Imagine being compelled to contradict the POTUS every single day. That is what Dr Fauci had to do and it earned him condemnation from right-wing media, which in turn led to death threats. Dr Fauci is a respected public servant who had dedicated his entire career to protect Americans from the spread of infectious disease. He didn’t deserve to be terrorized for telling the truth about Covid-19. Despite threats of violence toward him and his family, Dr Fauci stuck to his guns and told the world what he believed to be true. That meant he had to contradict Trump when the need arose.
Who is Dr Fauci, anyway?
Dr Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. The NIAID is one 27 different institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is an agency of the US Department of Health. Being the director of NIAID is a big deal. Dr Fauci is the guy standing between you and death from infectious disease. When Fauci speaks, scientists listen and Fauci is one of the most quoted scientists in scientific journals.
For several decades, the NIAID have funded the research and development of therapies and vaccines for many of the most serious infectious and immunologic diseases. For example, in the late 1970s, the NIAID established the first centers to study influenza and sexually transmitted infections. In the 1980s and 1990s, the NIAID was involved in the discovery of the origin of HIV and the development of treatments that have saved countless lives of people who have been infected with HIV.
One particularly bright accomplishment is that NIAID supported research has helped to reduce the transmission of HIV to babies born to HIV positive mothers. That is huge. Really huge. They don’t call him Saint Fauci for nothing. You see, Dr Fauci is not just a medical doctor. Fauci is a medical doctor with a PhD. He is qualified to supervise large scale clinical trials for vaccines and therapies, AND he actually has done that for the last several decades.
In recent decades, the NIAID has achieved scientific breakthroughs in the study and treatment of immunological disease such as lupus, arthritis, and type 1 diabetes. This is research that benefits a large number of Americans and others around the world. In fact, the NIAID has focused their attention to any parasite, bacteria, or virus that threatens public health, and there are many. Ecoli, MRSA, H5N1, schistosomiasis, malaria, anthrax–all scary stuff the NIAID works to keep you safe from. It is a tough and thankless job, but someone has to do it.
Why Dr Fauci’s voice mattered:
The great tragedy in all of this is that Dr Fauci was silenced when his voice was needed most. You see, Dr Fauci was not just speaking for himself. He was representing all the research scientists that work in immunology, virology, and public health. If Dr Fauci did not know what he was talking about, then it would be very difficult for him to maintain his position as Director of the NIAID for so many decades.
Research scientists can be kind of mean to one another and they show no mercy. There are thousands of research scientists standing in line to be chosen for Fauci’s job. Countless graduate students have poured over Dr Fauci’s publications and scientific journal articles looking for a mistake or some sort of opening where they can improve on his work. This is how young research scientists make a name for themselves in the hard, cruel world of academia.
Fauci is a hero for standing up to the Trump Administration:
When Dr Fauci contradicted Trump and said that hydroxychloroquine was not an effective cure, he knew what he was talking about. Not only had there been no clinical trials supporting hydroxychloroquine as a therapy for Covid-19, but when clinical trials were performed, it turned out that the use of hydroxychloroquine was harmful to those people who were infected with Covid-19. That is a really big deal because people got hurt.
When people just see you standing up there, they sometimes think you’re being complicit in the distortions emanating from the stage. But I felt that if I stepped down, that would leave a void. Someone’s got to not be afraid to speak out the truth. They would try to play down real problems and have a little happy talk about how things are OK. And I would always say, “Wait a minute, hold it folks, this is serious business.” So there was a joke — a friendly joke, you know — that I was the skunk at the picnic.Dr Fauci in the NYT
Dr Fauci is a hero because he was willing to continue acting as the ‘skunk at the picnic‘. He believed that if he was pushed out or if he resigned, that there would be little resistance to the unscientific approach to dealing with the pandemic. Fauci did the right thing. He told the truth in a climate where alternative facts had become the norm, and he did it even at great personal risk to himself and his family.
I always felt that if I did walk away, the skunk at the picnic would no longer be at the picnic. Even if I wasn’t very effective in changing everybody’s minds, the idea that they knew that nonsense could not be spouted without my pushing back on it, I felt was important. I think in the big picture, I felt it would be better for the country and better for the cause for me to stay, as opposed to walk away.Dr Fauci