A large number of emails from Dr. Anthony Fauci has revealed that the infectious disease expert was initially skeptical about the extent of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the emails obtained through public records requests and released by Buzzfeed on Tuesday, one was sent to Fauci from the medical editor of ABC News. a day after the CDC reported the first confirmed US death from COVID-19.
In the March 1, 2020 email, the ABC editor asked whether Fauci agreed with what a source at the Department of Homeland Security told him: that epidemiological models showed that 98 million people could be infected with COVID-19 and the death toll could reach 500,000.
“That seems exceptionally high,” Fauci responded.
Fauci’s emails revealed that the infectious disease expert was initially skeptical about the extent of the coronavirus pandemic.
A total of 33,307,976 Americans have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 595,839 have died from the virus, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins.
The email reflects Fauci’s early skepticism that the coronavirus would have a major impact in the US as it had in China and Italy at the time.
Just a few weeks later, New York City would go into lockdown as the hospitals and morgues there reached critical capacity.
Publicly, Fauci has blamed Chinese officials for not providing accurate information about the transmission rate and lethality of the virus early on.
“Had we known early on that this was highly transferable when it was still in China, I think other countries might have taken the trigger sooner to try and ban travel from China to their country,” he said in an interview on Apr 3, 2020.
On April 10, 2020, he told Fox News, “We weren’t given correct information in the beginning and the wrong information was propagated from the start.”
But in private emails, Fauci was always courteous to his Chinese counterparts — and didn’t ask them questions about the origin of the virus, the emails show.
The emails from Dr. Anthony Fauci reveal the contrast between his public and private feelings, showing what the top infectious disease expert said behind the scenes
Fauci exchanged several emails with George Gao, the head of China’s CDC, in March and April 2020.
In one conversation, Gao apologized for an article saying that Fauci’s then stance against wearing public masks was a “big mistake.”
‘I completely understand. No problem. We’ll get through this together,’ Fauci replied.
Less than a week later, Gao emailed Fauci again to express his support amid the onslaught of public criticism he faced.
“I saw some news (hope it’s fake) that you’re being attacked by some people. I hope you are well in such an irrational situation,” Gao wrote on April 8.
‘Thank you for your sweet message. Everything is going well, despite some crazy people in this world,’ Fauci replied three days later.
On Thursday, Fauci doubled down on claims that the coronavirus likely originated from an animal and was then transmitted to humans in an interview on CNN, despite mounting speculation that it leaked from a Chinese lab.
“I have always said to you and will say it today … that I still believe that the most probable origin is from an animal species to a human being,” Fauci said.
While he said he was open to the possibility of a lab leak, Fauci said it was “far-fetched” to think the Chinese would kill their own people.
“The idea, I think, is rather far-fetched that the Chinese deliberately designed something so that they could kill themselves and other people. I think that’s a bit far away.’
While there have been claims that the virus that causes COVID-19 was designed as a deliberate bioweapon credibility, it has been suggested that it could be the product of Chinese experiments to amplify natural viruses for research purposes.
Fauci forwarded a paper, co-authored by Dr. Shi Zhengli (left), a Wuhan researcher working with bat coronaviruses, who talked about gain-of-function research
The emails appear to show that Fauci was well aware that such research, known as “gain of function,” was taking place at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
A Feb. 1, 2020 email that Fauci sent to his top deputy at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Hugh Auchincloss a article from 2015 describing gain-of-function research on coronavirus strains, co-authored by Wuhan researchers.
One of the authors of the article was Dr. Shi Zhengli, a Wuhan researcher known as the “bat woman” for her work on bat coronaviruses.
“The document you sent me states that the experiments were conducted before the feature gain break” [in October 2014] but have since been reviewed and approved by the NIH,” Auchincloss emailed Fauci later in the day.
“I’m not sure what that means as Emily is sure no Coronavirus work has gone through the P3 framework. She will try to determine if we have distant connections with this work abroad.’
Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, labeled the email as evidence that Fauci was “early very distressed about job gains.”
“Someone’s guilty here. It’s either Fauci or someone else approved without going through the review committee,” Paul told WVHU radio in an interview on Wednesday.
“You see they set up the review committee because even the scientists were alarmed that these very dangerous viruses could get out of the lab and cause a pandemic. So they stop, set up a special review process, but then the Wuhan stuff goes around it,” he said.