Health and Medicine

Noble lies are a public health hazard

By Ryan Cooper, The Week

Just the facts, bureaucrats.

The United States’ COVID pandemic performance is among the worst in the world — particularly given our unparalleled advantages. We lead the planet in confirmed infections and deaths, and while India probably has had more of both that went uncounted, that’s cold comfort when its population is more than four times larger than ours.

One reason for this tragic failure is the dishonesty of American public health bureaucrats. They have repeatedly lied to the public, playing politics with the pandemic, and in the process undermined both the fight against COVID-19 and confidence in their own credibility. Their deception almost certainly got people killed, and it continues to do so this month, as the Omicron variant spreads and booster shots go unused.

This practice of shading the truth or telling straight-up falsehoods in service of some half-baked political end started from the first moments of the pandemic. Back in February and March 2020, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) chief Anthony Fauci was all over the media downplaying masks. “If you look at the masks that you buy in a drug store, the leakage around that doesn’t really do much to protect you,” he told USA Today that spring. “Now, in the United States, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask.” In an interview with 60 Minutes in March, he said, “Right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks.”


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