Fauci: No, vaccinated people shouldn't be going to restaurants and bars yet

Silly me, I thought “get vaccinated” and “never leave home again” were either/or options.

Turns out they aren’t.

You can see in this interview why so many vaccinated people continue to remain insanely overcautious about social interactions while vaccine refuseniks have thrown caution to the wind. The former are listening to Fauci, the latter tuned him out awhile back.

He lost populists ages ago but underselling the vaccine is now leading him to lose non-populists too:

Silver’s right. Remember that real-world data released by Israel last month indicates that the Pfizer vaccine cuts asymptomatic infection by 94 percent. A recent CDC study found just three infections among 2,479 first-responders who’d been vaccinated, a result so encouraging that it led Rochelle Walensky to say on national television that vaccinated people don’t carry the virus. That was an exaggeration, but not a big one. Every day seems to bring new evidence that the mRNA vaccines in particular are amazingly effective at preventing infection. And people who aren’t getting infected aren’t infecting others, by definition.

Result: “Fauci fatigue” has spread beyond MAGA and is now circulating among the broader right.

“Biden throughout the campaign promised to follow Dr. Fauci’s guidance,” tweeted GOP operative Logan Dobson about the clip up top. “I think it’s fair for reporters to demand to know if this is the Administration’s stance, and, if it is not, why Dr. Fauci continues to represent the administration.”

While the right is reacting with increasing skepticism of social distancing post-vax, though, certain leftist media stars are doubling down on precaution:

Last week Zeynep Tufekci wrote perceptively about how the debate over “non-pharmaceutical interventions” to reduce transmission has gotten increasingly dumb and anti-science as it’s been swallowed by partisan tribalism. This passage is about masks but it applies to the entire suite of precautions lefties and righties are chronically bickering over:

I continue to believe that masks, including high-filtration masks, are an important tool, especially for the unvaccinated who must work or be indoors with other people. But it’s pretty clear that they have also become a talisman of sorts, essentially signaling belonging in a tribe, rather than a public health tool that’s quite useful under certain circumstances. It’s weird to see the mask debate come full circle. Now I get lectured for not talking about masks, even if the article is about vaccination, and people openly declare that they will continue to double-mask for a year even after being fully vaccinated–and for saying that on social media, they receive many likes and retweets (I’m not linking to examples because I’m not trying to focus on individuals). Meanwhile, those who deny the importance of the pandemic will often obsessively focus on masks, as if they are the greatest threat to liberty and individual expression rather than, yep, a public health tool that’s quite useful under certain circumstances. The talisman works both ways as a tribal signifier.

Tufekci wrote that on April 1. Coincidentally, Joy Reid’s very next tweet after the one above on Saturday was boasting about how she and her family continue to double-mask. If you’re a “safety first” I-believe-in-science liberal, you simply can’t take enough precautions: Get vaccinated, stay home afterward, wear six masks on those rare occasions where you have to venture outside. At the other end is the “reopen now” question-the-experts righty populist: The vaccine is ineffective or dangerous, live your life, masks are for cucks. It’d be nice if Fauci’s guidance loosened up a little to steer the first group towards more sensible risk management. As it is, soon the only people who’ll still be listening to him are people who were going to take maximum precautions anyway.

Here’s another bit from the same interview, where he’s confronted about his infamous advice against wearing masks early in the pandemic. He defends himself at length, emphasizing that the science at the time pointed away from airborne transmission. (Curiously, he doesn’t mention that masks were disfavored by experts because they thought the virus was being transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces, and that fiddling with masks would actually lead people to bring viral particles up to their mouths and noses.) But he also admits to the “noble lie,” the fear that doctors and nurses were facing a mask shortage and that only by dampening public demand could experts ensure a supply for the professionals. He’ll never live that down. Exit quotation via Noam Blum, explaining why Fauci’s advice against post-vax socializing is now falling on deaf ears: “The problem is that once Fauci admitted that he said things with the deliberate aim of engineering public behavior in ways he thought were good, it is always possible that what he says is another attempt at doing this.”