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Tipsheet

Fauci Attempts to Rewrite Pandemic History

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who’s retiring as head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease in December, acknowledged the “deleterious collateral consequences” of school closures but said he bore no responsibility for it. 

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The comments came during an interview with ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl, who asked if it was a “mistake” for schools to be closed as long as they were during the pandemic. 

“I don’t want to use the word ‘mistake,’ Jon, because if I do, it gets taken out of the context that you’re asking me the question on,” Fauci responded. “We should realize, and have realized, that there will be deleterious collateral consequences when you do something like that.” 

Children suffered emotionally and socially from the decision to close schools, and learning losses among students of all ages has been profound. 

“The idea that this virus doesn’t affect children is not so. We’ve already lost close to 1500 kids so far,” Fauci added, claiming he always urged health officials to do everything possible to “keep the schools open.”

“No one plays that clip. They always say ‘Fauci was responsible for closing schools.’ I had nothing to do [with it],” he continued. “I mean, let’s get down to the facts.”

Former Bush speech writer Marc Thiessen has previously summarized Fauci’s positions on school closures: 

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Fauci told Fox News he was “one of the people that said we have to do everything we can to get the children back in school.” But in 2020 he argued for nationwide school closures and criticized Republican governors such as Florida’s Ron DeSantis who resisted them, warning that if “you don’t have a real good control over an outbreak and you allow children together, they will likely get infected.” That summer, as students were supposed to be returning for the 2020-2021 school year, he urged that while the “default position” should be to open schools, this should apply to students in areas where transmission was low, while those in higher-risk zones should still be in hybrid or virtual learning. Yet according to Brown University economist Emily Oster, we had known for some time that schools were not superspreaders, even in high-risk areas. Fauci’s caveats gave an excuse for teachers unions to resist a return to in-person learning and ultimately kept millions of kids out of the classroom.

Moreover, school closures were rooted in the failure of the public health establishment — which Fauci helped lead — to recognize that kids were the least vulnerable to covid. Schools were shut down because children are usually the most vulnerable to a contagion. But we now know that covid is generally no more dangerous for kids than a typical flu. Indeed, Leonhardt says that “flu can be deadlier for children than Covid has been, even though most children receive a flu vaccine.” A 2021 German study found zero deaths from covid among healthy five- to 17-year-olds from March 2020 to May 2021. Zero. Far from being vectors of transmission, schools were among the safest places to be in some areas — because the covid case rate for students and staff in schools was lower than in the community. (The Washington Post)

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