March 13, 2020- by Steven E. Greer, MD
With one sentence in response to a question from a congressional hearing, an obscure medical doctor caused a mass panic of unprecedented proportion. The doctor was 79-year-old Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
How did he do this? Was he correct or wrong in an epic way?
The Wall Street Journal reported, “Just two days ago, when a Republican congressman used his time in a public coronavirus briefing to ask [Dr. Fauci], he thought he would get a calming response. The Ivy League had recently canceled the rest of its season. The National Basketball Association was still playing in full arenas.
“Is the NBA underreacting,” Rep. Glenn Grothman asked, “or is the Ivy League overreacting?”
The unsettling answer that Dr. Anthony Fauci offered to Congress changed everything over a dizzying 24 hours that will be remembered as the most extraordinary day for American sports in decades. “We would recommend that there not be large crowds,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, an expert who has been a fixture of American public health for nearly four decades. “If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it.”
Fauci’s candid remarks caught the NBA and some Trump administration officials by surprise. But they were proven to be prescient almost immediately. By the end of Wednesday, the NBA season was not just spectator-less. It was suspended.
What happened in between was that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus and became forever known as the patient zero in American professional sports.
Less than a day after Fauci was in front of Congress answering questions about the NBA, the league had made the decision to shut itself down for at least 30 days, several teams were in self-quarantine, and the entire sports industry was being shaken to its core.
The NBA’s action was the tipping point that prompted a wave of similar moves from other sports and shocked many Americans into paying attention to a global pandemic that has now disrupted everyday life in the U.S. The suspensions continued on Thursday with the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and, the NCAA [March Madness] tournament” (and then the PGA Tour as well as The Masters).
Entire cities are now shutting down. New York has banned large crowds over 500-people in size. The subways might stop running. Most schools are shutting down indefinitely.
Was Dr. Fauci, acting as the “face of coronavirus”, as a policymaker, correct in stating that large crowds should be avoided? The answer is an unequivocal “no”
There are no official epidemiology guidelines to warrant shutting down a nation for the level of threat that COVID-19 poses. If there were, the CDC should have been the agency to issue them, not an NIH bench lab researcher never confirmed by the senate.
There is no reason to view the COVID-19 coronavirus as being a deadly threat more dangerous that a myriad of other viruses that are amongst us all the time. As of March 13, there have been 40-deaths and 1,600 diagnosed cases in this country. All of the deaths have been people who were elderly or otherwise medically challenged form illness. The numbers from South Korea, where testing is far more prevalent, support a death rate of well under 1%. There is currently no reason to treat COVID-19 like a science fiction pandemic to kill half the population.
The reaction to this virus has set a dangerous precedent. Every year there are new strains of the flu, SARS, etc. that could cripple our economy if the incompetent and biased media politicized it. People die by the millions from infectious diseases. That is normal and unpreventable.
I have been following these virus pandemics for two-decades since I became a Wall Street analyst and money manager. When I ran the entire healthcare portfolio for Merrill Lynch in 2005, it was the avian “bird” flu that mobilized us. In 2009 and 2010, under President Obama, a genuine safety hazard spread in the form of Influenza sub-type H1N1, or “swine flu” That administration downplayed it as thousands of people died. The current COVID-19 is nothing like swine flu. It is far less virulent.
Dr. Fauci failed to factor in the gravitas of his words when he spoke before congress. He spoke irresponsibly.
Dr. Fauci is not a policymaker. He is not a senior member of Homeland Security or the military. He is a basic-science research nerd who gained fame with the HIV epidemic. He has since been running his fiefdom within the corrupt NIH for decades (The corruption of the NIH is beyond the scope of this essay). He is a government bureaucrat who pushes papers and directs your taxpayer dollars to go to the same Ivy League schools, year after year. Dr. Fauci has never been elected to anything. He has no leadership experience.
How is it then that such a non-leader was allowed to have such an impact on the United State and the world? If you want to blame Trump for something, this would be a fair criticism. Trump is, yet again, letting his cabinet run amok.
Actually, it was Republican senators who got the Trump administration to make Fauci the face of the epidemic. It should be of no surprise that the inept senate misled a clueless White House.
Now, President Trump is forced to deal with the hand dealt him. He could use jiu-jitsu and go even crazier than the Democrats by shutting down the nation with a state of emergency. By doing so, he would then be able to take credit for “preventing” a deadly pandemic. Of course, there will be no way to disprove him. He can also take advantage of the false crisis and get some tax cuts passed.
Stay tuned to see how President Trump deals with the false panic induced by Anthony Fauci.
Update: One-hour after posting this article, President Trump and VP Pence sure seemed to demote Anthony Fauci on live TV with a new, better spoken, less hand-wringing, smart as hell, woman doctor.