Dr. Anthony Fauci’s memory may be as short as Ani DiFranco’s goldfish, for whom the little plastic castle is a surprise every time.
Besides serving as the chief medical advisor to the president, Dr. Faucie has been the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for almost 40 years. For the last year or so, he has been a vocal champion of wearing face masks. But, his advice about masks now is very different from what he had to say about them just two years ago.
During a May 2019 episode of The David Rubenstein Show, on Bloomberg TV, Fauci pooh-poohed the idea of wearing masks to fight the spread of influenza. The nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases continued to disparage wearing masks as an effective tool against spreading Covid-19 even in the early stages of the pandemic.
He suggested masks provided more psychological relief than anything else during a March 2020 interview with the TV news magazine, 60 Minutes. “When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is,” Fauci said, warning of unintended consequences like people fiddling with their mask and then touching their face.
Fauci told Rubenstein normal, low tech healthy things are the best things people can do to stay healthy. He recommended getting good sleep.
The NIAID director gave Rubenstein other low tech suggestions to stay healthy:
- Eat a good diet
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t drink a lot of alchohol
- Get some exercise
Lately though, Fauci has been singing a different song, advising people to wear masks, even if they are fully vaccinated. He has even advocated wearing two masks, one on top of another, calling it the “common-sense approach.”
Fauci acknowledged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actively discouraged the use of masks among the general public as the numbers of hospitalized Covid-19 patients started to spike, last year. In an interview with The Street, Fauci said that advice was given because of the shortage of personal protective equipment, especially N95 masks, in the early stages of the pandemic.
“Now we have masks, and we know that you don’t need an N95 if you’re an ordinary person in the street,” Fauci said. “We also know that simple cloth coverings that many people have can work as well as a mask in many cases.”
“Actually the circumstances have changed,” he said. “That’s the reason why.”
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