Even Florida deserves better than GOP Senator Marco Rubio. The weaselly senator hopped on the anti-science bandwagon yesterday with Rand Paul and tweeted some garbage about Dr. Anthony Fauci.

That's a lot false-witness-bearing on a Sunday morning from the guy who randomly quotes Bible verses.


This is what Dr. Fauci said during an interview on March 8:

"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. And, often, there are unintended consequences — people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face."

Dr. Fauci explained to the Washington Post in July that at the start of the pandemic, government and public health officials weren't yet recommending masks for the general public because they were trying to prevent a mask shortage for health workers. Dr. Fauci wasn't personally responsible for the Trump administration's incompetent pandemic response and the lack of available PPE. Also, in late February and early March, the extent of asymptomatic spread wasn't fully known.


FAUCI: We didn't realize the extent of asymptomatic spread…what happened as the weeks and months came by, two things became clear: one, that there wasn't a shortage of masks, we had plenty of masks and coverings that you could put on that's plain cloth…so that took care of that problem. Secondly, we fully realized that there are a lot of people who are asymptomatic who are spreading infection. So it became clear that we absolutely should be wearing masks consistently

Once more and slower for all the dummies: When we didn't know as much about the novel coronavirus, it made sense to reserve masks, which were in short supply, for frontline medical workers who were spending hours at time around sick people. When we learned how contagious the virus is and that people can spread it without showing symptoms, it made sense to recommend that everyone wear masks, which Dr. Fauci did because he's a scientist who alters his opinions to fit the facts.

There's no evidence Dr. Fauci lied to the public, as Rubio grossly suggests. Of course, when Bob Woodward revealed that Donald Trump actually did lie to the American about how much a threat COVID-19 posed, spineless hack Marco Rubio shrugged it off.

"Do I prefer that American people had been told, more fully, sort of the risks and the threat early on?" Rubio said. "Sure."

"I think in hindsight, a few extra weeks on the front end having done more about it would have certainly been helpful, but I don't think that negates all the positive things that they have done," he later added.

Trump ignored almost all of Dr. Fauci's advice anyway, so it's highly unlikely President Klan Robe and his cult members would've worn masks if Dr. Fauci had asked them to do so earlier.

Dr. Fauci explained Sunday on CNN's “State of the Union" that you have to remain “humble" and admit what you don't know. This is an entirely alien perspective for most Republicans. He's responding to both the science and a public that resists facts it doesn't want to hear.

Then there's Rubio's absurd claim that Dr. Fauci is misleading people about herd immunity.

The New York Times reports:

In the pandemic's early days, Dr. Fauci tended to cite the same 60 to 70 percent estimate that most experts did. About a month ago, he began saying "70, 75 percent" in television interviews. And last week, in an interview with CNBC News, he said "75, 80, 85 percent" and "75 to 80-plus percent."

In a telephone interview the next day, Dr. Fauci acknowledged that he had slowly but deliberately been moving the goal posts. He is doing so, he said, partly based on new science, and partly on his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.

Hard as it may be to hear, he said, he believes that it may take close to 90 percent immunity to bring the virus to a halt — almost as much as is needed to stop a measles outbreak.

Other prominent epidemiologists (i.e. people smarter than Marco Rubio) agree with Dr. Fauci that earlier estimates of 60 to 70 percent were likely too low: COVID-19 is becoming more transmissible, and people won't keep their asses home, so it'll take greater herd immunity to stomp out the virus.

Republicans have enabled Trump for so long they've forgotten what accountability looks like. Rubio represents a state without a mask mandate. There was always the concern that people might refuse to take the vaccine. It's galling that Rubio would accuse Dr. Fauci of trying to “trick" people into doing the right thing, when his own constituents are refusing to do so voluntarily.

The Republicans' populist push demands that they find an elite to target for demonization, and for the grossest political reasons, they've chosen public health officials who've stepped up during a global crisis. Dr. Fauci has done more professionally to help people than Rubio ever has or ever will.

[Reuters / New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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