Facts First: Rubio’s claims are false and misleading. Fauci did not lie about masks. Though Fauci, along with several other US health leaders, did initially advise people not to wear masks, his guidance evolved along with the scientific community’s understanding of the coronavirus. Similarly, Fauci has insisted any change in the numbers he’s provided regarding herd immunity is due in large part to new science and representative of the fact that there’s a range of estimates for the necessary level.
When asked why he wasn’t straightforward to begin with about the higher level of vaccinated population necessary to achieve herd immunity, Fauci pushed back on the idea that he had used certain data points to distort people’s perception. “I don’t think it can be interpreted as being straight or not,” he said, adding that “these are pure estimates,” and later that “nobody really knows for sure.”
Fauci explained that he was not primarily basing his recommendation on polling about public perception of the vaccine but that his higher estimates were influenced by the highly transmissible measles, which needs at least 90% of the population vaccinated to maintain herd immunity.
“That’s not a big leap to go from 75 to 85. It was based on calculations and pure extrapolations from measles,” Fauci said. He noted the range for the coronavirus is likely less than 90% because the coronavirus is less transmissible than measles.