Dr Anthony Fauci has performed his latest COVID flip-flop after revealing he now has ‘an open mind’ to claims the virus leaked from a Chinese lab.
The White House COVID tsar, who has long insisted that COVID was likely transmitted from an animal to its first human patient, made the admission during a Fox News interview with Bret Baier on Friday.
Fauci admitted: ‘We have an open mind but it looks very much like this was a natural occurrence, but you keep an open mind.’
Baier grilled Fauci about a claim he made in April 2020, after being sent a link to a report made by Baier himself, that saw Fauci dismiss the lab leak theory as ‘a shiny object that will go away.’
The Fox News anchor said: ‘When you read the email from Kristian Andersen who says…”one has to look really closely to see some features (potentially) look engineered.”
‘And you say this is a shiny object and it will go away. It does not look like you’re open minded to it.’
Fauci appeared to try to deflect by flattering Baier, saying: ‘Bret, I know youre a good person, I know you a long time.
‘If you take a group of emails when people are considering and thinking out loud, and stop there, and don’t look at the weeks of consideration by the same people who wrote the same emails… in published peer review literature, they explain why they thought it was a natural occurrence.’
Fox News anchor Bret Baier (left) grilled Dr. Anthony Fauci (right) about his dismissals of the theory that COVID-19 was created in a lab in Wuhan and about his ties to that lab
Fauci laughed at the idea and said he has always kept an ‘open mind’ about the virus’ origin despite his past insistences that COVID-19 was a natural occurrence
Fauci admitted he now has an open mind about the origins of COVID when asked about this April 2020 email that dismissed the lab leak theory as ‘a shiny object that will go away’
Fauci sent the email in response to this message from former National Institutes of Health Director Dr Francis Collins asking for help to pour cold water on the lab leak theory.
In February 2020 Kristen Andersen – a California-based virologist – speculating that COVID appeared to be genetically-engineered.
Two months later, in June, then-National Institutes of Health Director Dr Francis Collins emailed Fauci a link to a Fox Report claiming ‘multiple sources’ believed COVID had leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Collins wrote: ‘Wondering if there is something NIH can do to help put down this very destructive conspiracy, with what seems to be growing momentum.
‘I hoped the Nature Medicine article on the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 would settle this. But probably didn’t get much visibility. Anything more we can do? Ask the National Academy (of Sciences) to weigh in?’
Fauci also appeared keen to pour cold water on the claim, and replied: ‘I would not do anything about this right now. It is a shiny object that will go away in times.’
Those emails were released by Republicans in June 2021, as concern continues to mount that COVID did leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Baier pointed out that he was skeptical of Fauci’s ‘open mind’ given that he appeared to ignore a 2020 email (pictured) sent to him from virus experts that COVID appeared to have elements in it that suggested it may have been engineered in a lab
How Fauci flip-flopped on the origins of COVID
April 2020: Fauci repeatedly made public statements suggesting that that COVID was the result of an ‘unusual human-animal interface’ in a Chinese ‘wet market’ and that ‘the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.’
May 2020: Still adamant that he didn’t believe the coronavirus was man-made. ‘If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated,’ he told National Geographic in an exclusive interview published May 4, 2020. ‘Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species.’
Late May 2021 to early June 2021: During an event called ‘United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking,’ Fauci was asked if was ‘still confident’ that the virus evolved naturally.
‘No, actually … I am not convinced about that. I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened,’ Fauci said. ‘Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out.’
He added: ‘So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus.’
Despite saying that nothing could be ruled out over the origin of COVID-19 as officials continue their investigation, Fauci continued to reiterate that the virus was most likely natural.
‘We have an open mind, but it looks very very much like this was a natural occurrence,’ Fauci said.
An investigation by US security services has been unable to determine whether COVID was leaked from a lab, or jumped from an animal into a human.
The Chinese government has hampered attempts to investigate.
And the proximity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology to the first epicenter of the disease has also stoked suspicions.
It is one of only four facilites in the world performing experiments on bat coronaviruses – including COVID-19.
Fauci also claimed he had an open mind since the beginning of the pandemic despite his history of flip-flopping on the issue.
During the early month of the pandemic, Fauci said he was unconvinced that the virus could have come from a lab, but he changed attitudes in May 2021 during the United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking.
At the event, Fauci said he was open to the idea the virus could have originated in a lab and said a thorough investigation in China was needed.
The COVID tsar, however, continued to but heads with Sen. Rand Paul at the time, who called out Fauci’s connections with the Wuhan lab as the health official shut down the claims.
Then in June 2021, A Freedom of Information Act request saw thousands of Fauci’s emails released from last spring – including multiple discussions about COVID being man-made, some of which were later redacted.
In a Jan. 31, 2020 email – more than two months before the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic – Fauci forwarded a copy of Science magazine article titled ‘Mining coronavirus genomes for clues to the outbreak’s origins’ to two people.
US virus researcher Kristian Andersen and Sir Jeremy Farrar, who runs a global health charity in Britain, were on the receiving end of the email.
‘This just came out today. You may have seen it. If not, it is of interest to the current discussion,’ wrote Fauci.
Andersen, who runs a viral genomics lab at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, wrote back, ‘The problem is that our phylogenetic analyses aren’t able to answer whether the sequences are unusual at individual residues, except if they are completely off.
‘The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (<0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered.’
Andersen also noted that he and others ‘all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory’ but added that ‘there are still further analyses to be done, so those opinions could still change.’
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Health, had ties with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (pictured), which was gifted $600,000 in 2014 for research into whether bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans
Despite the notice, Fauci’s primary opinion that he shared with Americans was that the virus was a natural occurrence and not one that could have originated in a lab.
China has furiously denied that the virus behind COVID-19 escaped from its lab in the original epicenter, accusing the United States of taking a ‘dangerous stance’ in calling for a full investigation into the possibility.
Fauci was at first the public face of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, but the relationship between the NIH head and Trump soured as Trump grew impatient with Fauci’s cautious approach to lockdowns.
Unsurprisingly, Fauci has again become a public face for the White House under the Biden administration.
Republicans have already run their midterm campaigns promising to investigate Fauci. In Congress they have clashed with Fauci on multiple occasions over NIH’s grant funding going toward a lab in the city where COVID-19 originated.
The intense scrutiny comes as Fauci prepares to retire, telling Politico this week that he will be leaving his post before the end of Biden’s term after serving through seven administrations.
Fauci’s $800,000 retirement payday: Report suggests the 81 year old – who is the highest paid federal employee – will make MORE than Biden and rake in $414,000 in the first year after hanging up his lab coat
by Morgan Phillips
White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci will be paid a higher higher retirement pension than President Biden is paid in a salary, according to a report.
Fauci’s first-year pension payout will be $414,000, according to an analysis conducted by Open the Books, which is more than the $400,000 salary the president brings in.
The analysis assumed that Fauci will retire in January 2025, as the infectious disease expert recently said he would retire by the end of the Biden administration.
Fauci currently earns a federal salary of $480,654, but Open the Books estimates that by 2024 he’ll be earning $530,000 per year, if he stays on track with the five percent pay bumps he’s gotten each year for the last few years. He was the highest-compensated employee in all of federal government for both 2021 and 2020.
White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci will be paid a higher higher retirement pension than President Biden is paid in a salary, according to a report
President Biden earns a salary of $400,000 per year
Long-serving bureaucrats typically leave public service with cushy pensions – the Office of Personnel Management offers 80 percent of the average of a bureaucrat’s three highest-paid years in office.
Fauci has long served as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a sub-agency of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and there he out earns his boss, NIH head Francis Collins, who made $203,500 last year, and Collins’ boss, Health and Human Services Sec. Xavier Becerra, who earned $203,500.
Fauci, 81, told Politico this week that he will be leaving his post before the end of President Biden’s term after serving through seven administrations.
‘We’re in a pattern now. If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have Covid anymore,’ then I will be 105. I think we’re going to be living with this,’ Biden’s chief medical adviser told Politico when asked if he felt obligated to remain in his position.
Fauci became the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a position he still holds, in 1984. From there, he led the nation through viral diseases including HIV/AIDS, Swine Flu, SARS, MERS, Ebola and ultimately Covid-19.
Fauci was at first the public face of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, but the relationship between the NIAID head and Trump soured as Trump grew impatient with Fauci’s cautious approach to lockdowns. Unsurprisingly, Fauci has again become a public face for the White House under the Biden administration.
Republicans have already run their midterm campaigns on promising to investigate Fauci. In Congress they have clashed with Fauci on multiple occasions over NIH’s grant funding going toward a lab in the city where COVID-19 originated.
‘I don’t think they can say anything about the science,’ Fauci said about Republicans in Congress calling for probes. ‘If that’s what you want to investigate, be my guest. My telling somebody that it’s important to follow fundamental good public health practices … what are you going to investigate about that?’