In recent years, the percentage of adults in the United States who have “high confidence” in medical scientists has fallen to less than a third, a trend Dr. Anthony Fauci says he hopes won’t last.
“We are currently living in what I think is a growing anti-scientific stance,” WGBH’s chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden said Monday on Boston Public Radio. “We’ve seen it grow in the last few years, and now it’s coming to a point with COVID, where people are rejecting some very obvious scientific truths based on clear, very visible data. The anti-scientific atmosphere that many of us have experienced is very worrying. ”
Fauci said that if there was ever time to form an opinion based on data and facts, it is now.
“We live in an era where normalization of untruth is just a big part of what we live with,” he said. “It’s so widespread, a denial of reality, a conspiracy theory about vaccination. It is astonishing how distorted this is. I mean, it’s bad in itself, but when it gets in the way of a proper and appropriate response to a deadly epidemic, it becomes even more tragic. “
Fauci said social networks, which he described as a largely untested way of sharing information, were partly to blame for misinterpreting his words and for spreading misinformation. It is an obstacle he said has made it difficult to crack down on the deadly epidemic.
During the radio program, Fauci also discussed the future of helping COVID without additional funding from Congress; The “Faucian effect”, which led to an increase in applications for medical and public health schools; and his decision not to attend a White House correspondence dinner in late April.
Last week, the United States reached one million deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a dark turning point that Fauci said he hoped would spur action to prevent a bad situation in the next few months.
“We know the difference in hospitalizations and deaths among those who have been vaccinated and amplified compared to those who have not been vaccinated; It is [an] a remarkable difference, the data are so crystal clear about vaccination, ”Fauci said. “[It] it doesn’t necessarily protect everyone from infection, that’s for sure, because we see infections in people who have been vaccinated. But protection against serious diseases that lead to hospitalization and death is very, very effective. ”
However, more preventive steps could be tied in Congress, where elected leaders have yet to approve more funds for a national response to COVID-19, he said.
“We have to encourage people,
said the doctor. “We need to get a lot more antiviral drugs. We need to have money for vaccine doses and vaccine trials. We really need the resources we are looking for. It is not just a pro forma search for more resources. We really need them if we want to do what we can to prevent things from continuing or even getting worse. ”
As it is now, the United States will miss out on ordering important resources, according to data from the Biden administration.
Last week, Fauci decided not to attend a White House correspondent dinner. Comedian Trevor Noah, who hosted the dinner, said that if Fauci doesn’t think it’s safe, no one should be there, something Fauci said Monday is not entirely true.
“If we as a society are going to live with something that won’t go away, then each individual needs to make their own assessment of the personal risk they are willing to take based on a number of factors,” Fauci said. “I didn’t imply it because I decided not to go that it has to influence someone’s personal decision, and your personal decision is based on things that might be obvious.”
As a reason why he did not come, he pointed out his age, 81, but said many factors contributed to his decision.
“Some people may have underlying conditions that the world is not interested in,” Fauci said. “Maybe they live with someone who is vulnerable if they bring the infection home. Even if they do not become very symptomatic, they can endanger a loved one of their own family. So there are so many different reasons why people take different risks. And the point I pointed out is that each individual has to make their own personal decision. And I did, and it was just for me. It was not for anyone else. “
Over the last two years, Fauci has become a well-known name. His rise to prominence has fueled the need for security details, he told presenters Jim Braude and Margery Eagan. But it has also inspired what some call the “Faucian effect” or an increase in medical applications.
“We need to involve smart young people in medicine and public health and if anything about me or my image is promoted, I feel very good about it,” Fauci said. “I am very happy to see that many young smart people, because of what is happening now, have chosen medicine, science and public health as their careers.”
Fauci pointed out that even as the number of cases increases, vaccinations and other precautions still work – which can be seen in the death rate.
“Obviously this virus is very contagious,” Fauci said. “We know that people who have been vaccinated, and even vaccinated, can become infected. But the data is very clear about how vaccination and reinforcement, when it comes time to strengthen, have a big positive effect in preventing most of you from turning into a serious illness, which leads to hospitalization and death. ”
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