Timeline: Dr. Anthony Fauci Repeatedly Downplayed Coronavirus Threat

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence listens. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has not always shared the opinions he gave to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, when he insisted President Donald Trump ignored mitigation efforts and could have saved lives.

“I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” Fauci said on State of the Union when asked if social distancing and stay-at-home measures could have prevented deaths if they had been implemented earlier.

“Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those decisions is complicated,” Fauci added.

In contrast to his previous remarks, Fauci has a history of downplaying the severity of the coronavirus and insisting that the American people did not need to drastically alter their lifestyles earlier this year.

January 21, 2020: Fauci claimed the coronavirus was “not a major threat to the people of the United States.”

“This is not a major threat to the people of the United States and this is not something that the citizens of the United States should be worried about right now,” Fauci said during an interview with Newsmax’s Greg Kelly.

February 26, 2020: Fauci said, “Travel restrictions become almost irrelevant because you can’t keep out the entire world.”

“When you have a pandemic that involves multiple countries, travel restrictions become almost irrelevant because you can’t keep out the entire world,” Fauci said during an interview with CNBC News.

February 29, 2020: Fauci claimed there was no need for Americans to “change anything what you’re doing on a day-by-day basis” during an interview with the Today Show.

“Right now, at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis,” Fauci said in response to a question about changing lifestyle habits. “Right now the risk is still low, but this could change.”

March 9, 2020: Well after concerns of the spread of the novel coronavirus had aroused, Fauci suggested that it was okay to take a trip on a cruise if you were a “healthy young person.”

“If you are a healthy young person, there is no reason if you want to go on a cruise ship, go on a cruise ship,” Fauci told reporters at a White House briefing.

“But the fact is that if you have … an individual who has an underlying condition, particularly an elderly person who has an underlying condition, I would recommend strongly that they do not go on a cruise ship,” Fauci added.

March 9, 2020: Fauci said the decision to hold a campaign rally the next day would be a “good judgment” if it were held at a venue where there was no “community spread.”

“Not sure what we’re going to be able to say at the time where you have a campaign rally,” Fauci said in response to a question regarding political campaign rallies. “If you’re talking about a campaign rally tomorrow, in a place where there is no community spread, I think the judgment to have it might be a good judgment.”

“If you want to talk about large gatherings in a place where you have community spread, I think that’s a judgment call,” Fauci added. “And if someone decides they want to cancel it, I wouldn’t publicly criticize them.”

March 12, 2020: In contrast to his February 26 remarks, Fauci said that he believed certain travel restrictions have “absolutely” helped with the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus.

“I think it absolutely has,” Fauci said. “I believe if we did not do that with China early on …”

Fauci also called the travel restriction involving Europe a “prudent choice.”

April 11, 2020: Fauci claimed during an interview with Fox News’s Jesse Watters that it was “in January” when he believed that this was a problem Americans needed to worry about, which contrasts several of his previous remarks made that month and the months following, including his remarks on the Today Show in February.

Fauci also told Watters that his previous remarks were made off the information he was given.

Late Sunday evening, President Trump recognized criticism of Fauci and quote-tweeted a social media post that included the hashtag #FireFauci.

“Fauci is now saying that had Trump listened to the medical experts earlier he could’ve saved more lives,” the original tweet from DeAnna Lorraine stated. “Fauci was telling people on February 29th that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US public at large.”

“Time to #FireFauci…” Lorraine added.

“Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape,” Trump said in response. “I banned China long before people spoke up. Thank you @OANN

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