Dr. Anthony Fauci has announced that in December he will step down from his positions as chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and its laboratory of immunoregulation. Here are some of the false and misleading claims about Fauci, his work and his public health guidance that we have written about since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020.
A nonprofit recently reported that, since 2009, the National Institutes of Health and many of its scientists received an estimated $350 million in royalties for developing experimental treatments. Some kept the money, but Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that he donates royalties he receives to charity — a detail left out of some online posts about the payments.
The U.S. indirectly funded some bat coronavirus research at a lab in Wuhan, China. But those experiments could not have led to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, because the viruses used were very different. Yet former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro repeated a false claim that Dr. Anthony Fauci “killed a lot of people” by funding the lab.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has continued making public appearances, although news coverage has largely shifted away from the pandemic since Russia invaded Ukraine in February and COVID-19 cases have dramatically fallen. Some politicians and pundits, however, have suggested that Fauci has become so unpopular that he has “disappeared” from public view. He hasn’t. Fauci has made at least a dozen public appearances since Feb. 15.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been working for nearly two years to help end the COVID-19 pandemic — even treating patients with the disease. But Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, falsely claimed that “Fauci’s never taken care of patients.”
The COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. were found to be safe and effective in clinical trials and real-world conditions. Dr. Anthony Fauci did not admit that “Covid Vaccines May Actually Make People ‘Worse,'” as a viral headline misleadingly claims. Fauci’s March 2020 remarks about testing future vaccines were taken out of context.
Republicans say a letter from a National Institutes of Health official is an admission that the agency funded so-called gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses in China, with some falsely linking the work to the pandemic coronavirus. But the research, which the NIH maintains is not gain-of-function, could not have led to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.