Dr. Anthony Fauci reportedly said in a phone interview that he has been deliberately changing his public statements regarding the COVID-19 pandemic because he didn’t think people were ready to hear his true beliefs, according to the New York Times.
Fauci has been slowly increasing the number of Americans he says need to be vaccinated for the U.S. to reach “herd immunity” in public statements, the New York Times reported Thursday morning. He reportedly told the Times he has done so “partly based on new science, and partly on his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.”
Dr Fauci’s estimate for reaching herd immunity has been steadily inching up, @nytimes’ Donald McNeil Jr reports. Fauci told us at last week’s @CNBC #HealthyReturns that it may be 75-85%. https://t.co/j18nUYZ3cV pic.twitter.com/hIKewMAFim
— Meg Tirrell (@megtirrell) December 24, 2020
Earlier on in the pandemic, Fauci had said the United States would need 60 to 70 percent of people to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity, according to the Times. He cited higher numbers of 75 to 80-plus percent in a CNBC interview last week. That prompted the Times to ask him why he had been “moving the goalposts,” their report says. (RELATED: CDC Says More Than A Million Americans Have Been Vaccinated For COVID-19)
He reportedly said in the interview that the true number may be close to 90 percent. He also reportedly admitted that weeks earlier he wanted to keep his estimates low because more Americans were skeptical about getting a vaccine. As more Americans have become comfortable getting a vaccine, he has been willing to increase his estimate to his true projections, according to the Times.
Fauci has been a key medical advisor to multiple presidential administrations and is a trusted figure for many Americans as a source of information about the coronavirus pandemic.