Dr. Fauci and me

Last Saturday, I wrote a blog that focused on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s leading medical expert, and his long background, especially as he shepherded the government’s four decade long war on HIV-AIDS. The article touched a deep nerve, helping to inspire a Washington Post article that ran yesterday:

As Trump signals readiness to break with experts, his online base assails Fauci.

A cadre of right-wing outlets is laying the groundwork for Trump to disregard experts on his own coronavirus task force.


For a time on Friday, the article was the second-most read at the Post's website. It came on the heels of similar articles earlier in the week at POLITICO and BuzzFeed.

The author of the Post article, national political reporter and former Rhodes Scholar Isaac Stanley-Becker, confirmed the impact of my American Thinker blog:

Chowka’s piece has generated nearly 20,000 interactions on Facebook alone — more than the typical wellperforming story in the mainstream media.

Among the avalanche of responses to the Post’s article, one of the more polite, and printable, negative ones is this tweet by President Clinton’s ambassador to Morocco, Marc Ginsberg:

The heart of the matter

To summarize my March 21 article briefly: Dr. Fauci and his colleagues, starting at the outset of the AIDS crisis almost four decades ago, oversaw a government “war” on HIV-AIDS that quickly and permanently ballooned into an unprecedented federal effort that to date has spent around $600 billion on HIV-AIDS research. Meanwhile, the death toll from AIDS in the U.S. over four decades is about 700,000 people – or an average of roughly16,000 deaths a year.

Meanwhile, cancer, which has gotten only slightly more funding than HIV-AIDS during that entire period, has killed around 25 million Americans during that same time frame.

According to an NIH Funding document, the totals of federal research in 2019 spent on 292 diseases are listed along with the actual 2017 death toll (the last year available) from each of those conditions. The results are shocking.

Cancer $6.52 billion 680,869 deaths

Diabetes $1.09 billion 270,707 deaths

Heart Disease/Coronary Heart Disease $1.708 billion 1,762,929 deaths

HIV/AIDS $3.037 billion 7,803 deaths

In 2019, the government spent $3,982.80 in research for every death from AIDS. That same year, only $96.88 was spent for every death from heart disease. That’s 41 times as much funding per death for AIDS as for heart disease – the nation’s #1 killer.

Federal spending on diabetes research is even more out of whack. Only $40.63 was spent in research for each person who died from diabetes.

In the mid- and late-1980s, when the hysteria about HIV-AIDS was reaching a fever pitch, it was the medical bureaucrats at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and other federal agencies who stoked the fears of AIDS moving unchecked into the heterosexual community and by the early1990s killing one in five Americans. An AP article published in the New York Times (January 30, 1987), “AIDS May Dwarf the Plague,” warned:

A worldwide AIDS epidemic will become so serious that it will dwarf such earlier medical disasters as the Black Plague, smallpox and typhoid, the nation’s top health official said today.

“You haven't heard or read anything yet,” Dr. Otis R. Bowen, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, told the National Press Club.

“If we can't make progress, we face the dreadful prospect of a worldwide death toll in the tens of millions a decade from now,” he said.

Obviously, these and similar dystopian predictions never panned out – not even close.

This history is food for thought when evaluating the “models” that the CDC, the NIH, and the usual suspects are issuing today about the onerous threat of Covid-19, the coronavirus.

I should say for the record that I regret one word in the headline of my March 21 AT blog. If I had it to do over, I would not describe Dr. Fauci as a “stooge,” and for that word choice I offer him my sincere apology. However, I stand by the content and analysis in the article itself.

Finally, since Dr. Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx, and other members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force appear to have the unwavering support for now of President Trump, I would close by saying that I wish the best for them all – that they will come up with a strategy that can get our country back to normal as soon as possible. Hopefully this result can be achieved without creating another self-perpetuating metastacizing disease bureaucracy that will become a permanent part of the administrative state.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications.  Peter's website is http://peter.mediaFollow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

Image credit: Fogarty International Center, via Flickr // U.S. Government Works public domain

A previous version of this article mistakenly identified Marc Ginsberg as Barack Obama's ambassador to Morocco.  The error has been corrected.

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