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Anthony Fauci was finally confronted with the highest quality evidence on masks and their efficacy against preventing the spread of viral transmission. And when faced with the actual science, he relented.
Well, to an extent.
Fauci has repeatedly, and purposefully, denied the truth about masks, starting with his initial flip flop in 2020. After initially telling 60 Minutes that the public didn’t need to wear masks because there was no evidence that showed masks were as protective as people believed they would be, he changed his mind just a few weeks later, without any new additional evidence.
Fauci justified that dramatic reversal by lying about his motivations for changing course.
“I don’t regret anything I said then because in the context of the time in which I said it, it was correct,” Fauci told CBS News. “We were told in our task force meetings that we have a serious problem with the lack of PPEs and masks for the health providers who are putting themselves in harm’s way every day to take care of sick people.”
That statement, while on its face seemingly admirable, is also nonsensical.
Health providers would never be buying masks and PPE from the same sources as the general public. A mad dash by a terrified populace to get cloth masks on Amazon or from Target or Wal Mart would have no impact on whether or not hospital administrators could get surgical or N95 masks from wholesalers.
Fauci’s Relentless Lies About Masks
His reasoning on masks to 60 Minutes gave specific, scientific reasons why they wouldn’t be effective. Fauci explained during the interview that masks might block “a droplet” or two, but that they could also make transmission more likely because of people touching their face to adjust them.
That didn’t change between February 2020 and April 2020, because masks and humanity didn’t change. And that reasoning, scientifically sound as it was, had nothing to do with supply.
Once he committed to that inaccurate line of reasoning because of political pressure, Fauci had no choice but to continue publicly denying reality. Despite overwhelming evidence and data accumulating throughout the first few years of the pandemic, Fauci steadfastly remained committed to claiming masks were protective.
Even though his messaging shifted from cloth masks to double masks, to surgical masks to N95, he consistently maintained that there was a public benefit to mask wearing. He repeatedly criticized politicians like Governor Ron DeSantis for refusing to follow his advice, ignoring that Florida’s results proved him wrong.
Several months ago, it seemed like the dam might finally be cracking. Fauci, in a New York Times interview, admitted that mask mandates weren’t particularly effective.
Something that other observers noted years ago.
But he’d never been as fully confronted with the truth about masks as he was during a recent interview on, of all places, CNN. And he immediately folded. While still trying to salvage the last shreds of his reputation.
Masks Don’t Work, No Matter The Type
Michael Smerconish interviewed Fauci for a segment wondering about the return of masks. And he confronted him with a summary of the Cochrane Library’s review on the best evidence on masking to stop transmission of respiratory viruses.
“The most rigorous and comprehensive analysis of scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of masks for reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses – including Covid-19 – was published late last month,” said a New York Times article. “Its conclusions, said Tom Jefferson, the Oxford epidemiologist who is its leads author, were unambiguous.”
“‘There is just no evidence that they’ – masks – ‘make any difference,’ he told the journalist Maryanne Demasi. ‘Full stop.'”
Smerconish went further, demolishing the case for so-called “higher quality” masks.
“But wait, hold on. What about N-95 masks, as opposed to lower-quality surgical or cloth masks?”
“‘Makes no difference – none of it,’ said Jefferson.” “What about the studies that initially persuaded policymakers to impose mask mandates?” “‘They were convinced by nonrandomized studies, flawed observational studies.'”
Fauci responded by acknowledging the flaws undercutting all of his advocacy over the past few years.
“Yeah, but there are other studies, Michael that show at an individual level, for individual, when you’re talking about the effect on the epidemic or pandemic as a whole, the data are less strong,” he said.
No freaking kidding.
Fauci’s Mistakes Harmed Millions With Zero Benefits
Fauci’s acknowledgement that masks failed to have any meaningful impact on the pandemic at a population level is a massive about face. For him and for the very concept of Science that he himself claims to represent.
The Science™told us for multiple years that masks were the single most important thing we could do as a society to stop COVID. Mandates were enacted in virtually every indoor, and many outdoor, setting specifically because he and other supposed experts said that masks weren’t effective if they were worn by individuals, only by the entire public.
Now even that’s wrong too?
Whatever supposed “studies” Fauci is referring to about individual protection are also flawed, nonrandomized studies. How do we know that? Because the Cochrane Review looked at all of the randomized ones in their review. And found there was no benefit.
So once again, Fauci is relying on bad science and bad evidence to excuse the mistakes of the past few years. Mistakes that caused immense damage to society at large and to individuals forced to wear potentially harmful masks against their will.
While this admission is a substantial win for those who’ve argued against masking as an effective tool, it’s still not nearly enough. Fauci told the truth about masks, lied when it became convenient, spent years demonizing anyone who disagreed with him, and now admits that his prized tool was completely useless at a public level.
But until he admits that masks, no matter the situation, are ineffective against respiratory viruses, there will always be an excuse for administrators, public health authorities or corporations to bring them back. Something we’ve already seen happen just in the past few weeks.
Too many people, powerful and otherwise, rely on his advice. And inaccurately claiming that masks work at an individual level will lead to continued masking by huge numbers of people.
Even though, as he himself admits, the evidence isn’t very strong. Of course it isn’t. It’s nonexistent.