Elon & Rogan vs. Fauci - Who got more pandemic policies correct?
An analysis of the latest Rogan
Recently, Elon Musk appeared on Joe Rogan for a far reaching conversation. During this, the two repeatedly touched on COVID19. They expressed views on lockdown, vaccine mandates, masking, medical therapies for COVID (including mechanical ventillation), lab leak and more.
Although both are commonly portrayed as ‘fringe’ theorists and purveyors of misinformation, let’s compare them to Anthony Fauci on these issues.
Rogan stated his opposition to vaccine mandates for COVID19; Fauci famously supported them
No question, Rogan is correct. COVID 19 vaccine mandates were scientifically and ethically bankrupt. In order to mandate a medical therapy, the bar must be high. You cannot merely show benefit to the recipient, you must prove there is lots of benefit to third parties (older people, pregnant women, kids); This benefit has to be so great, it outweighs individual autonomy.
COVID19 shots have no benefit to third parties. It is not even clear they benefit someone who already had and recovered from COVID. Thus, mandates were medically and ethically impermissible. Rogan’s intuition is better than Fauci’s
I detail it here:
Rogan again stated his opposition to Lockdowns. Fauci of course was the famous architect of 15 days to slow the spread. Lockdowns were not endorsed in prepandemic guidance, violate western democratic norms, and it is not clear they were effective.
There is scant evidence they were needed in addition to voluntary behavioral change, which was massive. Closing parks and beaches, arresting violators— these are cruel and useless policies. Lockdown is both entirely unproven and inconsistent with public health principles. Rogan is correct; Fauci is wrong.
Elon stated that apart from specific use cases— a surgeon masking to prevent spit from entering the wound— masks have little value. He also described working long hours with his team in Tesla during the pandemic with no mask. Fauci of course famously endorsed home made cloth masks, and would have advised Elon wear one during long hours of work in Tesla.
Here Elon is correct. Cloth masks don’t work. Masking makes no logical sense if you share stagnant air for 8+ hours with the same people, and moreover lacks data. Elon is correct, Fauci is wrong.
Rogan stated his view that lab leak is the likely source of the outbreak, and his frustration that espousing this view was censored by Youtube and Facebook. Fauci famously denied that lab leak is possible, and lied to Congress saying that NIAID did not fund gain of function research in China. Rogan is correct; Fauci is wrong on this point.
Elon offered his view that premature intubation hastened death. This strategy was done in first quarter 2020 to minimize aerosolization. Here, if we wish to expand Elon’s thesis to ‘doctors panicked and did crazy things that added iatrogenic injury’ I would agree with him. For the specific claim of mechanical ventillation— I haven’t seen that supported with data.
At the same time, to Elon’s side, there is also no proof that early intubation slowed iatrogenic spread. In my opinion, early intubation was not warranted. All things being equal, fewer days intubated is a virtue in medicine. You can’t intubate early bc you are scared. I think Elon is correct about the bigger point that doctors panicked.
Overall, regarding the COVID19 topics discussed on this specific episode, Joe Rogan and Elon Musk are more accurate and balanced than Anthony Fauci. If you are keeping score at home, Rogan and Elon are 4+ pts and Fauci 0.