Dr Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden, is in the eye of the storm after more than 3,000 pages of his email communications were obtained by the Washington Post, Buzzfeed News and CNN through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the period January to June 2020.
The emails, experts say, are incontrovertible proof that Fauci, who is also the Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (UNIAID), knew more about the onset of the pandemic than he was letting on.
Origin of COVID-19
One of such were several emails from experts urging the US top doctor to seriously investigate concerns that the coronavirus outbreak was a result of a lab leak.
One of such experts is Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese virologist who fled to the United States in April 2020.
Yan, one of the first persons to research the emerging coronavirus, had sent an e-mail to Fauci suggesting that the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
She was forced to go into hiding, before escaping to the US, after Beijing made her a target.
Explaining that the expose contained a lot of “useful” information in an with Newsmax, Yan said, “They verify my work from the very beginning, even from last January, that these people know what happened, but they choose to hide for the Chinese Communist Party and for their own benefits.”
She insisted Fauci knew about the game-of-function research carried out by the now-notorious Wuhan lab in the heart of the city where the pandemic first emerged.
In an e-mail that Fauci claimed was too long for him to read, another expert, Erik A. Nilsen, who has a Ph.D. in applied physics, expressed similar sentiments about the Wuhan lab.
But Fauci said he did not buy into the assertions of a lab leak because science at the time did not support such a theory.
For dismissing the lab-leak theory, Fauci got a “personal thank you” email from Dr. Peter Daszak, whose EcoHealth Alliance helped fund research at the Wuhan lab.
The publication of the emails left many top American political figures and critics incensed and alleged cover-ups.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson described Fauci as another “sleazy federal bureaucrat” who hid the truth from Americans even when they had treated him with respect and expected honesty from him.
Watch Carlson speak:
Tucker Carlson segment on Dr. Fauci's emails, which show his implication in the gain-of-function research that may have led to covid-19:
"From the beginning, Tony Fauci was worried that the public might conclude covid had originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology." pic.twitter.com/OaW98mwOj9
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 3, 2021
Leading Republicans, Sen. Rand Paul and Josh Hawley advised the media against spinning, called for the UNIAID boss’s removal and demanded a congressional hearing into the origin of the virus.
“Told you,” Paul wrote in a Tuesday tweet with the hashtag #firefauci.
But Fauci told CNN that the emails have been taken out of context, saying he was ambivalent about the origin of the virus.
“You can misconstrue it however you want,” he said, “that (Daszak’s) email was from a person to me saying ‘thank you’ for whatever it is he thought I said, and I said that I think the most likely origin is a jumping of species. I still do think it is, at the same time as I’m keeping an open mind that it might be a lab leak.”
“The idea I think is quite farfetched that the Chinese deliberately engineered something so that they could kill themselves as well as other people. I think that’s a bit far out,” he added.
Effectiveness of Masks
Another issue that Fauci has had to grapple with is his shifting position on effectiveness of masks as a preventive measure against COVID-19.
In a Feb. 5, 2020, email exchange, Fauci told former Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell that a mask was unnecessary during her then-upcoming trip.
“Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection,” the e-mail read.
Five months later, precisely, his views changed, as he told The Street.
When pressed on the about-face, Fauci, 80, said, “The reason for that is that we were concerned the public health community, and many people were saying this, were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply.
“And we wanted to make sure that the people namely, the health care workers, who were brave enough to put themselves in a harm way, to take care of people who you know were infected with the coronavirus and the danger of them getting infected,” he said.
White House support
The White House on Thursday defended the presidential advisor.
Press Secretary, Jen Psaki described Fauci as an “undeniable asset” in the fight against COVID-19.
“The president and the administration feel that Dr Fauci has played an incredible role in getting the pandemic under control, being a voice to the public throughout the course of this pandemic,” she said.
On Friday, the president directly expressed his support for his advisor, stating that there was no proof the virus originated from a lab.
Nevertheless, he ordered an investigation.