In a February 2020 email between Dr. Anthony Fauci and former Obama health and human services (HHS) secretary Sylvia Burwell, the nation's top infectious disease expert said that store-bought face masks weren't very effective in protecting one against COVID-19 - an opinion he maintained at least through March of last year.
I'm old enough to remember when Dr. Fauci went on 60 Minutes in March 2020 and said, "Right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks. ... There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask." https://t.co/CpBukP9gFB pic.twitter.com/T9xOCXHeSm— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) January 21, 2021
Contained within hundreds of pages of emails obtained by the Washington Post and BuzzFeed through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Fauci is asked about masks by former Obama Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.
"I am traveling to [redacted]. Folks are suggesting I take a mask for the airport. Is this something I should do," asks Burwell.
To which Fauci replies: "Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection. The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you."
"I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very low risk location."
Say goodnight Gracie. pic.twitter.com/OTvCtncrWH— SCUBA MIKE🤿 (@scuba2024) June 2, 2021
Fauci's original opinion on masks turns out to have been correct, as several analyses - including the CDC's own data - have shown that mask mandates (and double masking) had virtually no effect on virus spread, sentiment echoed by top epidemiologists.
What's more, the US government knew masks don't work, as evidenced by this March 31, 2020 email from NIH Medical Officer Andrea Lerner:
By April, however, the World Health Organization and NIH came out in favor of masking - at which point Fauci changed his opinion. As journalists John Ziegler and Kyle Becker note, the move may well have given people a false sense of security.
This is 100% right. People wore masks *INSTEAD* of social distancing & hand washing. They gave people a false sense of security. This shows me they were as much a political statement as anything, an anti-Trump ribbon you wear on your face, if you will.https://t.co/tqOelSHYKv— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) June 2, 2021
So it was all an act...