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Fauci Under Fire as Emails Reveal Him Flip-Flopping on Masks

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The fire burns a bit hotter under Dr. Anthony Fauci over more uncovered emails about his early knowledge and handling of the pandemic. Republican critics want him fired after the pre-pandemic emails from Fauci such as one saying masks don't work against COVID-19. 

The emails are dated from January to June of 2020 and offer a glimpse into the outbreak's early days and Fauci's conflicting messages about the virus. 

More than 3,000 of his emails are now public thanks to the Freedom of Information Act. In some, he's seen flip-flopping on the mask mandate. 

In February 2020, Fauci told a former Health and Human Services Secretary they were "not really effective in keeping out the virus, which is small enough to pass through material."

It's a position he held for weeks after one exchange during a CBS "60 Minutes" interview when he said, "There's is no reason to be walking around with a mask."

Then two months later the CDC updated guidelines to recommend mask-wearing. Just last month, Fauci insisted unvaccinated children should still wear them while playing with friends. 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted fresh criticism of Fauci on Thursday, blasting his new book as "science fiction".

Fauci is also hitting back at Republicans who accuse him of shifting opinions on the idea COVID-19 emerged in a lab in Wuhan, China. The theory gained traction last month after reports of researchers there being hospitalized in late 2019. 

Fauci, who admits the NIH earmarked $600,000 for the lab which conducted "gain of function" research, now wants a more rigorous investigation into the origin of the virus. 

Still, Sen. Rand Paul told CBN News recently that doctors like Fauci might have had a motive for downplaying the lab theory.

"I think that he's not being honest with the American public," Paul said. "NIH and Dr. Fauci have been funding Wuhan Research. They do it through an intermediary called EcoHealth, interesting when they investigated whether this virus came out of a lab or occurred naturally, they hired the head of EcoHealth to be in charge of the investigation. So the guy who was funding Wuhan lab was put in charge of investigating whether Wuhan lab leaked the virus." "The people who supported funding for gain-of-function, the creation of super viruses, who supported funding for the Wuhan institute, should immediately be relieved of their responsibilities," said Paul. "Dr. Fauci should go."

Meanwhile, in an internal memo obtained by Vanity Fair, a former State Department official wrote that staff from two bureaus "warned" leaders "not to pursue an investigation into the origin of COVID-19" because it would "open a can of worms if it continued."

As Republicans demand Fauci be ousted, Democrats continue to defend him arguing his positions have evolved with the scientific evidence at the time.   

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That all comes as the White House has launched another attempt at getting the COVID vaccination rate to 70 percent by July 4th. Right now, the CDC shows 63 percent of adults have had the shot. 

Cash prizes, extended pharmacy hours, and free childcare are some of the ways the White House hopes to entice Americans to get vaccinated. 

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About The Author


Tara Mergener is an award-winning journalist and expert storyteller who spent the majority of her career as a correspondent in Washington, D.C. She worked at CBS Newspath for many years, reporting for all CBS platforms, including CBS News and CBS affiliates throughout the nation. Tara also reported at CNN, Hearst’s Washington, D.C. Bureau, and was a contributor on Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren. Tara has won dozens of awards for her investigative and political reporting, including Headliner Foundation’s Best Reporter in Texas, multiple Edward R. Murrow awards, Texas Associated Press