A Stanford epidemiologist said Dr. Anthony Fauci’s “credibility is entirely shot” after his conflicting advice on face masks throughout the pandemic — which the scientist criticized as “all over the place.”
“I think he’s been all over the place on masks,” Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on her show, “The Ingham Angle” Saturday.
“There are emails you can find in the treasure trove of emails that have been released where he acknowledged the virus has been aerosolized,” he continued.
“Well, the cloth masks people have been recommending, they’re not particularly effective against aerosolized viruses.
“I really don’t understand his back and forth, and his answer made absolutely no sense.”
That exchange refers to one in a trove of emails BuzzFeed News and the Washington Post obtained via public records request.
In one email dated Feb. 4, 2020, to Sylvia Burwell, a former secretary of Health and Human Services under Barack Obama, Fauci advised her not to wear a mask in an airport — because a regular cloth mask isn’t effective at preventing people from catching the bug.
“The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material,” he wrote.
“It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep[ing] out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you. I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very low risk location.”
But by the end of March, the nation’s top infectious disease expert had flipped his position.
As he wrote to a Dr. David Katz of La Jolla, Calif. on the last day of that month: “There are some data from NIH that indicate that mere speaking without coughing elicits aerosols that travel a foot or two. If that is the case, then perhaps universal wearing of masks in the most practical way to go.”
And just last month, Fauci insisted unvaccinated children still need to wear masks when playing with friends, especially while indoors.
But Bhattacharya claimed that Fauci changing his mind on masks seemed to have little to do with any significant new scientific discoveries of COVID-19 transmission.
“Yes, you should change your mind when the science changes, what is that science that changed that convinced him that masks are the most effective way?” he asked.
“I think his credibility is entirely shot.”
The epidemiologist said that Fauci’s views on the novel coronavirus were “sensible” at first — but that stopped in February, as cases began to rise in pockets of the United States.
“In the early days of the epidemic, he was quite a sensible person,” he said.
“He understood immunity, he understood the necessity of not panicking the population. Something happened in late February where he just flipped on a dime. It wasn’t the science changing. Something else happened where he just changed.”