Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci over the weekend, criticizing the infectious diseases doctor for a startling admission he made last week in which he acknowledged intentionally misleading the American public about the coronavirus herd immunity threshold.
What did Rubio say?
The Florida senator did not mince words — he called Fauci an outright liar.
"Dr. Fauci lied about masks in March," Rubio said. "Dr. Fauci has been distorting the level of vaccination needed for herd immunity."
According to Rubio, Fauci's attitude toward the American public is symptomatic of a larger problem: that those in control think they know what is best for everyone else.
"It isn't just him," Rubio said. "Many in elite bubbles believe the American public doesn't know 'what's good for them' so they need to be tricked into 'doing the right thing.'"
Dr. Fauci lied about masks in March Dr. Fauci has been distorting the level of vaccination needed for herd immuni… https://t.co/C0BfjavhPH— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio) 1609083916.0
What's the background?
The New York Times published an interview with Fauci on Christmas Eve — essentially allowing the story to be buried in the holiday news slump — in which Fauci admitted to moving the goalposts on COVID-19 herd immunity for very unscientific reasons.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Fauci said publicly that as little as 60% of the American public would need COVID-19 immunity to achieve herd immunity. But Fauci slowly increased that number as the pandemic raged on, even suggesting in his interview with the Times that as much as 90% of the American public would need immunity to reach the herd immunity threshold.
Fauci admitted he changed his numbers because of public polling data and to covertly encourage more Americans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Times reported:
In a telephone interview the next day, Dr. Fauci acknowledged that he had slowly but deliberately been moving the goal posts. He is doing so, he said, partly based on new science, and partly on his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.
"When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent," Fauci admitted. "Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ʻI can nudge this up a bit,' so I went to 80, 85."
"We need to have some humility here," he added. "We really don't know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I'm not going to say 90 percent."