Journalist-obtained emails from Dr. Anthony Fauci reveal that the bureaucrat said in February 2020 that surgical face masks are not effective for healthy people seeking to resist COVID-19 infection. Fauci has since repeatedly stated the apparent importance of masks in relation to the pandemic — and also argued his February comment reflected information available at the time.
Another email with the subject line “My take on masks” from fellow bureaucrat Andrea Lerner, dated April 2021, has been nearly completely redacted, sparking some speculation online.
Newsweek reported Tuesday on Fauci’s email about surgical masks’ ineffectiveness for the healthy, dated February 5, 2020:
In an email on February 5, 2020, Fauci advised against wearing masks and said that face masks bought in a store would not be effective at protecting against the virus. He was replying to queries from one Sylvia Burwell, who may be to the same Sylvia Burwell who served as secretary for health and human services from 2014 to 2017.
“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,” Fauci wrote.
“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,” he said.
During an interview on CNN, Fauci weighed in on the reactions to his February 5 email to Burwell, saying that the scientific information changed over time and his guidance reflected those changes.
“If you look at scientific info as it accumulates, what is going on in January and February, what you know as a fact, as data, guides what you tell people and your policies. If March, April, May occur, you accumulate a lot more information and you modify and adjust your opinion and your recommendation based on the current science and the current data,” said Fauci.
#Fauci says masks aren’t needed unless you’re sick and notes the #SARS_CoV_2 is so small it passes easily between #mask fibers #Fauciemails pic.twitter.com/8mdPVPho2L
— Philip Holloway 😊 (@PhilHollowayEsq) June 2, 2021
Highlighting another email from Fauci on masks, Daily Wire podcast host and author Matt Walsh speculated, “Two Fauci emails. In one he says that masks are for sick people. In the other he admits that asymptomatic spread is rare. So why were people with no symptoms wearing masks for a year? It’s almost like it was all a charade.”
Two Fauci emails. In one he says that masks are for sick people. In the other he admits that asymptomatic spread is rare. So why were people with no symptoms wearing masks for a year? It’s almost like it was all a charade. pic.twitter.com/gu8rn5R0yj
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) June 2, 2021
Politico Kassy Dillon highlighted Fauci’s changing message:
Dr. Fauci February 2020: "the typical mask you buy in a drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus… I do not recommend you wear a mask."
Dr. Fauci June 2021: pic.twitter.com/qUk3GBHlEN
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) June 2, 2021
Podcast host Liz Wheeler remarked, “This will be my response anytime someone asks me to wear a mask: Dr. Fauci says the virus particles are too small to be stopped by a mask, therefore masks don’t work. Fauci’s words, in an email. What science has changed since then?”
This will be my response anytime someone asks me to wear a mask: Dr. Fauci says the virus particles are too small to be stopped by a mask, therefore masks don't work. Fauci's words, in an email. What science has changed since then?
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) June 2, 2021
In another email, dated April 2, 2020, Andrea Lerner from the National Institutes of Health wrote to Fauci with the subject line “My take on masks.”
“Given our discussion this AM, just thought I would summarize my take on masks across varying scenarios,” the email reads, with the rest of the message blocked out.
“It boggles the mind at what could be so sensitive that a bureaucrat’s take on mask wearing from April 2020 would need to be redacted from the #Fauciemails,” remarked legal analyst Philip Holloway.
It boggles the mind at what could be so sensitive that a bureaucrat’s take on mask wearing from April 2020 would need to be redacted from the #Fauciemails 🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/qjr7gU5Efy
— Philip Holloway 😊 (@PhilHollowayEsq) June 2, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated mask guidance in April for people vaccinated against COVID:
Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
For unvaccinated Americans, the “CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people.”
This article has been updated to include Fauci’s response to the February 5 email circulating online.
Related: Scientist Warned Fauci China Was Likely Lying About COVID Deaths. Fauci Said Email Was ‘Too Long For Me To Read’