Dr. Anthony Fauci, who recently announced he would be leaving his government post as White House chief medical adviser, claimed innocence on the fallout from school shutdowns, namely dramatic learning loss among K-12 students, in an interview that aired Sunday.
Speaking to ABC News, the nation’s chief immunologist denied that he had any responsibility in driving the public health consensus that schools should have discontinued in-person instruction for many months on end as a Covid-19 mitigation measure.
“Was it a mistake in so many states, in so many localities, to see schools closed as long as they were?” host Jonathan Karl asked.
“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 replied. “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,” he said. “The idea that this virus doesn’t affect children is not so. We’ve already lost close to 1500 kids so far.”
Karl interjected, “But much less than the older population obviously.” Despite the fact that children faces significantly lower risk of developing severe health complications after contracting Covid-19, they were forced to mask in schools for nearly two years. New York City only recently dropped its mask mandate for public pre-school and daycare kids.
Fauci reminded Karl that he, allegedly, repeatedly urged school districts to keep schools open as long as possible. “No one plays that clip. They always say ‘Fauci was responsible for closing schools.’ I had nothing to do [with it]. I mean, let’s get down to the facts,” he asserted.