Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Since announcing in August he would be departing his post at the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he had “nothing to do” with COVID-related school lockdowns and the reported accompanied loss in learning among public school students.
Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, Fauci denied that he was responsible for pushing the public consensus that schools should be shut down due to the spread of the virus. Across the United States, numerous public and private schools were forced to shut down and use virtual learning—which many experts and studies say led to a dramatic drop in basic skills.
ABC News host Jonathan Karl asked: “Was it a mistake in so many states, in so many localities, to see schools closed as long as they were?”
“I don’t want to use the word ‘mistake’ John because if I do it gets taken out of the context that you’re asking me the question on,” Fauci said in response. “Could there be too high a price?” Karl clarified, likely referencing the plummeting academic performance, social isolation, and mental health crisis that school closures fueled.
“What we should realize, and have realized, [is] that there will be deleterious collateral consequences when you do something like that,” added Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. “The idea that this virus doesn’t afflict children is not so. We’ve already lost close to 1,500 kids so far.”
Fauci’s agency has no authority to force the shutting down of schools, businesses, or other entities, although Republicans and other critics have said that during his frequent interviews starting in early 2020, Fauci recommended widespread lockdowns. Those closures and stay-at-home orders were issued either by states, counties, or municipalities as the federal government—namely the Centers for Disease Control and Prediction—mainly issued recommendations.
Fauci also often made dire claims about the trajectory of the pandemic—even making a grim prediction this week that new variants of the virus would resurge this fall and winter.
Later in the ABC interview, Fauci claimed that he repeatedly called on schools to stay open as long as possible, although he did not provide evidence or an example for that claim.
“No one plays that clip. They always come back and say ‘Fauci was responsible for closing schools.’ I had nothing to do [with it]. I mean, let’s get down to the facts,” he stated.
“Was it a mistake…to see schools closed as long as they were?”
FAUCI: “I had nothing to do with it!” pic.twitter.com/azgKnyd1VT
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 16, 2022
In May 2020, when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told him that data shows that children aren’t at serious risk of severe COVID-19 complications, Fauci said that “I think we better be careful that we’re not cavalier, in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects.”
In other public settings and during interviews, Fauci also continuously warned about lifting restrictions for schools, which likely helped fuel extensions or more lockdowns of schools. In March 2020, Fauci said he would favor a nationwide lockdown and said the “worst is ahead” for COVID-19.
Fauci in late 2020 expressed support for keeping schools open but wanted many businesses shut down.
Fauci does it again. Claims he had NOTHING to do with the shutdowns. Do we have to play this compilation again? Apparently so. pic.twitter.com/73L2pDpABS
— Justin Hart (@justin_hart) October 16, 2022
During one instance in December of that year, Fauci said he wants to “close the bars and keep the schools open.”
“The default position should be to try, as best as possible within reason, to keep the children in school or to get them back to school,” Fauci said. “If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all, not like one would have suspected,” he added.
“A lot of schools were closed,” Karl also said Sunday. “[T]here was a lot of remote learning … It went on—in some jurisdictions for the better part of two years … And we’ve seen the impact. We’ve seen what’s happened in terms of lower reading scores, lower math scores … And who knows the psychological impact … I mean it was a steep cost.”
“It was,” Fauci said, adding that “the most important thing is to protect the children.”
Months before, during a Fox News segment, he was asked about the impact that lockdowns had on children.
“In retrospect doctor, do you regret that it went too far?” a Fox News host asked him about lockdowns, adding “particularly for kids who couldn’t go to school except remotely, that it’s forever damaged them?”
“Well, I don’t think it’s forever irreparably damaged anyone,” Fauci replied, adding that “people selectively … pull things out about me.”
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