Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted in an interview with The New York Times that he played around with the number of vaccinations required for herd immunity in order to subtly encourage Americans to get vaccinated.
"When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent. Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85."
Epidemiologists at the beginning of the pandemic had asserted that somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of Americans would need to receive the coronavirus vaccine in order for herd immunity to be established, figures which are still touted by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr. Fauci repeated such figures throughout the pandemic, but about a month ago he started to provide different, higher figures in interviews. In an interview given last month, Fauci suggested that up to 75 percent of Americans would need to be vaccinated in order to establish herd immunity. Just last week, Fauci said in an interview with CNBC that the rate of vaccination may need to be as high as 85 percent or greater.
Now Fauci is suggesting that up to 90 percent of the population requires vaccinations.
"We need to have some humility here," Fauci said. "We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I’m not going to say 90 percent."
This is not the first time that Fauci has admitted to deceiving the public for utilitarian purposes in regard to coronavirus. In the early months of the pandemic, Fauci claimed that there is no reason to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus as they probably would not work. He later admitted that masks are helpful for preventing the spread of the virus, and claimed that he said otherwise to prevent the public from stocking up on personal protective equipment when hospitals were in short supply of them.
Changing the declared herd immunity requirements were not entirely deceptive, however. The coronavirus spreading around the globe is novel, meaning it has never been seen in humans before, and scientific data regarding issues such as herd immunity was practically absent in the early months of the pandemic. In addition, the virus has mutated to become more contagious over time, with the new strain discovered in the UK in the past week being the most infectious yet.
Regardless, the main reason for playing around with the numbers appears to be that it would be discouraging to offer such a high vaccination rate to Americans when such numbers appear to be out of reach.