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January 6 Deniers’ ‘Distortion of Reality’ Impeding Proper Public Health Response

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Outgoing National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” that people on the right who were distorting reality to believe that the January 6 Capitol riot didn’t happen were also creating an environment where proper public health responses to pandemics are being impeded.

Maddow said, “There have been a lot of theories and conspiracy theories and accusations and more or less wild claims about the origins of COVID in particular. It seems like that’s when people on the political right really started getting their claws into you and targeting you personally during this pandemic.”

She asked, “Does it feel a little different? There is a weird, obsessive, violent, ongoing demonization of you by the right that is hinged on COVID. I just have to ask from your perspective if that kind of attention, this criticism feels qualitatively different to you than previous criticism?”

Fauci said, “It’s phenomenally, 100% different. It’s apples and elephants difference.”

He continued, “What we’re dealing with now is just a distortion of reality. I mean conspiracy theories which don’t make any sense at all, pushing back on sound public health measures, you know, making it look like trying to save lives is encroaching on people’s freedom. That’s a big difference from the AIDS activists, who really had a good foundation for their objections.”

Fauci added, “What has spilled over and really in many respects impeded a proper response to a public health challenge is something that we see that goes well beyond public health. It’s a complete distortion of reality. I mean, a world where untruths have almost become normalized, how we can see something in front of our very eyes and deny it’s happening? I mean, that’s the environment we’re living in. You could look at January 6 on TV, and you have some people who actually don’t believe it happened. How could that possibly be? And it’s now spilling over in denial about public health principles.”

He concluded, “It certainly is interfering with the proper approach to a public health challenge.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN





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