Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert, has responded to mounting criticism from the right and conspiracy theories related to the posting of thousands of his emails under freedom of information laws.
Some of those critics have focused on his advice, early in the pandemic, against wearing masks . Others have focused on a number of partially redacted emails from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who reached out to Fauci to thank him for his leadership and invite him to participate in an online question and answer session.
“It is essential as a scientist that you develop your opinion and recommendations based on the data as it evolves,” he said. “… And that’s why I say that the people who later criticize me for it are actually criticizing science.”
He added: “The people who are giving the ad hominems are saying, ‘Ah, Fauci cheated on us. First he said there were no masks, then he said masks. Well, let me give you a glimpse. That’s the way science works. You work with the data that you have at that moment. “
He described the email exchange with Zuckerberg as “as friendly and innocent an email as you can imagine,” and called the criticism of the correspondence “total conspiracy theory and total flight of fantasy.”
When asked how he felt when he realized that his emails were going to be made public, Fauci said: “Once I knew that it was spread and that it was going to be scrutinized very carefully by radical right-wing people who clearly they’re trying to discredit me … I said to myself, ‘It’s likely, I know, that you can take sentences out of emails or take emails out of context or take an email that is perfectly innocent, followed by an explanation and just show one aspect of that. ‘”
Fauci has served seven presidents since 1984, but the pandemic and the chaotic response of the Trump administration propelled him to new fame. He also told that he put “very little weight on flattery and very little weight on the folly of condemning me.”
He continued: “’Fauci has blood on his hands.’ Are you kidding me? … Here’s a guy who has dedicated his entire life to saving lives, and now you’re telling me he’s like Hitler? You know, folks. Be realistic. “
Fauci remains skeptical about claims that Covid-19 originated from a lab leak in Wuhan, China.
In May, Biden revealed that he had ordered the US intelligence community to begin a closer examination of the origins of the virus, “even if it arose from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.”
The announcement added weight to the so-called “Wuhan laboratory leak theory,” of which Fauci, and many other prominent experts, have long been skeptical.
Fauci told : “I believe, like the overwhelming majority of scientists who have knowledge of virology and knowledge of evolutionary biology, that the most likely explanation for this is a natural leap from an animal to a human.”
He described the theory as a “very, very remote possibility” but said, “I keep an open mind.”
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