Anthony Fauci, MD, may have stepped down from his role of director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president late last year, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to make the media rounds.
As the press and Biden administration warn of a fall ‘surge’ in COVID-19 cases and mask mandates begin to crop up again, the 82 year old made an appearance on CNN over the holiday weekend where he was asked about research that suggests masking does little to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and failed to provide any meaningful data that it does.
On Wednesday’s show, Megyn was joined by David Zweig, founder of Silent Lunch on Substack and contributor at The Free Press, to discuss Dr. Fauci’s continued misleading on masks and whether or not the government is “gaslighting” Americans about COVID-19.
Dr. Fauci Obfuscates
During an interview with Michael Smerconish on CNN on Saturday, Dr. Fauci was asked about a study published earlier this year in Cochrane Library that was considered by many to be one of the most comprehensive scientific analyses of the efficacy of masks for reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 and the flu.
Looking at 12 trials around the world that compared wearing medical/surgical masks to not wearing a mask to prevent the spread of viral respiratory illness, researchers found “wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference.”
To further illustrate the point, Smerconish read from a February 2023 New York Times article by Bret Stephens in which he quoted Tom Jefferson, the epidemiologist who served as the lead author of the piece. Jefferson told journalist Maryanne Demasi that “there is just no evidence [masks] make any difference. Full stop.”
He said it didn’t matter whether you were wearing a N-95 or a cloth mask, “none of it” made an impact on community spread, Jefferson added. Instead, he said policymakers were “convinced by nonrandomized studies” and “flawed observational studies” to implement mask mandates.
Smerconish asked Dr. Fauci how we can possibly “get beyond” the findings of that study and did not receive a straight answer. “Yeah, but there are other studies, Michael, that show at an individual level, for individuals,” masks might work, he said. “When you’re talking about the effect on the epidemic or the pandemic as a whole, the data are less strong.”
Megyn was unmoved by Dr. Fauci’s “qualifier” and said “he continues to try to obfuscate even when he’s caught dead to rights.” His answer is particularly pertinent when you consider that mask mandates are starting to make a comeback around the country. “A school in Montgomery County, Maryland, brought back the mask mandate, and we saw with Lionsgate – the big movie studio – with mask mandates,” she noted. “So, whether [masks] work is going to become very relevant again.” And yet, “you still have him lying,” Megyn added.
Zweig has been one of a few journalists actually digging into and reporting on the realities of COVID-19 statistics since the early days of the pandemic, and he said one of the reasons Dr. Fauci and the like have gotten away with their behavior is because of the lack of curiosity from the media. “That’s why it’s so important, I think, for journalists to not only act as an amplifier for what public officials and experts tell them but to actually look at the underlying evidence,” he said. “I always have a healthy skepticism. Let me see what’s the underlying support for what these people are telling me, and, the more I kept digging, there didn’t seem to be a really good foundation in a lot of instances. And with community masking, that certainly is one of the cases.”
He pointed to an exchange he had with the CDC while working on articles for New York Magazine and The Atlantic in which data wasn’t adding up and yet he was told there were no errors. “It was a lie,” he said. “This word gets overused a lot, but there was a degree of gaslighting.”
What we’ve been told about masking is, in many ways, no different. “In the beginning of the pandemic, we were initially told, ‘Don’t bother with masks,’” Zweig recalled. “And then there was a span of a few weeks from the last time Fauci had said that publicly to when the advice did a 180 and changed completely.”
As he explained, there was “no change in evidence” and “no randomized control trial that came out” in that time period between those two times. “The only thing that changed was they said that, ‘Oh, we see that people who aren’t symptomatic are spreading more,’” he concluded. “That’s a separate issue from whether or not wearing a cut up t-shirt on your face is actually an effective means of transmission control.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Zweig by tuning in to episode 621 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.