Top Officials Who Pushed Aggressive COVID-19 Policies Try To Rewrite History

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Thursday, May 04, 2023 - 06:35 PM

Authored by Petr Svab via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Joe Biden (out of frame) speak during a visit to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., on Feb. 11, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Some of the people most strongly associated with promoting lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have recently sought to recast their positions. Examples include Anthony Fauci, former leader of the federal COVID-19 response, teachers’ union head Randi Weingarten, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Fauci seemed eager to shirk responsibility for the lockdowns when talking to The New York Times last week.

Show me a school that I shut down and show me a factory that I shut down. Never. I never did,” he said.

It was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that produced the lockdown recommendations, he emphasized.

“I gave a public-health recommendation that echoed the CDC’s recommendation, and people made a decision based on that,” he said, noting that he “happened to be perceived as the personification of the recommendations.”

That perception wasn’t mere happenstance though. Fauci hardly missed an opportunity for a media spotlight, accepting accolades for supposedly leading the country through the crisis.

Fauci boasted in October of 2020 that, early in the pandemic, it was he who recommended that President Donald Trump “shut the country down.”

“This was way before” the major outbreak in the New York City area at the onset of the pandemic, he said.

Moreover, Fauci now argues he was appreciative of those who had their reasons for not following the advice of federal public health agencies.

I never criticized the people who had to make the decisions one way or the other,” he said.

That doesn’t appear to be accurate.

Fauci was repeatedly cited by the media as criticizing states that diverged from federal guidance.

A driver holds out a sign as hundreds of people gather to protest the lockdown in spite of shelter-in-place rules still being in effect at California’s state capitol building in Sacramento, Calif., on April 20, 2020. (Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

On one occasion he called it “risky” and on another warned of “needless suffering and death” if states lifted COVID-19 restrictions earlier than federal guidelines suggested.

The former pandemic adviser now acknowledges that COVID-19 vaccines were presented to the public in a less-than-ideal way.

We probably should have communicated better that the clinical trials were only powered to look at the effect on clinically recognizable disease, symptomatic disease,” he told the New York Times.

Nonetheless, various officials made comments to the effect that the vaccines stopped transmission of the virus—which was incorrect—while people who pointed out the limitations of the vaccine clinical trials were dismissed as “anti-vax” and censored by social media.

“Records can be shown to demonstrate Fauci’s undeniable leadership on decisions that led to substantial pain for otherwise healthy and productive Americans,” commented Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, a group that pushes for government transparency and impartiality.

School Reopening

Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), recently told Congress that the union advocated for school reopening from early on in the pandemic.

We spent every day from February [2020] on trying to get schools open,” she said.

That appears to be only partially true.

The union did issue a paper in April of 2020 that proposed reopening schools that were largely shut down the month before amid the rising spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 (pdf).

In practice, however, Weingarten always appeared to demand more to be done before schools could be opened “safely.”

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten speaks in Pittsburgh, Pa., on July 13, 2018. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Some of the core demands included universal masking of teachers and students, improving ventilation at school buildings, and maintaining 6-foot physical distancing at all times. But those requirements, according to the union, required major investment or sacrifices of classroom time. Classes needed to be much smaller, for example, to ensure the distancing.

“If you do 6 feet of physical distancing, you’re essentially saying in a school you’re going to have about 50 percent or 60 percent of people in there at any one time, not a 100 percent,” Weingarten told NBC News in February of 2021.

And the demands went on.

United Federation of Teachers’ (UFT’s) reopening report from February of 2021 called for 20 percent of all students and staff to be tested each week. If one student tested positive, the whole classroom should be sent home for 14 days; if two students in different classrooms tested positive, the whole school should shut down in-person learning for 14 days, the document recommended (pdf).

New York City schools tried to implement similar if less stringent rules, only to prompt protests from parents.

“Day 2 of school. A positive case was found in daughter’s classroom. 25 kids now have remote school for 10 days,” Jill Goldstein, who has a child in one of the city schools, wrote on Twitter.

“This is unacceptable.”

There also appeared to be a tendency to delay school reopening until teachers had ample opportunity to get vaccinated.

On one hand, the AFT said vaccinations weren’t necessary for school reopening, but on the other, it argued that teachers needed to be prioritized for vaccination and that vaccination progress should be “aligned” with the reopening.

Teachers and school-related personnel need the layer of protection vaccines provide. It is the bare minimum of what they need to get back into the classroom,” Weingarten said in a February 24, 2021, tweet.

In some of the districts with large local unions and robust reopening demands, it was only after the vaccines became widely available that local authorities were able to reach reopening deals, according to a report by the Defense of Freedom Institute (pdf).

Some of the AFT’s largest local affiliates went even further.

United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), one of the AFT’s largest and most powerful affiliates, argued that reopening would require “broader community preparedness and increased funding.” That was supposed to include not only prolific testing, masking, and social distancing, but also expanded sick leave, a wealth tax, a millionaire tax, “Medicare for all,” and a moratorium on charter schools, according to a document issued by the union in July of 2020 (pdf). The document is no longer accessible on the UTLA website.

Facing public resistance, the UTLA in the end agreed to a reopening plan without such extraneous demands.

Resources, Red Zones, and Politics

Weingarten seemed rather inflexible in her demands.

When the CDC lifted mask recommendations for COVID-19-vaccinated people in May of 2021, Weingarten criticized Texas for no longer requiring masks in schools, pointing out that children weren’t eligible for the vaccine yet. Two months later, the CDC recommended masks again regardless of vaccination, citing the spread of the virus’ Delta variant and data showing vaccinated people were spreading it just as much as the unvaccinated.

Experts have warned that masking children, especially the youngest ones, could stunt their development. Some people have also criticized what they perceived as arbitrary masking rules. If classes were held at restaurants, for example, students would have been presumably allowed to take their masks off while sitting, based on rules once in place in many jurisdictions.

Read more here...