Fauci Dismisses GOP Claims of COVID Cover-Up

June 3, 2024 by Tom Ramstack
Fauci Dismisses GOP Claims of COVID Cover-Up
Dr. Anthony Fauci, former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus pandemic at Capitol Hill, Monday, June 3, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci testified Monday to a congressional panel reviewing the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a hearing that quickly devolved into partisan politics.

Fauci, formerly the nation’s top infectious disease expert, won praise from Democrats for his scientific leadership but criticism from some Republicans who accused him of being dictatorial and lacking transparency.

“You belong in prison,” said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., during a hearing of the House Oversight and Accountability Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

She refused to recognize him as a doctor, saying he did not deserve a medical license. Fauci, 83, received his medical license in 1966.

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., looked at Fauci and told him, “The vast majority of Americans appreciate your work over the years.”

Fauci retired as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 2022 after more than five decades in public health service.

He became a household name for guiding the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

His supporters say his directives on mask wearing, social distancing and vaccination saved hundreds of thousands of lives. He also led Operation Warp Speed, the rapid development of effective COVID-19 vaccines.

Despite his accomplishments, Fauci faced tough criticism from some Republicans in Congress. They said the quarantine restrictions he announced hurt the economy and children’s education.

They also said he appeared to conceal the origin of the virus at a Wuhan, China, research lab, apparently to gloss over the fact that federal grants he approved funded some work at the laboratory.

Fauci responded to the criticisms by saying he and his staff were doing the best they could while U.S. COVID-19 deaths topped more than 4,000 per day, eventually rising near 1.2 million.

He also said the origin of the virus remains speculative with a “spillover from an animal reservoir” being most likely. He was referring to theories that a mutated strain of the virus jumped from bats to humans at an open-air market in Wuhan.

The molecular structure that would indicate a laboratory accident to explain how the virus mutated and escaped into the surrounding community was improbable.

“It’s just a virological fact,” he said.

Fauci was asked repeatedly about emails sent by David Morens, a former National Institutes of Health advisor, indicating Fauci used his private email address to avoid revealing potentially embarrassing information about how he oversaw the pandemic response.

“To the best of my knowledge, I have never conducted official business via my personal email,” Fauci said.

He also said Morens was not in a position that would allow him to speak authoritatively about what Fauci did with his emails.

In addition to discussing the severity of the pandemic, he discussed the burden it placed on him and his family.

“There has been everything from harassment received by emails, texts, letters of myself, my wife, my three daughters,” he said. “There have been credible death threats leading to the arrests of two individuals, and credible death threats means someone who was clearly on their way to kill me. And it’s required my having protective services essentially all the time.”

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, the subcommittee chairman, apologized to Fauci for “the threats you received” but also stressed the need “to better prepare for future pandemics. “Simply put, America cannot look forward without looking back.”

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