White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has won a $1 million prize for “defending science” from the Israel-based Dan David Foundation.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, earned the recognition for a lifetime of leadership on HIV research and AIDS relief as well as his advocacy for the vaccines against COVID-19, reported the Associated Press.
In an apparent reference to Fauci’s many critics, including at times his former boss President Trump, the foundation credited Fauci with “courageously defending science in the face of uninformed opposition during the challenging COVID crisis.”
“As the COVID-19 pandemic unraveled, [Fauci] leveraged his considerable communication skills to address people gripped by fear and anxiety and worked relentlessly to inform individuals in the United States and elsewhere about the public health measures essential for containing the pandemic’s spread,” the foundation’s awards committee said.
The panel praised him for “speaking truth to power in a highly charged political environment.”
Fauci’s critics, however, point to many flip-flops on major issues related to the pandemic, accusing him of make declarations based more on politics and his personal reputation rather than on science.
In April, Fauci said in an MSNBC interview that he became aware that the outbreak would become a pandemic “towards the middle to end of January” of 2020.
In a Jan. 21, 2020, interview, however, he said the coronavirus was “not a major threat” to the U.S.
Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly asked: “Bottom line. We don’t have to worry about this one, right?”
“Obviously, you need to take it seriously, and do the kinds of things that the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security are doing,” Fauci replied.
“But, this not a major threat for the people of the United States, and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.”
In January, Dr Tony Fauci was on my show telling America not to worry about the Coronavirus—that it wasn’t a major threat to the people. January 21, 2020, 20 seconds: pic.twitter.com/RLDivpgbAq
— Greg Kelly (@gregkellyusa) April 3, 2020
In March 2020, Fauci co-authored an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine predicting the fatality rate for the coronavirus would turn out to be like that of a “severe seasonal influenza,” which is about one-tenth of 1 percent. That was only weeks after he told Congress the rate was 10 times higher.
Fauci’s lower figure — while the World Health Organization estimated the rate was a staggering 3% to 7% — turned out to be accurate.
However, it was during that month, March 2020, that Fauci and fellow coronavirus taskforce member Deborah Birx approached President Trump with the dire study by the Imperial College of London that estimated 2.2 million Americans could die, leading to federal recommendations for sweeping lockdowns.
In December, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., called on Fauci to apologize to every school child in America and their parents for not pressing for schools to reopen long before the fall term, when the science already was clear that COVID-19 has little impact on children.
Paul said the error illustrates the problem with basing public policy on one person or on Washington. In this case, there were “grave effects for millions of school children.”
Fauci famously dueled with Paul last summer over whether or not children should go back to school in the fall. Then, three months into the school year, Fauci essentially admitted that Paul was right.
“If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not very big at all, not like one would have suspected,” Fauci told ABC’s “This Week” on Nov. 29. “So let’s try to get the kids back and try to mitigate the things that maintain and push the kind of community spread we are trying to avoid.”
Last July, anonymous Trump administration officials distributed a list of every instance in which Fauci and others have made statements about the coronavirus pandemic that turned out to be wrong,
The list included Fauci saying in January 2020 that the virus was not a “major threat”and in March saying “people should not be walking around with masks”
In a July podcast that resurfaced in December, Fauci admitted the widely used PCR tests pick up harmless fragments of the coronarvirus, resulting in many false-positive cases that result in overstating the threat.
In September, a frustrated Dr. Scott Atlas reacted to criticism from Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield after Trump put Atlas on the coronavirus task force.
An NBC News employee reported overhearing Redfield say on a flight, “Everthing [Atlas] says is false.” Fauci, meanwhile, charged in a CNN interview that Atlas was peddling “incorrect” information about masks, COVID’s effect on young people and herd immunity.
Atlas told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham “it’s all about delegitimizing the president and feeding into a false narrative that the president doesn’t listen to the science or the scientists.”
“I was called in because I can translate the medical science into public policy,” Atlas said. “I advise the president to do everything he can to protect the vulnerable, to open schools and open society and to make sure hospitals are not overcrowded.
“Of course, this is the right policy,” he said. “It may not be the policy that everyone agrees with, but it happens to be the exactly the policy in concert with many of the world’s leading epidemiologists and infectious disease people.”
At his first press conference under the Biden administration, Fauci indicated he was now free to tell the truth and enact science-based policies. But he frequently commended President Trump for his actions, declaring on many occasions that Trump adopted his advice.
He said in an interview in March 2020 that the United States was “ahead of the curve” on containing the coronavirus because of President Trump’s unprecedented travel restrictions.
“Clearly, early on, we made a travel ban with regard to China — that was a very smart move right there,” he said in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” “because what that did was prevent a major influx from China.”
At the time, said Fauci, the focus was on Europe, which was “seeding other countries throughout the world.”
“That’s the reason why we made the very difficult, but appropriate, decision to have a travel ban on the European countries,” said Fauci.
“So we are definitely ahead of the curve on that,” he said.
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