Fauci, as usual, showed himself a master of illusion. Take his assertion that “only 68 percent of the country is vaccinated. If you rank us among both developed and developing countries, we do really poorly.” Really? Well that depends on what you mean by “vaccinated”. If that means you got the first shot — the only one that actually provided transmission protection — then the US actually did quite well, with 80 percent receiving at least one dose. Germany, Luxembourg and Austria are at 78 percent, and progressives’ favorite Scandinavian country, Sweden, sits at 76 percent. Even if you assume he meant “fully vaccinated” with the latest jab, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the Baltic states are all pretty darn close to the US’s 68 percent.
He plays the same game with the lab leak theory. Asked about the “lab leak versus natural origin” debate, Fauci said, “until you have a definitive proof of one or the other, it is essential to have an open mind. And I have been this way from the very beginning, David, notwithstanding the criticisms to the contrary.” Is that so? Cockburn certainly does not remember that, and neither, apparently, does Doctor Robert Redfield, the CDC director at the time, who claims that Fauci slammed the door shut on the lab leak hypothesis pretty early on.
And that’s not all! Fauci, in response to an inquiry about gain of function funding, claimed:
“Well, I sleep fine, I sleep fine”, he added, before defending the research as “not conceived by me as I was having my omelet in the morning. It is a grant that was put before peer review of independent scientists whose main role is to try to get data to protect the health and safety of the American public and the world.” Whatever the facts are in this case, the response is a microcosm of the broader problem: Fauci cannot seem to accept any culpability, it is always someone else’s fault — the politicians, the Republicans who “don’t like to be told what to do,” or the “independent scientists” — and rarely his own.
Cockburn, more than anything else, would just like to see Fauci show — even if it’s feigned — some understanding of the concerns his critics bring to the table, some recognition of his own faults. That would require introspection, though, and despite all of his skills, that one is conspicuously lacking.