FACT CHECK: Anthony Fauci Falsely Claims He Never Recommended Shutdowns to Fight Coronavirus

Anthony Fauci
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

CLAIM: Dr. Anthony Fauci claimed he never advised the president to call for a public shutdown to help fight the coronavirus.

“First of all, I didn’t recommend locking anything down, you’re asking me questions, you’re talking about — the CDC’s the public agency that uses their epidemiologists and their science-based approach to make recommendations,” Fauci said in an interview on Monday on the Hill‘s “Rising” show after host Batya Ungar-Sargon asked him if he still supported the idea of shutting down schools.

VERDICT: FALSE. Fauci is on the record recalling publicly that he advised President Donald Trump to shut down the country to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“When it became clear that we had community spread in the country … I recommended to the president that we shut the country down. That was a very difficult decision, because I knew it would have serious economic consequences, which it did,” Fauci said during a conversation in October 2020 with Holy Cross students.

“There was no way to stop the explosive spread that we knew would occur if we didn’t do that,” Fauci said during his October 2020 conversation. “And unfortunately, since we actually did not shut down completely—the way China did, the way Korea did, the way Taiwan did—we actually did see spread even though we shut down.”

During his interview with “Rising” on Monday, Fauci also indicated he would have supported more shutdowns, because of the rapid spread of the virus.

“Had we known back then the insidious nature of spread in the community, there would have been much more of an alarm and there would have been much much more stringent restrictions in the sense of very very heavy encouraging people to wear masks, physical distancing and what have you,” he said.


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