OPINION: Remembering Connie and Chuck: A personal testimony of loss and frustration

Dr. Fauci was recently made a professor of medicine at Georgetown University. I cannot help but believe that if he had provided consistent guidance and better leadership, my grandparents would still be alive today.

In 2021, my grandparents, Connie and Chuck Gould, died from Covid-19. 

As I reflect on the pain caused by their deaths, I cannot help but feel a profound sense of frustration with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s handling of the pandemic, and the news of his appointment as Distinguished University Professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Georgetown University adds to that frustration. 

Receiving such a position indicates that the university holds Dr. Fauci in high regard, hailing him as a dedicated public servant and visionary global health leader. 

But Fauci’s pandemic response record proves he is undeserving of this reputation, and I cannot help but feel that his inconsistent messaging and questionable leadership (among many others’) played a role in my grandparents’ deaths from COVID. 

Facui’s rhetoric is what frustrated me the most, as his untrustworthiness broke my grandparents’ rationale, causing them to make poor health decisions. 

Most notable were his lies about mask-wearing. 

He first told the nation that wearing masks would not help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but months later said that wearing masks did stop the spread. 

Here is Fauci in a March 8, 2020 interview saying that people should not wear masks: 

But in January the following year, he encouraged Americans to wear two masks. 

This change of opinion was reportedly due to new data. 

However, Michael Knowles hilariously notes in the video below that Fauci did not reverse course because scientific data proved so. Rather, Dr. Fauci admitted that he initially told the nation that mask-wearing was unnecessary in order to control the supply of masks for medical professionals.  

The decision to prioritize healthcare workers’ access to masks during the early stages of the pandemic may have been a crucial consideration, as The Hill noted, but nonetheless doing so proved that Dr. Fauci’s advice was not rooted in science, but instead rooted in prioritizing one segment of the population over another, a crucial misnomer in a country where more than half of the population already does not believe that their leaders have their best interest at heart.  

Square that decision, however, with his statements about how he ‘lives by the science.’

In a November 2021 interview with Face the Nation, Fauci described scientists as those who live by the truth, saying “If you’re attacking me, you’re really attacking science.” 

A recent op-ed published by The Washington Post, cites that interview to describe Dr. Fauci as the “Unlikely Avatar of Polarization,” arguing that he did not make polarization worse, but rather that he found himself entangled in what was already a politically charged issue.

That is nonsense. 

By equating attacks on himself to attacks on science, Dr. Fauci creates division by leading a significant portion of the population to believe that dissenting voices are ‘anti-science.’

Additionally, his self-portrayal as the embodiment of science is not true either, as evidenced by his evolving stance on masking - he did not initially say that masking was unnecessary because the scientific data lead him to that conclusion, he said it to save masks for healthcare professionals. 

What then did my grandparents ultimately conclude: “I’m not getting the vaccine,” they would say. 

When considering this backdrop, their stance to avoid the vaccine was not entirely irrational. The rapidly changing guidelines made it difficult for my grandparents to believe him, even when he was telling the truth. 

It is estimated “that the COVID-19 vaccination program in the U.S. prevented more than 18.5 million additional hospitalizations and 3.2 million additional deaths. Without vaccination, there would have been nearly 120 million more COVID-19 infections,” according to The Commonwealth Fund. 

I can attest from personal experience that vaccinated people who were hospitalized alongside my grandparents survived, while those who were unvaccinated faced more severe outcomes - often death. 

Thus, I cannot help but believe that if Dr. Fauci had provided consistent guidance and had not misled the nation about masking, my grandparents would have trusted public health authorities, had the rationale to take the vaccine, and still be alive today. 

With over six decades of service to Delphi (Packard Electric), Connie and Chuck exemplified the values of hard work and loyalty. Chuck proudly served in the United States Air Force, while Connie earned her degree from Kent State University. Their 55-year-long marriage was a testament to their enduring love and unwavering support for one another. 

But their time was cut short because bureaucrats like Dr. Fauci stoked mistrust and broke people’s rationale. 

His appointment to Georgetown University is a slap in the face to me and anyone else who lost loved ones during the pandemic. People who fail to do their jobs should not be given prestigious roles at Georgetown University or any prestigious institution for that matter. Period.

Editorials and op-eds reflect the opinion of the authors and not necessarily that of Campus Reform or the Leadership Institute.