Why is Dr. Fauci not at home?

How telling that the Wuhan Virus is so highly skewed against the elderly and health compromised, yet the massive shutdown of the country is aimed at everybody.  It seems that many of our D.C. rulers are older folks who don't want to miss something, so instead, the rest of us stay home while they parade about.

A good example is 79-year-old Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most energetic capital camera hog not named Chuck Schumer.  Dr. Fauci means well, but the anti-Trump press easily spins him around like a top.  If he is going to be the media point man, he needs to be shooting down all the lies emanating from people like Joe Biden, but he's not up to it.  He should leave the media to somebody else and work from home.  But apparently, he thinks he is too important for that.

But that also brings up a point: what is the good doctor's real job?  He helps run the NIH, a research outfit that has little to do with the current emergency reaction of the federal government.  No doubt, he is a great lab researcher of diseases.  Looking at his bio, though, he has no real expertise in statistics and apparently has been way too high in estimating virus mortality rates.  This has only played into the panic brought on by the scare study from Britain last week predicting millions of dead.  The new numbers from reliable places like Germany and South Korea are showing mortality no worse than a typical bad flu season.

Add to that that Dr. Fauci was the one conducting the panic-level secret briefings that have landed Sen. Richard Burr in so much trouble.  Instead of telling everybody what he really thought, and giving others a chance to question and challenge what he was saying, Dr. Fauci played the usual sneaky bureaucrat games, which may wind up burning a lot of people.

Dr. Fauci also seems to have a rather bad track record in dealing with past crises.  Peter Chowka just wrote extensively in AT about the good doctor's abysmal failures during the AIDS epidemic.

In fact, this whole pandemic has been yet another failure for the government expert class.  The things our experts talked about for years were not in place.  If we were prepared, there should have been a stockpile of basic items we would need in any circumstance: ventilators, masks, ICU air systems, army medical tents.  Many of these concerns were brought up in the 2011 movie Contagion.  It's pretty bad when even Matt Damon is years ahead of our government experts.

Thankfully, the non-government experts and amateurs may have already solved the crisis.  One of the first things smart doctors do with a problem patient is to see if they already have a drug they can repurpose — going "off-label."  As soon as the Wuhan Virus showed up, doctors started trying the super-safe antiviral drug hydroxychloroquine, and by all reports, it works like a charm.  (My mom took this stuff for 30 years for her rheumatoid arthritis.)  It shouldn't take too long to crank up production and get it to every emergency room in the country.

Dr. Fauci doesn't like this; medicine for him happens only with expensive, excruciatingly long double-blind government-run studies.  Real-world experience counts for naught.  He is stuck in a 1920s Sinclair Lewis novel.

But President Trump thankfully has pushed ahead on obvious commonsense ideas like off-label drugs and international travel bans.  The experts are furious at him, such as this guy, still arguing against travel bans.  For political correctness reasons, not scientific reasons, travel bans are a big no-no among the medical expert community.

Mr. Trump has also been all over the Federal Reserve for weeks now, insisting that their response has got to be much bigger to the financial crisis, and on the Congress to pass massive temporary tax cuts and rebates.  He's the one older guy in D.C. who has been ahead of the curve the whole time.

The two-and-a-half-week lockdown of the country was a prudent move.  But it can't go on for months, and even then, it would be of only marginal help.  It needs to end by April for the vast number of Americans not living in the hotspot towns and neighborhoods.  Warmer, wetter weather will abate this virus, and people are now used to regular hand sanitizing and the wearing of gloves and even masks in the workplace.  Also great news: With gas prices so low, everyone can afford to commute by his own vehicle, leaving behind the filthy mass transit systems.

As the rest of us return to work and to school, older folks at risk like Dr. Fauci must be using this critical period to prepare to remain at their homes until mid-summer, to figure out how their friends and relatives can safely bring them food, medicine, and other supplies.  And if Dr. Fauci still feels the need to blab, maybe an I.T. person at the NIH can set up Skype on his home computer.  In this crisis, it's time for the good doctor to set a good example and start following his own advice.

Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, Kentucky.

Image: Los Angeles Times via YoutTube.

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