Dr. Fauci Takes Center Stage Again
Biden’s appointment of Fauci as his chief medical advisor is a shrewd move
President-elect Joe Biden has announced his appointment of Dr. Anthony Fauci as his chief medical advisor. He has also asked Fauci to continue in his role as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease as well as to work closely with his own COVID-19 Advisory Board.
This is a shrewd move on Biden’s part for a couple of reasons.
Dr. Fauci is the most trusted official in the country regarding the virus. He has been an advocate of masking, social distancing and the vaccine.
When he becomes president, Biden plans to ask the country to wear masks for 100 days while the vaccine is being distributed. Having Fauci as part of his team and one of the voices urging people to wear masks may ensure more compliance with masking.
Unfortunately, Trump presented masking as a violation of individual rights. The task that Biden and Fauci have before them is convincing a skeptical public that masking is not about the individual. It is about protecting the community.
This is how Asian countries have controlled the pandemic. In their culture, universal masking is considered necessary because they consider it to be unconscionable to put others at risk of illness. This is how both Biden and Fauci must present the concept of masking. That it is to protect your family and neighbors, similar to the laws against drunk driving.
I am old enough to remember the fight over the drunk driving laws. It used to be considered an inviolable individual liberty to get behind the wheel of your car no matter how drunk you were. Similar to today’s protests over masks, people protested that they had a right to drink and drive.
It took many years and many traffic deaths to change that attitude and convince people that they had no right to drive drunk and put other people at risk of injury and death. Today, we need to convince Americans that they have no right to refuse to wear a mask and put other people at risk of contracting and possibly dying of the virus.
I have high hopes that the change in administration means a change in attitude at the top that will make it easier to change Americans’ minds about masking.
Convincing vaccine skeptics to get vaccinated is the next big hurdle. The anti-vax movement coupled with people’s skepticism about the speed of the vaccine approval means that a significant number of Americans have indicated that they will not take the vaccine when it is offered to them.
I was delighted to see that former presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have announced that they will all take the vaccine and do so on camera to convince Americans that it is safe and effective. Adding Dr. Fauci’s trusted voice to the vaccination campaign will also help overcome people’s fears.
Biden is very subtly endorsing Fauci by indicating that he will take the vaccine when Fauci says that it is safe to do so. This subliminal message tells Americans that if Fauci says that it is safe, then they can be confident in getting vaccinated against the virus.
Bringing Dr. Fauci back to the fight against the virus is a subtle dig at Trump. Biden has been quite restrained about commenting on the horrors of the Trump administration. You have to listen very closely and take a close look at his actions to see his revulsion to Trump’s antics.
Trump pushed Fauci aside when he regularly and publicly contradicted Trump’s views on the virus and its treatment. Trump also became annoyed when Fauci became more popular with the public than he was. Trump always has to be the center of attention. He doesn’t like sharing the limelight with anyone else.
Trump also wants to be an authority on everything. It’s part of his belief that he is smarter than everyone else. When Fauci refused to support Trump’s wild claims about the virus, he had to go. Trump does not tolerate anyone questioning his infallibility.
I’m sure that Trump must have been very frustrated when sidelining Fauci only served to enhance his reputation, rather than diminish it as Trump had hoped.
By bringing Fauci back from exile and adding him to his pandemic response team, Biden is subtly telling the public that Trump was wrong when he banished Fauci from public view. It must gall Trump that the man that he tried to rid of is now back and leading the fight.
Biden has a huge task ahead of him to get the pandemic under control. He has to not just follow the science, but also staff his task force with the best people to fight this disease. Adding the most trusted voice in the country to his efforts to fight the pandemic is a brilliant move on multiple levels.