“The Real Anthony Fauci”

As a legislator and as a citizen, I respect our public health leaders and the process they go through to make decisions. I usually trust the conclusions they reach and accept the recommendations that they make. My recent survey about vaccine mandates suggests that most of my constituents feel the same way.

Yet, I never lightly dismiss the views of my constituents who disagree. Two constituents went to the effort to send me copies of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s book, The Real Anthony Fauci. I did read the first section of the book, the section that speaks to management of the current pandemic. I skimmed the rest of the book which speaks to older history. I also examined some of the sources that RFK Jr. relies on.

RFK Jr., perceives a malicious conspiracy to promote vaccines over alternative health care methods. The basic narrative is that a vaccine cartel exaggerated the dangers of COVID-19 and discredited lower-cost treatments — like Vitamin D, Ivermectin, and Hydroxychloroquine — with the goal of making profits on vaccines.

The lead villain in the narrative is Dr. Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. A villain needs to be larger than life. RFK Jr. says that Fauci wields “power enjoyed by few rulers and no doctor in history.” (Page xvi.) Consider that statement in light of the many state and local officials across the country who are bucking federal pandemic advice. The CDC with Dr. Fauci’s support reinstated indoor masking guidelines last July when the Delta variant emerged, advising people to wear masks in indoor public spaces in areas with substantial or high transmission. Now with Omicron, the whole country is a high transmission area. Yet, many states have never required masks or do not currently require masks and some states prevent local governments from requiring them. Would lower level officials respond so casually to the great dictators of history? No. Dr. Fauci is respected by many, but should not be numbered among the most powerful rulers in history.

RFK Jr. points out that Dr. Fauci is “the highest paid of all four million federal employees, including the President.” (Page xvi.) What that observation really speaks to is not how all-powerful Dr. Fauci is, but how low the federal salary scale is. Physicians with research and leadership skills are very marketable in the private sector and the public sector has to pay them well to retain them. The highest paid state employee in Massachusetts is the head of the University of Massachusetts Medical school and he makes more than twice what Dr. Fauci makes. Similarly, all of the top five highest paid state employees in New York are health researchers or executives and they all make more than Dr. Fauci. For a southern example, 11 of the 25 highest paid state employees in Georgia are medical doctors and they all make more than Dr. Fauci. The health care sector employs 22 million people in the United States and includes many centers of power. Dr. Fauci is a visible and important person, but health care leadership is broadly dispersed.

RFK Jr. portrays Dr. Fauci as “cracking down on HCQ [hydrochloroquine] to keep case fatalities high.” (Page 30.) Speaking of federal decisions not to authorize Hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment, he says:

Most of my fellow Democrats understand that Dr. Fauci led an effort to deliberately derail America’s access to lifesaving drugs and medicines that might have saved hundreds of thousands of lives and dramatically shortened the pandemic. There is no other aspect of the COVID crisis that more clearly reveals the malicious intentions of a powerful vaccine cartel — led by Dr. Fauci and Bill Gates — to prolong the pandemic and amplify its mortal effects in order to promote their mischievous inoculations.

The Real Anthony Fauci, p.19

The framing, “Most of my fellow Democrats understand . . . ,” is plainly false. As recently as December 2021, Dr. Fauci was one of only three leaders with a positive favorability rating among Americans, and he had an 85% favorable rating among Democrats. In 2020, 79% of Democrats and a majority of Republicans felt Dr. Fauci had done a good job handling the pandemic. He was the fourth most admired man among Americans in 2020, behind three presidents.

But then consider the horrific allegation itself — distorting research results so as to kill people so as to make other people want vaccines. As part of his case for the allegation, RFK Jr. zeros in on one of the clear failures of the research vetting process in 2020. An influential study in Lancet showed that hydrochloroquine was not clinically useful in COVID-19 treatment. However, it swiftly emerged that the study and another study on a different issue that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine were based on likely non-existent data from a bogus “big data” research company called Surgisphere. RFK Jr. reads the incident as proof of the power of the “cartel”:

The capacity of their Pharma overlords to strong-arm the world’s top two medical journals, the NEJM and The Lancet, into condoning deadly research and to simultaneously publish blatantly fraudulent articles in the middle of a pandemic attests to the cartel’s breathtaking power and ruthlessness.

The Real Anthony Fauci, p. 30

RFK Jr.’s over-the-top word choice is a red flag in itself. But the fundamental problem with his argument is that in the same time frame, Surgisphere also was able to circulate an influential, but fraudulent article supporting Ivermectin. Ivermectin is the other potential treatment for COVID-19 that RFK Jr. believes has been unfairly discredited by Fauci and the “cartel.” Surgisphere’s fraudulent article contributed heavily towards the expansion of Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment in Latin America. If the “cartel” is so powerful and ruthless, why did it allow that?

The simpler truth is that in the midst of a rush for cures, a recklessly ambitious company like Surgisphere was able to deceive a number of smart people. Before long, other smart people uncovered the deception, the articles were retracted and Surgisphere was permanently discredited. The Surgisphere scandal shows both the fallibility of the humans doing science and the ability of the scientific process to ultimately correct itself. It is not evidence of a global vaccine cartel.

There can be no question that in some cases pharmaceutical companies are able to steer both the direction of research and physician clinical choices (see Massachusetts gift ban legislation). But I am completely unable to step into RFK Jr.’s worldview. In his world, a few ruthless titans are pulling the strings for profit. I see a world in which a whole lot of mostly decent people with normal levels of self-interest are trying to do their jobs — to create medications and improve public health. People near the center of health policy decisions, like Dr. Fauci, have to sort out a lot of information and maintain awareness of the quality and motivations of their information sources.

Dr. Fauci is 81 years old. He has been well compensated for decades. It appears that he could retire any time to a federal pension equal to roughly 80% of his salary. It seems unlikely he is in his job for the money. Without putting him on a pedestal of infallibility, I trust him to exercise his judgment for the greater good. I expect his views to continue to evolve in good faith as the research accumulates and new virus behavior emerges.

For my summary responses to themes in these comments, please see this post. Comments were closed on this post on January 31.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

235 replies on ““The Real Anthony Fauci””

  1. Fauci is everything that’s wrong with government. He is on a power trip. He changes his positions repeatedly and has done absolutely nothing in regards to treatments. Hence his history with dealing with HIV aids. He was all about a vaccine, not treating it. Do the research. The guy is completel beaurocratic fraud. And he is political! Not good. He needs to go.

    1. The Fauci worship is nauseating given how much damage this evil man has done. He collaborated with China on gain of function research, suppressed effective treatments, blocked viewpoints, etc. He should be in jail.

    2. Dman – You and Mark should write a book with more detail on your research and your sources. Clearly, you both have done the research. Many of us just don’t have access to the rich sources you draw on. We’d all be fascinated to see the backup for your comments. And it’s Ok if you want to remain anonymous. I understand.

    3. Dman – None of what you say is true. You have become addicted to the hate drugs that are peddled by they lies of RFK, Donald tRump and many others. Try to step away from your feeling when you are reading, or listening to the news.
      As has been pointed out by Will and others, Dr. Fauchi is part of a chain of trust. It is not blind trust. It is informed trust. If you remain stuck in your feeling you will never be able to see the truth, In anything you do, In any relationships you have.

  2. Will,
    Thank you for this well-reasoned commentary on the RFK rantings- clearly RFK should simply declare his deluded self a Republican, a sycophant of lunatic conspiracy theories; and then perhaps some of the recent respondents to your statement should do the same!!!!!
    As a retired R.N., I will only add that I believe these selfish and irresponsible fools who whine about bodily autonomy should be denied admission to hospitals, and only those responsible to themselves and their fellow citizens by being vaccinated should be allowed admission to hospitals, ER’s, or other medical facilities.

    Thank you for all you do!!

    Sincerely,

    Lizzie

    1. Thank you Nurse Ratchet. Will, several of the commenters are pretty much wishing death on the un-injected. I believe this kind of heated rhetoric is irresponsible and leaders such as yourself have a responsibility to lead your followers in a more humane direction and remind these fine people we are all God’s children.

      1. The unvaccinated are not just ~wishing~, but actively harming and killing other people.

        And yet, you want to lecture others about ethical behavior? Wishing never killed anyone.

        Please just get vaccinated and you can wish anything you want, as long as you do no harm,

        1. The vaccinated are spreading the virus. Misinformation has led you to believe the vaccinated do not get sick or spread the virus. More vaccinated people are getting the “Omicron” virus than the unvaxxed. I know so many people who have gotten sick with Covid or have had mystery illnesses who are vaxxed.

            1. Sharing this with Mark and Eva — last sentence of your Lancet article’s first paragraph:
              “But this view is far too simple.”
              In other words, the article acknowledges that (1) there is a significantly large volume of unvaccinated transmission, (2) there is a volume, not magnitudinally equivalent, but not zero, of vaccinated transmission, and (3) it is not a good idea to demonize any of the population.
              But they do not say that the vaccinated contribute large volume transmission.
              Details, details,…

    2. You believe that people should be denied healthcare when they may need it – and you’re a retired nurse? Wow. Just astonishing. Glad you’re retired.

  3. The truth is coming out…many of the commenters here wishing death on the un-injected is very telling and scary. We are not far off from forced internment. Will, many of your followers would gladly approve of such measures…I hope you will take a stance against such actions if they start to gain favor. These types of actions are going on in the World as we speak so this is not theoretical.

    1. That will be very interesting to see – what Will will do when all his sycophantic supporters start demanding concentration camps for the unvaccinated. He’ll be in such a pickle.

  4. Thank you, Will, for being willing to read RFK’s book, and for your rebuttal. I admire your honesty, courage and persistence.

  5. I am so happy we have a Will Brownsberger to thoroughly seek answers for his constituents.

  6. Thank-you, Will, for being so open and taking the time to read RFK’s book and for sharing your calm and reasonable thoughts with us. As always, you are an inspiration. I’m afraid my responses might not be as calm and reasonable.

  7. I equate the RFK Jr’s book to the “Birds Aren’t Real” satirical conspiracy theory which posits that birds are actually drones operated by the United States government to spy on American citizens. At 81 Dr. Anthony Fauci does not need more money, more notoriety, more power, and more work. He is sacrificing his short time left in his life, that could used to be with his grandchildren, to help the American and world people with sound medical advice.

    1. Fauci is not sacrificing anything. He loves limelight. It makes him feel relevant and important. He would not be holding on to this job at his age if that was not the case.

  8. Will, I applaud you for listening to both sides of the story. Too many people will only listen to one voice without considering all of the others before coming up with their own conclusion. I think one need to consider credentials to0. Who knows more about science, an attorney or a medical doctor? (I do applaud some of RFK Jr’s environmental work). Has the response from Covid been perfect? No. No one has a crystal ball and anyone can be a Monday morning quarterback.

  9. Thank you Will for taking the time to read and respond! Much appreciated. I agree with your analysis.

  10. I appreciate your willingness to read the book, and I wish with all my heart you took a firmer stance in condemning it. Sometimes stronger words are needed and more public condemnation is called for, especially from reasonable and thoughtful people like yourself. This book is dangerous. The people who are posting here in support of this book are dangerous. You need to shout that from the rooftops. Use your position to forcefully condemn this work.

    1. “The people who are posting here in support of this book are dangerous.” Oh yes, they should taught a lesson, with Kristallnacht or something.

  11. I wish you had not taken the time given that there is so much more to do with your valuable time. RFK Jr needs therapy to deal with the many unresolved issues from the trauma of his father’s assassination. He recently asked for parole for that aforementioned assassin. I hope he gets that therapy and stop perpetuating falsehoods that mire us in a morass of disinformation, misinformation and propaganda.

  12. I am deeply saddened–shocked really– by the malicious comments on this site about those who are not vaccinated. I wish they would protect themselves by getting vaccinated–particularly if they are older or otherwise more vulnerable. But they are no threat to me. Nor are other vaccinated people safer for me. The vaccines are reducing hospitalization and death but they are not preventing transmission. This idea that the unvaccinated are responsible for the continued pandemic is patently false. And it is dangerous to create an “other” to scapegoat.

  13. Thank you Will for spelling this out so well and for your careful consideration. As far as the personal autonomy point, I do not think that anyone is saying that the government should come in and hold someone down and vaccinate them. Each person has their own choice. That said, in the interest of the common good, if you want to do certain things in society, you should be vaccinated. As a small business owner, I will not hire someone who isn’t vaccinated and I think that other business should do that as well. It makes economic sense and protects the wider community. Likewise, I would be happy to see vaccine mandates in place for public spaces including public venues, restaurants and public transit. People can choose to not be vaccinated, but that does not give them autonomy to perpetuate this pandemic indefinitely, flooding our healthcare system and causing needless suffering.

    1. “People can choose to not be vaccinated, but that does not give them autonomy to perpetuate this pandemic indefinitely…” Ha-ha. Wake up. The vaccinated are perpetuating it as well – and doing it with great smugness and delusion of supposedly being more virtuous people.

  14. Will, thanks for posting this and for having taken the time to sample the book and share your (entirely rational) thoughts on it. As another commenter says here, it’s a shame you had to spend time doing that, but it reminds me of how fortunate we in your district are to have your representing us.

    Thanks for all you do.

    Note to your commenter, Mike: I count two people on here saying that if unvaccinated people end up dying, they’ll deserve what has happened. That’s not “many,” and it’s not really the same as their wishing those folks would die. Also, Nurse Rached spells her name with a “d” not a “t.”

    1. I’ve seen more than just two postings here maligning the un-vaccinated and wishing them ill, and many more people are probably thinking that, but have stopped themselves from stating that. This attitude, apart from that being appalling from the moral standpoint, is completely preposterous because these “vaccines” are not effective against the currently dominant Omicron variant – so they are useless. And yet, people stubbornly cling to the idea that it’s a solution that needs to be forced on everyone.

  15. Bravo, bravo, to you Will for taking the time to read his book and make comments. I am embarrassed by his book and not at all surprised. My own memory of RJK Jr. goes back to the day we brought our Belmont National History Day students to the Senate Floor, meet to him, an appt we made weeks earlier. I heard him telling his then secretary, soon to be his wife, to cancel the appt. since he did not feel like seeing a bunch of Belmont kids. Really? We had just come in third place in National History Day and were the youngest group to ever win. We even confirmed our ten minute appt. two days earlier. Well, we marched them down to the floor anyway where he was telling jokes as Harry Harding, a Boston student who had never been on a trip before, presented this rude example of government with a National History Day shirt he had bought with his own $10. Harry was 12 years old. RFK Jr. was less than gracious. None of those kids will ever forget their disappointment that day, nor will I.
    And now, RFK Jr. is knocking Dr. Fauci? Oh please. How ridiculous. Dr. Fauci is brilliant and deserves every cent he is being paid. He has put up with a ridiculous amount of abuse and ridicule all because he cares about human life and wants to save people and stop this ridiculous pandemic.
    During the polio epidemic we all got vaccinated. There were no big tests being done on that vaccine, we simply listened to what we were told and did it. It worked. It worked because everyone listened and got vaccinated. Today we have amazing amounts of scientific research data telling us to get the vaccine and people are simply digging their heals in and putting many others in danger. People are dying because of them. That makes me very, sad.
    Thank you for having the decency to speak up and share your honest and well-documented views.
    Mary

  16. Thank you for your evidence-based response to what is clearly and sadly a crack-pot book by RFK, Jr.

  17. Will, you are a saint to wade through all that. I had the chance to work out of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center decades ago, I have always had the utmost respect for the Kennedys and their dedication to health and the impact of certain things on the mind. I also got to meet Ted Kennedy while he addressed the care of subjects of experiments at the Fernald, years ago. I was raised cynical of the Kennedys but I knew only the most sincere motives, so this RFK, Jr. stuff of mingling with conspiracy theories breaks my heart. That said, I have listened to a steady stream of biostats and research information since early in the pandemic which does not support much of what our commonplace public health statements are telling us. I don’t see conspiracies, I see they think we are stupid. They aim to simplify and expect us to lie if it’s convenient. I see ivermectin smeared in the news as an animal medicine, official fact checking is set to falsify the point. I have no desire for conspiracy theory nor to glorify the soldiers in the field of public health. The sad fact is we are making ourselves crazy over this.
    Of all the things I have done for a living, never have I felt such a need for the conduit of art to connect the dots and bring the culture back together. I see so many occasions when the administration fails to pick up the opportunities to make this world heal. Like the rap star’s being called by the White House, but then cast off. Had they simply done the right thing and brought her in instead of dumping her, there could have been millions vaccinated the next week. Instead, the administration openly complained that they could not get minorities to trust them. I urge you to remember art is the conduit of all parts. Where there appears to be no way to connect a factionalized people, the opportunities exist where the cultural heart is- the music, the stories, the film and theater, the landmark places people love and in artists themselves.

  18. I would like to add my appreciation to Will for taking the time to read and comment on RFK’s book. I think it is true public service to take up a challenge provided by constituents, even those in the minority. I also appreciate Will’s thoughtful and sincere analysis of the book and his responses to some of the comments. I am very glad that I live in your district, Will, and I will continue to count on you to seek constituent input and make measured decisions for the best possible outcomes for your district and for society at large.
    Also, I find those who use nasty rhetoric and name-calling to be unconvincing, to say the least. I think we should try to win each other over with our comments rather than throw rocks at those we disagree with.

  19. I would like to add a different element to the conversation. Indeed vaccines work, and published hospital records show this. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Nevertheless it is true that Pfizer and Moderna are becoming insanely rich. They deserve their reputation as opportunists who put money before people. For example they are fighting tooth and nail to maintain patent rights on the vaccine, effectively decreasing global vaccination and increasing deaths in lower income countries. So fight the companies’ financial greed, not their product.

  20. Will, the reality is that there are many studies on both sides of the argument. It all depends on which ones you believe. Unfortunately, people have been so polarized by media propaganda on both sides that it is almost impossible to change minds. We are becoming a divided nation of divided families, hell bent on convincing each other that the belief about that is necessary for own wellbeing and of society is right and anything else is wrong.

    The only truth is that the real truth is still not known, and won’t be for many years. It can never be so until all of the studies, research, successes and failures are allowed to be broadly communicated and publically and scientifically validated or disproved. Unfortunately, that is not happening.

    What is happening is something that has shaken me to my core. It is what I learned about from Nazi death camp survivors when I was in Hebrew school, and something that I thought would never happen in America.

    I remember listening to one aging woman, whose face is etched in my memory forever. I will call her Mrs. M, who with eyes glazed over, recounted the horrors of her childhood. She spoke of how her village and nation was lied to by the government leaders. She recalled how they were ultimately betrayed by their former friends and neighbors, brainwashed into believing “those people” were evil because they believed differently. I heard how their jobs, belongings, homes and rights were stripped from them, how they were segregated from the society that they helped build. I listened to how her parents, sister, cousins and friends were forced on trains to the camps “for their own safety” and the “good of society” because the government leaders said it was so. I saw that tattoos stamped into her arm that she refused to remove, so she could make sure others would never forget. I listened to stories of innocent people being forced to consume experimental drugs and undergo so-called medical procedures, many of which resulted in horrible deaths. I learned how she could never bare children because of the experiments they performed on her.

    So when I read study after study and personal accounts of the serious adverse effects of these RNA gene-altering drugs, then please excuse me if I do not have the same level of blind trust in what some of our government leaders are forcing upon us.

    We were told this experimental “vaccine” (which is not even a vaccine), made by companies that were granted immunity from prosecution for any adverse effects, would prevent people from getting Covid after being “fully vaccinated. That was proven untrue. It does not. We were told that it would prevent transmission to others and by getting it we would be saving grandma and grandpa. That was proven untrue. We were told it was completely safe with no serious or long-term side effects. That was proven untrue. We were told this drug would protect whoever took it from hospitalization. That was proven untrue. We were told it didn’t effect menstrual cycles. That was proven untrue. We were told it didn’t cause myocarditis in healthy young people. That was proven untrue. We were told it didn’t interfere with our innate and naturally obtained immune systems. That was proven untrue. We were told the PCR tests identified Covid infection and accurate case rates. That was proven untrue. We were told the 3rd and 4th boosters would do everything the other shots didn’t. That was proven untrue. What else is yet to be proven untrue? That is the problem. We just don’t know.

    There are too many things that we do not understand about these drugs. Because of that it is not only unethical, but un-American to force them on people who do not willingly want to take them. “My body, My Choice” is not only about a women’s right. It’s about everyone’s right. This use of force against half, a third or just a few citizens is not what this nation is about.

    We are not Nazi Germany. We are not communist China or Russia. We do not force people out of their jobs, even when working remotely because they won’t take an experimental and potentially dangerous drug. We do not force our heroes of the pandemic – nurses, doctors, police, firefighters, teachers, and service men and women out of their livelihoods because they won’t take the drug. We do not ban them society. We do not deny their God-given right to protect their lives and the lives of their loved ones. We are better than that. We must be better than that. The Constitution provides inalienable rights to all of us, especially in the darkest of times. It does not expire and become invalid because of an illness, especially one that has over a 99.8% survival rate.

    Stop the madness. Stop the mandates. Stop the societal segregation. Stop pitting sister against brother, neighbor against neighbor before it is too late. Stop it before the protections and freedoms that are being stripped from every person in this country “for the good of the society” are lost to government overreach forever.

    1. Except for a very few rare medical conditions, there is no ethical way to remain unvaccinated.

      You are harming others.

      It’s nonsense to suggest there are “studies” on “both sides.”

      The anti-vaxxers must stop pretending that there is some kind of moral high ground that defends their indefensible, selfish, uncaring determination to harm others.

      There is no excuse.

      https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/11/covid-19-vaccination-spread/

      1. My goodness, KB, you’re accusing others of what you yourself are doing. It’s your side that wrongly claims a higher moral ground. Those experimental vaccines don’t work (which part of that don’t you understand?), and no one has a right to punish anyone for not wanting to be injected with them. This time it’s just about those ineffective jabs that you naively welcome. Next time, it may be you being forced to take drugs that you feel are not right for you. Do you not have imagination to see what a slippery slope this is? How easy it would be to harm large numbers of people down the road if we go in that direction? With all your righteousness, you’re living in a la-la land. You forget that bio-terror and bio-weapons are not in the realm of science fiction anymore – at some point that’s how warfare (or just quiet, “peaceful” culling) may be conducted. Protecting our inalienable rights is more important than ever.

  21. “Here for the comments”. Is it wrong for some small part of yourself to extract a bit of entertainment from such pressing public debates? Perhaps..

    In all seriousness though, as someone who’s seen the unbelievable ravages of the pharmaceutical industrial complex (extending into academia etc. etc.) 1st hand and campaigned against them, it’s easy for me to sometimes understand why people like RFK Jr. go off the deep end these days. (Nevertheless, per usual, I agree with the well reasoned points presented here). Though many folks are wrong about a great many things, there are very valid reasons to pay attention to the mass loss of public trust in institutions today. That’s the bigger picture I hope this country begins to correct.

  22. My doctors agree with and follow Dr. Fauci’s advice. It is very evident that the vaccinated are faring better during the pandemic than the unvaccinated. So I’m listening to Dr. Fauci.

  23. One more: I don’t appreciate this argument being broken down into an Us and Them field. Science is evolving. Observe the FDA hearings on the vaccine. Take in lectures at universities, they are mostly online these days. Listen to the top credentialed scientists sometimes argue, shush and correct each other. Sometimes they present research that contradicts other presented research. This is germane to scientific inquiry. To use some of the highest journals as an example, more than half of what we think we learn, we eventually find out to be a bit wrong. More than half of peer reviewed research in NEJM and Lancet get retracted. Not condemning science, but getting real about knowledge expanding rapidly. People who doubt your or my understanding of the science are not the enemy. They may contribute to inquiry. Some are scientists. Of course most of them are not, they are simply mislead. But making an enemy of ignorants serves exactly whom? Zealots abound on both of the sides. Stop playing sides. We can’t win by division. It always reminds me of an FBI briefing I heard around the 2016 election, about how the evidence was the Russians enjoyed sowing discord, playing both sides of any issue, just mucking up the playing field as best they could. Don’t play sides against each other. Don’t even allow it.

  24. Anthony Fauci is underpaid, What does the head of UMass Medical bring to the table that makes him twice as valuable to society as Tony?
    Probably more researchers. Not a patronage disaster like Billy Bulger

  25. Will, thank you for taking time to read the book and for responding thoughtfully to those who asked you to do so. I am very much in favor of the various Covid vaccines, but failure to engage consistently and respectfully with those who disagree means that misinformation and conspiracy theories will continue to gain traction with certain segments of the American public. Experience–and, in too many unfortunate instances, death–are a much better teacher than me railing against so-called “deplorables” (thank you Hillary–or not!). Taking the difficult and time-consuming but ultimately higher roads of respectful disagreement and open engagement ultimately are the only solutions so the divisions that currently plague our democracy.

  26. Thanks Senator Brownsberger for all you did to enlighten us on the book that RFK wrote about Dr. Fauci.
    Just to say – having had my 80tieth Birthday dinner yesterday at the Old Colony Inn in Concord – with my family and all of us in masks – I was so totally distressed at the lack of people in the restaurant and the sad state of affairs that this country is now experiencing with the pandemic. Worried for my three grandchildren attending Belmont High School and Watertown Middle School – and my daughters who work in the Newton schools and in the Chelsea community. They and I are all at risk. We are talking death here.
    Concord really calls for the best in ourselves as citizens of this country.
    The continual bringing down of leadership in the midst of this horrible pandemic is difficult to experience. I think we can do better and so glad you and all who are responding are trying to support those in leadership positions who are doing what they can to stop the spread of this virus – to stop the numbers that are increasing and the deaths that are occurring.
    Ann

  27. Will, I deeply appreciate your willingness to listen to both sides and respond with both respect and reason. You have the patience of a saint.

  28. So grateful to have such a thoughtful human in office – advocating for all of us and listening to all of us. I wish we weren’t in this moment where trust in science has been so eroded. And I am grateful that you took what precious time you have to engage with this discussion – you’re doing a great job. Thank you for advocating for the truth and for listening.

  29. I know of someone who is a nurse at Brigham and Women’s hospital. She says that the majority people who are hospitalized and dying of COVID are unvaccinated people- a fact. She said she is tired of putting these people in body bags. This is a stark image, but needs to be described.
    Yes, vaccinated people can also get and spread this disease, but they are not the ones ending up the hospital and dying. So if you are unvaccinated, you should think about this fact. You may end up in the hospital or worse.

    1. Why does this info have to reach us via anecdotal stories? Why don’t we have official numbers on that, complete with including info on the presence of underlying conditions as well? What are the percentages? If most people in hospitals who have Covid are unvaccinated, let’s have official data across the board. Maybe they are there for other reasons, but just happen to test positive for covid? I know three unvaccinated people who got covid, and none needed any special treatment, never mind going to a hospital. If some unvaccianted do end up in hospitals, it may or may not be a good reason to vaccinate the entire population. Some people may prefer to acquire natural immunity to having temporary artificial immunity via the shots (and the latter are a gravy train for Big Pharma, so we cannot even count on that industry to be objective).

    2. People who put out these kind of scare stories are the problem. The data is being highly manipulated. There is so much dishonesty in the hospitals. We must 1st remove the perverse financial incentives for these hospitals. No more bonus money for coding Covid, etc. Should not be treated any differently from other ailments. The records need to be audited by independent parties.

      1. Yes, this was anecdotal, but it was from a sincere nurse who was telling it as she saw it firsthand, and she is obviously exhausted. (These hospital workers are so overworked!) Again- clarification- although this is obviously not a scientific study or from official data, this was not a scare story. Not everyone who gets COVID ends up in the hospital, but if you are vaccinated you are much less likely to do so. I know people who had breakthrough infections after vaccination, and all of them have said “thank goodness I was vaccinated as this could have been much worse if I had not been.”
        And thank you, Will for taking the time to report out on this book.

  30. Thank you, Will, for your thoughtful and insightful analysis of the book’s premise (maybe you don’t need to read the rest to refute the arguments regarding the current pandemic?). Six thousand people read and believed it? Out of 33 million in the US (minus those who died of Covid…and other causes)? Yeah, that’s not many. I’d like to see next book, The Real RFK, Jr. …

    I’d trust the MAJORITY of doctors and scientists in this country (and others) to maintain the public health, allowing for the changing variants and their specific management needs.

    Keep going, Will! You’re doing the public good…just like Dr. Anthony Fauci!

  31. The root of the problem over vaccines and Covid treatment is not in the facts, although I am impressed that Will took the time to read any of RFK, Jr’s book to examine his points. If you look at the comments, no one is presenting an argument that do anything to change the mind of anyone on the other side, not even to make them stop and think, to question their positions.

    We live in a polarized society now. People are convinced of the rightness and virtue of their beliefs and the wrongness of others. We talk past each other, not with each other. We don’t really listen to each other (as I think Will attempted to do in his reading), but wait (or sometimes don’t wait before interrupting) to reinforce our beliefs in our next statement. Where does this lead?

    I don’t have an answer to that question, but thinking about where this leads scares me. In fact, I think most of what underlies the political arguments we’re having (an Covid treatment is certainly a political argument) is fear: loss of freedoms; fear of extremism (on both sides); loss of a civil society and ultimately violence.

    As I said, I don’t know where this leads, but it’s not to a good place.

  32. Thank you Will. And thank you to Klemons Meyer for your thoughts with the link to the great article The Doctor’s Oldest Tool which I highly recommend. It speaks to our humanity. The link again:
    https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2115832
    With all the controversy during this pandemic, polio and the vaccine for it comes to mind. I was fortunate to have the vaccine when I was a child. Jonas Salk developed it the year before I was born. I had friends with polio who suffered its terrible paralyzing conditions. There hasn’t been a polio case originating in the U.S. for 40+ years.
    I believe in integrative medicine, natural health, and didn’t had a flu vaccine before COVID, but medicine can be miraculous.
    Smallpox was eradicated in the U.S. with a vaccine.
    I’m not a fan of the excessive profiteering and at times criminal practices in the pharmaceutical industry. Jonas Salk didn’t profit from his vaccine. I wish there were more like him. This from the Jonas Salk Institute:
    “Contrary to the era’s prevailing scientific opinion, Salk believed his vaccine, composed of “killed” polio virus, could immunize without risk of infecting the patient. Salk administered the vaccine to volunteers who had not had polio, including himself, his lab scientist, his wife and their children. All developed anti-polio antibodies and experienced no negative reactions to the vaccine.
    In 1954, national testing began on one million children, ages six to nine, who became known as the Polio Pioneers. On April 12, 1955, the results were announced: the vaccine was safe and effective. In the two years before the vaccine was widely available, the average number of polio cases in the U.S. was more than 45,000. By 1962, that number had dropped to 910. Hailed as a miracle worker, Salk never patented the vaccine or earned any money from his discovery, preferring it be distributed as widely as possible.”
    Better times are ahead.

  33. Thank you, Senator Brownsberger. You’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty this time. In normal times, getting vaccinated and wearing a mask indoors would be enough.

  34. I knew some people who had polio. It was exciting when three docs figured out how to grow viruses in tissue culture, which led pretty quickly to the Salk vaccine, and, later, to others. The March of Dimes became unnecessary because no one got polio.
    Scientists are imperfect, sometimes dishonest, or greedy, or simply wrong. That said, science is self correcting to deserve the name, science. That Will Brownsberger should have to take such careful pains on this subject suggests to me that science education needs a bump, granting that the days when Franklin flew his kite are past.

    1. I too. My mother’s third grade “crush” who we kept in contact with his whole life on crutches with damaged legs
      I have a friend who is legally ( near completely) blind. His mother got German Measles when he was in her womb. I heard the unforgettable struggle to breathe from unvaccinated children of Whopping Cough.
      No vaccine is perfect. Adaptation is a moving target (guessing the strains for a flu vaccine.)
      Are people aware that our previous president closed the infectious disease monitoring outposts spread around the world? This before Sars-Covid.
      It’s scary hearing the references to the 1918 flu pandemic but one thing they get right: We Didn’t Know. It was when soldiers were put outside on stretchers that the concept of fresh air came into play. Science wasn’t at fault Solutions take time & research needs to be formalized (Dr. Birx thrown under the bus)
      My daughter went to National History Day on this topic. Ironic history repeating itself and the same voices echo…

  35. Mr. Browsberger —
    Thank you so much for taking the time to read and reflect on the RFK Jr. book about Dr. Fauci. As a scientists, I agree with your thoughtful and well-researched reflections. Dr. Fauci is not infallible, but he is my model of a superb scientist dedicated to the public good. How lucky we are to have him. Kennedy’s accusations, as you gently point out, are false and without scientific foundations. How sad. Thanks again for your dedication.

  36. Hi Will,
    Thank you for this eye-opening post, and the email that led me here. I was aware that misinformation was holding down the COVID vaccination rate. However, I was not aware that RFK, a person closely related to several famous Democrats, was one of the sources. This is very unfortunate, as I imagine that there are anti-vax talk show hosts out there taking advantage of this association.

    1. After the previous election my wonderful Republican neighbors teased me about voting for Kennedy. I replied “are you kidding me? We (they know hard-core liberal family of activists) would never vote for that [censored] nutjob anti vaxer!”
      But as you said, many didn’t know and That name in Massachusetts…

  37. I agree that there’s no “vaccine conspiracy,” and that Dr. Fauci isn’t in it for the money.

    However, I don’t think we need to be wedded to a particular public official’s career and credibility, in order to enthusiastically support public health measures such as universal vaccination and indoor mask mandates. Focusing in on Dr. Fauci, and staking our pandemic response to one, fallible, elderly man under extraordinary stress (or two, counting Joe Biden), seems unwise. Part of depoliticizing the pandemic must involve relying on the truth, and not on particular persons.

    There are legitimate things to criticize Dr. Fauci for.

    One is that he seems to have been cavalier about the harmful potential of gain-of-function research. I don’t think he’s been straightforward about his role in approving NIH funding for research by EcoHealth Alliance in Wuhan that broke NIH’s rules: https://www.bbc.com/news/57932699, https://twitter.com/angie_rasmussen/status/1451167938489327617.

    Another is errors in messaging that cost lives.

    In March 2020, he was emphasizing the mistaken theory that COVID spread mainly via droplets, rather than being airborne, and that discouraged mask-wearing, perhaps with the intent of reserving surgical/KN95/KF94/N95 masks for medical personnel: “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And, often, there are unintended consequences — people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.”

    In May 2021, he defended an abrupt change in CDC guidance that suggested that vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks: ““Even though there are breakthrough infections with vaccinated people, almost always the people are asymptomatic, and the level of virus is so low, it makes it extremely unlikely, not impossible but very, very low likelihood they are going to transmit it.” The CDC had to backtrack very rapidly on that one.

    I note these things without judgment. This is all hard, and sad, and unending. But Dr. Fauci is fallible, like any of us. At some point Biden may well have to gently suggest that it’s time for him to step aside. And when that time comes, I don’t want Democrats’ unwise lionization of Dr. Fauci to make Republicans take his retirement as vindication for anti-vaccine points of view, and make the pandemic even worse.

  38. Quote from article written by 4 authors one of whom is Anthony Fauci. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month: “As important as these vaccines are…Vaccination has also been unable to prevent “breakthrough” infections and subsequent transmission to other people…”

    Get vaccinated. AND stop demonizing those who don’t.

  39. I was struck by the detail of your response, for example, “The highest paid state employee in Massachusetts is the head of the University of Massachusetts Medical school and he makes more than twice what Dr. Fauci makes.”

    I am also struck by the level of detail and time all of us, you included, require to respond to each such writing or assertion in public and on social media. Are we Overcome By Events (OBE)?

    So, to offer a way toward a larger view by which to take charge of the larger conversation, I suggest the following, anyone may join. What is a word for each of the existential threats to our world/our humanity/our grandchildren? Assertion Without Evidence is a tool that empowers them all. AWE may not describe one of the words.

    As a first example of such a word in a different context, science, consider the word, atom. “Lucretius’s scientific poem “On the Nature of Things” (c. 60 BC) has a remarkable description of Brownian motion of dust particles in verses 113–140 from Book II. He uses this as a proof of the existence of atoms.[6]” (Wikipedia)

    For our present conversation, one of the descriptive words of our existential concern is Discrimination. It’s opposite or a response, if you will, is Humanity or empathy.

    For another context, Massachusetts, I believe the following words or phrases identify some of the critical problems we face here: Accountability (ex. Police), Transparency (ex. Prisons) , Consequences (ex. All the above and more), Management (ex. Better management of government), (and a long phrase looking for a word) attractive-commuter-transit-access to central and western Massachusetts for more housing including affordable, equitable to all residents.

    What words classify our current existential threats?

  40. I see most of you are still being brain washed by our fearless leaders. I’ve been in the health field for over 30 years and this is all BS!! Fauci and the rest of those power hungry Politicians have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people by covering up and lying through their teeth the facts are all there and if you knew anything about research and studies you would see it too! People let’s not jump on band wagons until YOU have done the research and from non bias sources. I feel bad for people who can’t think for themselves and feel the need to follow whoever is shouting the loudest. What about Fauci’s horrifying Beagle experiments and the fact that he along with his cronies funded the Wu Han bat experiments as well, maybe that’s why our honest leaders haven’t made them accountable what else have they been funding? You’re all a bunch of hypocrites playing follow the leader. Good luck I’m sure they’ll take good care of you and your loved ones for me I’ll protect mine from all of you!!! This is exactly why we’re now the biggest joke in the world because we’re now the weakest fighting amongst each other. Yes I smell socialism after all when the government is telling you what to do, shutting down employments, telling you have to inject yourself with chemicals and cut off oxygen as well as breath in your own toxins all day by having to wear a mask and then sending you lots of money so no one wants to go back to work as is the problem where having you really don’t see a pattern here??? I’m just going to keep praying for you all .

  41. Senator, Thank you for reading the book, coming to conclusions and then presenting them to the public. Or, as some might say, for opening a big fat can of worms. Yes, the usual government haters/deniers come forward. Your patience/tolerance is commendable. Keep up the good work.
    Bob Pessek, Allston

    1. I don’t see any government haters/deniers here. Some people are inclined to follow various misleading and contradictory directives from people and interests that are very closely aligned with Big Pharma – and some are not happy to do so. My son just got covid, and he is fully vaccinated. I know several people in the same position. And every day we hear of some well known people who got covid despite being vaccinated. What does that tell us?

  42. Thank you Will for reading the pertinent parts of that book.
    The comments brought a chill down my spine. I had no idea how many anti science Vax deniers were in your constituency. I was raised in North Cambridge & moved to Belmont believing this was an educated population. Perhaps it is but with the younger generations. Certainly no one my kids went to BHS with would lend credence to this book past the copyright page.
    Thanks to those who cogently tried to explain the science. And used both complex and simple arguments.
    Thanks to those who tried to explain the logic not of medical science but of self serving illogical arguments.

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