White House deletes part of new Fauci video discussing the Delta variant

Greg Nash/Pool via AP

Curious. The White House posted a clip this morning to Joe Biden’s Twitter account of Fauci discussing the emergence of B.1.617, the Indian or “Delta” variant of coronavirus, and what you can do to protect yourself from it. (Hint: It rhymes with “vet gaccinated.”)

But soon after the clip went live, Disclose.tv noticed that it had been deleted. Then Biden’s account tweeted it again — and the new clip wasn’t the same as the original one.

The revised version:

Here’s what Disclose says was included in the original but missing from the second iteration. Normally Fauci and the White House are lockstep in their COVID recommendations. What happened?

If you’re vaxxed you might want to avoid crowds, he advises, especially if you’re in a low vax/high infection area. But why does he think that? Is he worried about vaccinated people carrying the virus asymptomatically and infecting the unvaccinated? Because, uh, transmission by vaccinated people is supposed to be very unlikely.

Or is he worried about the unvaccinated causing “breakthrough infections” among the vaccinated because they tend to carry a higher viral load when infected? I think that’s what’s on his mind, particularly given the evidence that Delta is somewhat better at evading immunity than most other variants are.

Shouldn’t the public be told if Fauci’s worried about it, though? Why would the White House suppress advice as important as the head of NIAID believing that even the vaccinated should reinstate some social-distancing precautions to shield themselves from B.1.617?

I can think of three explanations, from least to most likely. One is that Team Joe knows they’re in for a PR sh*tstorm if their top science guy is caught nudging people to avoid crowds less than two weeks before July 4, when the whole country’s preparing to party. Biden himself is hosting a celebration on the White House grounds for “thousands” of service members and essential workers. If they stuck with the missing part of the video, they’d spend the next 10 days trying to explain why crowds are bad in the abstract but crowds on the 4th are fine.

Two is that he’s contradicting not just the CDC with this advice but himself. “[T]hose who are vaccinated can have a great Fourth of July, I mean, you could just do all the things you want to do on the Fourth of July if, in fact, you’re vaccinated,” he said literally yesterday on the “Today” show. Now here is in the White House video urging the vaxxed to avoid crowds for fear of B.1.617. The CDC’s guidance similarly authorizes all manner of activities without limitations (including masks) for vaccinated people, at least outside of schools and airplanes. If that guidance is destined to change because of the heightened threat from Delta, okay, but it hasn’t changed yet. Which means it can’t be reconciled with what Fauci says in the now-deleted clip.

Most of all, though, I think the White House was worried about Fauci “underselling the vaccine” in the deleted part of the video at a moment when they’re desperate to incentivize people to get immunized. Andy Slavitt, who recently left the administration after serving as “COVID czar,” took the opposite approach from Fauci this morning with this tweet:

Getting your shot means you can forget about Delta and have fun on the Fourth, says Slavitt. Whereas, in the deleted clip, Fauci’s telling people that fun in a crowd isn’t a responsible option on the Fourth even if you’ve been vaccinated. Which message is more likely to bring fencesitters down off the fence into the pro-vax camp?

Fauci should know by now that vaccinated people tend to take unnecessary precautions even without being nudged to do so. According to this week’s Monmouth poll, 41 percent of those who’ve had their shots are still wearing masks just as much as they did before they were immunized. So don’t worry about the vaccinated mingling in crowds on the 4th. Most of us are probably staying home anyway out of an abundance of caution.

I’ll leave you with this clip of West Virginia’s Gov. Jim Justice, who may well be the most pro-vax Republican politician in the country.