Coronavirus: Lies then, lies now, lies forever

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a lead proponent of lockdowns, now claims he never recommended any lockdowns while his colleague, Dr. Deborah Birx openly admits she engaged in “subterfuge” in the early days of the pandemic, deceiving President Trump and the American people for her own purposes.  When will anyone pay a price for the biggest policy mistake in US history?

Earlier this week, the good Dr. Anthony Fauci told The Hill that he never recommended any lockdowns either at the start of the pandemic or throughout the past 2+ years.  He dropped this whopper when a reporter asked him, “I wonder if you would recommend locking down schools if you had to do it all over again.”  His response was to blame the CDC for everything.  “Well, you know again, it’s, ah, first of all, I didn’t recommend locking anything down.  You’re asking me questions.  You’re talking about.  The CDC is the public health agency that uses their epidemiologists and their science based approach to make recommendations…”  This, of course, is a ridiculous, bold-faced lie.  The record is clear:  Dr. Fauci was one of the chief supporters of the lockdown policy from the very beginning.  He has recommended and endorsed every lockdown imaginable, even suggesting we would have been better off if we were more like China, a country which actually locked people in their homes and wouldn’t let them leave. 

“I recommended to the President that we shut the country down,” he replied to students when asked about his most crucial decisions.  “Unfortunately, since we actually did not shut down completely the way China did, the way Korea did, the way Taiwan did, we actually did see spread even though we shut down.” Such was his addiction to lockdowns that Dr. Fauci was begging states to consider shutting down even after the economy started reopening in the summer of 2020.  “Any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down,” adding only that “it’s not for me to say because each state is different.”  He advocated for the closure of schools, claiming they were  a valuable mitigation strategy.  “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.”  He proceeded to “bless” the continued closure of schools in New York City, according to The New York Times, while attacking Florida for opening those schools back up, saying “If you have a situation where you don’t have a real good control over an outbreak and you allow children together, they will likely get infected.”  He was advocating for school closures well after the data from Europe concluded education was a low-risk activity, saying “There may be some areas where the level of virus is so high that it would not be prudent to bring children back to school.”  Next, he went from schools to bars, immediately recommended that local gathering places be closed, “You have a choice — either close the bars or close the schools. Because, if you have people congregating in bars, it’s likely you’re going to stay red.”  He reiterated this belief with MSNBC host Chris Hayes, “Bars are a really important place of spreading of infection. There’s no doubt about that. And that becomes particularly important if you happen to be in an area where there’s a high degree of community spread.”  Incredibly, Dr. Fauci suggested we should have been more stringent in this same interview with The Hill, giving talking out of both sides of his mouth an entirely new meaning.  “The insidious nature of spread in the community would have been much more of an alarm, and there would have been much, much more stringent restrictions in the sense of very, very heavy encouraging people to wear masks, physical distancing, or what have you,” he said. 

What’s changed in recent months that would prompt Dr. Fauci to pretend he wasn’t a strong advocate for lockdown policies?  The evidence, of course, has been mounting that they were ineffective at stopping the spread, came with huge collateral costs, and created a deep economic hole.  Dr. Fauci himself said earlier this year that we might never know if the lockdowns were worth it, meaning we know they weren’t:  Any policy that worked as advertised, conducted on this scale for the first time ever, would surely have measurable positive results, especially considering that “control” states like Florida and Georgia pursued a different strategy, one that was maligned as an “experiment in human sacrifice” at almost every turn.  The idea that we cannot definitely say whether shutting down millions of businesses, preventing even more people from working, closing schools and churches, and curtailing almost all social activities worked is absurd on its face.  They were individuals arrested for paddle boarding in the ocean by themselves.  That’s how dramatic and stringent these lockdowns were in states like California.  Overall, we’re talking about the largest social experiment in the history of the known universe, but sure, we might never know anything for certain about it.  Does anyone really believe this?  Ironically, these are some of the same people who tell you they can predict the weather in a hundred years, but I digress.  The simple truth is the facts are in, and they don’t favor Dr. Fauci’s position, so he’s changing it.  This should not be a surprise.  I’ve long claimed the good doctor is a fudger, if not an outright fraud, hiding information that didn’t suit his purposes, attacking colleague’s behind the scenes, and promoting unproven assumptions on the origin of the virus.  He continues to prove me right, refusing to admit an error or accept any responsibility for the damage he’s caused.

Sadly, the same is true about his chief colleague, or should I say partner in crime, Dr. Deborah Birx, who was also a mainstay in the early days of the pandemic as the lead response coordinator.  The other good doctor is out with a new book, Silent Invasion, where she comes awfully close to admitting something we might call treason during the initial response to the pandemic.  I understand “treason” is a strong word, but what else would you call it when an unelected subordinate intentionally misleads the President of the United States and pursues her own policy against his wishes on matters of the gravest possible importance to the nation?  Dr. Birx openly admits that her subterfuge began in the earliest days of the pandemic, starting with the initial 15-days to slow the spread.  She writes, “No sooner had we convinced the Trump administration to implement our version of a two-week shutdown than I was trying to figure out how to extend it. Fifteen Days to Slow the Spread was a start, but I knew it would be just that. I didn’t have the numbers in front of me yet to make the case for extending it longer, but I had two weeks to get them. However hard it had been to get the fifteen-day shutdown approved, getting another one would be more difficult by many orders of magnitude.”  Rarely does one see such a startling combination of anti-science and insubordination in a single sentence:  She didn’t have the numbers, but somehow she knew the lockdowns needed to be extended and she was willing to manipulate her superiors to do so.  Secretly, Dr. Birx wanted President Trump to institute a complete shutdown of the country, similar to the approach taken in Italy.  “We had to make these palatable to the administration by avoiding the obvious appearance of a full Italian lockdown. At the same time, we needed the measures to be effective at slowing the spread, which meant matching as closely as possible what Italy had done—a tall order. We were playing a game of chess in which the success of each move was predicated on the one before it.”

Dr. Birx also believed Americans should not have been allowed to gather in groups of any size, though she dared not say it outloud.  Regarding the 10-person gathering limit, she noted, “I had settled on ten knowing that even that was too many, but I figured that ten would at least be palatable for most Americans—high enough to allow for most gatherings of immediate family but not enough for large dinner parties and, critically, large weddings, birthday parties, and other mass social events.… Similarly, if I pushed for zero (which was actually what I wanted and what was required), this would have been interpreted as a ‘lockdown’—the perception we were all working so hard to avoid.”  Incredibly, Dr. Birx openly admits to manipulating and editing official documents to ensure these preferred policies were enacted, actually using the words “hide” and “subterfuge” so their can be no mistake.  “After the heavily edited documents were returned to me, I’d reinsert what they had objected to, but place it in those different locations. I’d also reorder and restructure the bullet points so the most salient—the points the administration objected to most—no longer fell at the start of the bullet points. I shared these strategies with the three members of the data team also writing these reports. Our Saturday and Sunday report-writing routine soon became: write, submit, revise, hide, resubmit.”  She continues, “Fortunately, this strategic sleight-of-hand worked. That they never seemed to catch this subterfuge left me to conclude that, either they read the finished reports too quickly or they neglected to do the word search that would have revealed the language to which they objected.”  Yes, they neglected to do a “word search,” because that’s what every boss does when they receive a report from their superior. They assume their employee is trying to trick them intentionally.

These same tactics were used when Dr. Birx spoke to state governors in one-on-one meetings about their own mitigation efforts.  Rather than promoting official government policy, she stressed “the need for the big-three mitigations—masks, sentinel testing, and limits on indoor social gatherings—I felt confident I was giving the states permission to escalate public health mitigation with the fall and winter coming.”  Read that again:  She felt confident she was giving them permission, as if she was in charge and empowered to even come close to such a thing, we can add delusions of grandeur to her list of sins.  “I’d engaged in very blunt conversations with the governors. I spoke the truth that some White House senior advisors weren’t willing to acknowledge. Censoring my reports and putting up guidance that negated the known solutions was only going to perpetuate Covid-19’s vicious circle. What I couldn’t sneak past the gatekeepers in my reports, I said in person.”  Nor was this the “only bit of subterfuge I had to engage in,” there’s that word again. Of particular concern to Dr. Birx was the arrival of Dr. Scott Atlas in August 2020, a Stanford professor skeptical of lockdown strategies.  The two apparently fought over several issues, including the CDC’s obsession with testing that had taken hold in the early months of the pandemic.  Dr. Atlas believed testing asymptomatic people increased the case count and caused panic.  In his own book, a Plague Upon Our House, he wrote, “the Coronavirus Task Force had gotten the country into this situation by promoting testing.  That testing falsely increased case counts in the United States in comparison with other countries.  That targeted testing and isolation constituted a lockdown, plain and simple, and weren’t needed.”  Dr. Birx strenuously disagreed.  Even after Dr. Atlas was able to codify his position into official CDC guidance, she wouldn’t relent and openly admits to surreptitiously changing it.  “Immediately after the Atlas-influenced revised CDC testing guidance went up in late August, I contacted Bob Redfield…. Less than a week later, Bob [Redfield] and I had finished our rewrite of the guidance and surreptitiously posted it. We had restored the emphasis on testing to detect areas where silent spread was occurring. It was a risky move, and we hoped everyone in the White House would be too busy campaigning to realize what Bob and I had done.”  Candidly, Dr. Birx said, “we weren’t being transparent with the powers that be in the White House” to describe all her actions.

These are stunning admissions, especially when delivered without any sense of remorse or regret for her behavior.  Instead, Dr. Birx appears quite proud of her insubordination, subterfuge, and outright lies.  She intentionally defied her superiors, hid the deceit, and manipulated US policy while we were facing the largest public health crisis in 100 years.  She had no authority to do any of this and acted outside the chain of a command.  Certainly, she was entitled to share her views with President Trump.  As an American, she is even entitled to disagree with him, publicly.  She is not entitled to defy his authority and do whatever she likes, hiding it every step of the way.  If this isn’t treason, what is?  We might be willing to overlook some of her admissions and give her the benefit of the doubt if she were ultimately correct.  After all, everyone loves the story of the lone soldier that defies orders to save the day.  We understand that breaking the rules isn’t right, but can accept that sometimes it’s required to do what’s right for the greater good.  Unfortunately, Dr. Birx and her like minded colleagues including Dr. Fauci were dead wrong.  They pushed policies that did more harm than good, consigned families to economic and educational devastation, if not abuse, drug addiction, and suicide.  They are almost single handedly responsible for the most catastrophic policy failure in US history and we will all be paying the price for decades to come.  Rather than publishing books and bragging about their actions, they should all be rotting in jail for the rest of their lives.

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