Associated Press writer Beatrice Dupuy in New York contributed to this report.
Video is misleading on Fauci . emails
Claim: People should stop wearing masks because leaked emails by Dr. Anthony Fauci said masks are not effective against COVID-19. The emails also showed Fauci taking hydroxychloroquine and telling his family members to take it to prevent COVID-19.
the facts: A batch of emails from Fauci, the veteran director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to the Washington Post and Buzzfeed News were released through Freedom of Information Act requests. The emails are not leaked. Social media users have distorted the emails to make it appear that Fauci lied to the public.
Several claims were contained in a TikTok video that was shared on Facebook this week. “How do you see Dr. Fauci’s leaked emails about how the masks aren’t working and you’re still wearing masks?” says a man in the TikTok video. “The typical mask you buy at the drugstore isn’t really effective. Guys, this is from Fauci, this is not me. This is from the guy who made all of you wear masks.”
The video is accompanied by a screenshot of an email Fauci wrote on February 5, 2020, before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, later posted by Buzzfeed News: “Masks are really for infected people to keep them from spreading the infection. For uninfected people rather than protecting uninfected people from getting infected. The typical mask you buy at the drugstore isn’t really effective at keeping the virus away, and it’s small enough to pass items through,” the email states. Fauci had sent the note to Sylvia Burwell, president of American University and former Secretary of Health and Human Services, after asking him if she should take a mask to the airport. But written in early February 2020 when there were few cases reported in the United States early in the pandemic, Fauci publicly downplayed the importance of wearing masks for the general public, stating in March 2020 that masks should be avoided for health care workers. As new information emerges about how the virus is spreading, officials have changed their messages, urging everyone to wear a mask, even if they don’t have COVID-19.