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Fauci Defends Shifting View on Masks: 'That's the Way Science Works'

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Dr. Anthony Fauci is seeking to explain why he changed his recommendations on whether or not Americans should wear masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in 2020.

During an interview on The New York Times’ “Sway” podcast, Fauci was asked by host Kara Swisher if he feels like he should have waited before commenting on whether people should wear masks to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“Allow me to explain,” Fauci began, adding, “Back early on, when we were talking about masks and whether you should wear masks was at a time that there were very, very few infections here. And there were three aspects that dictated that discussion.”

The nation’s top infectious disease expert noted that officials were warned there would be a shortage of N-95 masks, “There was no real evidence that masks worn outside of the setting of the hospital actually worked to protect you” and “we did not know at the time that about half or maybe more of infections were transmitted by people who had no symptom.”

Fauci went on to note that his view that the general public did not need to wear masks was held by other top health officials and added, “Yet that is being fashioned as an anti-Fauci thing.”

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Additionally, he explained that as time went on, officials found out that there was “no shortage because we found out that cloth masks actually work.” He also noted that evidence showed that masks help protect people outside of a hospital setting, and that about 50% of infections were transmitted by people who did not know they were infected.

Fauci then turned his attention to his critics, “So the people who are giving the ad hominems are saying, ah, Fauci misled us. First, he said no masks, then he said masks. Well, let me give you a flash. That’s the way science works. You work with the data you have at the time.”

He continued, “It is essential as a scientist that you evolve your opinion and your recommendations based on the data, as it evolves. That is the nature of science. It is a self-correcting process. And that’s the reason why I say people who then criticize me about that are actually criticizing science.”

“It was not a change because I felt like flip-flopping. It was a change because the evidence changed. The data changed,” he added.

Listen to his comments below:

During an interview on MSNBC earlier this month, Fauci said that attacks on him are “very dangerous” because “a lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science.”

“Because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning have been fundamentally based on science,” he continued.

Finally, he claimed, “So if you are trying to, you know, get at me as a public health official and a scientist, you’re really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science, and anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that.”

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