Dr. Fauci Takes on “Anti-Science” Bias Amid Warnings About Increased Coronavirus Infection Rates
During an interview with the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) podcast “Learning Curve,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said “anti-science” bias is to blame for much of the novel coronavirus’s impact on the United States.
“One of the problems we face in the United States is that unfortunately, there is a combination of an anti-science bias that people are — for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable — they just don’t believe science and they don’t believe authority,” Fauci said.
He added: “So when they see someone up in the White House, which has an air of authority to it, who’s talking about science, that there are some people who just don’t believe that — and that’s unfortunate because, you know, science is truth.”
The virus has claimed the lives of nearly 121,000 Americans to date, but that hasn’t stopped many, egged on by President Donald Trump, from declaring it a “hoax.”
“It’s amazing sometimes the denial there is. It’s the same thing that gets people who are anti-vaxxers, who don’t want people to get vaccinated, even though the data clearly indicate the safety of vaccines,” Fauci said. “That’s really a problem.”
Dr. Fauci noted that he is “cautiously optimistic” about an eventual vaccine.
“What happens is that in the standard way of developing a vaccine, you don’t jump to invest in the next step until you’re pretty sure that the step you’re in is working,” he said. “Given the fact that we needed to do this as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety or scientific integrity, the federal government partnered with multiple of these companies and said, ‘Guess what, we’re going to move fast and we’re going to assume we’re going to be successful. And if we are, we’ve saved several months. And if we’re not, the only thing we’ve lost is money. But better lose money than lose lives by delaying the vaccine.’ So, right now, the initial data from the study showed that. It makes me cautiously optimistic that we can induce a response that would be protective.”
Dr. Fauci’s remarks come just after he advised Americans not to attend Trump’s scheduled rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma this weekend, citing coronavirus concerns.
“I’m in a high-risk category. Personally, I would not. Of course not,” Dr. Fauci, who is 79, said.
The rally also goes against the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which notes that “Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area” pose the highest risk for transmitting infections.