Recently, Anthony Fauci faced a major grilling from the African press, specifically with regards to the alleged science of prompt travel bans from multiple African nations that have not reported any cases of the Omicron variant.
When making the decision to ban individuals from several African nations to the United States, Biden declared that his administration opted “to be cautious.”
Biden also added that the nation does not know extensive information about the new variant “except that it is a big concern.”
“[The variant] seems to spread rapidly,” Biden continued, adding that he had spent “about [30 minutes]” with his “COVID team, led by Dr. Fauci.”
“So, that was the decision we made,” Biden concluded, referencing the travel bans from several nations.
Given Fauci’s ostensible involvement in the decision-making process, Fauci faced a grilling from an African reporter on the reasoning behind the travel bans from multiple nations in Africa, many of which have yet to report a single Omicron case.
“We don’t know a lot about the variant except that it is a big concern and seems to spread rapidly, and I spent about a half hour this morning with my Covid team led by Dr. Fauci, so that was the decision we made,” Biden said.
Since Fauci was part of the decision-making process, the reporter sought some clarification on how the restrictions on were devised.
“Dr. Fauci, with all due respect, there’s zero cases of [the Omicron variant] in Mozambique, in Lesotho, in Namibia, in Zimbabwe,” Simon Ateba of Today News Africa began.
“What justified imposing a travel ban on countries that have zero case of the Omicron variant?” Ateba inquired.
Even though Fauci claims to “represent science,” he was unable to provide a science-based answer for the reporter’s inquiries.
After admitting that Ateba had asked “a very good and important question,” Fauci continued to detail how the administration “did struggle with [that decision].”
“But we wanted to see if we could bide time temporarily,” Fauci flailed, failing to provide any scientific data to justify the travel ban from several African nations.
“I do hope that [this ban] gets sorted out and lifted before it has any significant impact on your country,” Fauci continued, failing to identify the reporter’s specific nation of origin.
Fauci can’t explain why he banned travel from African countries with *zero* omicron cases pic.twitter.com/Iyq4jRYBs7
— Vince Coglianese (@VinceCoglianese) December 1, 2021
After news of the Omicron variant surfaced from South Africa, Biden promptly restricted travel from several African nations, including Malawi, Mozambique, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa.
Despite the ostensible role he played in creating the bans, Fauci admitted to feeling badly about the decision to restrict travel from these nations, especially since individual nations may feel punished for being “honest and transparent.”
“You don’t want individual countries to feel that when they are honest and transparent that they’re negative consequences for them,” Fauci admitted in reference to South Africa, whose public health authorities first sounded the alarm on the new variant.
“So, I do really feel badly about that,” Fauci claimed.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who serves as WHO Director-General, observed that the recent travel bans imposed by the White House are “deeply troubling,” as these bans suggest that nations who report the presence of the Omicron variant are “being penalized for doing the right thing.”
“Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of omicron,” Ghebreyesus asserted, adding that the bans “place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.”