CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins confronted former White House chief senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday’s “CNN This Morning” regarding his “striking” previous remarks on mask mandates, the Daily Caller reported.
Collins’ decision to confront Fauci likely was spurred by his prominence and aggressiveness in promoting not just mask usage, but mask mandates — followed by his reportedly saying Monday that masks only work at a margin of “maybe 10 percent.” This reportedly marks a “major shift from his previous claims during the height of the pandemic that national mask mandates worked in protecting Americans against COVID-19.”
“That comment saying they ‘work at the margins maybe 10 percent I think’ would raise a lot of eyebrows given so many people had to wear a mask, whether they were on a plane, whether they were in certain public facilities,” Collins told the diminutive doctor. “To hear that they only work at the margins ‘maybe 10 percent’ would make a lot of people ask, ok then why was I wearing a mask for so many times?”
Fauci responded in a matter at odds with his recent casual, loose comments, rattling off figures that, whether or not they are correct, were precisely stated. He appeared to attribute Collins’ concerns to a lack of care or carefulness on her part.
He then clarified that the reason for the low effectiveness percentages was not that masks were not very effective but rather that many people did not comply with the mandates thereby reducing their excellent effectiveness down to a very low one.
Here are Fauci’s exact words: “You know, Kaitlan, you got to be careful because if you read very carefully what I said, if you look at the broad public health effect, when you have masks that are so-called mandated or supposed to be worn, because so many people don’t wear them even though they’re in an arena in which masks are supposed to be worn or they don’t wear them properly, from a public health standpoint, on the cohort of people, the effect can only be marginal, and as we mentioned it was 10–13 percent or so,” Fauci said.
Collins wasn’t careful enough, and noncompliers ruined the otherwise stellar effectiveness of masks. How effective were masks among those who complied? Among those who “religiously” wore masks, he said, they were 85–90% effective.
Collins provided Fauci with another opportunity to issue a mea culpa. “In hindsight, though, when you look at this, do you think the mask mandates were a mistake?” Collins asked.
Fauci’s mistake? He wishes he, or “we,” should have been “a better explainer.” Better explaining might have resulted in better mask mandate compliance. He made sure to clarify that he was stopping short of copping to a “mistake,” however.
“You know, Kaitlan, I don’t want to say a mistake,” he answered. “But I think we need to remember next time we’re confronted with this that when you have a situation when there’s doubt in the minds of some people about whether something works or not, we better try to reach out and be a better explainer on why we feel these things are important, because whenever, and particularly in our country where there are free spirit, which we all embrace, people being told what to do often has the opposite effect. That’s what I was referring to in that interview.”
The Daily Caller report concluded by noting the malleability of Fauci’s past statements regarding mask mandates and a past admission and past aggression pertaining thereto.
“Fauci often shifted his positions on mandates throughout the pandemic. He accused states of lifting the mandates of inviting another surge of the virus, and continuously urged children in schools to be masked. In June 2022, he admitted that mask mandates for travel … were about public health officials maintaining as much power as possible,” the Daily Caller reported.
The Caller also noted that Kaitlan Collins is a former Daily Caller reporter.
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