The Moment I Knew Fauci Was A Hack
These days, trust in our public health officials has tanked. However, in the early months of the pandemic, they had high levels of trust. Former NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, for example, quickly became the most trusted national figure during the pandemic. This was before we found out he had been lying about mask efficacy and the origins of COVID, of course. But, in mid-July 2020, two-thirds of voters trusted Fauci’s information on COVID.
But that’s also when I lost faith in him. On July 17, 2020, he did an interview with PBS NewsHour, during which he praised New York’s COVID response.
“We know that, when you do it properly, you bring down those cases. We have done it. We have done it in New York,” he explained to PBS’s Judy Woodruff. “New York got hit worse than any place in the world. And they did it correctly.”
My faith in Fauci had been waning for months, but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’d been covering New York’s response to COVID and knew very well that it was a disaster. In fact, New York’s numbers were so bad they made the entire country’s numbers look worse.
Then Governor Andrew Cuomo seemed more interested in using the pandemic to elevate a public rift with President Trump. But, in reality, he showcased how little he understood what was happening in his state.
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To make Trump look like he wasn’t providing the necessary equipment, Cuomo requested 30,000-40,000 ventilators to help see them through the pandemic.
He only needed about 6,000. He got about 7,000 but dramatically declared Trump wasn’t giving him what he needed and said, “You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die.”
Those 7,000 ventilators were more than enough because Cuomo gave extras to other states that needed them more.
Cuomo didn’t know how much he really needed and tried to make it look like a Trump failure. Cuomo also didn’t understand his state’s hospital needs and requested the Naval hospital ship USNS Comfort. Instead, it floated in the harbor virtually unused for three weeks.
But Cuomo’s biggest failure was his nursing home policy. On March 25, 2020, Cuomo ordered nursing homes to accept patients regardless of COVID status, even though we knew at the time that the elderly were more vulnerable to COVID. Because of his policy, COVID spread rapidly in nursing homes, killing thousands. He repeatedly defended the policy and then tried to cover up the actual numbers of COVID deaths it caused.
Fauci’s defense of New York’s COVID response was nonsensical and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Fauci didn’t deserve the high levels of trust the nation was giving him at the time. So it’s hardly a shock that a year and a half later, trust in Fauci had plummeted from two-thirds to less than a third.