As a prominent member of the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent much of the year speculating on the percentage of Americans who will need to be inoculated in order to achieve “herd immunity” against the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to The New York Times, however, Fauci has been steadily “moving the goal posts” on that topic, most recently declaring that a full 90% of the population will need to receive a vaccination in order to effectively halt the virus’ spread.
“Slowly but deliberately”
Fauci’s latest remarks came during a phone interview this week with the Times.
He admitted that he had been shifting the number upward in part because he did not believe the American people were initially ready to hear his true thoughts.
As the Daily Caller noted, Fauci’s earliest estimate was that between 60% and 70% of the population would need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Earlier this month, he stated in an interview with CNBC that the number is likely closer to 75% or 80%.
Now, it appears that he is convinced 9 in 10 Americans need to receive a shot — a figure backed up by a number of “prominent epidemiologists,” the Times explained.
As the newspaper noted, Fauci admitted that he was “slowly but deliberately” increasing the percentage.
The doctor cited a combination of the latest scientific research and “his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks” on the topic as his rationale for the progressive changes, the Times added.
Recent polling results do show that Americans are more willing to receive the vaccine than in previous months, a factor Fauci noted in defending his approach.
For his part, Fauci has shown his confidence in the vaccine by receiving his first shot, opting for the dose developed by pharmaceutical firm Moderna. He joined a growing list of government officials from across the ideological spectrum who have publicly received an inoculation in an effort to stoke public trust in its efficacy.
In the interest of building trust, however, some critics are saying that Fauci should have been open and honest in his assessment from the beginning.
Of course, his take on various aspects of the pandemic response has run the gamut — and the end result could be American citizens second-guessing the advice of medical experts.