Viral Posts, Pundits Distort Fauci Emails - FactCheck.org

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Thousands of pages of redacted emails to and from Dr. Anthony Fauci are now publicly available, thanks to journalists' Freedom of Information Act requests. Some of those messages have been distorted in viral posts, particularly about face masks, the origins of the coronavirus and the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine.
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The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News each filed Freedom of Information Act requests for Dr. Anthony Fauci's emails and published that correspondence on June 1, showing how the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases navigated the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The batch of emails requested by the Post were from March and April 2020, while BuzzFeed News' spanned January to June 2020. BuzzFeed News also posted all of the 3,234 pages of the emails it got on a separate site.

Conservative pundits and viral social media posts have now mischaracterized some of those emails in an effort to discredit Fauci. We'll look at three issues: what Fauci was told about the origins of the coronavirus, what he knew about the drug hydroxychloroquine and what he said about the use of face masks.

Email Shows 'Scientific Process'

Social media posts and a conservative TV host have highlighted one email to Fauci from Kristian G. Andersen, a professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research. Andersen has studied the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

The posts and commentary point to the Jan. 31, 2020, email as proof that "Fauci knew the virus was likely engineered," as one Facebook post puts it, or that something suspicious happened regarding an analysis published by Andersen and other scientists weeks later, concluding that "SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus." PolitiFact wrote about another Facebook post, which is no longer available, that claimed: "Fauci's fellow scientist could tell early on that the (coronavirus) looked manufactured."

But Andersen said the email shows "a clear example of the scientific process." In his June 1 tweet, Andersen said, "As I have said many times, we seriously considered a lab leak…
Saranac Hale Spencer, Lori Robertson, Angelo Fichera
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