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Tag: anthony fauci

It Is Fauci's Accusers -- Not The Good Doctor -- Who Are Guilty

Good-bye, Dr. Fauci. You did your job while under attack from the worst sort of people.

You devoted more than 50 years to public health. As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, you led us through HIV/AIDS, Ebola, COVID, respiratory syncytial virus and, every year, seasonal flu.

You say your "proudest moment" was your work with President George W. Bush on the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. PEPFAR is credited with having saved 20 million lives. (START ITAL)Twenty million lives.

That doesn't include the lives saved from your work in the late '70s and early '80s developing treatments for inflammatory and autoimmune-related diseases. Several that would have previously been death sentences are now in high remission.

And there was, of course, your guidance on dealing with COVID-19. Many who followed your advice during the initial outbreak with hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing are alive because of it. Many who mocked you are not.

When the COVID vaccine came along, you never tired of urging Americans to obtain it. Over a million Americans died from COVID, but an estimated 234,000 of those deaths could have been prevented if everyone had gotten their shots.

We wonder how many people died because Donald Trump and assorted lowlifes downplayed the disease, peddled phony cures and cast doubts on the vaccine. They may have had fun owning the libs, but they were also killing many of their followers. Why was never clear.

The sickest abuse came from the senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, who perversely accused you of being responsible for millions of deaths. When you told a Senate hearing that this claim led to threats against you and your family, Paul looked back blankly.

Brooklyn tough, you never backed down. That you served seven presidents from both parties didn't impress the jerks. You let the barrage of boobery splatter all around you as you went about your mission.

But let's give a respectful hearing to the argument that your recommendations caused harm by hurting the economy. Certainly, the social isolation tied to the shutdowns created its own problems.

I, for one, thought that once a vaccine became widely available, many places stayed closed longer than necessary. Schools, especially, could have resumed in-person learning sooner than they did.

But these decisions were made mostly by state and local governments, not you. Meanwhile, fear of a disease that spread easily, clogged emergency rooms with dying patients and left many of those afflicted with long-time illness was itself enough to empty stores, theaters and libraries.

Your harshest critics clearly didn't share the value you place on life. You said your saddest period was back in the '80s when you were treating people with HIV/AIDS and there was no effective therapy.

"We were taking care of very sick, mostly young gay men who were healthy," you said in a recent interview. "You see every single one of them dying or going to die soon." All medicine could offer back then was comfort.

Approaching your 82nd birthday and about to leave public service, you still can't take your eyes off current and new threats.

"We can do things that are very important to mitigate against at least two of them," you said. That would be COVID and seasonal flu. As we know, there are vaccines for both of them.

We know your first name is Anthony, but you can't blame us for thinking it's "Doctor." And, by the way, you looked great on your farewell interviews.

When the documentaries, movies and operas are written about the COVID era, you will be portrayed as the hero and those who attacked you as creeps. Where should we put your monument?

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Ron Johnson Hits Trump For 'Failure' To Approve Quack COVID Treatment

Sen. Ron Johnson said in an interview on Thursday with the anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist host of a podcast that President Donald Trump's COVID-19 response team got in the way of what he considered the best approach to handling the coronavirus pandemic. But, the Wisconsin Republican said, he kept quiet about it at the time so as not to hurt Trump's reelection campaign.

Johnson made the comments in a nearly 90-minute interview with anti-vaccine figure Del Bigtree on his program "The Highwire" that was flagged by the political opposition research group American Bridge 21st Century.

Criticizing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the experienced expert on infectious diseases who clashed with Trump and others on the right, as well as Dr. Deborah Birx and others on Trump's COVID team, Johnson discussed hearings he led in 2020 as chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, during which he himself was criticized for inviting anti-vaccine activists to testify in favor of unproven and medically risky treatments for COVID such as the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been shown to be ineffective against the virus.

"I don't expect the general public to really listen to hearings. It's kind of the aftermath, and what news reports are written about it. Again, from my standpoint, we were making news, but I wasn't Fauci, I wasn't Birx — they had a different narrative here. And so I realized I wasn't making a whole lot of headway and this was kind of out of my control at this point in time. And you know, quite honestly, I wanted to make sure that President Trump got reelected and I didn't want to get too overly critical on his administration, to be quite honest," he said. "I had some real problems with what was happening inside the administration. I mean, again, he was not obviously aware of these things. But he couldn't get it done. His team wasn't serving him well."

The Trump administration's response to the pandemic failed to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths due to COVID in the United States.

In the early days, Trump belittled the threat of the virus, falsely claiming that it was "under control" and would not spread in the United States and that it would quickly go away when the weather warmed up.

He admitted to journalist Bob Woodward that he intentionally misled the public, telling him, "I wanted to always play it down."

As the virus spread across the world and shut down the U.S. economy, Trump falsely said the seasonal flu was worse than COVID, pushed hydroxychloroquine as a "miracle cure," refused to wear a mask and mocked those who did, and hosted events that ended up as "superspreaders" of the virus while flouting his own safety guidelines.

Johnson, who has long pushed false claims about the supposed dangers of COVID-19 vaccines and touted dangerous and unproven treatments, had nothing to say about the actual failings of the Trump administration's response, instead arguing that the COVID team's failure to push hydroxychloroquine was because it would make have made it harder to get actual vaccines against the virus approved.

"I can't explain it. But it sure seems at some point in time, the cabal — I call them the COVID cartel — decided, no, it's going to be vaccine," Johnson said. "And, and of course, that's one of the explanations of why they'd want to tank and sabotage early treatment, which they did, was if you have an effective therapy, you're not going to get emergency use authorization on a totally novel therapy that's not a vaccine."

According to a November 2020 article in the scientific publication Microbes and Infection, Bigtree's program frequently presents similar “government and the media are lying to you" themes, like Johnson's, in its continued opposition to vaccination.

Johnson, who had previously promised not to serve more than two terms in the Senate, is facing an uphill race this November against Democratic Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes in his quest for a third six-year term. Polls show Johnson is widely unpopular, with the second-lowest approval ratings of any senator in the country after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Johnson frequently reminds supporters that he has been endorsed by Trump.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Republican Candidates Vilifying Fauci To Excite Their Base Voters

In a Republican Party dependent on ginning up its base's rage, the villain of choice has become President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser on the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who now often supplants GOP archenemy and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

As the New York Times reports, "Fire Fauci" became the inaugural ad for Jane Timken last fall as she launched her bid to win Ohio's open Senate seat. Wackadoodle celebrity doc Mehmet Oz, who's running for Pennsylvania's open Senate seat, doesn't want to debate his opponents—he wants to debate Fauci. And Wisconsin Democrat-turned-Republican Kevin Nicholson, who's running for governor, said Fauci "should be fired and referred to prosecutors.”

In Fauci, many Republicans see an amalgam of favorite conservative resentments.

“Populism is essentially anti: anti-establishment, anti-expertise, anti-intellectual and anti-media,” GOP strategist Whit Ayres told the Times. Fauci, he added, “is an establishment expert intellectual who is in the media.”

But while demonizing Fauci could whip up the GOP base, the strategy could just as easily haunt Republicans in the general election, as Ayres noted.

However, another GOP strategist, John Feehery, argued that anger at Fauci over lockdowns was an issue that could cross party lines with voters desperate to move on from the pandemic.

But it wouldn't be the first time Republicans fixated on a base strategy that saddles them in the general election. One big question is whether the pandemic will still have the resonance it does today.

The strong and steady U.S. recovery is starting to suggest that the nation's economy has moved beyond the reaches of the highly unpredictable pandemic. Some Democratic officials are also ending pandemic restrictions that had been in place for months on end. Democratic governors in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware have all laid out timelines for ending statewide mask mandates in schools and elsewhere.

So while Republicans fixate on Fauci and the pandemic, Democrats are working to move the nation beyond its clutches.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

#EndorseThis: Jimmy Kimmel Is Fed Up With Scumbags Attacking Dr. Fauci

The amount of disinformation and misinformation being unloaded on the daily by Fox News and Right-Wing outlets on Covid-19 and vaccines could fill the Grand Canyon. In fact, the smears on Dr. Anthony Fauci by Fox News and the anti-Science far-right has been so egregious that they have resulted in death threats to Dr.Fauci and his family. While nobody on the left has declared Fauci the Holy Saint of Vaccines and Public Health, it hasn't stopped rabidly right-wing zealots from tearing him apart, utterly failing to understand that science changes and evolves--even if they don't.

Well, Late NIght Comedy Host Jimmy Kimmel has had it with the likes of Republican Sens Paul and Cruz, Fox News, and every other right-wing troll looking to make noise with incessant attacks on Fauci. Moreover, how Fox News has been pushing that the real enemy isn’t the virus but rather Dr. Fauci.

Watch Jimmy Kimmel Is Fed Up With Scumbags Attacking Dr. Fauci

March Reveals Anti-Vax Campaign Is Driven By Far-Right Extremists

Back when it was first gaining traction in the 1990s, the anti-vaccination movement was largely considered a far-left thing, attracting believers ranging from barter-fair hippies to New Age gurus and their followers to “holistic medicine” practitioners. And it largely remained that way … until 2020 and the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As this Sunday’s “Defeat the Mandates” march in Washington, D.C., however, showed us, there’s no longer anything even remotely left-wing about the movement. Populated with Proud Boys and “Patriot” militiamen, QAnoners and other Alex Jones-style conspiracists who blithely indulge in Holocaust relativism and other barely disguised antisemitism, and ex-hippies who now spout right-wing propaganda—many of them, including speakers, encouraging and threatening violence—the crowd at the National Mall manifested the reality that “anti-vaxxers” now constitute a full-fledged far-right movement, and a potentially violent one at that.

The most prominent of these extremists was former progressive icon Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has morphed over the past decade and longer, due to his obsession with the anti-vaccination cause, into a raving far-right conspiracy theorist. On Sunday, he was one of many who compared anti-pandemic measures such as masking and vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.

"Even in Hitler Germany (sic), you could, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic, like Anne Frank did," Kennedy said. "I visited, in 1962, East Germany with my father and met people who had climbed the wall and escaped, so it was possible. Many died, true, but it was possible."Many of the rally attendees wore yellow replicas of the Star of David badges that were forced upon Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and many of them carried signs referencing both that horrific episode of history and the German Nazi regime that inflicted it. So did other speakers, such as Del Bigtree, CEO of the anti-vaccination group Informed Consent Action Network, who added a threatening tone directed at journalists.

"Unlike the Nuremberg Trials that only tried those doctors that destroyed the lives of those human beings, we're going to come after the press,” Bigtree told the crowd.

Violence was also an undercurrent in the audience, some of whom carried signs suggesting a lethal response: “Shoot those who try to kidnap and vaccinate your child.” Another agreed with Bigtree, calling for “Nuremberg Trials 2.0.”

The inherent antisemitism of the anti-vaxxers’ conspiracism was also on full display: A large bus pulled up to the protest area blaring music with lyrics pronouncing “It’s God Over Government,” festooned on its side with mock “Wanted” posters featuring the anti-vaxxers bogeymen, notably Dr. Anthony Fauci, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and attorney Jacob Rothschild—the latter of whom has no known connection to the vaccine or mandates whatsoever, but whose last name conjures up Hitler’s antisemitic conspiracy theories that identified the family as one of the primary components of the Jewish cabal that Nazis believed secretly controlled the world.

The audience was a veritable showcase of the wide bandwidth of a far-right extremism. White nationalists from Nick Fuentes’ “Groyper army” (who have begun attaching themselves to anti-vaxx rallies as a way to recruit new followers) brought their “America First” banners. Proud Boys, who similarly have become a presence at COVID-denialism events, were also scattered throughout the crowd.

As Zachary Petrizzo of The Daily Beast reported, there were also lots of people out making money from the high percentage of hyper-gullible marks in the crowd:

Along the march route, attendees were also enticed to buy Trump paraphernalia, given religious books, and encouraged to take a free nasal spray that promises to cure anyone of the coronavirus if they are infected. Xlear CEO Nathan Jones, whose company sells the spray and has been sued by the FTC, was in attendance and baselessly claimed to The Daily Beast that his nasal solution “works” on COVID-19, adding that “just using saltwater [will] stop the spread of COVID-19 in the lungs.”

The coalescence of the anti-vaccination movement with other far-right conspiracist movements—particularly the authoritarian QAnon cult—has been an ongoing phenomenon since COVID-19 broke out in 2020, and the radicalization of its believers has been gathering steam increasingly since. Likewise, the inherently violent nature of many of these movements has resulted in an increasing drumbeat of real-world violence directed at health care workers, local authorities, and anyone who supports the pandemic measures.

Along the way, it has spread globally. In Europe this weekend, similar anti-mandate demonstrations brought together the COVID conspiracists with neo-Nazis, white “identitarians,” and a broad array of other far-right extremists.

Some European anti-vaxxers have attempted to shut down vaccination sites by claiming they have a “crime number” for the site, meaning they’re supposedly under police investigation (they’re not). Some of them, claiming to be “common-law officers,” have attempted to arrest nurses, teachers, and even police officers. Much of their rhetoric echoes the American “sovereign citizen” movement.

As Amanda Marcotte observes at Salon, these previously diffuse movements are commingling into a perfect storm of unified right-wing extremism that runs from mainstream Republicans to smirking neo-Nazis, with consequences well beyond just the pandemic:

There are a lot of Republican voters whose hatred and desire to spite Democrats has led them to gamble with their own lives by refusing vaccines. It's not much of a leap to believe such folks are open to taking things to the next level, to reject democracy and embrace an authoritarian ideology for the same vindictive reasons. The anti-vaccine discourse is a perfect space to blur the lines between being a petty partisan who is mad about losing an election and being an outright fascist who no longer believes in holding free and fair elections.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Fauci: Heavily Armed 'Crazy' Sought To Kill Me After Rand Paul's Verbal Assault

Defending himself against Senator Rand Paul's unrelenting and false attacks in a Senate Health Committee hearing on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Kentucky conspiracy-theory wielding Republican his attacks led to a heavily-armed man driving cross country to Washington, D.C. on a mission, the gunman said, "to kill Dr. Fauci."

Fauci accused Paul of using the "catastrophic epidemic for your political gain."

After multiple and unyielding attacks from Sen. Paul, Fauci was forced to defend himself, telling committee members, "the last time we had a committee or the time before, he was accusing me of being responsible for the death of four to five million people, which is really irresponsible."

"And I say, 'why is he doing that?' There are two reasons why that's really bad. The first is it distracts from what we're all trying to do here today, is get our arms around the epidemic and the pandemic that we're dealing with, not something imaginary."

"Number two, what happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue, is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there, and I have the life – threats upon my life, harassments of my family and my children with obscene phone calls, because people are lying about me. Now, you know, I guess you could say, 'well, that's the way it goes. I can take the hit.'"

"Well, it makes a difference because as some of you may know, just about three or four weeks ago, on December 21, a person was arrested, who was on their way from Sacramento, to Washington, D.C. at a speed stop in Iowa. And they asked – the police asked him where he was going, and he was going to Washington D.C. to kill Dr. Fauci. And they found in his car, an AR-15 and multiple magazines of ammunition, because he thinks that maybe I'm killing people. So I asked myself, 'Why would Senator want to do this?' So go to Rand Paul website, and you see 'Fire Dr. Fauci' with a little box that says 'contribute here.' You can do $5, $10, $20 $100. So you are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain."

Watch:

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Prominent QAnon Anti-Vaxxer Who Called For Fauci 'To Be Hung' Dies Of Covid

QAnon supporter Cirsten Weldon was among the far-right anti-vaxxers and coronavirus truthers who railed against COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 — and on Thursday, January 6, according to The Daily Beast, she died of COVID-19.

Weldon, who called for Dr. Anthony Fauci — President Joe Biden’s top White House medical adviser — to be executed, was known for posting videos of herself berating people who were waiting in line to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Weldon falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccines were dangerous, and she said that Fauci “needs to be hung from a rope.”

The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer reports, “Cirsten Weldon had amassed tens of thousands of followers across right-wing social media networks by promoting the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy under the screenname CirstenW.’ She was prominent enough to become a sort of QAnon interpreter for comedian conspiracy theorist Roseanne Barr and started recording videos about QAnon with her.”

In one of her videos, Sommer notes, Weldon can be seen yelling at people who were waiting to get vaccinated for COVID-19 — saying, “The vaccines kill, don’t get it! This is how gullible these idiots are. They’re all getting (the) vaccine!”

Weldon became ill in December, describing her symptoms in her videos and saying that she had “bacterial pneumonia.” But she continued to oppose COVID-19 vaccines.

In a December 27, 2021 video posted on Facebook, Weldon told viewers, “I didn't think I was going to make it. I'm sorry. I'm exhausted, and I have no — I'm very, very weak. I have no strength. I haven't eaten in four days.” Weldon described having “fever, chills, sweats.”

According to Sommer, Weldon posted her final video on December 28, 2021 and was “hospitalized in Camarillo, California” three days later.

Sommer points out that Weldon is “just the latest instance of a far-right personality who opposed vaccination being killed by the virus.” Others have included radio host Douglas Kuzma, who died on January 3 — only three days before Weldon — and QAnon supporter Robert David Steele, who described COVID-19 as a “hoax” before dying from it in August 2021. QAnon supporter Veronica Wolski, another anti-vaxxer, died of COVID-19 the following month.

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Fauci: Hospitals Jeopardized By Overwhelming Rise In Omicron Infections

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) -Top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said there was still a danger of a surge in hospitalization due to a large number of coronavirus cases even as early data suggests the Omicron COVID-19 variant is less severe.

"The only difficulty is that if you have so many cases, even if the rate of hospitalization is lower with Omicron than it is with Delta, there is still the danger that you will have a surging of hospitalizations that might stress the healthcare system," Fauci said in an interview on Sunday with CNN.

The Omicron variant was estimated to be 58.6 percent of the coronavirus variants circulating in the United States as of December 25, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The sudden arrival of Omicron has brought record-setting case counts to countries around the world and dampened New Year festivities around the world..

"There will certainly be a lot more cases because this is a much more transmissible virus than Delta is," Fauci said on CNN.

However, "It looks, in fact, that it [Omicron] might be less severe, at least from data that we've gathered from South Africa, from the UK and even some from preliminary data from here in the United States," Fauci said.

Fauci added that the CDC will soon be coming out with a clarification on whether people with COVID-19 should test negative to leave isolation, after confusion last week over guidance that would let people leave after five days without symptoms.

The CDC had reduced the recommended isolation period for people with asymptomatic COVID to five days, down from 10. The policy does not require testing to confirm that a person is no longer infectious before they go back to work or socialize, causing some experts to raise questions.

"You're right. There has been some concern about why we don't ask people at that five-day period to get tested. That is something that is now under consideration", Fauci told ABC News in a separate interview on Sunday. "I think we're going to be hearing more about that in the next day or so from the CDC."

U.S. authorities registered at least 346,869 new coronavirus on Saturday, according to a Reuters tally. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 rose by at least 377 to 828,562.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Mark Porter)