‘That seems exceptionally high’: Fauci downplayed pandemic models that predicted 500,000 American fatalities, smoking gun emails reveal – as death toll now surpasses 595,835
- Fauci responded to an email from ABC News on March 1, 2020
- It was one day after the first US death from coronavirus was reported
- He said a projection of 500,000 deaths in the pandemic was ‘exceptionally high’
- Now 14 months later at total of 595,835 Americans have died in pandemic
A trove of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails has revealed that the infectious disease expert was initially skeptical that the coronavirus pandemic would reach the proportions that it has.
Among the emails obtained through public records requests and released on Tuesday by Buzzfeed is one to Fauci from the managing editor of ABC News’ medical unit, sent one day after the CDC reported the first confirmed U.S. 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 epidemiology 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 that the coronavirus pandemic would reach the proportions that it has
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 compiled by Johns Hopkins.
The email reflects Fauci’s early skepticism that the coronavirus would have a major impact in the U.S. as it had in China and Italy at the time.
Just a few weeks later, New York City would be entering lockdown as the hospitals and morgues there hit critical capacity.
Publicly, Fauci has blamed Chinese officials for not offering accurate information about the transmission rate and lethality of the virus early on.
‘If we had known that this was highly transmissible early on when it was just in China, I think other countries would have maybe been more quick on the trigger to try and inhibit travel from China to their country,’ he said in an interview on April 3, 2020.
On April 10, 2020 he told Fox News: ‘early on we did not get correct information and the incorrect information was propagated right from the beginning.’
But in private emails, Fauci was always courteous to his Chinese counterparts — and did not question them on the origins of the virus, the emails show.
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails reveal the contrast between his public and private sentiments, showing what the top infectious disease expert said behind the scenes
Fauci exchanged several emails in March and April of 2020 with George Gao, the head of the Chinese CDC.
In one exchange, Gao apologized for an article quoting him as saying that Fauci’s then stance against public mask wearing was a ‘big mistake’.
‘I understand completely. No problem. We will get through this together,’ Fauci replied.
Less than a week later, Gao emailed Fauci again expressing his support amid the onslaught of public criticism he faced.
‘I saw some news (hope it is fake) that you are being attacked by some people. Hope you are well under such a irrational situation,’ Gao wrote on April 8.
‘Thank you for your kind note. All is 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 then was transmitted to humans in an interview on CNN, despite increasing speculation that it leaked from a China lab.
‘I have always said and will say today to you … that I still believe the most likely origin is from an animal species to a human,’ said Fauci.
Although he said he’s keeping an open mind about 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 quite far-fetched 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.’
Though there have claims that the virus that causes COVID-19 was engineered as a deliberate bioweapon stretch credulity, it has been suggested that it could be the product of Chinese experiments to enhance natural viruses for research purposes.
Fauci forwarded a paper co-authored by Dr. Shi Zhengli (left), a Wuhan researcher who works with bat coronaviruses, that discussed gain-of-function research
The emails appear to show that Fauci was well aware that such research, known as ‘gain of function’ was occurring at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
A February 1, 2020 email Fauci sent to his top deputy at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Hugh Auchincloss a 2015 article describing gain-of-function research on coronavirus strains, co-authored by Wuhan researchers.
One of the paper’s authors was Dr. Shi Zhengli, a Wuhan researcher known as the ‘bat woman’ for her work on bat coronaviruses.
‘The paper you sent me says the experiments were performed before the gain of function pause [in October 2014] but have since been reviewed and approved by NIH,’ Auchincloss emailed Fauci later in the day.
‘Not sure what that means since Emily is sure that no Coronavirus work has gone through the P3 framework. She will try to determine if we have any distant ties to this work abroad.’
Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, slammed the email as evidence that Fauci was ‘very troubled early on that there was gain-of-function.’
‘Somebody is culpable here. It’s either Fauci or somebody 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 it, set up a special review process but then the Wuhan stuff goes around it,’ he said.
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