In a startling interview with the New York Times, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the government's coronavirus taskforce, admitted that he did not level with the American people about how many people would need to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity because he didn't think the public was ready to hear his true thoughts, which he feared might discourage people from getting vaccinated.
The Times article catalogued Dr. Fauci's changing position on how many Americans would need to be vaccinated, which he initially stated would be 60-70 percent. As noted by the Times, about a month ago, Fauci's tune began to change and he suggested that the figure was actually 70-75 percent. Last week, in an interview with CNBC, he upped that figure (again) to "75 to 80-plus percent." In the interview with the Times, he changed his estimate yet again and suggested that the figure actually may be "close to 90 percent."
According to the Times, in the telephone interview, "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."
In other words, Fauci's advice to the American public on one of the most critical aspects of the coronavirus pandemic, has not consisted entirely of his honest opinion, formulated by the best science, but rather on what he thinks the country is ready to hear.
Dr. Fauci went on to even more expressly admit that he had fudged his public pronouncements in order to encourage people to take the vaccine. According to the Times, Dr. Fauci was ready to raise his estimates "weeks ago" but refused because "many Americans seemed hesitant about vaccines, which they would need to accept almost universally in order for the country to achieve herd immunity."
Blithely continuing to explain how polling, rather than science, informed his public pronouncements, Fauci went on: "When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent. Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, 'I can nudge this up a bit,' so I went to 80, 85."
Moreover, Fauci went on to explicitly state that his future pronouncements might still be based on his feeling of what the public thinks, not what the science says: "We need to have some humility here. 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."
Why won't he say 90 percent? According to the Times, the answer is that "Doing so might be discouraging to Americans, he said, because he is not sure there will be enough voluntary acceptance of vaccines to reach that goal," in light of the fact that "sentiments about vaccines in polls have bounced up and down this year."