On July 29, Anthony Fauci was interviewed by Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC’s Chief Medical Correspondent. During that interview he said, “The wearing of masks and other coverings as we just discussed, are going to not only protect against COVID-19 but also help protect us against influenza. So we may find a secondary benefit of the lessons that we’ve learned over the past six months.”
Remember “July 29.” Also recall that Fauci is Director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This is a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services devoted to primary research. The CDC is another branch of the DHS, and has specialists who deal with the human side called epidemiology. The fact that Dr. Fauci was offered to President Trump is puzzling, when Dr. Alicia Fry, chief of CDC’s Epidemiology and Prevention Branch was available. Instead, Dr. Redfield, Director of CDC (not an epidemiologist) has been prominent in public discussions. But I digress.
The CDC has lots of branches and publications. One of them is the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases. It is dedicated to “Fast and broad dissemination of reliable information on emerging infectious diseases.” One would expect Dr. Fauci to both be aware of the Journal, and up to date on its contents. So when he spoke with Dr. Ashton in July, we would expect that he should have read the May 2020 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases. In it we find, “Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures.”
This paper from three months before the interview reviews “the evidence base on the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical personal protective measures and environmental hygiene measures in nonhealthcare settings … in pandemic plans. The “evidence base” means “everything that is known.”
The authors go on to say that they are looking at handwashing and mask wearing as possible ways to prevent transmission of H1N1 (swine) flu. And before you start yelling, swine flu and Wuhan flu are transmitted the same way. So whatever works (or doesn’t work) for one will work (or not work, as the case may be) for the other.
Handwashing and hand sanitizer were bigtime early recommendations by Fauci and friends as ways to prevent you from getting Wuhan flu. We had massive runs on hand sanitizer, with lots of companies figuring out how to get a piece of that suddenly huge pie. We even had some versions pulled off the market because they weren’t safe.
Originally Fauci and the WHO told us that masks weren’t useful for us and should be saved for medical personnel who needed them. Now Fauci tells us they are essential. His excuse is that he was originally trying to prevent a run on masks. The simpler explanation is that he was lying either at the beginning or the end. But let’s let that slide. The paper in EID didn’t just looked at both hand washing and masks. Without further ado, we should “follow the science” and look at the scientific paper.
First, let’s recall that randomized controlled trials are considered the “gold standard.” They allow an investigator to reach firm, useful conclusions. These investigators looked at fourteen – count ‘em – fourteen RCTs in a “meta-analysis.” Evidence from these RCTs “did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”
Translation: You can wash your hands all you want or take a bath in hand sanitizer. Or not. You can wear any mask you want. Or not. It’s not going to matter. It won’t make any difference on whether you get Wuhan flu or not. That’s the science.
But that’s not all. Fauci told MarketWatch on July 24 that “masks and respirators reduced the risk of infection by anywhere from 78 percent to 85 percent.” He cited a paper in Lancet to bolster his assertion. But he misrepresented the paper. One key factor is that the authors reviewed 172 observational and 44 comparative studies, but not one RCT. Not one. Further, their search “did not retrieve any systematic review of information on physical distancing, face masks, or eye protection to prevent transmission…”
In short, the paper Fauci cited didn’t have any proof relevant to the question. Had Fauci read past the numbers that looked like what he wanted to see, he’d have realized that it was worthless for forming policy.
Fauci knew all this and lied through his teeth to Dr. Ashton and MarketWatch. It’s clear that he’s lying to America. President Trump should point this out and dump Fauci. If he thinks he needs an epidemiologist on his team, then he should get a real one, perhaps Dr. Alicia Fry. At least she would have some understanding of how to deal with a virus that’s clearly in the wild, where no measures will have any effect on the large features of the epidemic.
COVID-19 may take down an independent news outlet
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