Fauci—the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Biden’s chief medial advisor—told CNN Thursday that it was “nonsense” for anyone to think the emails show he had “too cozy of a relationship” with those behind Wuhan lab research.
“That’s nonsense,” Fauci told host John Berman. “I don’t even see how they get that from that email. That email was sent to me from them. I have always said—and will say today to you, John—that I still believe the most likely origin is from an animal species to a human. But I can keep an absolutely open mind.”
Fauci was responding to a question from Berman about the reaction some have had to an email from an executive at EcoHealth Alliance, a company that’s involved with research in Wuhan. In the email, Fauci was being thanked for saying he believed that the origins of the coronavirus were natural.
“I believe if you look historically at what happens in the animal-human interface that, in fact, the more [likely scenario] is that you’re dealing with a jump of species,” Fauci said Thursday. “But I keep an open mind all the time and that’s the reason why I have been public that we should continue to look for the origin. That email in no way—you can misconstrue it however you want—that email was from a person to me saying ‘thank you’ for whatever it is he thought I said. And I said that I think the most likely origin is a jumping of species. I still do think it is, at the same time as I’m keeping an open mind that it might be a lab leak.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Fauci was asked about redacted portions of another email addressing conspiracy theories, to which Fauci responded with a joke:
“They only took about 10,000 emails from me,” he said. “Of course I remember. I remember all 10,000 of them. Give me a break!”
“I don’t remember what’s in that redacted [email], but the idea I think is quite farfetched that the Chinese deliberately engineered something so that they could kill themselves as well as other people,” Fauci continued. “I think that’s a bit far out.”
Fauci was also asked about the changing of social distancing guidelines being evident in the emails. As you may have seen, those who presumably fail to understand much of anything have pointed to emails from earlier in the pandemic as somehow being proof that masks—and the pandemic in general—are a sham. They’re not, and Fauci was once again perplexed that this was anyone’s interpretation.
“You modify and adjust your opinion and your recommendation based on the current science and current data,” he said. “So, of course, if we knew back then that a substantial transmission was asymptomatic people [and] if we knew then that the data shows that masks outside of a hospital setting actually do work when we didn’t know it then—if we realized all those things back then—of course. … That’s so obvious.”
The more extreme elements of the lab-centered theories, as seen during the final year of the Trump presidency, saw far-right figures pushing baseless allegations of the virus having been intentionally designed as a bioweapon. In addition to only worsening the xenophobic atmosphere that defined much of the Trump presidency, those comments have had a negative impact on the still-in-progress work being done to determine the origins of the virus.
An investigation put together by the World Health Organization, notably, found in March of this year that the so-called “lab leak hypothesis” was “extremely unlikely.”