

Prior to COVID-19, the fastest a vaccine trial had ever been conducted was seven months. This occurred during the Zika scare of 2015 but it was never tested let alone produced because the threat had run its course by the time they were ready to test. There’s never been a new vaccine mass produced in under two years. When Dr. Fauci was suggesting 18 months, he was actually accounting for this to be the fastest on record. The calculus recently changed when in just three months Moderna Pharmaceuticals didn’t just produce a vaccine for trial, they conducted a successful phase one trial. There’s never been a vaccine to pass a phase one trial in under a year. They did it in one quarter. Another way of looking at this, science is working four times faster than we’ve ever witnessed. If it’s taken over two years for a new vaccine previously and you divide that by four, you’re left with six months. It’s hard to fault Fauci for not seeing this one coming. It’s also easier to see why President Trump thought it was possible. 

In my recent interview with President Trump he mentioned he makes data-based decisions but also trusts his gut instinct. This is where many of his opinions are derived that may sound implausible to those who aren’t open to hearing them at first but which have proven true with time. IE, a conspiracy against him by the prior administration. A manufacturing resurgence in the US. 3% growth in the US economy, etc. He was ridiculed for all of those at first but has proven to be correct with each over time. The vaccine is potentially, hopefully the next. Dr. Fauci’s change in position could just be a byproduct of new available data suggesting a vaccine this year is possible. That’s true of lockdowns as well.

A recent study from New York revealed that 15% of the New York population were essential workers, while 85% were in lockdowns. However, only 16% of those diagnosed with COVID-19 were essential workers. 84%who contracted the virus were under lockdowns. This information illustrated lockdowns weren’t proving to be helpful in stopping the spread. Two additional recent studies have shown masks used in public are more effective than lockdowns. This again could be a situation of Dr. Fauci acknowledging the latest data and changing his tune to match the facts as we know now them. I also suspect this is more likely than President Trump successfully strong-arming Fauci to say what he wants him to say. Regardless,it’s encouraging that facts rather than fear seem to be prevailing at the federal level. If only all state and local governments would take note...

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