Healthcare

Fauci: Smallpox wouldn’t have been eradicated with today’s ‘false information’

Anthony Fauci said on Saturday that he thinks smallpox and polio would still be spreading in the U.S. if today’s “false information” were present then.

“If you look at the extraordinary historic success in eradicating smallpox and eliminating polio from most of the world, and we’re on the brink of eradicating polio, if we had the pushback for vaccines the way we’re seeing on certain media, I don’t think it would have been possible at all to not only eradicate smallpox; we probably would still have smallpox, and we probably would still have polio in this country,” Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said in response to a question from “CNN Newsroom” host Jim Acosta.

“If we had the kind of false information that’s being spread now, if we had that back decades ago, I would be certain that we’d still have polio in this country,” he added.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory on Thursday calling health misinformation an “urgent threat,” saying in a statement that “it can cause confusion, sow distrust, and undermine public health efforts, including our ongoing work to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The advisory urges technology and social media companies to do more to fight misinformation on their platforms, including redesigning algorithms to refrain from amplifying misinformation and strengthening monitoring.

Murthy’s comments come as concerns over COVID-19 have risen in recent weeks, especially with the more contagious delta variant spreading rapidly throughout the U.S.

Vaccination rates are also down in the country, as many in the vaccine-hesitant population are still refusing to get inoculated.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, said on Friday that COVID-19 is “becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” as the majority of recent hospitalizations and deaths are people who have not been inoculated.

Biden on Friday said social media platforms are “killing people” when answering a question about his message to corporate giants regarding COVID-19 misinformation.

Tags Anthony Fauci Jim Acosta Joe Biden Rochelle Walensky Vivek Murthy
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