Analysis

Trump’s Health Officials Downplayed The Virus. Now Biden’s Downplay The Vaccine

(Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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Former President Donald Trump and his administration were labeled “anti-science” for downplaying the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, and now President Joe Biden’s team is displaying a different strain of anti-scientific sentiment.

Trump said at the beginning of the pandemic that cases would “go down to zero” and he allegedly told the public the virus wasn’t as bad as he knew it to be. Now, top advisers to Biden are undermining public confidence in coronavirus vaccines by claiming people’s lives won’t change after being inoculated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health and Biden’s top medical advisor, has recently argued in effect that people must behave in almost the exact same way after they are vaccinated as before. In an MSNBC interview with Mehdi Hassan, Fauci said it still isn’t OK to eat indoors even after being vaccinated.

Fauci, who was fully vaccinated months ago, also did an interview with Business Insider to share what he would and wouldn’t do after getting his shots.

“I don’t think I would — even if I’m vaccinated — go into an indoor, crowded place where people are not wearing masks,” he said. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Ted Cruz Says Dr. Fauci Has ‘A Lot To Answer For,’ Saying His Predictions Were Wrong ‘Over And Over Again’)

Fauci added that he wouldn’t partake in any vacationing or other travel, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saying travel is OK for vaccinated individuals. He said indoor dining was off-limits, and admitted his life was “essentially unchanged” by getting a vaccine.

Another member of Biden’s coronavirus team who has been incredibly pessimistic is University of Minnesota epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm. Osterholm told NBC News at the beginning of April that America is still in a “category five hurricane status” and that the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 was like having a “whole new pandemic” despite rising vaccination rates.

Thus far, the three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States have been proven to retain their effectiveness against known variants of the virus. In February, Osterholm said the U.S. was heading towards its “darkest days” of the pandemic. Since he made that comment, daily deaths have fallen more than 70%.

Osterholm also told NBC that the next two weeks of the pandemic will be the worst yet, and that Michigan is “a wakeup call” despite a majority of states not seeing surges like the one happening there. He’s gone as far as to reverse his position on reopening schools, now arguing that in-person learning should cease because of the increased danger to children posed by B.1.1.7.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has been caught pushing a mixed message on vaccine effectiveness as well. She recently publicly commented that vaccines prevented people from carrying the vaccine, a claim the CDC had to walk back immediately thereafter.

At a briefing in early April, Walensky said that vaccines were proving incredibly effective and that vaccinated people could safely travel with little to no concern. She then followed that up by saying that the CDC, the agency she heads, was still recommending vaccinated people do not travel due to rising cases. (RELATED: The CDC Proves Incapable Of Putting Together A Coherent Message On COVID-19 Guidelines)

The scientific data is clear: The vaccines available in America are proven effective at nearly eliminating the risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus, and drastically reduce the chances of contracting even a mild case.

The argument forwarded by Fauci and others is that it is unknown whether or not vaccines stop transmission — in other words, even if someone is prevented from getting sick thanks to the vaccine, it isn’t yet proven that they can’t carry the virus still and spread it to others. (RELATED: ‘Dr. Fauci Needs To Put Up Or Shut Up’: Rand Paul Says Experts Need To Give Evidence For Post-Vaccine Mask Edicts)

However, evidence does exist that the vaccines available to Americans decrease risk of transmission, and every effective vaccine developed in modern medical history has done so. To argue that vaccinated people are still at high risk of catching, spreading or getting seriously ill from COVID-19 could easily be called “anti-science.”