YAHOO! NEWS – Republican rage directed at Dr. Anthony Fauci seemed to reach new heights over the weekend, with former Trump administration trade adviser Peter Navarro claiming the renowned physician and scientist has likely “killed millions of Americans.” [The latest count of the number of Americans who have died with — though not necessarily of — coronavirus is 596,264. – Ed.]
Navarro told former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon:
“For whatever reasons, Fauci wanted to weaponize that virus, and he is the father of it. He has killed millions of Americans if that thing came from the lab. Now it’s 99.999 percent sure it did.”
For the better part of the past year, every time Fauci has spoken on the pandemic, some Republicans have taken to social media to decry him.
On Sunday, his appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” sparked just such a reaction. Asked if Americans might need to wear masks seasonally to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19, Fauci responded, “You know, that’s quite possible.”
Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, quickly fired off a response to that suggestion.
The escalation of Navarro’s rhetoric against Fauci has been especially notable. In a March interview with Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo, Navarro seized on the unproven theory that the coronavirus had originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“This is the building that Tony Fauci built,” Navarro told Bartiromo. “He took American taxpayer money and funneled it, laundered it through NIH, and gave to this lab so it could conduct the kind of research that led basically to the virus, if Bob Redfield [former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is right.”
Navarro, whose antipathy for Fauci is well documented, was referring to $600,000 in U.S. funding that the Wuhan Institute of Virology received between 2014 and 2019 to study coronaviruses originating in bats.
The National Institutes of Health awarded the nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance a $3.4 million grant in 2014. Of that money, $600,000 went to the Wuhan lab … Click here to read more.
Meet the Press – May 9, 2021, with Dr. Anthony Fauci:
“I think people have gotten used to the fact that wearing masks, clearly, if you look at the data, diminishes respiratory diseases.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci
HOST CHUCK TODD:
Let me start what — with the headline yesterday from the CDC about the virus spreading through aerosol form. And I’ll be honest with you, Dr. Fauci, I had to check the date of the article to make sure it wasn’t from a year earlier. This felt like a known thing. So now that there is a formal acknowledgment now of aerosol transmission, what does this mean for workplaces? What does this mean for schools, homes, things like this if we’re going to have to live with this virus for another year or so?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI:
Well, I mean, as you mentioned, Chuck, correctly, this is something we’ve known for some time now. So when you have aerosol, then the distance between people becomes a little bit more problematic because, generally, when you say you have a certain distance that the droplets will fall and not reach a person. So, right now, this is going to have an emphasis on proper ventilation because if there is aerosolization, you’re going to want to have good ventilation.
That could hold true for schools and it could hold true for workplaces. The other thing, it also brings out the possibility that you’re going to have to make sure that indoors when you have unvaccinated people, that people wear a mask. But that is already a CDC recommendation anyway. But when you have the ability of a particular virus to go further than just a few feet, clearly one of the most important things is proper ventilation and number two, mask wearing.
So what is this — okay, let’s get to mask wearing. Because this is where, you know — at what point can we stop wearing masks outside? At what point, if vaccinated people get together, do you take the masks off? And are we going to essen — but is the mask going to be something we have with us in a seasonal aspect?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI:
You know, that’s quite possible. I think people have gotten used to the fact that wearing masks, clearly, if you look at the data, diminishes respiratory diseases. We’ve had practically a non-existent flu season this year merely because people were doing the kinds of public health things that were directed predominantly against Covid-19.
The Australians during their winter, same thing. They had almost no flu largely due to the kinds of things including mask-wearing. So it is conceivable that as we go on, a year or two or more from now, that during certain seasonal periods when you have respiratory-borne viruses like the flu, people might actually elect to wear masks to diminish the likelihood that you’ll spread these respiratory-borne diseases.
You know, about a year ago at this point in time, there was some chatter that, “Okay, maybe we just went through the worst.” Summer was coming, and you’d have some people warn, “Look, even if things have died down now, we’re going to have a rough fall and winter,” which, of course, is what we had. A year — now, here we are a year later. What is the likelihood we could have a rough fall, or is that — are we looking at molehills no matter how bad things get?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI:
Well, the fact that we have vaccines right now, Chuck, is really a game changer. I mean, if we get, which we will, to the goals that the president has, has established — namely if we get 70 percent of the people vaccinated by the Fourth of July, namely one single dose and even more thereafter — you may see blips, but if we handle them well, it is unlikely that you’ll see the kind of surge that we saw in the late fall and the early winter … Read the full transcript here.