ABC Brings Back Fauci to Advocate for Effectiveness of Masks & COVID Boosters

News & Politics

On Sunday’s This Week on ABC, co-moderator Jonathan Karl dredged up the disgraced former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Tony Fauci to discuss the reported uptick in COVID cases in the United States. While Fauci didn’t explicitly push for mask mandates and boosters, when pressed by Karl he did advocate for their effectiveness despite the fact that nearly everyone who wore a mask and was fully vaccinated became infected with COVID. 

“I want to ask you about this current uptick. I mean, anecdotally, all of us either have had COVID again or know somebody who has had COVID again,” Karl noted. “How concerned are you? What’s your level of alarm about the current situation?” 

Fauci answered “I wouldn’t say that I’m alarmed, but I’m certainly keeping an eye on it. There’s no doubt as you know, and reported just a moment ago we’re having an uptick in cases which is being reflected by an uptick of about 17 or more percent in hospitalizations.”

“We need to be prepared for it. I don’t think at all though again, you always have to keep yourself with an open mind with this virus. It’s fooled us before, but given the level of immunity that we all have, that you just mentioned,” Fauci proclaimed. 

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Karl ignored Fauci’s comment about COVID “fool[ing] us before” and refused to point out that it was really Fauci lying to the American people. Instead, Karl moved on and teed up Fauci to hype booster shots: “So what’s your sense? Obviously, those that are in high-risk categories but who should be taking that booster?”

“I believe certainly those who are vulnerable, the elderly, and those with underlying conditions, but I believe we should give the choice to people who are not in the high-risk groups to have the vaccine available for them because again, we have experience with this type of vaccine in billions of people,” Fauci claimed. 

Fauci claimed “It’s a safe vaccine. Of course, with the mRNA there’s a very, very low risk, particularly in young men of getting Myocarditis, but if you look at the risk of Myocarditis from COVID itself is greater than the risk of the vaccine.”

Due to a recent study showing how ineffective masking was during the pandemic, Karl asked Fauci: “Did masks prove to be less effective than you anticipated?”

Fauci’s answer was as predictable as the sun rising in the east “There’s a lot of good data that masks work,” Fauci falsely claimed. 

Finally, Karl asked Fauci about mask mandates in the future and if he believes that’s likely to happen. 

“You’ve also said we’re not going to go back to the time of the federal mask mandates. That’s the thing of the past,” Karl noted.

“I can see that if we get a significant uptick in cases that you may see the recommendation that masks be used under certain circumstances in indoor, crowded settings,” Fauci explained. 

“There may be local organizations that may require masks, but I think what we’re going to see mostly are if the cases go up, that there might be recommendations, not mandates. There’s a big difference there,” Fauci claimed.

This segment on ABC was made possible by Verizon. Their information is linked.

The transcript is below:  

ABC’s This Week
9/10/2023
9:51:51 a.m. Eastern 

JONATHAN KARL: And I want to ask you about this current uptick. I mean, anecdotally, all of us either have had COVID again or know somebody who has had COVID again. How concerned are you? What’s your level of alarm about the current situation? 

TONY FAUCI: Well, you know, Jon, I wouldn’t say that I’m alarmed, but I’m certainly keeping an eye on it. There’s no doubt as you know, and reported just a moment ago we’re having an uptick in cases which is being reflected by an uptick of about 17 or more percent in hospitalizations. There’s no doubt that that is going on, and since we’re now at the end of the summer, it is likely that that will increase as we get into the fall and the winter. So we need to be prepared for it. I don’t think at all though again, you always have to keep yourself with an open mind with this virus. It’s fooled us before, but given the level of immunity that we all have, that you just mentioned. In other words, people who have been vaccinated, boosted, people who have been infected like you and I where we have hybrid immunity, the chances of this being an overwhelming rush of cases and hospitalizations is probably low. So I think none of us in the public health field are predicting that this is going to be a tsunami of hospitalizations and deaths the way we saw a year or more ago. 

That’s the first part. The second part is that as you mentioned, we’re going to have boosters available shortly within a week or two hopefully before the end of September. That’s an XBB1 booster which is going to be pretty well matched to the kinds of viruses that are now circulating. If you look at the antibody responses, it should do well against the EG5 which is the major circulating, and then the fl1.5.1, and there’s another virus that’s not prevalent at all, it’s only in about nine or ten states, the ba.2.86 which the vaccine should do pretty well against that also. 

KARL: So what’s your sense? Obviously, those that are in high-risk categories but who should be taking that booster? 

FAUCI: You know Jon, I don’t want to get ahead of the ACIP and their recommendation. My own personal feeling is that I believe certainly those who are vulnerable, the elderly, and those with underlying conditions, but I believe we should give the choice to people who are not in the high-risk groups to have the vaccine available for them because again, we have experience with this type of vaccine in billions of people. It’s a safe vaccine. Of course, with the mRNA there’s a very, very low risk, particularly in young men of getting Myocarditis, but if you look at the risk of Myocarditis from COVID itself is greater than the risk of the vaccine—

KARL: Okay–

FAUCI: And from my own personal standpoint, yeah, I would say that make it available for everyone, but certainly recommend it for the high-risk people. 

KARL: And we’re almost out of time, but I want to ask you — there’s a new study out that suggests that masks were actually not effective, at least not in a global sense in containing the pandemic. What is your sense looking back at all of this? Did masks prove to be less effective than you anticipated? 

FAUCI: You know, Jon, some of the studies are confusing. The study that recently has been now quoted a lot and causing a lot of confusion is this Cochran study which even the people who run the Cochran study say that that study can be misleading because people have commented on that study saying, absolutely masks don’t work which is absolutely not the case because there are a number of studies that show that masks actually do work, and there’s a lot of confusion when you take a broad series of studies and you look at them in a meta-analysis. Only a couple of those studies were specifically looking at COVID, so I think we better be careful that that study that people keep talking about can be very, very misleading. There’s a lot of good data that masks work. 

KARL: Well, you’ve also said we’re not going to go back to the time of the federal mask mandates. That’s the thing of the past. 

FAUCI: I don’t see that in the future at all. I mean, I can see that if we get a significant uptick in cases that you may see the recommendation that masks be used under certain circumstances in indoor, crowded settings, but I don’t see them — certainly not federal mandates. I would be extremely surprised if we would see that. There may be local organizations that may require masks, but I think what we’re going to see mostly are if the cases go up, that there might be recommendations, not mandates. There’s a big difference there.

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