In an op-ed published on Fox News on Wednesday, the Florida senator claimed that Fauci was ‘moving the goalposts’ and wished to ‘manipulate’ the public’s behaviour by selectively choosing what information about the coronavirus he would publicize.
Rubio fumed that Fauci had to be held accountable for his choices, claiming that the nation should not be ‘placing blind faith in unelected celebrity scientists’ but that he would ‘not be afraid to call them out’.
The senator was referencing a New York Times interview with Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, last week in which the doctor admitted he is now deliberately changing his prediction on when herd immunity could be reached.
Fauci and other public health experts had initially said that 60 to 70 percent of Americans would need to be vaccinated for immunity but he now feels he can ‘nudge this up a bit’ to 90 percent.
Senator Marco Rubio, pictured, has said in an op-ed with Fox published on Wednesday that he is ‘appalled’ that Dr. Anthony Fauci ‘lied to the American public’ by misrepresenting how many people would need to be vaccinated before herd immunity is reached
Fauci and other public health experts had initially said that 60 to 70% of Americans would need to be vaccinated for immunity but he now feels he can ‘nudge this up a bit’ to 90%
Rubio accused Fauci of lying to the American people to manipulate their behavior
Rubio said he did not question that Fauci ‘made the decision to mislead with nothing but good intentions’.
‘However, let’s be clear about what he was doing: lying to the American people in order to manipulate their behaviour,’ he wrote.
‘The American people deserve the truth; they also deserve accountability. When elected representatives make decisions, they can be held responsible by the public.
‘But when public health officials with decades of experience and leadership within our nation’s institutions short-circuit the political process and make these decisions themselves, they deny the American people that same opportunity — and to change course if desired.’
The senator continued to say that ‘unelected technocrats’ should not be making decisions on what information is publicly available but that ‘people should be trusted to make these decisions for themselves armed with facts honestly presented by public officials’.
He claimed that science does not give ‘us a straightforward playbook’ and that experts such as Fauci are not the only people who can interpret the facts, as he called out officials for a previous misstep with mask wearing.
At the start of the pandemic in March, Fauci said ‘there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask’ and that they could cause ‘unintended consequences’.
Experts have since admitted that this advice was given in order to save masks for healthcare workers but it had already become a political issue.
‘Some of the first people to make decisions not based on science were the scientists,’ Rubio claimed of the changing advice.
‘I do not question Dr. Fauci’s motives — I trust they are noble — but I am appalled by his arrogance,’ he slammed.
‘If he wants to lead the nation, he should run for office. Otherwise, he should give us an honest and transparent reading of the science, not polling data, and let the rest of us —policymakers and the American people who have elected them — do our jobs.’
Rubio did admit that he did not believe this was a reason ‘to stop trusting public health guidelines’.
‘Beating the coronavirus will mean coming together as a nation and continuing to make sacrifices to reduce its spread, as more and more Americans get vaccinated thanks to the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed,’ he said.
As the public expressed more trust in a vaccine, Fauci claimed that he felt more comfortable revealing that it needs closer to 90% of people vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Pictured, a registered nurse receives the Moderna vaccine in New York on December 21
‘But it does mean that placing blind faith in unelected celebrity scientists — elevated by a media that award Emmys to negligent politicians with their own grisly records — has its limits, and we must not be afraid to call them out when they’re caught overstepping their legitimate authority,’ Rubio added, also using the opportunity to take a hit at New York Gov. Cuomo who won an Emmy for his coronavirus press briefings.
‘Dr. Fauci has been distorting the level of vaccination needed for herd immunity,’ Rubio claimed in a separate tweet.
‘It isn’t just him. 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”.’
Last Thursday, Fauci, an advisor to both the Trump administration and the incoming Biden administration, admitted to the New York Times that while in the early days of the pandemic he said between 60 and 70 percent of the population needed to be vaccinated before herd immunity is reached, it is closer to 90 percent.
He said that this was partly based on new information about the virus and partly on his belief that Americans will be greater accepting of that now then they would have been at the start of the pandemic.
‘When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,’ Dr. Fauci said.
‘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.’
‘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.’
Fauci claimed that he was not going to say 90 percent because he believed this would be discouraging to Americans when it did onto appear that this number of people would voluntarily accept the vaccine.
Public health officials have warned for years that vaccines not only protect individuals but also the community as a whole in what is known as ‘herd immunity.’
This occurs when the vast majority of a community – between 80 and 95 percent – becomes immune so that, if a disease is introduced, it is unable to spread.
Therefore, those who are unable to be vaccinated, including the ill, very young and very old, are protected.
Just over 2 million Americans have been vaccinated as of early Monday, according to the CDC’s tracker, and more than 11 million doses have been distributed to the states.
Yet the rollout is way behind schedule with the government originally planning to have 20 million Americans vaccinated by the end of the year, but now only looking to have the doses distributed, not administered, by the first week of January.
It comes as the U.S. experienced its most deadly day of the pandemic so far with 3,700 fatalities recorded on Tuesday.
Nationwide, there have been 19.5 million Americans infected with coronavirus and 338,656 deaths.