Fauci Is Back, And He’s Telling You to Mask Up Just Because He Says So

To paraphrase the epigrammatic Taylor Swift, Dr. Anthony Fauci comes back stronger than a 2020 trend. Really, I thought we were rid of the bugger. The former chief medical adviser to the president, head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and de facto national COVID czar left his position in December 2022, just before the Republicans took the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the House GOP doesn’t seem to be interested in vigorously investigating Fauci — despite a superabundance of matters that deserve investigation, at least in this writer’s opinion — so our best hope was that the little man would fade into obscurity as we learned to forget that he, more than anyone else, helped facilitate lockdowns, masking, attempted vaccine mandates and the social isolation that hath wrought so many economic, mental and social ills. But no. First, there’s a New Variant™ of COVID that some in the establishment are freaking out about. Second, if the variant causes enough COVID freakout, there’s a problematic (for his side, anyhow) study published this year that showed masking didn’t work. In an appearance on CNN, Fauci admitted the study was pretty much factual — but, you know, you should still mask up. Host Michael Smerconish quoted a New York Times piece about the so-called Cochrane Study. (Full title: “Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.” Probably best to keep it at “Cochrane Study.”) “The most rigorous and comprehensive analysis of scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of masks for reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses — including Covid-19 — was published late last month. Its conclusions, said Tom Jefferson, the Oxford epidemiologist who is its lead author, were unambiguous,” the February article read. “’There is just no evidence that they’ — masks — ‘make any difference,’ he told the journalist Maryanne Demasi. ‘Full stop.’ “But, wait, hold on. What about N-95 masks, as opposed to lower-quality surgical or cloth masks? ‘Makes no difference — none of it,’ said Jefferson.” Instead, he said that “policymakers” — politicians, “the experts,” a certain head of the NIAID — were “convinced by nonrandomized studies, flawed observational studies.” Well, that doesn’t sound good. What say you, Dr. Fauci? “There’s no doubt that masks work,” he told Smerconish. “Different studies give different percentages of advantage of wearing it,” Fauci said. “But there’s no doubt that the weight of the studies — and there have been many studies — indicate the benefit of wearing masks. … “When you’re talking about the effect on the epidemic or the pandemic as a whole, the data are less strong. But when you talk about as an individual basis of someone protecting themselves or protecting themselves from spreading it to others, there’s no doubt that there are many studies that show that there is an advantage.”
He added that “we’re not talking about forcing anybody to do anything.” I’d add one word to that sentence: “yet.” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, arguably the Republican Party’s staunchest opponent to Fauci’s unelected reign of stupidity, was decidedly unimpressed with the answer and best summed up the absolutely flawed logic behind it. “Fauci admits that masks don’t work for the public at large but still absurdly claims masks work on an individual basis. More subterfuge,” he said on social media. Paul is actually being quite genial here, in my opinion. Fauci’s take is that, sure, the data don’t show that masking ever worked to stop the spread of COVID-19. Mass data, of course, is how you test if something works. But, Fauci said, individuals might benefit from something even if there’s no evidence it works. This logic, if applied to literally anything else in medicine, is dangerous. There’s no evidence that laetrile — a poison found in the seeds of apricots — can effectively treat cancer, and it is deleterious to pretty much everyone who takes it. Despite this, some charlatans employ it as an alternative treatment for the disease. However, using Fauci’s logic, you could say that, for individuals, maybe it works — along with chemo and radiation. So, ergo, don’t knock laetrile. [firefly_poll] Pretty much every study that looks at the matter shows that prolonged and excessive alcohol use is a source of depression, anxiety and other forms of major mental illness; not only that, but it leads to cognitive impairment in pretty much everyone. But the author Christopher Hitchens was famous for claiming that excessive use of “the grape and the grain,” as he called it, enhanced his life and inspired his crystalline prose and rousing rhetoric. (Until, of course, it may have helped contribute to the esophageal cancer that killed him at only 62.) Therefore, to phrase it as Fauci might have, the data on copious consumption of alcohol making one into a Hitchensian wit as opposed to a dissolute, desolate wreck are less strong than one might like — but at an individual level, it might work. Crack open that Johnnie Walker Black! This is reductio ad absurdum stuff, but not by as much as you might think. Mask-wearing didn’t come without its costs, particularly with regard to language processing and facial recognition in children. Not only that, the masks became a divisive virtue-signal; if you didn’t put it on, liberals would go a-Karening on you at the drop of a MAGA hat, claiming that you were putting their life in jeopardy by refusing to put a silly rag over your mouth and nose. And they didn’t stop the spread of the disease, according to the Cochrane Study. But, lo and behold, “the experts” are warning that the masks might be coming back thanks to this new variant, according to CBS News. (Headline of its Aug. 25 report: “Is masking coming back? As new COVID variants emerge, here’s what experts say.”) “What’s the weather out today? If it’s raining, you will probably want to bring an umbrella. If you are in an area where there is an uptick in airborne respiratory infections like COVID, flu or RSV, you may want to take extra precautions, such as wearing a high-quality mask in indoor public spaces,” CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook said. Virologist Paul Duprex also said that people “can certainly stop it making as many mutations by stopping it infecting as many people – if we block its transmission, if we wear a mask, if we get vaccinated, if we do social distancing.” Pandemic 2.0, baby! Time for the media and a gaggle of unaccountable public health officials to tell you how to live your life — again! Except the science — and remember, we’re all supposed to “follow the science” — is in. No matter how many variants there were, how serious they happened to be, the masks didn’t work. But, you know, they might work for you individually. So we’re going to be asked to collectively put them back on again. It looks like Fauci — and “the experts” — are indeed coming back stronger than a 2020 trend, no matter how stupid it may be. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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