Dr. Fauci's exposed, mask-free face at a baseball game angers people

Dr. Anthony Fauci got a lot of grief for his not so good throw at the Washington Nationals game.  Poor guy.  Not everyone can throw a ball.  However, that picturesque throw isn't the real story.

The real story is that Anthony Fauci is playing with Americans when it comes to masks, something he revealed yet again at the baseball game.  This post is about Fauci and the Dance of the Masks.

Fauci's mask narrative started back in early March when he told us not to wear masks.  He was very clear about why it was a bad idea: masks provide inadequate protection; people use them badly and can make things worse; and, almost as an afterthought, health care workers need them:

By April, masks had become "a thing," in part because people had noticed that Asian countries in which people routinely wore masks (e.g., Japan and Korea) had much lower incidences of Wuhan virus infections.  In two PBS appearances, one on April 3 and one on May 12, Fauci had evolved to say he thought people should start wearing masks.

In June, Fauci admitted that, during his March interview, the throwaway line about the health care workers was the real reason for dismissing masks.  Thus, he explained, he and others in the government didn't recommend masks in March to make sure that first responders had access to them.

One can't blame Fauci or others in the government for that lie.  After all, they'd seen what happened when people panicked about toilet paper.

In any event, we've learned a lot about the virus since March, and President Trump's brilliant partnership with private industry sped up the supply chain for masks, so it's reasonable that the medical advice has changed.  The problem with Fauci's Dance of the Masks is that he has a separate standard for himself.

It started at the end of June after he'd spent three months saying masks are necessary.  Nevertheless, after attending a hearing, Fauci instantly removed his mask even though he was in an enclosed room with other people around:

In some places, doing that can get you arrested and fined.

Fauci was doing the double-standard thing again on Thursday when he stayed for the baseball game after throwing out that first unusual pitch.  A viral photo went around showing Fauci in an empty stadium, with his wife on one side and a friend on the other.

Both the wife and the friend are masked.  Fauci is not.  Depending on the picture, he's got his fingers in a resting steeple position or is playing with his phone.  A lot of people were upset about what they perceived as his hypocrisy:

Fauci defended himself, saying he took his mask off to drink water and had just tested negative the day before.  Fine.  We'll assume that's true.  There's something more going on here, though, than playing "caught ya!" with Fauci over a minute or two (or five or ten) without a mask.

Think about it: Fauci's trio is sitting in the middle of nowhere.  According to Fauci, he's virus-free.  His wife presumably is healthy, too.  As for the third man, Fauci claims he's a "close friend" as if that means that he and his friend don't need to be masked around each other or practice social distancing.

Why, then, is any of those three people wearing a mask?  They're apparently virus-free, they're buddies, and they don't need to social distance.  The whole thing has a theatrical quality, with Fauci playing the part of the man who forgot his lines for a few minutes.

This post is not intended to challenge mask-wearing.  It's true that I deeply resent governors and mayors unilaterally dictating masks.  These individual diktats have an ugly whiff of tyranny about them.  Now that we're six months into the Wuhan virus panic, enough time has passed that, if masks are that important, the people's representatives in the various legislative chambers should be passing laws about them.

Nevertheless, putting the incipient tyranny aside, I respect that masks may be helpful.  Even though many people use them in the most ineffective ways — taking them on and off over and over again, stuffing them in the plastic bags, hanging them under their noses, etc. — that does not entirely limit their utility.

Here's my problem: Fauci is blowing hot and cold with Trump, loves to party with the leftist rich and famous, presided over an agency that has a long history of periodic dishonesty, and keeps playing games with his own masks.  When I think about all that, I feel I'm being played for a fool, and, no matter how useful the masks are, I resent that feeling.

By the way, if you haven't seen it, here's that Fauci pitch:

Image: Twitter screen grab.

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