Fox News' Martha MacCallum challenged Dr. Anthony Fauci to justify the national lockdown after models predicting deaths from the coronavirus pandemic were revised downward.
Fauci, who heads President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, defended the lockdown while admitting that he saw modeling as a limited tool. MacCallum asked him to respond to an article by Andrew McCarthy in National Review documenting the "collapse" of the model predictions.
"I'd like to started with the question of these models which are now getting a lot of pushback in terms of their reliability, when the numbers have swung, you know, 33% in just a couple of days. What do you say to Andrew McCarthy who wrote that piece?" asked MacCallum.
"Well, I mean, there's a certain validity to it, I have been and still am, and will always be somewhat reserved and skeptical about models, because models are only as good as the assumptions that you put into the model," Fauci explained.
"And those assumptions start off when you don't have very much data at all, or the data that you have is uncertain, that you put these assumptions in, and you get these wide ranges of calculations of what might happen, you know, a 100,000 to 240,000 deaths," he said.
"But then as you start to accumulate data, data that is real data, likely being influenced heavily by the mitigation programs that you put in, the physical separations, that when real data comes in, then data, in my mind, always trumps any model," Fauci continued.
"And you have to modify the model, and the assumptions, as you get data in," he explained. "So I have no problem with people who are critical of modeling, because modeling is inherently an imperfect science. So I don't really have any quibbling with that."
"You don't even have to look at any model"
MacCallum went on to challenge him to explain why the drastic social distancing measures were taken seemingly in response to what was being predicted in the models.
"What kind of model is so far off that it leads us to policy-making decisions that now are having such dire consequences?" she asked.
"Yeah, well first I think it's important to point out that it isn't the model, or the result of the model that really led to the decision to have such strong mitigation programs, such as physical separation," Fauci explained.
"You don't even have to look at any model. Just take a look at what happened in China, take a look at what happened in Northern Italy, how the hospitals were completely overrun, and the draconian measures that had to be taken in China to turn down their outbreak," he continued.
"So I mean, if I never saw the result of a model, that alone would clearly indicate that something rather significant needed to be done to prevent the spread," he added.
"So I mean, again, getting back to models, I never argue with anybody that has a problem with a model," Fauci concluded. "I inherently have problems with models."
Fauci went on to confirm the claim that no one in the U.S. who needed a ventilator or an intensive care unit bed had gone without it yet, to his knowledge.
McCarthy responded to Fauci's interview and his defense of the national lockdown as a proper response to the threat from coronavirus.
"Great admiration for Dr Fauci, who's been a hero. Lay people questioning models are doing what he does, far better, every minute," McCarthy tweeted.
"Policy issue is political tho, not medical (albeit informed by experts). That's why reliance on dubious models is critical," he concluded.
Here's the video of Fauci's response:
Dr. Fauci on criticism of coronavirus modeling www.youtube.com