Dr. Fauci Illustrates the Danger of Substituting Truth with Personal Preference

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PART 1 – Shifting Preferred Narratives

With the release of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s e-mails[1] via a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by BuzzFeed News, “America’s doctor”[2] has fallen from his pedestal. Dr. Fauci’s e-mails reveal an early knowledge that features of the COVID-19 virus “look engineered,”[3] that it may have originated in China’s Wuhan laboratory,[4] that the National Institute of Health may have ties to coronavirus gain of function research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,[5] and that China was likely lying about their COVID death and infection numbers.[6] Nonetheless, Dr. Fauci repeatedly dismissed each of these points when testifying to Congress and speaking to the American public, choosing instead to grant China the benefit of the doubt at every step.

Troubling as these e-mails may be, they are simply a continuation of an already well-documented pattern of Dr. Fauci advantaging himself by choosing to ignore inconvenient facts in favor of personal preference. And his preferred narrative changed frequently. Incredibly, Dr. Fauci has managed to take both sides of nearly every major health and policy development related to COVID-19. Let’s review some highlights:

  • China Travel Ban

White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro told Miranda Devine at the New York Post, “The guy I fought the most that day was Fauci. He was adamantly opposed to the travel ban. All he kept saying was travel restrictions don’t work.” Navarro argued, “If you stop 20,000 Chinese nationals coming in every day and some are infected, you’re telling me that’s not going to spread the virus?”[7] Later, Dr. Fauci told Congress that he agreed with the decision and credited it with saving lives.[8]

  • Mortality Rates

Shortly after telling New York City that COVID-19 was “a very low risk to the United States. It isn’t something the American people need to be frightened about,” Dr. Faucis wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine on February 28, 2020:

If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less that 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS.[9]

Eleven days later, he testified before Congress, “The flu has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent. This has a mortality rate of 10 times that. That’s the reason I want to emphasize we have to stay ahead of the game in preventing this.”[10]

  • Asymptomatic Transmission

In January 2020 Dr. Fauci maintained, “Even if there is some asymptomatic transmission, in all the history of respiratory-borne viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks. The driver of outbreaks has always been a symptomatic person.”[11] However, Dr. Fauci soon advocated lockdowns and universal masking to reduce asymptomatic transmission. In August 2020 he supported Dr. Deborah Birx’ statement that asymptomatic transmission was driving a “new phase” of the virus.[12]

  • Masks

“Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection,” Dr. Fauci told the former Health and Human Services Secretary who asked him via e-mail if she should take a mask to the airport. “The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material. … I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very low risk location.”[13] Likewise, in an interview with 60 Minutes, Dr. Fauci explained:

There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better—and it might even block a droplet. But its not providing the perfect protection than people think that it is. And often there are unintended consequences. People keep fiddling with the mask, and they keep touching their face. … When you think masks, you should think of health care providers needing them and people who are ill.[14]

Later he called for the “universal wearing of masks,”[15][16] encouraged double masking,[17][18] and even suggested wearing eye goggles.[19] Moreover, he supported the notion that masks may become a seasonal preventative measure against respiratory-borne viruses.[20]

  • Lockdowns

During the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Dr. Fauci was opposed to quarantining Africa and health care workers from the rest of the world, calling the practice “a little bit draconian” and saying, “There are other ways to protect. Go with the science.”[21] However, Dr. Fauci has supported widespread lockdowns to combat COVID-19, even calling upon India to impose a nationwide lockdown.[22]

  • School Closings

Dr. Fauci repeatedly supported closing schools, even citing to Congress the extraordinarily rare possibility of COVID-19 leading to Kawasaki syndrome in schoolchildren.[23] He told reporters at the White House, “The one thing I do advise, and I said this in multiple hearings and multiple briefings, that right now we have to start implementing both containment and mitigation. And what was done when you close the schools is mitigation. We have to try as best as we can to distance ourselves from each other.”[24][25] However, he later told ABC World News, “Close the bars and keep the schools open is what we really say … the default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school or to get them back to school. … If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all.”[26]

 

PART 2 – Inconvenient Facts

To be fair, COVID-19 is a novel virus with its own learning curve, but Dr. Fauci’s shifting opinions consistently favored the most politically advantageous narrative for he and his institute despite the available evidence to the contrary. At the time Dr. Fauci was warning Congress that COVID-19 is 10 times deadlier than the flu, I wrote an article noting that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed COVID-19 to be an age-discriminatory disease with a mortality rate of essentially zero in young children and only 0.2% in those between the ages of 10 and 39.[27][28] Moreover, a study out of Stanford concluded that actual fatality rates were orders of magnitude lower than reported—possibly as low as 0.01%—and the Imperial College model that had originally predicted 500,000 deaths in the United Kingdom revised-down its prediction to no more than 20,000 deaths.[29][30][31]

Similarly, Dr. Fauci advocated the universal wearing of masks to prevent asymptomatic transmission at a time when the World Health Organization (WHO) admitted such transmission was “very rare”[32] and that “the widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence.”[33] In July 2020 the WHO noted that four studies had shown that only “between 0% and 2.2% of people with asymptomatic infection infected anyone else.”[34] And a large-scale study that tested 10 million people in Wuhan, China was unable to find evidence of a single instance of asymptomatic transmission.[35]

Dr. Fauci’s tendency to ignore inconvenient facts in favor of personal preference is perhaps best illustrated in his decision to recommend wearing two masks—even after vaccination. The science behind this recommendation is derived from studies that double-masked mannequins[36]—one of which even sealed the masks to their faces using silicone.[37] Despite having created a perfect seal that outperforms any real-world experience, the study still concluded, “Surgical masks should not be used for respiratory protection.”[38]

Indeed, the ineffectiveness of cloth and surgical masks to prevent influenza—a virus of comparable size that is spread similarly to COVID-19—has been repeatedly affirmed in scientific studies for the past hundred years. A paper published in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases states, “Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”[39] In the discussion the authors note, “We did not find evidence that surgical-type face masks are effective in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza transmission, either when worn by infected persons (source control) or by persons in the general community to reduce their susceptibility.”[40]

A 2015 randomized trial in Vietnam actually found that medical workers who wore cloth masks were more likely to develop infections than both those wearing surgical masks and those wearing no mask.[41] Alex Berenson reports, “They found that cloth masks stopped only 3 percent of particles, and medical masks stopped just over half.”[42]

Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Fauci had real-world data showing that masks did not significantly impact the rate at which COVID-19 spread—at least by 2021 when Dr. Fauci was still advocating the universal wearing of masks. Stanford University and former Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Scott Atlas recounts, “The use of masks as part of a mask mandate for the general population didn’t work when it was used to stop cases. That’s proven and it’s not arguable. In Los Angeles County, Miami-Dade County, Hawaii, Alabama, the Philippines, Japan, the UK, Spain, France, Israel, and other places, the cases went up regardless and that’s a fact.”[43] Nonetheless, Dr. Fauci chose to dismiss the weight of scientific evidence in favor of his preferred theory.

As more information becomes publicly available about the data and warnings Dr. Fauci chose to ignore, it becomes increasingly evident that Dr. Fauci habitually chose to believe and propagate the wrong narrative—likely for political or personal reasons. Even if Dr. Fauci had the best of intentions, the policies stemming from the preferred narratives he advocated have been devastating for many whose livelihoods were destroyed, denied promising treatment options, separated from family, or perhaps far worse.

 

PART 3 – A Biblical Principle

Having allowed the allure of fame and power, combined with his hopes and desires, to guide his decision-making, Dr. Anthony Fauci now serves as a warning to each of us. He illustrates a simple principle found in the Bible: Left unchecked, our personal preferences tend to lead us astray. This is because “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). If we allow our passions, desires, and hopes to guide our decisions, we will inevitably abandon truth when it becomes inconvenient. As such, we cannot trust and follow after our hearts—even if they are filled with the greatest of motivations.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is merely the latest national leader to discover this principle the hard way. History is replete with governing officials convinced they are the exception to this principle. Perhaps the most famous historical example is King Solomon who wrote an entire book of the Bible testifying to the futility of pursuing his preferences over God’s truth. He was renown for his military, his many wives, and his great wealth (1 Kings 10:14–11:3), but God had instructed him not to pursue these very things, knowing that they would inevitably draw his heart away from God (Deut. 17:14–17). Solomon chose to pursue conventional wisdom rather than God’s law, and his decision incurred the judgment of God (1 Kings 11:1–12).

Left to ourselves, our preferences will lead us astray. We cannot trust our own hopes, passions, and desires to accurately discern what is right. In fact, mankind’s tendency to pursue truth based upon personal understanding is the reason God gave His people the Law: “And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God” (Num. 15:39).

Thankfully, our Creator knows our tendency to deceive ourselves, and He has provided a solution. Our search for the truth need not be a blind pursuit amid a sea of conflicting passions and preferences. Instead, God has provided instruction to guide our hearts.

Naturally, our preferences will often oppose what is right. God’s Law will feel restrictive, and our passions and desires will inevitably resist it. This is because God’s instructions are designed to rein-in the preferences of our hearts.

Our internal conflict between submitting to God’s instruction and the pursuit of personal preference is natural, and not all of us win this battle. Before we turn our ire against Dr. Fauci, let us examine ourselves. In what areas have we committed the very same error of ignoring inconvenient facts in favor of personal preference? Perhaps we could begin by questioning whether we’ve preferred to believe that we will escape God’s judgment—both personally and nationally. What is the potential harm of such an error, and can we honestly say it more significant than the harm incurred by Dr. Fauci’s error?

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. Anthony Fauci E-mails. Accessed June 8, 2021. https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/20793561/leopold-nih-foia-anthony-fauci-emails.pdf.

2. Specter, Michael. “How Anthony Fauci Became America’s Doctor.” New Yorker, April 10, 2020. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/04/20/how-anthony-fauci-became-americas-doctor.

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