Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Saturday, April 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
On Easter Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci did an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union that got a lot of attention because while saying that they didn’t respond late to the virus, that that was “unfair” to say, he seemingly suggested that there had been a recommendation in February to shut everything down that had been pushed back on and that could have saved lives.
From Daily Wire:
Fauci said, “You know, Jake, as I have said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint. We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes it’s not. But we – it is what it is. We are where we are right now.”
Tapper asked Fauci if lives could have been saved if stay-at-home orders had begun earlier.
“Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those decisions is complicated,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
“But you’re right, I mean, obviously, if we had right from the very beginning shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then,” he said.
But as we reported on Sunday, Fauci himself was saying on February 29, that no one had to change any behaviors.
Here’s what Fauci said on February 29:
Fauci: February 29 pic.twitter.com/PxwbdQ5WSu
— Steph (@steph93065) April 12, 2020
Why was he saying that at that point? He indicates it in his remarks – at that point, they weren’t sure yet there had been community spread. There were the cases in Washington state. But they weren’t sure it had gone beyond that. That’s why they thought they might have cut it off with cutting travel from China. This was before even the first case in New York, which was discovered March 1. Once they got into March and realized there was community spread beyond the individual people just coming in from China or Iran, that’s when they came out with the social distancing guidelines, which seems perfectly rational in terms of response.
So it’s pretty clear that’s what he was recommending/thinking at the time because no one is forcing him to go on a voluntary interview show and say that. It was consistent with the known facts at the time.
Now, there’s another interview with Fauci, this one from March 9 that further reinforces that:
According to Forbes, Fox’s John Roberts asked if it was okay for people going on cruises, noting that people were planing family trips or spring break.
Fauci’s response was, “If you are a healthy young person, there is no reason if you want to go on a cruise ship, go on a cruise ship. But the fact is that if you have…an individual who has an underlying condition, particularly an elderly person who has an underlying condition, I would recommend strongly that they do not go on a cruise ship.”
The State Department later that day said they recommended no one go on cruises.
By that point, they had determined that it was affecting the elderly more seriously. But within a week they were recommending the social distancing guidelines.
His public remarks are completely contradictory to the suggestion by CNN that he was recommending completely shutting things down behind the scene in February.