Before Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), became a television star, people knew he could be wrong about the coronavirus now sweeping the nation. For example, on January 21, Dr. Fauci said it was unclear whether the virus could spread from person to person, but there was more.
In a January 23 podcast, Dr. Fauci downplayed the potential impact of the virus on the United States, and maintained that the death rate in China was likely much lower than feared. On January 24, Dr. Fauci maintained that the “immediate risk” to the public was low, and two days later said the virus was “very, very low risk to the United States.” It wasn’t, but Fauci took little criticism from the establishment media. The same was true in a previous health crisis with lasting consequences.
In the early 1980s, the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was on the rise and prominent among homosexual men in the bathhouse culture Randy Shilts chronicled in
And the Band Played On. A Shilts wrote, “The bathhouses were a horrible breeding ground for disease.” That reality had already emerged in the 1983 How to Have Sex in an Epidemic, by Richard Berkowitz and Michael Callen, fully endorsed by Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, one of the first to identify AIDS.
Sonnabend thought the cytomegalovirus (CMV) could be a factor but as the pamphlet explains, no “new” virus had been shown to play a “causative role in the disease.” To avoid AIDS, the pamphlet warned about unprotected anal sex, along with “swallowing piss” and the practice of “rimming” also known as analingus, activity that could not be made “risk free.”
How to Have Sex in an Epidemic also cited the amyl and butyl nitrite “poppers,” heavily used in the bathhouse culture. On those drugs, the authors say, “the jury is still out” but in conclusion: “the party that was the ‘70s is over,” and “the AIDS crisis may prove to have been a crystal clear reflection of just how little we knew about protecting our health.”
As Michael Specter explains in the New Yorker, “at first, scientists wondered if the disease was related solely to the lifestyles of those who fell ill,” but then a “new” virus appeared. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), some researchers contended, takes control of the entire immune system, and HIV as the sole cause of AIDS became the default view. One of the skeptics was UC Berkeley molecular biologist Peter Duesberg, a pioneer in the study of retroviruses.
In 1986, Duesberg was invited to join the National Academy of Sciences and mentioned as possible candidate for a Nobel Prize. In 1987, Duesberg wrote “Retroviruses as Carcinogens and Pathogens: Expectations and Reality,’’ contending that HIV was not the primary cause of AIDS and not even a contributing factor. The molecular biologist also saw a role for lifestyle and behavioral factors such as intravenous drugs and the amyl and butyl nitrite inhalers. That put Duesberg at odds with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was not a virologist.
Fauci earned his MD from Cornell and was appointed director of NIAID in 1984. On his watch, NIAID became the largest funder of what is now called HIV/AIDS. Fauci testified to Congress, as Jon Cohen noted in Science, “often about the HIV/AIDS budget and other issues related to the epidemic.”
Scientists who questioned the official cause of AIDS included Kary Mullis, winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry for discovery of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In the foreword to Duesberg’s Inventing the AIDS Virus, Mullis wrote, “We have not been able to find a good reason why most of the people believe that AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV. There is simply no scientific evidence demonstrating that is true.”
Virology is a science, but instead of debate the NIAID boss opted for denunciation. After listening to Duesberg, Fauci said, “This is murder. It’s really just that simple,” not exactly a nuanced statement. As Phillip Boffey noted in the New York Times, no scientist involved in AIDS had provided a detailed response to Duesberg. In 2010, the UC Berkeley professor became the target of a misconduct investigation, Greg Miller of Science Insider reports, possibly initiated by an AIDS activist. Duesberg survived, and his work never got the attention it deserved.
Though no longer of epidemic proportions, “HIV/AIDS” has bulked up federal bureaucracies such as the Centers for Disease Control. Meanwhile, Anthony Fauci has held sway at NIAID for 36 years. Like other denizens of the deep state, Fauci remains in power as politicians move in and out of office. If those at risk for coronavirus thought Fauci has been around too long it would be hard to blame them.
As Angelo Codevilla notes, intelligent decisions on countermeasures require hard data, but doctors such as Anthony Fauci have been “scaring the hell out of people and watching curves based on projections based on meaningless numbers.” As Codevilla explains, “The most important fact about COVID-19, its true mortality rate, is the number who die of the virus divided by the number infected by it. No algorithms. Simple arithmetic.” None of that for Fauci, who has taken up coronavirus prophecy.
“Would this possibly become a seasonal cyclic thing? I’ve always indicated to you that I think it very well might,” Fauci said on March 25. Cases were appearing in the southern hemisphere as they go into winter and if they have an outbreak, it would be “inevitable” that the United States would too.
Where did the NIAID boss get that idea? Stay tuned.