Former President Donald Trump is now engaged in some very public fingerpointing with his former senior COVID-19 advisers, Doctors Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx. In media interviews, Fauci is now attempting to take credit for the astonishingly quick development of vaccines, while Birx has effectively suggested that, if it were not for Trump’s missteps, many thousands of deaths might have been prevented. The 45th president has now fired back, accusing the pair of being “self promoters” who are “trying to reinvent history.”
So who is right, and who is wrong? Who deserves credit for pushing through the development of COVID-19 vaccines at record speed? Who is responsible for all those who died either as a direct result of infection, or the devastating social, psychological, and economic consequences of irresponsible and unscientific reactions to this pandemic?
Whose Vaccine Is It, Anyway?
As Trump pointed out, Fauci refused to believe that an effective vaccine could be developed in the time frame his then-boss touted. Perhaps the doctor was right, because none of the vaccines currently being deployed against the virus have undergone long-term trials, and the various manufacturers continue to haggle with regulatory and health organizations over the efficacy of their products.
One thing seems abundantly clear, though: Regardless of whether any of these vaccines are safe and effective or could have negative longer-term consequences for those who take them, Fauci deserves little credit – if any – for their development.
How Many Have Died – and Why?
What about all the fatalities? The starting point of this particular bone of contention must be the acceptance that nobody really knows exactly how many have been killed by the virus. The CDC has always provided numbers of “probable” deaths from COVID-19 along with much lower “confirmed” counts.
Magically, health “experts” have been astounded that deaths from heart disease and even the seasonal flu were significantly fewer in 2020 than in any previous year in recent history. Were they really, though, or was it simply that so many of the fatalities caused by these two prolific killers were falsely attributed to COVID-19?
What is almost certain is that, even ten or more months ago, far more Americans had already come into contact with the virus than anyone was saying, and far fewer Americans have been killed by the virus than we have been led to believe.
No doubt, though, the virus has killed tens of thousands, at least. How many of those deaths were preventable? Well, perhaps if certain state governors had not directed that elderly COVID-19 patients be herded into nursing homes alongside the uninfected, thousands of seniors might not have died. So, blame can be assigned for those awful losses.
Interestingly enough, neither Birx nor Fauci publicly expressed any concern, at the time, over these state-level directives. Are they not then also complicit? They were supposed to be the ones who knew how to deal with the virus after all.
Indeed, it was the states that took the lead on managing the virus. Trump relied on the advice of health specialists like Birx, Fauci and others. In turn, the Trump administration provided recommendations to the states and assisted them by replenishing their stocks of personal protective equipment, which were depleted because of mismanagement at the state level. Beyond that, Trump had no ability to stop the pandemic.
Neither Birx nor Fauci had that ability either. There is a strong case to be made that naturally developing herd immunity is the only thing that could have ended the threat of COVID-19 – and still could. The world’s leading health officials, though, came to the inexplicable conclusion that natural herd immunity was not really a thing at all, thus disregarding thousands of years of human existence in the face of countless deadly viruses.
Previously, Fauci has stated that Trump always listened carefully to his advice and followed it – even though the former commander in chief says now that he “almost always overturned” the recommendations. If the renowned epidemiologist is telling the truth and Trump is not, then is Fauci responsible for the deaths Birx claims could have been avoided?
The answer to that one, of course, is no. Fauci, Trump, and Birx cannot reasonably be blamed for the loss of life. That responsibility lies elsewhere – perhaps with the Chinese government. Whether it escaped from a lab or was transmitted from animals to humans, COVID-19 came out of China, while the regime attempted to cover it up even as it was imposing movement restrictions upon its own people.
The President and the Pseudo-Scientists
Then again, one should consider the very real possibility that the people who recommended lockdowns, social distancing, curfews, and all the other restrictions – few of which proved effective – are to blame for the death toll. Those restrictions, after all, prevented the United States and many other countries from achieving herd immunity sooner, which might well have reduced the global fatality rate by hundreds of thousands.
Each year – except, apparently, in 2020 – tens of thousands of people die from the seasonal flu. Nobody gets blamed for those deaths. Viruses kill the vulnerable – that’s how it is. COVID-19 was always destined to take many, many thousands of lives. The reckless and fatal decisions of Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan notwithstanding, it serves no purpose, and is quite offensive, to be blaming anyone in the United States for any virus-related fatalities merely for the sake of defending one’s own reputation or scoring political points.
If Fauci and Birx can be blamed for anything, it is for promoting pseudo-scientific measures to combat this pandemic and, if Trump is to be blamed, then he could perhaps be blamed for not having these two bureaucrats escorted out of the White House on day one and instead soliciting the advice of private-sector specialists who do not constantly have one eye on their prospects for future cushy government jobs or lucrative advisory positions with the likes of the vaccine-obsessed Bill Gates.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.