Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, appeared in front of the Senate Health Committee for a hearing on the federal government’s response to the Omicron variant. But rather than accept the event as a mere update on how Washington is grappling with the new variant, some senators took the opportunity to probe further into Fauci and his record, resulting in tense exchanges that made for some exceptional political theater on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a staunch critic of Fauci, accused the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director of smearing doctors from leading universities because they possessed a different opinion. The senator alluded to email exchanges between Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, the former National Institutes of Health director.
“In an email exchange with Dr. [Francis] Collins, you conspire, and I quote here directly from the email, to ‘create a quick and devastating published takedown’ of three prominent epidemiologists from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford,” Paul stated.
In a separate message, Collins discussed the Great Barrington Declaration. This is a statement that rejects lockdowns and favors focused protection and herd immunity. Fauci replied by sharing articles from The Nation and Wired that dismissed the position, leading Paul to believe that Fauci and Collins wanted to smear doctors who endorsed the declaration.
“Instead of engaging them on the merits, you and Dr. Collins sought to smear them as fringe and take them down, and not in journals, in lay press. This is not only antithetical to the scientific method, it’s the epitome of cheap politics, and it’s reprehensible, Dr. Fauci,” Paul explained, adding that the doctor has participated in attacking “scientists who disagree with you.”
In a terse back-and-forth, Fauci accused the senator of engaging in “personal attacks on me that have absolutely no relevance to reality.” He called the allusions “cheap politics” and alleged that Paul had been “distorting everything about me.”
Fauci also revealed that he has received “obscene phone calls” and “threats upon my life” due to individuals “lying about me.” He also referenced a Sacramento, CA man who was arrested in Iowa after law enforcement found a rifle and ammunition. “And they asked the police to ask him where he was going, and he was going to Washington, D.C., to kill Dr. Fauci,” the medical chief said.
Fauci also shared a screenshot from Paul’s campaign website that included a call to “Fire Dr. Fauci” and a panel that requested donations. “So, you are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain,” Fauci charged.
“You won’t defend it, you won’t argue it, you just simply turn around the attack,” Sen. Paul asserted.
‘What a Moron’
In a separate line of questioning, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) asked Fauci, the highest-paid federal employee in the country, about disclosing his investments to Congress. Fauci claimed that his financial disclosures are public knowledge and that he has submitted them for 37 years.
Sen. Marshall alleged that large technology companies have been suppressing this information. This prompted Fauci to tell Marshall that he is “so misinformed.” When Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) intervened to point out that his finances are public record, Fauci was caught in a hot mic moment making disparaging remarks about the questioner: “What a moron, Jesus Christ!”
Marshall issued a statement following the hearing:
“Contrary to what Dr. Fauci said, Dr. Fauci’s financial disclosures for the years of the COVID pandemic are not public.
“I understand that Anthony Fauci had a very frustrating day: having a bombshell report show he in fact did award U.S. tax dollars for gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and being called out about his personal financial disclosure during the COVID pandemic NOT being publically [sic] available must be very frustrating. Calling me a moron during a Senate hearing may have alleviated the stress of the least trusted bureaucrat in America, but it didn’t take away from the facts.”
The Lab Leak Theory
Prior to the hearing, Republican congressmen on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees published excerpts from emails between Fauci and Collins that revealed COVID-19 could have been intentionally altered and then leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Writing in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. James Comer (R-KY) emphasized a Feb. 1, 2020 conference call involving Fauci, Collins, Dr. Jeremy Farrar, and current NIH Acting Director Lawrence Tabak that consisted of discussions over the virus’ origins.
“It was on this conference call that Drs. Fauci and Collins were first warned that COVID-19 may have leaked from the WIV and, further, may have been intentionally genetically manipulated,” the GOP officials’ letter contended, adding that “it is unclear if either Dr. Fauci or Dr. Collins ever passed these warnings along to other government officials or if they simply ignored them.”
There was disagreement regarding the nature of the virus, with Farrar noting that he “just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature.” But Collins’ view was that “a natural origin is more likely.”
“I hoped the Nature Medicine article on the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 would settle this. But probably didn’t get much visibility,” Collins said.
“I would not do anything about this right now. It is a shiny object that will go away in time,” Fauci responded.
The Next Stage in the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is not going away, despite over half the country being vaccinated and more jurisdictions imposing vaccine mandates and renewed public health restrictions. The United States recorded about 1.35 million new infections on Jan. 10, shattering the previous Jan. 3 all-time high of 1.03 million. The seven-day average is now more than 700,000. Hospitalizations also set a record high of 136,604, topping the previous record of 132,051 in January 2021. Deaths are averaging 1,700 a day.
Health officials and medical experts concede that the Omicron variant is less severe. However, because of how contagious and widespread it is, with an R-value of about 4.01, they warn that the spike in confirmed cases could overwhelm the health care system.
But were the vaccines supposed to put an end to these types of conditions? Although the new line is that the jab is meant to prevent people from being hospitalized and potentially dying, it was originally marketed by officials and the Fourth Estate as a mechanism to stop transmission. This is not the case anymore.
“The two doses, they’re not enough for Omicron,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla at a JPMorgan Chase health care conference. “The third dose of the current vaccine is providing quite good protection against deaths, and decent protection against hospitalizations.”
Pfizer intends to manufacture a vaccine that targets the Omicron variant. But some critics purport that the vaccines remain based on the initial viral RNA sequencing in the original Alpha and Beta variants and have not covered the Delta, which has eight times the spike proteins. This could explain the diminishing rate of efficacy and waning protection.
Since the early days of the pandemic, it seems the American people have been misled on numerous occasions by the medical establishment in Washington. Dr. Fauci averred that masks would not protect you from contracting the virus. The administration then promised that the way out of the public health crisis would be vaccines, even if only 50% of the population received the inoculation. When the vaccines arrived, be it Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson, it was supposed to be mission accomplished: no more masks, social distancing, and isolation because breakthrough cases would be extremely rare. Fast forward to the present, and the triple vaccinated population is getting COVID and heading to the hospital, while the rest of the public is double-masked.
Unfortunately, the United States is back to where it was before the vaccines.
~ Read more from Andrew Moran.