October 19, 2022

In Brief: Fauci’s Revisionist History on School Closures

“I had nothing to do” with closing schools or keeping them closed, the nation’s highest-paid bureaucrat insists.

We’ve known for a long time that one-size-fits-all shutdowns of businesses and schools to mitigate COVID was almost certainly too draconian. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the author of much of the shutdown policy, not long ago said he would have been even more draconian. Over the weekend, however, he went to his favorite place — television — to plead “not guilty” for blame on the school closures that so completely damaged children’s education.

“According to Fauci,” write National Review’s Isaac Schorr and Brittany Bernstein, “he had ‘nothing to do’ with ensuring that American kids spent months at home, suffering irreversible learning loss while their counterparts in Europe returned to the classroom without incident.”

Unfortunately for Fauci, there’s a long trail of clips and quotes to convict him of not just the original offense but perjury as well.

Of course, no one could blame Fauci for, in March 2020, recommending school closures as a mitigation strategy; little was known about the virus at that time, so precautions had to be taken. But then in the summer of 2020, after the evidence showed that children were largely safe from the virus, Fauci said that, while there should be a general attempt to reopen schools that fall, he had misgivings.

“However, and I underline however, having said that [schools should open], what is paramount is the safety and the welfare of the children and their teachers,” said Fauci, before submitting that they should open only if you have “a very, very low level of infection.”

As usual, Fauci’s position was pretty hard to nail down and keep consistent. His position seemed to change not so much with the science but with the shifting political winds.

Schorr and Bernstein conclude:

Fauci contributed to closures not just by his rhetoric directly relating to schools, but by spending his considerable airtime on television making people feel more fearful of the virus and doubtful of mitigation strategies. As late as July 2021, Fauci was still suggesting that fully vaccinated Americans should wear masks.

With the country’s most prominent doctor so unsure of the vaccines’ benefits, it’s no wonder that teachers’ unions were able to parlay his missteps into more remote work.

Fauci has become a symbol for many of all that was wrong with the public-policy response to the pandemic. That’s not just because of his mistakes, but because of his refusal to admit and learn from them.

Fauci funded the gain-of-function research that likely started the pandemic. He was a slippery advocate of overly draconian measures and apparently learned nothing from the failure of those measures. He then took the golden parachute of a lucrative retirement after having cashed in big time on the pandemic. Was there ever a DC bureaucrat more deserving of American’s ire?

Read the whole thing here.

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