‘If I Knew In 2020 …’: Fauci Reveals What He Would Have Done Differently As COVID Emerged
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears a Washington Nationals protective mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Top federal health officials are expected to discuss efforts to get back to work and school during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kevin Dietsch / UPI / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he would’ve done things differently if he knew then what he knows now.

“If I knew in 2020 what I know now, we would do a lot differently because back then we were not sure of a number of things,” Fauci said on The Hill’s “Rising” show.

Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said first and foremost would’ve come masks to counter asymptomatic spread.

“We know now, two and a half years later, that anywhere from 50% to 60% of the transmission occurs from someone without symptoms, either someone who never will get symptoms or someone who is in the pre-symptomatic stage,” Fauci said.

“Had we known that then, the insidious nature of spread in the community 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 or what have you,” he said.

Back in March 2020, Dr. Fauci declared, “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”

“When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better, and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is,” the doctor said on CBS News.

Shortly after that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged Americans to wear masks. And in January 2022, Fauci said wearing two masks is likely more effective than wearing one. “If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective,” he told NBC News.

In the interview, Fauci said scientists just didn’t understand masking as the virus emerged.

“I think the masking situation is one that is really critical that would have been done differently. First of all, we did not fully appreciate that a well-fitted K95 or NK95 mask is much, much better than a cloth mask and to wear a good mask, the data now are very clear that masks are very good at preventing both the acquisition of and transmission of infection,” Fauci said.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.


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