Dr Anthony Fauci has finally admitted he got key aspects of his Covid public health advice wrong.
America’s top infectious disease expert said he should have been ‘much more careful’ with his words early in the pandemic.
He told a medical conference on Tuesday that he wished he had been more open with the public about the uncertainties at the time.
Dr Fauci was heavily criticized for flip-flopping on face masks and exaggerating the herd immunity target to encourage more people to get vaccinated.
He also quashed discussion about Covid’s origin and denied virus-tinkering experiments went on at the Wuhan facility at the center of the lab leak theory.
The outgoing White House medical adviser was speaking at the University of Southern California’s Center for Health Journalism on Tuesday.
When asked if he wished he had communicated better during the pandemic, he said: ‘The answer is yes… I mean, my goodness, no one’s perfect. Certainly I am not.’
Dr Anthony Fauci has finally admitted he got key aspects of his Covid public health advice wrong. He told a medical conference in California on Tuesday (pictured) he wishes he’d beeen ‘much more careful)
The above shows Covid cases in the US (blue line) and UK (red line) since the end of December 2020. It reveals that America’s Covid infections have tracked Britain’s, such as when the Omicron wave sent cases across the pond spiralling two weeks before the US
Asked at the conference whether he regretted any advice he gave during the Covid pandemic, Dr Fauci admitted: ‘You know, the answer is yes.
‘When I go back in the early months, I probably should have tried to be much, more more careful in getting the message to repeat.
‘[To get across] the uncertainty of what we’re going through.’
When Covid first reached American shores in January 2020, Dr Fauci was one of the first to advise that nothing needed to change.
But by mid-March the Trump administration had urged Americans to limit international travel, with states starting to go into lockdown about a week later.
Dr Fauci has admitted the error, but said that if they had called for restrictions when there were just five cases ‘people would have looked at us like we were crazy’.
The top infectious disease expert also told Americans there was ‘no need’ to wear a face mask in early March.
He insisted at the time that the only benefit was it might make people ‘feel a little better’ and it ‘might even block a droplet’.
But by April he was forced to U-turn when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they were needed because the virus spread through the air.
Face masks were in force across indoor public places and planes for more than two years due to the virus. No states currently have the restriction, although there is concern from some quarters it could be brought back this winter.
Dr Fauci later suggested he advised people not to wear masks because he feared it would trigger a run on protective equipment, leaving little available for hospitals.
He slipped up again amid the roll out of Covid vaccines in May 2021, telling those who were double-jabbed that they were highly unlikely to catch the virus.
At a meeting with the White House he described the fully vaccinated as a ‘dead end’ for the infection.
But when Omicron struck the country just six months later it became abundantly clear that the jabs were not preventing infections, although they did slash the risk of being hospitalized or dying from the disease. America has now run several booster programs to ‘top up’ people’s immunity.
Dr Fauci has also repeatedly lambasted scientific experts over claims that Covid may have leaked from a lab in China.
In April 2020 he dismissed it as a ‘shiny object that will go away’, and in March the following year brushed aside claims from a top CDC chief as just an ‘opinion’.
But evidence has continued to mount that the virus may in fact have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.
A US intelligence community report concluded that it was impossible to rule-out the lab leak theory in August 2021. And Beijing has also repeatedly frustrated attempts from the WHO to investigate the lab — with the agency unable to rule out the theory.
Pictures have also emerged of poorly maintained fridges in the lab, further suggesting the virus could have escaped from there.
Dr Fauci has now backpedaled and claims to keep an ‘open mind’ over the origin of the virus, but he still believes it ‘most likely’ spilled into humans from an animal species.
It has since emerged he was chief cheerleader for American funding on virus experiments in Wuhan for gain of function experiments — where scientists try to manipulate viruses to make them more deadly.
Dr Fauci has also made several bizarre claims during his time as the scientific advisor for America’s Covid response.
In an interview with MSNBC where he was criticized, he retored that they were not only attacking him but ‘you’re attacking science’.
Speaking at the conference, Dr Fauci also accused social media users and the media of distorting some of his comments.
‘You have to be careful,’ he said. ‘It is really unfortunate, that that’s the world in which we live, in that it’s a bunch of sound bites, sound bites that sometimes get cut in half and get misinterpreted.
‘Someone could always make mischief by clipping out a few words.’
Dr Fauci, will leave his official post at the end of the year. His career in public health spans decades.
He has also been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a research agency within the sprawling National Institutes of Health, since 1984.