The story may or may not be apocryphal. A medical lecturer was taking questions after a talk and was asked, “Doctor, at what point did physicians start saving more lives than they took?” Came the reply: “Soon. Very soon.”
The need for both medical treatment and prevention even when none was available or in any case unknown has made the medical profession on par with politics for flimflammery and general deceit, albeit with an added element of just plain ignorance compounded by arrogance of the ignorance.
And while, yes, we have finally passed the point in treatment where we were doing more harm than good, it seems we have taken a huge step backward in an incredibly brief time period in terms of prevention. Many people are responsible for that, including essentially the whole practice of epidemiology, but nobody is more responsible than “America’s Most Respected Doctor.” Yes, Anthony Fauci.
In December, he is set to retire while receiving the highest salary of any federal employee, over $434,000 in 2020, in addition to over $200,000 in pension and other federal compensation. Being a saint these days pays. In January 2021, Fauci received a $1 million award as part of the prestigious Dan David Prize affiliated with Tel Aviv University for “speaking truth to power.”
Fauci said COVID was his worst nightmare. In fact, it was his greatest dream.
Yet he is truly an awful person who almost single-handedly converted epidemiology from essentially a hard science with a strong basis in math to a soft science, with terrible ramifications to date and unknown ones in the future. Welcome to the life of the greatest con man in American medical history — which is saying a lot. He’s a man who climbed to the top by virtue of being wrong, but in the right way.
It what has now become boilerplate for articles critical of my 1990 book The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS, an unknown physician who specialized in obscure blood vessel diseases was the sole author of a 1983 piece in the prestigious JAMA (formerly Journal of the American Medical Association) that declared the disease might be transmissible by “routine close contact, as within a family household.”
What occurred behind the scenes few will know and, presumably, nobody will ever relate, but Anthony Fauci shortly thereafter ascended to the position he holds to this day as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Yet consider this. NIAID is obviously a sub-unit of the National Institutes of Health. How did Fauci become “America’s top doctor” when dollars to doughnuts you can’t even name the current head of the NIH?
This would characterize Fauci’s career forever. Cool, calm, outrageous alarmism. Telling lies wrapped in just enough truth to make it palatable. But we have let ourselves be fooled that if he doesn’t prevaricate about the time of day or the current weather, he’s honest in other respects as well. In 1987, columnist George Will asserted on TV that the heterosexual AIDS threat was overstated. “That’s not correct,” Fauci protested, followed by a prediction that the percentage of AIDS cases contracted via heterosexual transmission (then at 4 percent) would rise to 10 percent by 1991. That rate never rose above 4 percent.
Fauci repeated the pattern during successive disease panics, such as when he declared 18 years ago that we are “due” for “massive person-to-person” spread of Avian flu H5N1. How massive? While he didn’t define “massive,” according to one estimate by a CDC modeler, “even in the best-case scenarios” it would “cause 2 to 7 million deaths” worldwide. British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson (whose prediction of 500,000 coronavirus deaths in Britain and two million in the U.S. would lead to lockdowns in both countries) scaled that back to “only” 200,000. As it turned out, the disease killed 440 worldwide. Of course, we can always hope for new outbreaks. (READ MORE: Mr. Fauci Goes From Washington)
Fauci said COVID was his worst nightmare. In fact, it was his greatest dream. This was a pandemic that actually panned out — at least if you use the CDC and WHO definitions of COVID mortality that makes dying with the virus the same as dying from. Thus, quite seriously, if you’re in a motorcycle accident that ends with your brains dashed out on the street but you test positive for the virus it’s a COVID death. The CDC has found that about 94 percent of alleged deaths from COVID had comorbidities, and other studies have shown higher rates. But Fauci ignores all this. If it’s on the death certificate, they “are real deaths from COVID-19,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America.
It is well known in scientific circles that many specialists don’t look at the big picture. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick is a physician and author of Doctoring Data: How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsense. He told Spiked magazine that
Epidemiologists would rather overestimate a threat by 100 times than underestimate it by 10 percent. These models will always hugely overestimate risk. Everyone has to say things will be really serious because they would look terrible if they said things would be all right and they were not. If they are proved wrong, they can say it was just as well to warn people because it could have been terrible even though it did not end up being so. This approach is taken without any cognizance of the damage that the advice they have given has caused.
But Fauci is beyond the pale. It appears there is nothing he does that’s not in furtherance of his career. Witness one aspect that essentially nobody has written about but me.
In the academic world, Fauci is famous for his incredible output on an equally incredibly number of subjects. “In a 2022 analysis of Google Scholar citations, Dr. Fauci ranked as the 44th most-cited living researcher,” states his official NIAID bio. “During the same period, he ranked 22th [sic] out of 3.3 million authors in the field of research & experimental medicine.”
He’s incredible! In fact, just a bit too much so.
I first realized this when I worked at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1987-88 and invited him to a hearing on AIDS. Even back then, his CV listing all the papers on which he was lead or co-researcher was so heavy I almost got a hernia lifting it. Today, according to his NIAID bio, he is “author, coauthor, or editor of more than 1,300 scientific publications, including several textbooks.” This would be extremely impressive in any case, but remember we’re talking about someone who for the past 36 years was supposed to be working full-time as an administrator when he’s not not doing individual research.
As one can see by entering Fauci’s name in PubMed, the government’s archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, there are simply too many papers listing Fauci on too many disparate subjects, and too often as lead researcher. (Note: For medical journal publications the lead researcher is listed last.) Some papers that list him as lead researcher are of labor-intensive clinical trials.
Keep scrolling and you find Fauci is apparently a published expert on virtually every medical topic.
Something is going on here. And unless Fauci has had himself cloned, the best guess might be labeled “plagiarism by consent.” There is always steep competition to get in the top-ranked journals or any journal of any reputation at all. It would appear that the true researchers are putting Fauci’s name on their papers to push them up the ladder, in exchange for which he gets yet one more academic publication attributed to him, as noted, usually with him as lead researcher. It’s a shame he’s not part of Marvel’s Avengers.
Fauci’s entire career has been about self-aggrandizement: fame and fortune.
Oh, and disclosures show that Fauci edits the medical textbook Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine and serves on the board of the publisher McGraw Hill. Fauci received $100,000 as a writer for the publication and an additional sum as editor. In fact, surprise of surprises, he’s listed as chief author! In July 2019, Fauci also received a travel reimbursement of $6,328 for a six-day trip to beautiful La Jo to attend a board meeting of McGraw Hill. I have no proof of this, but what do you want to bet that other than the money and the cushy trip, he had nothing to do with that book except, again, attaching his name to it?
Or has he been cloned? You decide.
Yes, Fauci’s entire career has been about self-aggrandizement: fame and fortune. You’re not supposed to become filthy rich as a public servant. Overpaid? Yeah, most of them probably are. But not that overpaid. (I think mostly they’re underworked; when I lived in north Arlington, it seemed that all of my neighbors were on the federal payroll and virtually none could actually describe their jobs.) Anyway, they were just humble minions. They were hardly what Fauci so clearly is, a megalomaniac.
“The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it,” skeptic H.L. Mencken has observed. “Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve.”
Employing the advice of John Wayne’s character in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, “Never apologize; it makes you look weak,” Fauci flatly fibs.
After the publication of ballgame photos in 2020 in which he was often unmuzzled — against his own dubious advice — he should have become the most notorious unmasked man since the Phantom of the Opera. But, he insisted to Fox News, “I had my mask around my chin. I had taken it down. I was totally dehydrated and I was drinking water, trying to rehydrate myself,” he claimed. Actually, the published photos either show his hands together or wrapped around a cell phone. Further, in a virtually empty stadium, he found no room for “social distancing,” sitting between two others seat-to-seat.
“Playing God” is a trite expression I normally detest, but that’s exactly what Fauci has been doing. He repeatedly throws the fear of, well, God, into us. His advocacy of lockdowns will surely live well past his own lifetime.
Fauci helped set the standard for future highly contagious bugs, whether locking down or masking up. Whether either measure had any success anywhere in preventing infections or “flattening the curve” may be debatable, especially considering that “flatten the curve” became a joke, and it appears virtually everyone without an innate immunity will eventually contract the disease regardless of vaccinations.
But does he see a downside? No. Asked by Fox News’s Neil Cavuto in August if he regrets the school closures that kept kids out of the classroom and “forever damaged them,” Fauci replied, “I don’t think it’s forever irreparably damaged anyone.”
Whether he’s lying or in denial, he’s wrong. Wrote David Leonhardt of the New York Times, “Children fell far behind in school during the first year of the pandemic and have not caught up.” He quoted Michael Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute: “We haven’t seen this kind of academic achievement crisis in living memory.”
Many children and teenagers are experiencing mental health problems thanks to the isolation of pandemic-era lockdowns. Three medical groups declared a national state of emergency in children’s mental health. They cited “dramatic increases in emergency department visits for all mental health emergencies.”
Mental health actually suffered across the board, rates of alcoholism and other addiction went up, as did spousal abuse. Suicide attempts have risen, sharply among adolescent girls. The number of ER visits for suspected suicide attempts by 12- to 17-year-old girls grew by 51 percent from early 2019 to early 2021, according to the CDC.
And the pandemic resulted in the permanent closure of roughly 200,000 U.S. establishments above historical levels during the first year of the viral outbreak, according to a study by economists at the Federal Reserve.
Even the George Floyd riots may have been in part a result of pent-up frustration, as I wrote elsewhere. But blaming anything but police brutality was very unwoke, so nobody joined me. Floyd, whose autopsy revealed coronavirus infection, incidentally, was an exception to the “died with COVID means died from” rule. Very convenient, that.
The only reason we won’t lock down for the flu this year is because we never have. But anything new? If lockdowns and muzzling have become institutionalized, as many hope, in part because epidemiologists are overwhelmingly liberals who tend to favor authoritarianism, then whip out the masks and close the schools and businesses! The Great and Powerful Fauci has spoken!
Michael Fumento (www.fumento.com) is an attorney, author, and science journalist for over 35 years, with a specialty in epidemic hysteria. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Sunday Times, the Atlantic, and many other fora.