During a Thursday night Fox News appearance, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya—who took part in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ coronavirus panel discussion that was pulled from YouTube for COVID-19 misinformation—claimed that the nation’s top infectious disease expert was actually America’s “No. 1 anti-vaxxer.”
Hours after chief Biden medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci got into a heated exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) over when Americans will have their “liberties” back,” Bhattacharya appeared alongside Jordan on The Ingraham Angle. Asked by host Laura Ingraham why Fauci wouldn’t give a “specific number” of COVID-19 cases he’d be comfortable with to return to normal, the Stanford doctor said it’s because “no number other than zero that will satisfy him.”
Bhattacharya—one of the co-authors of the controversial Great Barrington Declaration on herd immunity—went on to state that the country has already vaccinated enough of the vulnerable population to fully reopen, adding that Fauci’s cautious approach is driving down confidence in the vaccines.
In doing so, the Fox News guest borrowed heavily from the argument made by Tucker Carlson earlier this week—that Fauci’s mask-wearing suggested to Americans that the vaccines “don’t work.”
“Dr. Fauci is probably the No. 1 anti-vaxxer in the country, in some sense,” he exclaimed. “Because he has modeled behavior that has made people think the vaccine won’t give you back your life. It will, it’s an incredibly effective vaccine. He was wearing a mask but he’s been vaccinated. I don’t really understand what he’s trying to do.”
While more than 76 million Americans have been fully vaccinated and the shots have proven to be highly effective, the country is currently dealing with a wave that has seen hospitalizations increase nationwide and cases surge in the majority of states.
Due to the vaccine rollout targeting the elderly and vulnerable populations first, the demographics of the hospitalizations have dramatically shifted, and the average age of patients has plummeted. At the same time, many areas are saying the patients are generally less ill than earlier in the pandemic.