Fauci heard calling Roger Marshall ‘a moron’ after heated exchange
Dr Anthony Fauci has defended remarks made during a recent hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director was heard calling Senator Roger Marshall “a moron” when the senator questioned if he should have a publicly available financial disclosure form on Tuesday.
Dr Fauci told MSNBC on Wednesday that he was stunned to know “that a sitting United States senator doesn’t realise that my financial statement is public knowledge”.
The infectious diseases expert also clashed with Senator Rand Paul during the hearing, who he accused of politicising the pandemic and “kindling the crazies” with his remarks. Dr Paul has since doubled down on his remarks.
Dozens of scientists and medical professionals have signed a letter defending Dr Fauci from criticism that is “inaccurate, unscientific, ill-founded in the facts and, increasingly, motivated by partisan politics”.
Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also appeared before lawmakers to answer questions on the US response to new variants of Covid, as cases of Omicron may have already peaked in large urban areas.
President Joe Biden will make an address from the White House on Thursday morning about the federal response to combat the highly transmissible variant
Dr Fauci suggested on Tuesday that a new “super vaccine” could be needed to target future variants, and suggested that the US was on the “threshold” of Covid becoming endemic.
Has Omicron peaked in the US?
The number of new Covid cases in several major cities that saw massive spikes beginning in December appears to be levelling off, according to data aggregated by The New York Times.
In Boston, the amount of the Covid virus detected in wastewater has dropped 40 per cent since its early January peak.
Scientists and policymakers are cautious about being too confident that the wave has peaked as the virus has surprised them in the past. However, current data in places in which the variant likely first arrived in the US suggests the worst of the wave has passed.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said this week “we may be cresting over that peak”.
This would match data from South Africa where a surge in cases lasted approximately one month — new daily cases have fallen by approximately 70 per cent since mid-December. The UK is seeing a similar trend develop since its New Year peak.
Previous variants of the virus have seen waves of cases that last for approximately two months, suggesting that the ease with which Omicron is transmitted has led to a faster cycle as it has quickly reached those vulnerable to infection and then moves on or fades away.
“It’s going to come down as fast as it went up,” Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle told the Associated Press.
At the same time, experts warn that much is still uncertain about how the next phase of the pandemic might unfold.
As cases fall in the major US cities that saw the first of the latest wave, this is not happening everywhere in the country at the same time or at the same pace.
There are still potentially weeks of new cases on the downside of a national peak and potentially many more overwhelmed hospitals and disruptions to daily life.
“There are still a lot of people who will get infected as we descend the slope on the backside,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the University of Texas Covid-19 Modeling Consortium, which predicts that reported cases will peak within the week.
The University of Washington’s own influential model projects that the number of daily reported cases in the US will crest at 1.2 million by 19 January and will then fall sharply “simply because everybody who could be infected will be infected,” according to Dr Mokdad.
In fact, he said, by the university’s complex calculations, the true number of new daily infections in the US — an estimate that includes people who were never tested — has already peaked, hitting 6 million on 6 January.
With reporting from The Associated Press
Oliver O’Connell13 January 2022 15:31
Scientists and medical professionals rally around Fauci
Dozens of scientists and medical professionals have signed a letter defending Dr Anthony Fauci from the fierce criticism he has received from Republican lawmakers this week.
We deplore the personal attacks on Dr Fauci. The criticism is inaccurate, unscientific, ill-founded in the facts and, increasingly, motivated by partisan politics. It is a distraction from what should be the national focus – working together to finally overcome a pandemic that is killing about 500,000 people a year. We are grateful for Dr Fauci’s dedication and tireless efforts to help the country through this pandemic and other health crises.
The letter cites Dr Fauci’s 40 years of service to the US, combatting HIV, Ebola, and now Covid.
Oliver O’Connell13 January 2022 15:23
US averaging more than 760,000 cases daily
The US is now seeing an average of more than 760,000 new Covid infections a day, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said.
It comes amid a surge of the Delta and Omicron variants that continue to spread across swathes of largely unvaccinated states, as both CDC figures and Dr Fauci have warned in recent days.
Analysis by The New York Times suggests daily infections are up 159 per cent on the previous fortnight.
The CDC has also suggested that the US could see 62,000 Covid deaths in the next four weeks alone, with the daily number of Covid fatalities at about 1,700 per day, according to Reuters.
Oliver O’Connell13 January 2022 15:15
Rand Paul just showed us all who he really is — believe him
“Rand Paul does not need to tell people to take violent action against Dr Fauci for those people to make threats or, God forbid, act on them. And he knows this — because he knew it last year when someone took violent action against him”.
Skylar Baker-Jordan writes: “The height of hypocrisy does not begin to describe the summit of shamelessness Rand Paul occupies. It is a disgusting abdication of not only his duty to his constituents and his country that he so recklessly stokes the flames of discontent and spreads misinformation.”
Oliver O’Connell13 January 2022 14:55
Biden to give update on federal ‘surge’ to combat Omicron
President Joe Biden is scheduled to give an address from the White House at 10.30am this morning in which he will highlight the federal government’s efforts to “surge” military medical personnel to help overwhelmed medical facilities weather the spike in coronavirus cases and staff shortages due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Starting next week, 1,000 military medical personnel will begin arriving to help mitigate staffing crunches at hospitals across the country. Many facilities are struggling because their workers are in at-home quarantines due to the virus at the same time as a nationwide spike in Covid-19 cases. The new deployments will be on top of other federal medical personnel who have already been sent to states to help with acute shortages.
The administration’s focus is shifting to easing disruptions from the nationwide spike in cases that is also contributing to grocery shortages and flight cancellations.
On Tuesday, Janet Woodcock, the acting head of the Food and Drug Administration, told Congress that the highly transmissible strain will infect “most people” and that the focus should turn to ensuring critical services can continue uninterrupted.
“I think it’s hard to process what’s actually happening right now, which is: Most people are going to get Covid, all right?” she said. “What we need to do is make sure the hospitals can still function — transportation, other essential services are not disrupted while this happens.”
President Biden will be joined by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who recently recovered from his own case of Covid-19, and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.
They will spotlight the work of the more than 800 military personnel who have been helping civilian hospitals since Thanksgiving and the more than 14,000 National Guard members whose work supporting vaccinations, testing, and caring for patients is being covered by the federal government.
The White House said the trio would speak with federal personnel who are already on the ground in Arizona, Michigan, and New York to hear about their experiences.
Mr Biden will also announce that six additional military medical teams will be deployed to Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island.
The White House said the teams will support Henry Ford Hospital just outside Detroit, University Hospital in Newark, the University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque, Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, Cleveland Clinic, and Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.
With reporting from the Associated Press
Oliver O’Connell13 January 2022 14:37
Donald Trump Jr joins complaints against Fauci
Donald Trump Jr has bemoaned Dr Anthony Fauci for being a “victim” after the infectious disease expert defended calling a Republican senator a “moron” and accused another of misinforming the public on Covid.
“Remember Lord Fauci is always the victim folks,” Mr Trump Jr tweeted on Tuesday, “No one else!”
Mr Trump went on to retweet his own tweet about Dr Fauci and another by conservative commentator Steve Hilton which baselessly alleged that Dr Fauci “didn’t just ‘fund’ Gain of Function research in Wuhan he COMMISSIONED it”.
The remarks and the retweets made by the eldest son of former US president Donald Trump were among many in response to the furore around Dr Fauci’s confrontation with Republican senators on Tuesday.
Gino Spocchia13 January 2022 14:20
Fauci ‘deserves everything he gets’, says Rand Paul
Rand Paul has said he believes Dr Fauci “deserves everything he gets and then some, to tell you the truth”, after the Republican was ridiculed by the infectious diseases expert during a senate committee hearing.
The Republican, who has dismissed accusations from Dr Fauci that his Covid misinformation was responsible for death threats issued against the NIAID director – suggested in an interview with right wing commentator Dave Rubin that Dr Fauci “deserved” to be attacked.
“I think he deserves everything he gets and then some, to tell you the truth,” said Mr Paul in an interview that appeared on Rumble. “I mean we’ve probably never had a government bureaucrat have this much power over our lives and this much disdain for our individual liberty”.
Mr Paul also complained about criticism of Dr Fauci being seen as being “against science”, and again issued a number of false statements about the efficiency of mask wearing and vaccinations.
Gino Spocchia13 January 2022 13:49
Four US states at 10 per cent ICU capacity
Hospitals in four US states have less than 10 per cent of their remaining capacity in their ICUs available amid a surge in Covid hospitalians, the US Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday.
The four states – Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and New Hampshire – have been among the worst hit in a surge in Covid cases and hospitalisations in the past week.
On Wednesday, another record was broken with 151,261 patients being treated for the disease. Data analysis from The New York Times shows that Alabama, for example, has less than 50 per cent of its population fully vaccinated.
Five more states are approaching similar limited ICU capacity, CNN reported on Thursday, amid warnings that staff shortages were making the situation worse.
Gino Spocchia13 January 2022 13:30
Rand Paul ups criticism of Dr Fauci
Kentucky Republican Rand Paul continued to criticise Dr Anthony Fauci on Wednesday after he was accused of misinforming the American public on Covid and the NIAID director’s work.
Dr Fauci, who said Mr Paul was “distorting” facts and profiting from personal attacks on the top infectious diseases expert, said such remarks had allowed for “crazies” to threaten him and his family.
Mr Paul afterwards complained in a number of TV appearances that it was he who was victim of criticism, and what he said was “real violence”.
“So he’s equating anybody who disagrees with him with some crazy person that threatened him physically,” said Mr Paul in an interview with Newsmax on Wednesday.
“Well the thing is he’s talking to a senator that has been the victim of real violence, has been threatened many times. I had six ribs broken, lost part of my lung. My wife had to open envelopes that looked like anthrax at the time.”
The remarks appeared to ignore that a man was arrested in Iowa in December who was allegedly travelling to Washington DC to kill both Dr Fauci and US president Joe Biden, and that another was charged with sending threatening emails to the NIAD director.
Gino Spocchia13 January 2022 13:05
Stephen Colbert jokes that Covid has ‘broken’ Dr Fauci
The Late Show host Stephen Colbert has parodied Dr Fauci’s remarks on Covid in recent days by saying two years of the pandemic have “broken” Dr Fauci, who said Omicron will eventually infect almost everybody.
“There are certain things I don’t want to equivocate on. My life is one of them,” Mr Colbert joked. “You don’t want to hear a skydiving instructor say, ‘Jump from the plane, you will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well.’”
He continued by admitting that vaccinations against Covid were a “silver lining”, and as Dr Fauci said recently would “do reasonably well” at presenting severe illness.
However CDC figures show that as few as 62.7 per cent of Americans are fully vaccinated against Covid.
Gino Spocchia13 January 2022 12:40