16 July 2020

In defense of Dr. Fauci



Intelligent readers of this blog won't need to see a defense of Dr. Fauci, but I think you'll enjoy the closing comment at the end of the video.

20 comments:

  1. I believe, every day, people are really hearing the president speak for the first time, to them. Saying something that is going to impact them, personally, immediately. No abstraction. There is no wiggle room of "the president is just joking" to be had. Those that still appreciate facts see a damnable pattern. They are being lied to regarding the stakes. The ultimate stakes: life or death. The ultimate risk. Those risks are stuck in a filter for many followers of the president. They hear alternative facts. They believe opinions are facts, sadly. We see the fallout. Transparent honesty is what we need in dealing with life or death decisions. Unfortunately, all we get is a can of beans.

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  2. I agree with Eric Weinstein.

    I'd have a lot more confidence if Fauci hadn't straight-up lied about the need to wear masks in order to reduce PPE shortages early in the pandemic.

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    1. Can you clarify for me John how you know that's a lie? Fauci said there was a shortage of masks early in the pandemic and the government didn't encourage everyone in the public to wear one because the government wanted to give priority to medical personnel.

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    2. On his Twitter thread, Eric Weinstein identified himself as "Math guy. MD at Thiel Capiital." Most of the public interpret M.D. as "Doctor of Medicine." Weinstein has a doctorate, but it is in mathematics. His "MD" without periods after the letters is his abbreviation for "Managing Director". He appears to me to be intentionally misleading the public about his supposed expertise in medical science.

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    3. I would also emphasize that Eric Weinstein directs "Thiel Capital," which is an investment firm. He is viewing Fauci and the pandemic through the narrow window of the response of the stock market. He, Trump, and others are desperate to prop up the S&P and other market indices both to enhance their personal wealth and to restore public confidence in the Trump administration's handling of the economy. That would explain Weinstein's opposition to "climate change", which puts the world economy in peril. And I bet he wants schools to reopen ASAP so that working mothers can get back into economic productivity, damn the pandemic full speed ahead.

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    4. And finally I tried to find out more about Thiel Capital. Bloomberg lists them as a private equity asset management firm based in San Francisco -

      https://www.bloomberg.com/profile/company/0258102D:US?sref=iqrQOhyx

      - and lists Jason Camm as the Chief Medical Officer/Managing Director - not Eric Weinstein.

      The "medical director" part was interesting, so I looked the company up on Crunchbase:

      https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/thiel-capital

      It has about $400M in capital invested in medical firms (biopharmaceuticals, sleep apnea, neuroscience) with two current team members, neither of which is Eric Weinstein.

      Weinstein may be brillliant, but he seems to hate the established scientific community because his "unifying physics theory" has never been accepted in a peer-reviewed journal. A Guardian op-ed praising Weinstein's work was written by a longtime friend of his. A Scientific American article about this -

      https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cocktail-party-physics/dear-guardian-youve-been-played/

      - basically says bullshit.

      So do I.

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    5. The information about Eric Weinstein is interesting, but I am just wondering how he got into this discussion thread?

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    6. Peter Thiel, the money behind Thiel Capital, is a friend and political ally of Donald Trump and after The Guardian had become a thorn in both his and Trump's side, he waited for an opportunity. When Hulk Hogan had a case against them, he financed the lawsuit to force them into bankruptcy and when they couldn't pay, he demanded that all assets, copyrights, and trademarks go to him, not Hogan.

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  3. If Fauci had said, "COVID-19 is a serious threat and, right now, we have a serious national shortage of PPE that should be reserved for medical personnel until manufacturers can increase the supply so that the general population can wear face masks" then you would be correct.

    But that's not what he said. He either lied about what he knew or misunderstood the threat of COVID-19.

    I'd be fine with the latter. Everyone got the coronavirus threat wrong. Even Trump! It's okay to make mistakes. But it was not okay for Fauci to lie about face masks.

    Scientists have specialized knowledge that laymen can't independently verify. During a crisis we have to know that they're telling the truth as best they know it.

    But, Stan, if you can produce evidence that Fauci said, loud and clear, that he thought that masks were necessary but should be reserved for medical personnel early on in the pandemic, then I'll admit that I'm wrong.

    As for Weinstein: he's thoroughly liberal. I listen to his podcast. There's not a single molecule in his body that supports Trump. And I've never heard him promote himself in any way, shape, or form as a medical professional.

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    1. He still didn't lie.
      Looking at the timing of the article you found, his statement was perfectly valid for the state of the pandemic and the state of the knowledge about the effectiveness of wearing masks during a pandemic.

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    2. John, I found this in a partial transcription of an interview with Dr. Fauci by Kathleen Ross for Jim Cramer's The Street:

      "Dr. Fauci joined The Street to talk about why masks are important when you leave the house and to better explain why there was back and forth in the beginning..."

      "So, why weren't we told to wear masks in the beginning?"

      "Well, the reason for that was that we were concerned the public health community, and many people were saying this, were saying that it was at at time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply. And we wanted to make sure that the people namely, the health care workers, who were brave enough to put themselves in a harm way, to take care of people who you know were infected with the coronavirus and the danger of them getting infected."

      "In case you missed it, this clip has been featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

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    3. Oops, forgot the link:

      https://www.thestreet.com/video/dr-fauci-masks-changing-directive-coronavirus

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    4. In the early days of covid-19 the experts were not aware that it was spread by asymptomatic people which is why they, including Dr. Fauci, did not recommend asymptomatic people wear face masks. They recommended saving them for those who were ill, who they believed were the significant infection source, and health care workers. Once they learned that asymptomatic individuals were a significant source of infection they changed their position. I had bookmarked this article after another discussion of Dr. Fauci's honesty.

      https://www.factcheck.org/2020/05/outdated-fauci-video-on-face-masks-shared-out-of-context

      It includes a transcript of an interview from March 8, which includes this exchange:

      Fauci: Of course, of course. But, when you think masks, you should think of health care providers needing them and people who are ill. The people who, when you look at the films of foreign countries and you see 85% of the people wearing masks — that’s fine, that’s fine. I’m not against it. If you want to do it, that’s fine.

      LaPook: But it can lead to a shortage of masks?

      Fauci: Exactly, that’s the point. It could lead to a shortage of masks for the people who really need it.

      Those of us in the health care field knew the mask shortage to be absolutely real and critical in early March. That's when we started sewing cloth masks for everyday use and saved the real masks for those directly caring for patients with covid-19.

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    5. Yes, Stan, I'm familiar with that interview. Fauci provided an explanation for why he lied. I'm unimpressed with his moral reasoning. Again, he could have said:

      "COVID-19 is a serious threat and, right now, we have a serious national shortage of PPE that should be reserved for medical personnel until manufacturers can increase the supply so that the general population can wear face masks."

      But he didn't.

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    6. You seem to be living in another world... a world where Americans (and people in general) are able to sensibly process information and handle accordingly. Fauci didn't lie.

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    7. If this upsets you this much, all the lies told by Trump and his administration must absolutely infuriate you.

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  4. Here's a salient observation from the miniseries Chernobyl:
    When the truth offends, we lie and lie until we can no longer remember that it is even there, but it is still there. Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later that debt is paid.

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    1. This is a beautiful quote, thank you for sharing it. It so perfectly summarizes how I feel about the current anti science environment.

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  5. I do remember, early on, there being a lot of discussion about masks... looking at their role in earlier pandemics. But there wasn't a solid leaning about wearing/not wearing them... there was some worry that wearing one might even increase your chances of contracting the virus.

    Also, I'm sympathetic to the idea that health workers needed masks for a variety of reasons, not just the pandemic... so, without solid information, it would have been irresponsible to encourage the sort of panic buying we saw with toilet paper and such.

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