"A lot of what you're seeing as attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science," the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director told Meet the Press Daily on Wednesday. "If you are trying to get at me as a public health official and a scientist, you're really attacking, not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you're attacking science. And anybody that looks at what's going on clearly sees that."
Sen. Rand Paul, a constant critic of the NIAID director, responded to Fauci's assertion that critiques of him were based on "attacks on science," saying Fauci "doesn't follow the science."
“My complaint with Dr. Fauci is precisely that he doesn’t follow the science," the senator told the Washington Examiner. "By ignoring the validity of naturally acquired immunity, and consequently not prioritizing the vaccine to individuals not yet infected by COVID 19, thousands of deaths have and will occur when demand for the vaccine outstrips the supply as we are seeing in India.”
The release of thousands of pages of Fauci's correspondence in the early months of the pandemic has raised questions about his later public proclamations about the disease.
In an email exchange with one woman, for example, Fauci wrote that the typical masks available to the public are "not really effective in keeping out [the] virus, which is small enough to pass through the material" and recommended against her donning a face mask.
Fauci defended the advice, saying that at the time, there was no evidence that masks were valid outside of a hospital, there were concerns that the United States would face a mask shortage, and the medical community wasn't yet conscious of the scale of asymptomatic spread in the U.S. Those factors led his recommendations in January and February of 2020.
As the number of cases increased in spring 2020, scientists had more data available, and Fauci said his reassessment of best works was based on the steady flow of new data.
"You make a recommendation, an opinion, a guideline based on what you know at a given time. As a scientist, as a health official, when that data changes, when you get more information, it’s essential that you change your position because you have to be guided by the science and the current data," he said.