News & Politics

The Five Biggest Bombshells (So Far) From Fauci's Emails

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool

The release of thousands of Dr. Fauci’s emails as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request has given us a trove of information about Fauci’s behind-the-scenes actions during the pandemic. And there are quite a few bombshells. Below are five key bombshells I’ve identified, though I’m sure more will be coming to light soon.

5. Fauci ignored advice to prevent shutdowns and widespread panic

In mid-March, Fauci received excellent advice on the proper messaging that should have been done on COVID-19, which Fauci promptly ignored. “The problem right now is that the media has created a panic,” wrote someone named Mike Betts, who has not yet been identified. “Last night my wife and I went to the local whole foods and many of the shelves were empty and healthy younger people were wearing masks. The message is not getting out that the virus is almost solely dangerous to the elderly and immunosuppressed. [Why aren’t the demographics being released? That in itself could calm many people.] With my suggestions, exposures to them would be diminished, significantly reducing the number of deaths, as well as potential impact on hospitals.”

Betts urged isolating the vulnerable population and understanding that “the mortality rate for people outside of that group is likely lower than the flu.”

“Of course, while this occurs we are working on finding treatments and vaccines. Bud sending home workers who have next to no likeihood [sic] of being significantly impacted by this virus is ridiculous.”

Betts added, “The virus hits hardest the old and infirm, two groups that are most likely NOT to even be in the workforce.”

Why did Fauci ignore this advice? Had Fauci listened, damage to the economy would have been limited.

4. Fauci knew of the NIH’s ties to gain-of-function research abroad

On February 1, 2020, Fauci sent an email to NIH Principal Deputy Director Hugh Auchincloss with the subject line “IMPORTANT” and an attachment labeled “Baric, Shi et al – Nature medicine – SARS Gain of function.pdf.” The undeniably urgent-sounding message informed Auchincloss that it was “essential” for them to speak soon. “Hugh: It is essential that we speak this AM. Keep your cell phone on. I have a conference call at 7:45 AM with [HHS Secretary Alex] Azar. It likely will be over at 8:45 AM. Read this paper as well as the e-mail that I will forward to you now. You will have tasks today that must be done. Thanks, Tony.”

Auchincloss replied and told him, “The paper you sent me says the experiments were performed before the gain of function pause but have since been reviewed and approved by NIH. Not sure what that means since Emily is sure that no Coronavirus work has gone through the P3 framework. Ste will try to determine if we have any distant ties to this work abroad.”

Fauci had publicly denied the NIH was funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

3. Fauci was told COVID-19 may have been engineered

We were all aware of Fauci’s recent flip-flop on the origins of COVID-19, but what was made more clear from the release of the emails was that Fauci had been told in the early days of the pandemic that COVID-19 had “unusual features” that “potentially look engineered.”

“On a phylogenetic tree the virus looks totally normal and the close clustering with bats suggest that bats serve as the reservoir. The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (<0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered,” NIH scientist Kristian Andersen told him on February 1, 2020. Not long after, Anderson was one of the authors of a study that totally discounted the lab-leak theory.

Yet, Fauci publicly and others publicly dismissed this idea publicly, suggesting they were, in fact, part of a cover-up.

2. Fauci said face masks don’t keep out the virus

“Masks are really for infected people to protect them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection,” Fauci wrote on February 5, 2020. “The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material.”

Fauci went from saying masks weren’t necessary, to recommending them, to recommending goggles, and even double-masking. Clearly, science wasn’t a key factor in his recommendations.

1. Fauci said COVID would “decline on its own” without a vaccine

What really gets me about this one is that Trump was (and still is) mocked for once suggesting that COVID-19 would eventually disappear. But this is essentially what Fauci said himself. “Social distancing is not really geared to wait for a vaccine,” he said on March 2, 2020. “The major point is to prevent easy spread of infections in schools (closing them), crowded events such as theaters, stadiums (cancel events), work places (do teleworking where possible). States and localities make these decisions, not the Federal Government. The goal of social distancing is to prevent a single person who is infected to readily spread to several others, which is facilitated by close contact in crowds.”

“Close proximity of people will keep the R0 higher than 1 and even as high as 2 to 3,” he continued. “If we can get the R0 to less than 1, the epidemic will gradually decline on its own without a vaccine.”

Well, luckily, President Trump made it possible for three vaccines to be developed in less than a year.