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what Dr. Fauci’s emails reveal about his handling of the pandemic

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“I was getting all kinds of questions, mostly people who were a bit confused about the mixed messages coming out of the White House and wanted to know what the real scoop was,” Fauci said in a recent interview. “I have a reputation for responding to people when they ask for help, even if it takes a long time. And it takes a long time, but I do it, ”he replies.

The published emails show that Fauci did in fact try to answer many inquiries, sometimes hitting “send” long after midnight. And even as Trump stepped up attacks on China for failing to contain the virus after it was first discovered there, Fauci sought to maintain ties with Gao, a well-regarded Chinese scientific leader, and Gao with him.

After Fauci faced threats from Trump supporters who blamed him for supporting social distancing rules that closed schools, sank the economy, and threatened Trump’s reelection prospects, Gao, a fellow at the US National Academy of Sciences. , He sent an email again.

“I saw some news (I hope they are false) that [you] they are being attacked by some people. I hope he is well in such an irrational situation, ”Gao wrote on April 8.

“Thank you for your kind note,” Fauci replied three days later. “Everything is fine despite some crazy people in this world.”

Threats from the “crazy” would lead US officials to assign Fauci a full-time security detail. On April 26, he received an email from Freddie Barnes, a military veteran and chaplain for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety who wrote “to express my deep appreciation for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Charging

“I especially appreciate the way they have devoted considerable time and capital to the black and brown communities,” Barnes wrote. “It is commendable that you intend to keep minority communities informed, especially as these communities will absorb the disproportionate share of illness and death from COVID-19.”

He ended the email with a warning: “Take care of yourself and ‘Cover your six,'” military slang that means “watch your back.”

On April 14, 2020, a day when nearly 3,000 Americans would die from covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, Fauci received a serious list of questions from a senior official in the Office of the Surgeon General in the Army and the US Army Medical Command.

“You are the voice of reason for millions of concerned citizens,” wrote the official, whose name was redacted in published emails. A list of questions followed: Can you get the virus from a corpse? Can someone who has taken hydroxychloroquine for years get the virus? Are masks and gloves really effective?

Finally: “What keeps you awake at night, regarding COVID-19?”

Fauci forwarded the email to some of his top advisers and asked for help writing a response. He replied a few days later.

“I have said in the past that what keeps me awake at night is the possibility of a pandemic respiratory infection. We’re at it now, and what keeps me up at night is the answer, an important part of which is the development of an effective vaccine and treatments for COVID-19. “

Charging

In the early days of the pandemic, everyone, it seemed, wanted a piece of Fauci. Numerous organizations wrote to offer awards and honoraria. PayPal wanted the doctor to speak to its 23,000 employees. Michael Milken, president of the Milken Institute, a think tank based in California, Fauci wanted to appear on his podcast. Anthony Foxx, President Barack Obama’s secretary of transportation, wanted advice for the travel industry.

The Italian media constantly requested interviews. One person wanted Fauci to co-write an opinion piece. (“How do we kindly say no to this person?” Fauci asked his staff.)

An email said Robert Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Co., was very supportive of a documentary on Fauci that would feature footage filmed unobtrusively as the doctor went about his pandemic duties. The film will be released later this year.

The NFL Players Association also called. Thom Mayer, the NFLPA’s medical director, emailed Courtney Billet, one of Fauci’s top aides, on April 4 and said he had asked that “we establish a joint NFLPA-NFL task force. . . with a view to determining if and when we could look to an NFL season, even if the games are played without fans. “

“My request is that Dr. Fauci gave a telephone briefing to our group on this difficult topic, which of course would be confidential. The floor would be his and he could inform you before the call on what we have been working on,” Mayer wrote. He suggested the week of April 13, “although, of course, the model shows that it would be during the peak of the outbreak.”

It is not clear how Fauci responded immediately; your email to an assistant about Mayer’s request is redacted. Fauci consulted with the NFL and other sports leagues about their seasons, he said. But he wasn’t entirely thrilled: In a May interview with NBC’s Peter King, Fauci said it was impossible to know if the NFL season could be saved.

“The virus will make the decision for us,” Fauci said, a comment that angered Trump.

On another occasion, an official from the Department of Health and Human Services suggested that the shortage of personal protective equipment could be solved by using “dog cones.” Fauci sent a courteous thank you.

On April 1, the emails show, Fauci spoke with Gates by phone about a global vaccination effort. The doctor said he was “excited to advance a collaborative and hopefully synergistic approach to COVID-19” involving federal health agencies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the emails.

Gates quickly relayed the conversation to Emilio Emini, a senior executive at the foundation tasked with coordinating vaccination efforts. Emini immediately emailed Fauci and expressed her concern for the doctor’s health.

“I see you on television almost every day, and although you still have considerable energy, I am seriously concerned about you,” Emini wrote. “The nation and the world absolutely need your leadership.”

Fauci responded at 1.53am, saying, “I will try to get involved as much as I can given my current circumstances.”

In an interview, Fauci said he has had a long-standing relationship with Gates, whose foundation focuses on global access to vaccines, among other topics. He said he and Gates talk every two weeks and that they have stayed in contact about how to get coronavirus vaccines to the rest of the world.

On April 10, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan, Fauci emailed a question about hydroxychloroquine, a drug that Trump was aggressively pushing as a treatment for coronavirus despite scant evidence of its efficacy. The drug is used to treat lupus, and Upton asked if anyone with the disease had contracted the coronavirus.

The next day, Fauci replied that the answer was “almost certainly yes”, but that there was not enough data to draw final conclusions. His electronic reporting escalated when Upton, a moderate and one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising, tried to explain why some of his colleagues were trying to lock in more money for America’s pandemic response.

“He’s still a teller of scientific truth,” Upton urged Fauci in another email.

Fauci replied five hours later.

“Thanks, Fred. I appreciate your note. “

Although Fauci often accepted praise for defying the president, published emails do not show that he is directly critical of Trump. On several occasions, the emails show that Fauci and White House officials are in close contact.

Around midnight on April 11, the day before Easter, Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, emailed Fauci about some apparently crossed cables. “You correctly noticed the symptoms, but misdiagnosed the root cause,” Short wrote in a highly redacted email closing: “Apologies for a bad poker face.”

At the time, Trump was eagerly trying to reopen the economy despite Fauci’s reluctance. Less than 13 hours after receiving Short’s email, Fauci replied: “Thanks for the note. Understood. I wish you a peaceful and pleasant day with your family. “

At times, Fauci was taken aback by the public’s fascination for him, the emails show. On March 31, a colleague from the National Institutes of Health sent Fauci an article from The charge with the headline, “Fauci socks, Fauci donuts, Fauci fan art: Coronavirus expert attracts a cult.”

“Truly surreal. Hopefully all of this stops soon, ”Fauci replied. On another note, he added: “It’s not nice at all, that’s for sure.”

On April 7, Fauci received an alert from Google News with his name on it. One of the articles was titled “‘Cuomo Crush and’ Fauci Fever ‘: The sexualization of these men is a real thing on the Internet.” Fauci forwarded the note to someone (name and email address are redacted) and urged the person to click on the link.

“It will blow your mind,” wrote the doctor. “Our society is really crazy.”

When a White House press conference was canceled one day, freeing Fauci from a television appearance, he sent his staff a message with two smiley emojis.

However, most of the emails were very serious. In one exchange, a former acquaintance who described himself as “just a working-class guy” who once drank beers with Fauci in Boulder, Colorado, urges the doctor to “stand up to power and tell people the hard truth. from this country”. . “

“The leadership from the top is absolutely flawed, incompetent, and dangerous to the American people. . . . We need a unified and professional federal response to this unprecedented crisis, ”the man wrote. “My father was born during the first modern global pandemic, and I really don’t want him to leave the current one.”

Fauci responded within hours.

“Thanks for your note,” he wrote. “I hear you!”

The Washington Post

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