Francis Collins Changed His Tune but Not His Fate

by Dan Proft

January 12, 2024

“We were not really considering the consequences in communities that were not New York City or some other big city…If you’re a public health person and you’re trying to make a decision, you have this very narrow view of what the right decision is and that is something that will save a life. It doesn’t matter what else happens. So, you attach infinite value to stopping the disease and saving a life. You attach zero value to whether this actually totally disrupts people’s lives, ruins the economy, and has many kids kept out of school in a way that they never quite recovered…This is a public health mindset. And I think a lot of us involved in trying to make those recommendations had that mindset and that was really unfortunate.” – Francis Collins, former NIH Director

To paraphrase Aeschylus, in a pandemic, the first casualty is truth…especially if Francis Collins is one of your top public health officials.

A clip of Francis Collins was recently unearthed from a panel discussion he participated in last summer for an organization called Braver Angels, one of those organizations stood-up by a Leftist pretending to be post-partisan targeting our polarized politics without aiming in the impetuous hope of building consensus across the ideological spectrum on some mindless abstraction.

It’s the kind of forum where those in the policy arena fluent in the language of weasel words are invited on stage to pantomime self-reflection by offering synthetic Macbethian soliloquies describing their internal struggles inevitably culminating with the depersonification of their acts of barbarism.

Enter Francis Collins offering a sort of dissociative mea culpa on behalf of a generic “we” the COVIDian public health professionals of America who made mistakes but only because we are slaves to a life-saving mindset. It is a blanket acceptance designed to avoid the ugliness of ascribing specific culpability to himself or any other person or institution.

It is a bit unclear if Collins includes himself in this group as he curiously describes the policy response almost as would an anthropologist rather than as should a shot caller holding the purse strings on $40 billion available to purchase COVID unanimity among the “we” in public health.

Regardless, Collins’ gesture is an empty one.

If you couldn’t see a dying loved one, lost your job, suffered a vaccine injury, or dealt with the atrophied mental or physical health of a child, Collins is at the ready with a vague offer of vindication but, please, there is no need for a reckoning. Turn the other cheek for one last anal swab.

You may have been hurt, ridiculed, and ostracized–and that was wrong–but let us not compound those “really unfortunate” events by singling out anyone in the COVIDian “we” crowd.

There is another aspect to Collins’ COVID account that is especially conniving: his doublespeak on saving lives.

First, how can Collins claim his COVIDian “we” crowd was not considering the “consequences in communities that were not New York City or some other big city” but at the same time the same “we” crowd placed “infinite value” on “stopping the disease and saving a life”?

There were no lives to be saved from COVID outside of the big cities? Did they not impose the same lockdowns and mandates outside of the big cities?

Second, Collins repeated the canard fabricated by his COVIDian “we” crowd that they were focused on saving lives while their critics were focused on saving dollars or school days.

I, and many others, addressed this straight away the first time it was suggested in the spring of 2020. It was always a question of lives versus lives.

It was lockdown skeptics–many of whom were equally-credentialed experts to the lockdowners in the fields of virology, immunology and epidemiology–who repeatedly and in real-time asked questions about tradeoffs.

What are the anticipated impacts on kids and young adults in terms of mental health and drug & alcohol abuse? What are the similar impacts on adults who will lose their businesses or their jobs? A la COVID, can we model projected deaths of despair? Can we model expected days of life lost as we look at the aged who are more vulnerable compared to the young who are less so?

The lockdown skeptics were sidelined and silenced in some cases and slandered in all cases by Collins and his COVIDian “we” crowd.

Collins would have you believe the COVIDian “we” crowd made mistakes only as a result of their noble single-mindedness to save lives. Even if taken at face value, that claim is not credible. Public health officials and medical professionals in the business of making life and death decisions are unfamiliar with the concept of opportunity cost? Please.

The truth is Francis Collins and his COVIDian “we” crowd behaved like the imperious expert class idealogues they were trained to be. They considered themselves to be our betters and they acted in accordance with that belief.

Collins has been singing a different tune for some time now–literally. Unlike his officious NIH buddy, Fauci, Collins is a congenial sort who, I suspect, doesn’t want to be remembered as a bad guy.

As Collins might say, that is “really unfortunate” as he was a principal party to deception, unkindness and, ultimately, unnecessary injuries and deaths.

He cannot undo what he did. And he is unwilling to offer the sort of profound penitence required.

Until he is willing to do the latter, Francis Collins should be held accountable for his role in the former and properly recorded as the villain he was.


Dan Proft is the co-host of the radio program, “Chicago’s Morning Answer” on AM 560 and the host of the “Counterculture” podcast at and the usual podcast platforms.

Comments 32

  1. “The truth is Francis Collins and his COVIDian “we” crowd behaved like the imperious expert class idealogues they were trained to be. They considered themselves to be our betters and they acted in accordance with that belief.:

    The Progressive Priesthood is rooted like a plantar wart in every profession. Time to root out these monsters, or we will never walk upright again.

    Great work Dan Proft!

    1. Great remark. I live in the KC area that wasn’t as affected, but we still did all the phony correct stuff for the better part of a year. It didn’t dawn on me on badly Chicago had been affected until we drove up for a wedding and stayed in West Loop. The wear your mask, but pull it down to eat or drink crap was in full force.
      The one thing the so called science community managed to do is entirely destroy its credibility. I just don’t pay attention any more. I’ve said for years that the CDC was Ayn Rand’s State Science Institute. I wasn’t proven wrong.

    2. Dollins and Fauci don’t think they really did anything wrong. So now they use their intellectual double talk to sound like real human beings, you know, people who didn’t go to Harvard etc and don’t live on the east coast.

  2. Great piece Dan! Who else can pen the sentence ” one of those organizations stood-up by a Leftist pretending to be post-partisan targeting our polarized politics without aiming in the impetuous hope of building consensus across the ideological spectrum on some mindless abstraction”.

    How Proftian…. love it!

    I kind of miss the plandemic. It got me to move to Florida and make a killing on real estate.

  3. So glad I left the big blue cities. Even though there were lockdowns and were shorter than those in Chicago, we still lost too many businesses–especially restaurants. The school lockdowns went on too long here too. But if there are teachers, there is a teacher’s union. Really boosted the homeschool movement.

  4. It’s all about power plain and simple. Exhibit 1 – our fearless governor who rules by executive decree along with his buddy in Washington. The will of the people be damned – we know (aka the Democrats) what is good for you and you will like it, even if it destroys everyone’s freedom and lives. Most of those that bothered to vote still have no idea what they voted for – like the right of illegals to have a better deal that the citizens of this country. The same refrain – the chumbolones get the kind of government they deserve. The rest of us get the privilege of paying for all this. Has history ever recorded a king or dictator who apologized for his actions?

  5. Regrettably there is a cost for one human life and actuaries perform this calculation everyday. If we want to do anything to save a life then lest outlaw driving, which claims 43,000 lives in the US every year.

  6. And our Union of teachers who banded together to close schools to stay home and be paid!
    A bright spot was finding what was being taught by teachers when parents saw those zoom sessions.

  7. Great article Dan. Unfortunately, we as a collective society have seen the damage done by the lockdowns, and we will continue to see the damage done for at least another decade due to the generation of kids who were in school. Every child was basically fast tracked 2 years. 8th graders went to sophomore year, Juniors in HS went to Freshman in college, etc… This is why they have development issues, social issues, behavioral issues. These kids weren’t properly educated, especially the children in public school systems. “ E-Learning “ was a complete failure, and as recently reported, how many millions of dollars in electronic devices have now gone missing and have been officially reported as lost or stolen?
    I was mistaken when I was telling everyone who would listen that someday we would look back on this pandemic and laugh at the silliness and hypocrisy of all the mask wearing, distancing, wearing rubber gloves and goggles while shopping , etc…because it’s not laughing that we’d be doing, it’s crying. It angers and saddens me how many of my relatives, neighbors, and friends fell for all the lies that were being pushed by the government and the media. It is criminal how many good, hard working folks lost their jobs and businesses because of forced government lockdowns, not to mention those who lost their lives because they weren’t able to mentally handle forced social isolation.

  8. Classic “big brother” mentality coupled with “rules for thee but not for me” of the progressives. NB Hunter Biden’s demand to speak in public (and thereby prevent sone questions that could be a national security issue) . You don’t get to decide that if you get called – or ignore a subpoena unless of course you are part of the Biden Imperial family. Well done Dan. Again expose the left for what it is.

  9. Amen. Well said Dan. It’s as Thomas Sowell suggests, the elitist “experts” believe they are our intellectual betters, empowered with the vision of the anointed. They expect to rule without question and are arrogant enough to believe their actions will have the exact outcome they intend. They are blind to the actual outcome.

    1. Just more secular Calvinism. Never stops. mRNA vaccines like playing God. Like J Paul Getty saying “the meek may inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights”
      And John D Rockefeller, when building his palace on the Hudson saying “I’m doing what God would do, if He had the money”.

      This stuff of New England, playing God.

  10. I have friends and family who were vaccinated and developed other serious health issues, not all but enough that should make everyone question the safety of these shots. I did NOT get vaccinated and was turned away from a few restaurants because of not having a covid card. They closed our schools, churches, many businesses and access to sick relatives in hospitals, many who died alone, yet they deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics safe enough to stay open. I got covid and was sick for a couple of weeks. I asked my doctor if I had received a shot, would my symptoms have milder? He said there is NO WAY to prove that. Many that I know who were vaccinated also got covid and were just as sick if not worse. We’ll never know how many people died because of the shot.
    They have control of the media and can easily spread their scare tactics, (long lines waiting to get vaccinated, turning McCormack place into a make-shift hospital) to the sheep who unfortunately believe everything they see on the news.

  11. Proft’s excellent article does not emphasize the foundation lie of the Covid tyranny, maybe because it should be obvious now. But it’s either not obvious or profitably ignored by Pfizer and the entire medical bureaucracy complex. They’re still mass-broadcasting the same lie that the experimental mRNA inoculation works as real vaccines do. In fact it doesn’t work period.

    Lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies were outlawed before the first shot was given, the only real immunity being given to them.

    Dr. Fauci and TV-Doctor Maddow and the other quack doctors assured us as long as they dared through 2020-2021 that if you got the shot, you could NOT get Covid — though empirical evidence showed that you could.

    Soon they changed their promotion to “boosters” every three months — because the shots didn’t work.

    Many people know someone like a woman I know, coerced into getting the shot by her employer, then contracting Covid, a year later coerced into getting a booster, then contracting Covid again. Because the shots don’t work.

    The Covid tyranny was a big-government crusade far more lethal than usual: faux experts injuring and killing innocent people in the name of public good — and still denying that the shot doesn’t work.

    1. Mr. Bittinger. The example you give of a vaccinated person still getting Covid does not mean that the mRNA Covid vaccines were ineffective. In fact most vaccines in general do not prevent infection. Most vaccines do not induce what is known as “sterile immunity”: the prevention of infection and disease. On the contrary most are primarily intended to prevent serious disease and – like the Salk Polio vaccines as well as the Covid mRNA vaccines – do not necessarily protect against infection (or transmission for that matter) … but do prevent serious disease.

      You are right about one thing though. Dr Fauci and the government medical establishment was wrong – and they likely knew they were wrong – when they claimed the Covid vaccines prevented infection and transmission. They did this – as you point out – despite evidence to the contrary. And likely did so for political exigencies … which resulted in further erosion of the public trust in our public health system.

  12. These holier than thou rats vilified first responders, soldiers, sailors and anyone else who was reluctant to get the shots. They were behind the firing of many highly trained military personnel.
    They helped hold back the education of our kids and closed the CHURCH’S and
    HOUSES of WORSHIP. The evil that they put us through is unforgivable.
    All in the name of science. What B.S.
    They put themselves above the rest of America.
    Hopefully we will stand strong and not capitulate to the whims of these egomaniacs again.
    Freedom is paramount and we should NEVER listen to anyone’s order to surrender our rights as free citizens.

    1. Len, you perfectly sum up all that the Left did to control our lives and to take away our freedoms. We can’t let this happen again. That is why this election is so important. We must get this tyrannical group of evildoers out of Washington, not to mention various state governments. COVID was just the beginning. The political establishment saw what they could force free liberty loving Americans to do, with little care for any of us. They ultimately want one world government. Wake up America!

  13. The comments generally are correct and the article itself is a great dissection of the entire mess. I add the following first as a question, then, as is my sense of responsibility, an answer. I am interested in replies, especially from you, Mr. Proft. What should Collins do to make amends? While it appears he has some remorse, without clearly accepting personal responsibility and “suffering appropriate punishment”, there can be no forgiveness. My answer, especially since he was on the side of forced vaccination and lockdowns, is to travel to the country’s smaller towns and cities for at least four years and beginning each talk, as is outlined in his reasoning above, and include an acknowledgement of personal responsibility. He should add that people should resist government fiats which demand compliance. He will not accept any payment because he “owes” the American people the truth. He will bear all costs personally. He will drive or take only common carriers to venues. Once he has visited at least a thousand places, a reflection of each day of lockdowns and a portion of the misery he abetted, he will hit the top ten blue US cities and do the same, accepting an honorium of no more than $7500 per speech, in effect shifting the pain to those places which supported the lockdowns the most.

  14. The public school impacts were an ancillary benefit, and not a negative. Defining dumb down has been ongoing there for generations, and none of the elites trust them to educate their own. Thickheaded graduates make loyal serfs, and Marxism adherents.

  15. I worked with street level patients during MERS, SARS, AIDs and even had a suspected Ebola scare. The whole thing just sounded off. I stopped wearing a mask months before allowed, I look like a bridge troll so no one confronted me. No one. We let this happen to us.

  16. I had my mother-in-law die in a nursing home due to an outbreak of COVID there in 2020. She died just several weeks before Congressman John Lewis died. At that time, we were not allowed to have a funeral for her, because Pritzker had forbid large gatherings of this nature. I guess he deemed them “non-essential” (unlike his stance on liquor stores, abortion clinics and marijuana dispensaries). Yet a large funeral was held for Congressman Lewis, with hundreds of people attending. Talk about a double standard.

  17. Theres a clip from a podcast of comedians David Spade and Dana Carvey talking about the shutdowns during the “pandemic”. Spade says he realized it was all bullshit when this country admitted thousands of unvaccinated illegals into this country. All the while the government was forcing people to take an experimental vaccine. Yes, the government forced the shot on the military, the city of Chicago forced the shot on police officers and other city workers. If you refused you were discharged. It was all BULLSHIT. A couple of guys who tell jokes for a living could figure it out. The whole thing was simply a staged “crises” to prevent the reelection of Donald Trump. It enabled the Democrats to conduct the massive ballot harvesting of the mail in votes enabling the theft of that election. Coincidentally Illinois announced plans to convert to a total mail in ballot recently. Every registered voter will automatically be sent a mail in ballot, regardless of requesting one. There will still be polling places open so you can now vote twice! The Democrats are getting desperate now that pesky Trump is ahead in the polls (again). Looks like Trump by a landslide (again). Unless there is a manufactured crisis again like Covid that rotten Trump might get re-elected. Desperate times call for desperate measures. They did it once and they’ll do it again. Expect some hijinks from the usual suspects….

    1. There are still people out there who believe our government did what it had to do to stop the pandemic. It appears that the government knew what they were dealing with and used it to create the police state we have today. The election was a sham with all those truckloads of mail in ballots being unloaded in the middle of the night. Lots of evidence but the leftist media will NEVER admit they are wrong. Why people are still wearing surgical masks to prevent the spread of Covid is beyond me, except I suppose it is good that you know where the mask wearers are coming from politically. Fauci should be imprisoned for everything he said and did and continues to say. He is a bald face LIER, as is our POTUS.

  18. The pandemic and our nation’s response was the ultimate test of competing governmental visions. First we have the vision of our Founders whereby all decisions are made by the people’s representatives – for better or for worse. Then you have the vision of Woodrow Wilson and Frank Goodnow, who believed that a modern state and it’s problem required that decisions be made by “disinterested, well intentioned, apolitical” experts; not merely by lay representatives of the people. So was laid the intellectual foundation for the administrative state; eventually built by FDR and expanded by LBJ. In fact it is the latter vision – and not that of our Founders – that seems to have won out. So Drs. Collins and Fauci’s behavior during the pandemic should not have been surprising really. Eisenhower in his farewell address warns about the military industrial complex – and is so often quoted – but his other prescience warning about our country potentially run by scientific technocrats is often ignored: “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” As far as lockdowns go, further addressing Mr. Proft’s point, is that if one looks at one classic epidemiologic measure of a nation’s health – namely excess deaths – Sweden, which was severely criticized by the Covidians and their experts for their “contrary” policy – had one of the lowest excess mortality measures during the three pandemic years (2020 – 22).

  19. What I’m about to say may be unpopular. Experts are supposed to advise, not govern. Therefore, as Ron Desantis and others have pointed out, the fault is Trump’s. He put Fauci and Collins in charge. At any time, he could have said to them, I understand your point of view is to minimize COVID illnesses, but I have other things to consider, and I’m the President. I suppose he was worried about the re – election, that the media’s breathless reporting of every remotely related COVID fatality hurt his chances. However, Fauci and Collins long lockdowns and vaccination intimidation are a frightening of the power of our administrative state.

    1. I agree with you 100%. Ultimately the fault lies with our representatives … such as Mr. Trump … who have allowed the expert “public servants” to commandeer the machinery of government. But this has been a long time coming: from the theoretical architecture of the administrative state, as laid out by Wilson, to its actual construction by FDR to its passing of constitutional muster by the Supreme Court in particular culminating with the Chevron deference. And finally and ultimately the acceptance by seemingly most of our citizens that we all indeed should defer to the “experts” and not our representatives. Eisenhower warned us about this over a half century ago. It has all come true. Fauci and Collins were just doing what “came naturally” and were expected of them. Only DeSantis had the balls to call ’em out. The power and deference shown to the public servant experts in the administrative state is now overwhelming. It’s time for the citizens and their reps to reclaim what is rightfully theirs under the Founders’ original vision. It’s going to be a tough fight. But the present SCOTUS has opened up the battle with several important decisions against Mr. Biden’s administration. And now in Loper, the Court is reevaluating the Chevron deference.

  20. “It’s the kind of forum where those in the policy arena fluent in the language of weasel words are invited on stage to pantomime self-reflection by offering synthetic Macbethian soliloquies describing their internal struggles inevitably culminating with the depersonification of their acts of barbarism.”

    Wow. Pure poetry. Complete evisceration of a pompous, elitist jerk and his ilk (Attention- St. Anthony of Corona) in one sentence. My hat is off to you Dan!

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