Marco Rubio accuses Fauci of having ‘lied’ about face masks and ‘distorting’ facts

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<p>Marco Rubio on Sunday accused Dr Anthony Fauci of lying to the public</p> (Getty Images)

Marco Rubio on Sunday accused Dr Anthony Fauci of lying to the public

(Getty Images)

Marco Rubio has accused Dr Anthony Fauci of lying to the public about coronavirus, in a Sunday morning tweet railing against pandemic lockdowns.

The Florida senator echoed Donald Trump in his criticism of Dr Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert.

Mr Rubio, whose Republican-run state has long rejected Covid controls implemented in other areas, said that Dr Fauci had also been "distorting" information about vaccines.

"Dr. Fauci lied about masks in March," he said.

"Dr. Fauci has been distorting the level of vaccination needed for herd immunity.

"It isn’t just him.

"Many in elite bubbles believe the American public doesn’t know “what’s good for them” so they need to be tricked into “doing the right thing.”

Dr Fauci, along with other public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), did urge Americans against mask-wearing at the onset of the pandemic in March.

However, CDC guidance was changed in April to recommend the wearing of face coverings as more was learned about the new virus.

He also moderated his thoughts about herd immunity over time.

He initially believed that herd immunity would be reached when 60 to 70 per cent of the population were vaccinated or had recovered from the disease, but later increased that number to 75 to 85 per cent.

In an interview with The New York Times, Dr Fauci said: "When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 per cent …Then, when newer surveys said 60 per cent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85.

“We need to have some humility here,” he added. “We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 per cent. But, I’m not going to say 90 per cent.”

Doing so might be discouraging to Americans, he said, because he is not sure there will be enough voluntary acceptance of vaccines to reach that goal.

Some critics were angered by Dr Fauci moving the goalposts, but he has insisted that he was simply providing a "guestimate".

The 80-year-old public health official has not responded to Mr Rubio's criticism, but on Sunday morning he appeared on CNN and discussed the varying data.

"Measles is about 98 per cent effective vaccine; the Covid-19 vaccine is about 94 per cent," he said.

"When you get below 90 per cent of the population vaccinated with measles, you start seeing a breakthrough against the herd immunity, people starting to get infected, like we saw in upper New York State and in New York City, with the Orthodox Jewish group, when we had the measles outbreak.

"So I made a calculation that Covid-19 is not as nearly as transmissible as measles."

Instead, Dr Fauci claimed that he made "a guestimate".

He added: "I think 75-80 per cent for herd immunity for Covid-19 is a reasonable estimate, and in fact, most of my epidemiology colleagues agree with me," he said.

Mr Rubio's questioning of the vaccine came just eight days after he himself was vaccinated, along with other Congressmen and women.

At the time, Mr Rubio spoke in glowing terms about the vaccine's safety and effectiveness.

"I am so confident that the #Covid19 vaccine is safe & effective that I decided to take it myself," he tweeted at the time.

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