The pandemic is over, Fauci told me so, or did he?

Confusion reigns supreme as Dr. Fauci declares the pandemic over one day, and reverses course the next.  The face of the coronavirus fight also declines to attend an event in Washington because of his personal risk, while we learn a leading physician influencer is a total fraud.  Could anything better represent the pandemic in its totality?

Serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way, and so you can imagine my surprise when the good Dr. Anthony Fauci announced the end of the pandemic on the same day the news broke that a prominent physician and social media influencer throughout the pandemic is a complete and total fraud.  Perhaps, synchronicity would be even more accurate, the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection, given that nothing represents the scientific establishment’s response to the pandemic better than unjustified hyperventilating and unnecessary overreach, often from people misrepresenting themselves and their expertise, one might even call it misinformation.  Thus, it was left to the self-proclaimed high priest of science to tell PBS News, “We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase. Namely, we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now.”  He might have added relatively speaking, given the seven day average of cases remains above 50,000, around 5 times what he once claimed was the minimum number to consider the pandemic quelled.  Hospitalizations and deaths are down substantially from their peaks, but 671 people died on April 27 and the seven day average is at 347.

Regardless, this is encouraging news from Dr. Fauci, who for various reasons, has long been cautious about making any declarations on coronavirus, or is it?  A day later, he appeared to radically change course, telling the Associated Press, “We are in a different moment of the pandemic.”  This time, he described the situation in the US as “decelerated and transitioned into more of a controlled phase.”  “A phase that’s a transition phase, hopefully headed toward more of a control where you can actually get back to some form of normality without total disruption of society, economically, socially, school-wise, etc.,” but by “no means does that mean the pandemic is over.”  He then proceeded to push vaccines and other protective measures for the millionth time, “So what we need to do is continue to be vigilant, to follow the CDC guidelines, to do the kinds of things that protect you: Get vaccinated, if you’re not vaccinated; get boosted if you’re eligible for a boost. If you do get infected, be aware that there is availability of antivirals.”  Almost simultaneously, he warned The Washington Post about the rest of the world, “The world is still in a pandemic. There’s no doubt about that. Don’t anybody get any misinterpretation of that.”  White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki appeared to agree with Dr. Fauci’s second set of comments, saying “Well, what Dr. Fauci was saying is that we are in a different phase of this pandemic, and that’s absolutely true.”  “We also know COVID isn’t over and the pandemic isn’t over,” she added. There are still people getting sick and “we have measures that we should all continue to take to protect ourselves.”

Nor is this the first recent turnabout for Dr. Fauci.  Early this month, he seemed to support individuals making judgements about their relative risk and planning accordingly, telling ABC’s This Week, “This is not going to be eradicated, and it’s not going to be eliminated.  And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take.”  Oddly given those comments, he was stringently opposed to a Federal Judge’s decision striking down the mask mandate on public transportation, including trains, planes, and buses.  “The CDC has the capability, through a large number of trained epidemiologists, scientists, to be able to make projections and make recommendations,” he told CBS News, adding, “Far more than a judge with no experience in public health.”  It might also be worth noting that Dr. Fauci appears to have little faith in the litany of vaccines, booster shots, and other precautions, plus treatments available should one fall sick from coronavirus, that generally define his approach to the pandemic.  He told The New York Times this week that he would not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in DC tomorrow over concerns about COVID-19, claiming the decision was “because of my individual assessment of my personal risk.”  Later, he clarified this to CNN, saying “Each of us, in our own personal way, has to make an assessment of what risk you’re willing to accept about getting infected.  In general, the risk is low, but I made a personal assessment. I’m 81 years old, and if I get infected, I have a much higher risk.”

Dr. Fauci is, of course, entitled to his own personal decision and I fully support him in this regard, but what are we to make of this single week of statements where he appears to be all over the place and ultimately won’t attend a public event for fear of his own personal risk?  To many, the good doctor is the face of the pandemic.  He is the man they look to most for advice and guidance, and yet here he appears to have none worth giving at all, only confusion and fear.  It’s over, it’s not over, and you must still take precautions.  The vaccines and boosters are effective and safe, but not effective enough to appear in public at a high profile event.  Once upon a time, our leaders went to war with the troops, literally fighting on the front line swinging a sword from a horse the same as their men, or by the time of the founding of the country up until the Civil War, they were at least out in the field, squarely in the danger zone.  Today, the man the media has declared most responsible for fighting the pandemic and saving us from this scourge is hiding from it over two years later after multiple booster shots he swears are the key to ending the virus.  In my mind, something doesn’t quite add up there, but you can make of it what you will.

Elsewhere, we learned that one of the early faces of the pandemic, a sainted front line doctor literally battling the disease in patients day in and day out, is in fact a complete and total fraud.  Dr. Risa Hoshino achieved social media stardom starting in March 20202, posting harrowing stories of how she was working grueling hours in an emergency ward, putting her own life and sanity on the line to save the lives of others, and using that experience to encourage others to social distance, lockdown, and take other precautions.  This February, the trade publication Medical Marketing, and Media listed her among the top 12 physician influencers on Instagram.  As they describe her, “Pediatrician Dr. Risa Hoshino calls herself the #ShotQueen on Instagram — and, as such, is quite vocal about COVID-19 vaccinations, especially among children. She advocates for vaccine confidence, calling out social media influencers and celebrities spreading health misinformation. But she also supports individuals who are ‘saving lives’ by championing vaccines.”  Becker’s HR also had her listed as a top 10 physician influencer.  As recently as March, Dr. Hoshino was haranguing people for living their lives, tweeting “Sometimes I walk home in my scrubs & N95 & stare at the bars full of unmasked people yelling, laughing, with spit flying, no vaxx statuses checked & no testing required.  The utter contrast of my life with theirs seems so surreal.  When will my time be to ‘live my life.’”  Also in March, she tweeted, “Not sure how someone can tell me to my face that ‘covid is over’ as I stand there in my scrubs, N95 & faceshield, exhausted from treating all the covid + patients who are either severely ill or have long covid.  Unless you’re us, you’ll never truly get it. #stopthegaslighting.”

As it turns out, Dr. Hoshino has been the chief gaslighter the entire time.  It took a writer on Substack, Sarah Beth Burwick, to discover the good doctor wasn’t who she said she was, wasn’t working where she claimed to be, and was behaving like an all-around hypocrite.  As Ms. Burwick described it, “Toggling seamlessly between bikini and lab coat, Dr. Risa Hoshino’s Instagram persona embodied the millennial feminist: a pediatrician treating covid patients on the front lines who could still show off her body and build her profile as a lifestyle influencer.”  Because of Dr. Risa Hoshino’s rapid rise to fame, frequent near hysterical posts, and infatuation with “long covid” that didn’t remotely match the rest of the medical community, Ms. Burwick became dubious that she was even a licensed physician, and began doing the sort of digging one would think respected publications would do before promoting a personality and proclaiming them a medical influencer, you know to be certain they themselves weren’t pushing misinformation.  “I began with a quick internet search, usually sufficient to confirm an active physician’s practice details in a few clicks. Instead of confirmation, I found confusion.  Dr. Hoshino’s LinkedIn profile identifies an affiliation with Mount Sinai hospital but includes no dates, and the hospital’s website does not list her. Other sites, such as Vitals.com and WebMD, list Mount Sinai as Hoshino’s office location. If you dial the publicly-listed phone number, you reach a recording that says ‘thank you for calling the department of pediatric education. We are working remotely but are checking these messages periodically. Please leave a message.’”

Ultimately, Ms. Berwick determined that Dr. Hishono isn’t a practicing physician and doesn’t work at a hospital.  Instead, she works for the New York City School System at a relatively cushy nine to five  job, mostly remote during the pandemic, collecting a $170,000 per year salary.  Her title, School Pediatrician “is involved with public health education and acts as a liaison with pediatricians and other specialists to ensure students’ medical needs are being met.”  Interestingly, she also appears to be affiliated with Pfizer, where she is showcased on their careers page, pictured hugging her grandmother in a post touting vaccines.  Perhaps needless to say, “Dr. Hoshino did not respond to questions about her connections to Pfizer, and has never disclosed any financial relationship with the pharma giant. In an Instagram story, she did make sure to promise she is not a ‘pharma shill.’”  This is despite her frequently promoting “other products and services without disclosing a financial sponsorship, in potential violation of Federal Trade Commission regulations as well as New York City employment rules governing conflicts of interest.”

Incredibly, Ms. Berwick appears to be the only person on the planet capable of figuring out this ruse and uncovering a massive misinformation plot happily amplified by the mainstream media.  Medical Media and Marketing has posted a disclaimer under their listing, noting Dr. Hishono’s Instagram page has been deleted, but no one in the entire publication could be bothered to check a few facts before boasting about her talents?  Instead, “credible physicians and media companies provided Hoshino a platform, casting doubt on the trustworthiness of all these institutions and the information they disseminate.”  She was even featured in trade publications, co authoring articles in areas in which she has no expertise.  As Ms. Berwick asks, “Did they all know Dr. Hoshino spent the first year of the pandemic working remotely while schools were closed? Were they fooled by her claims of expertise and frontline experience, or were they in on the ruse? How many other social media doctors are posting wildly deceptive anecdotes that influence policy and behavior, and why aren’t their colleagues reining them in? And when the physicians and scientists who claim to be fighting misinformation are themselves guilty of exaggerating and misleading the public, who can we trust?”

Personally, I couldn’t have said it better myself and perhaps nothing is more emblematic of the pandemic:  Confusion, disarray, and changing standards while everyone had a story to tell, and regardless of the truth the most ridiculous stories were amplified to scare people beyond all proportion without a care for the wreckage left behind.  That and ridiculous hubris. Now, however, their stories are unraveling, and even Dr. Fauci acknowledges we will never know if any of it was worth it.  The one thing we do know:  None of them can be trusted, ever again.  Or, you could just go with the way Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg put it: There’s a difference between the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and an airplane.  Whatever that may be, they certainly aren’t saying, except it’s masks for you and me, none for them while they yuck it up with other establishment elites.

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