COLUMN/ THE WRITE LINE
Dr. Amitav Banerjee
August 27, 2022: Dr. Anthony Fauci, by his various acts of omissions and commissions, had a major role to play in the clumsy, inefficient, and unscientific manner in which the coronavirus pandemic was handled, causing so much misery and despair due to the loss of lives and livelihoods.
The control of pandemics has to follow the classic principles of epidemiology. One of them is called risk approach, which says population-level interventions should be directed to the groups of people at highest risk.
Early in the coronavirus pandemic, it was evident that there was a huge difference in fatalities from the infection. The elderly and frail, aged over 70 years, were more than a thousand times likely to succumb to the disease compared to the young and healthy.
There was no rationale in recommending closure of educational institutions and businesses, but only a focused protection of the old and the infirm was called for. It would have
prevented the loss of lives and livelihoods due to the devastating collateral harm.
Not only did Fauci overlook this basic epidemiological evidence and failed to fine-tune strategy but he also maligned the few who proposed this course of action under the Great Barrington Declaration by calling them “fringe epidemiologists,” notwithstanding the fact that the three proponents of this declaration, Martin Kuldorff, Sunetra Gupta, and Jay Bhattacharya, hailed from the world’s top universities – Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford, respectively.
His consistent downplaying of immunity acquired after recovery from natural infection is also puzzling. This is a well-known fact even to students of high school. Recommending vaccines that are under emergency-use authorisation (EUA) for those with natural immunity and for healthy children who are at zero-risk of a fatal outcome are major blunders scientifically and ethically untenable.
As the head of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and adviser to the White House for the coronavirus control strategy, he is to be squarely blamed for the present fiasco in the pandemic in which all interventions recommended by him proved not only futile in controlling the spread of the virus but resulted in immense setback to the economy besides giving rise to myriad health issues such as anxiety disorders, family violence, substance abuse, and so on.
The world blindly followed the US, which blindly followed the recommendations of Fauci. In spite of violating all scientific principles, he arrogantly implied that if you attack him, you are attacking science.
Such arrogance is unbecoming of a scientist as well as a practitioner of the art of medicine. Giving undue importance to sterile mathematical models while ignoring the accumulated wisdom of practitioners, he fractured the science and killed the art of medicine.
That is not all. There are concerns that through the US-based NGO EcoHealth Alliance, the NIH under him funded a lab in Wuhan to carry out the dangerous “gain-of-function research.” Whether this is proved or not, as any investigations to resolve such allegations are stonewalled, history will not judge Anthony Fauci kindly.
Albert Einstein had cautioned, “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” Regrettably, Fauci’s stature and absolute authority made the medical community ignore this warning.
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