Sunday, August 02, 2020

Dr. Fauci’s Experiment

On the evening of July 28th, Dr. Anthony Fauci told the American Federation of Teachers the following:

“You’re going to be part of the experiment of the learning curve of what we need to know.”

I was a little surprised by that. First of all, I frequently see Dr. Fauci compared to President Trump, portrayed as the relative voice of reason. He seems to be truthful to a fault, and frequently speaks the bad news the White House would be happier to deny. I can only suppose that’s why he made this statement as well.

I’m not at all sure, though, that teachers, students, and our families ought to be participating in this experiment. The stakes here are literally life and death, and I’m neither inclined nor honored to be a canary in a coal mine. I’ve lost friends to this virus. I have young colleagues who’ve spent weeks in the hospital. Even more of my colleagues have lost parents and other family. In fact, we’ve learned a lot about COVID 19 in a relatively short period of time, and we’ve learned it the hard way.

Of course there is still a lot we don’t know about the virus. It’s shocking, however, that any medical doctor, let alone Dr. Fauci, would suggest that the way to learn about it is to send Americans into schools and find out exactly how many of them get sick and die. While it’s true that this information might prove of value, we’ve already got 150,000 dead and millions more sick.

I’m not a doctor, and I won’t pretend to know much about disease. I do know, though, that doctors take an oath to first, do no harm. I’m baffled as to how sending tens of millions of Americans to schools to find out just how the virus spreads entails doing no harm.

Furthermore, we have a pretty good idea of what school openings can be like. In Israel, we now know that opening the schools prematurely was a disaster that brought about a resurgence of the Corona virus. In South Korea, a country that had managed to contain the virus much better than we had, they had to close schools within days of opening, after the virus spiked once again.  Hong Kong opened schools, but is now fighting a third wave of the virus.

Given these real examples, among others, it’s even harder to determine why Dr. Fauci might think this experiment is well-advised. It’s even more of a mystery why he’d announce such a thing to the AFT and expect it to be well-received. Hopefully he'll make up his mind to oppose it, and sooner rather than later.

On its surface, this statement sounds more like something from an old black and white horror movie than the words of one of the country’s most-respected physicians. This kind of experiment is not all that disturbing when it’s performed on a stolen corpse in some cold, dark castle during a violent thunderstorm. When we’re talking about America’s teachers and children, it takes on a different connotation altogether.

AFT members signed up to support children, not to be crash test dummies. We certainly didn’t sign up to use our students as such. Furthermore, the plans under which we go back are so poorly-thought-out that it’s doubtful our students will benefit educationally, let alone socially or emotionally.

I’m glad Dr. Fauci speaks the truth, and I’m glad he isn’t intimidated into misleading us about this pandemic. This notwithstanding, it’s simply unconscionable to perform life and death experiments with America’s teachers and students. I sincerely hope Dr. Fauci does everything in his power to get American to reconsider this experiment and advocate for a better plan.
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