Fauci stepping down: Was he a hero, a villain or neither?

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — Dr. Anthony Fauci is planning to step down from his role as White House chief medical adviser and the top infectious disease doctor after more than 50 years of public service.

But you just say his name these days, and it generates an immediate reaction. Somehow, this scientist has become an all out hero to the left and a boogeyman to the right. I think neither have it quite right.

But, I’m more confused by the right’s anger towards him than about the left turning him into some sort of God.

I mean, one would think that based on the fury some on the right express about the guy that he was actively trying to kill our kids.

Fauci made a lot of important decisions for this country as we endured a horrific pandemic that so far has killed more than a million U.S. citizens. He made mistakes, like in March of 2020, when he famously dismissed the need for wearing masks at all to prevent the spread of the virus. He said this on “60 Minutes.”

“There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. 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.

Then he flip flopped on that, and later admitted that he said that in an effort to avoid a run on masks, telling thestreet.com he was “concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment including the N95 masks and the surgical masks were in very short supply.” Well, that led to a serious credibility issue.

In May of 2020, he warned about the lasting effect if a lockdown went on too long.

“We can’t stay locked down for such a considerable period of time, that you might do irreparable damage and have unintended consequences, including consequences for help,” Fauci said.

Then, in the views of many, including me, the lockdown went on too long.

Maybe during the height of the pandemic, he leaned into his newfound celebrity a little too much, throwing out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game, sitting for photoshoots. Others say he made things too political, although I’m not sure if that was him or the people who wanted to criticize him.

Regardless, it’s really easy to be a Monday morning science quarterback. In the end, he tried to do the right thing. He was using the best information he had to try to save lives. And I believe he saved a lot of them. Anyone who thinks otherwise maybe is just watching too much of Fox Primetime.

The one lasting debate appears to be over what’s called gain of function research where a virus is genetically altered to enhance its function, to make it more potent, so you can study them to try to find the best ways to fight the disease. And that has led to two outstanding questions and become wildly politicized about Fauci.

Number one: Did COVID come from the Wuhan Institute of virology lab in China? And two, did the U.S. fund it? Question one’s a real one. But the majority of scientists are convinced that the coronavirus was likely present in live animals sold at Wuhan wet market, and the virus likely spilled over into humans there on two separate occasions in late 2019. Fauci supported this theory, as well.

Now, I have long believed that the lab leak theory needed to be taken more seriously. But recent studies found two evolutionary branches of the virus at the Wuhan market have me thinking that this is the more likely explanation.

Regardless, the big one is question two. And no matter what you think about the cause of COVID, and where it started, U.S. dollars to Chinese labs were not used for anything that could have created this virus.

While federal grants were provided to a number of research facilities, according to factcheck.org, “There is nothing to indicate that any money from this grant was provided to the Wuhan Institute of virology.”

So no matter what you think about gain of function, or where the leak started, Fauci is not the devil. He’s not the politicized monster he’s being portrayed as by the far right. And he also isn’t infallible.

He made mistakes. But he also seems to have done what he thought was in the best interest of the country.

So as he steps down, I think he deserves our appreciation. You don’t have to love the guy or even admire him if you don’t want to, and you can think certain decisions he made were absolutely wrong, I do, but there’s nothing to suggest he deserves the vitriol he’s getting from some who seem to want to politicize everything.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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