By Ari Schulman

Mr. Schulman is a science and technology writer and editor of The New Atlantis.

This is an excellent critical account of Anthony Fauci’s missteps as well as his strengths. A new wave of journalism is analyzing the many failures in the US response to COVID-19.

Michael Lerner

In 2019, Anthony Fauci was seen as a charming but no-nonsense doctor who had served the public for five decades‌. He’d been cited as a hero by the first President Bush and awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor by the second. So how by 2022 did Dr. Fauci become, to so many, a villain?

Right-wing politicization, misinformation, fear of science, callousness to mass death and Donald Trump’s personal vendetta are ‌common answers‌. There is much truth in these accounts. We can see it in the fever dreams about Dr. Fauci where he was a mastermind scheming to inject us all with microchips, and in the vile slander and disturbing hatred he was subjected to.

But however much truth there is to the story that Dr. Fauci was a victim of our polarized era and broken media environment, it is also ‌‌partial‌‌ and simplistic‌‌. It amounts to insisting that skepticism of the good doctor must have been everyone’s fault but his own.

And attachment to this story is peculiar because ‌there has been a growing willingness by mainstream observers, and even the ‌Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to admit that the public health response to Covid-19 was in many ways a failure. It failed the million Americans who died. And it failed the living by being bumbling‌‌ and incoherent. ‌No one seemed able to define what counted as a victory, and for much of the pandemic the response was fixated on restrictions ‌‌and halfhearted about tools like rapid testing‌ and ventilation that could relieve those restrictions. One of the best national data dashboard‌‌s was made not by the government but by ‌‌The Atlantic.

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