July 16, 2020

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Dr. Anthony Fauci might enjoy the trust of most Americans, but in the White House, not so much.

President Donald Trump recently told Gray TV host Greta Van Susteren that he didn’t agree with Fauci.

“Dr. Fauci said don’t wear masks, and now he says wear them,” Trump said July 7. “He said numerous things. Don’t close off China. Don’t ban China. I did it anyway.”

Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity July 9, “Fauci is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes.”

On July 11, The Washington Post reported that White House staff released a statement saying that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.”

The Post said the statement included a long list of Fauci’s alleged errors. Among them, doubt that people without symptoms could play a significant role in spreading the virus, and a late February comment that “at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis.”

Some of the criticisms of Fauci focus on statements that came when little was known about the disease. You might remember in May, I called out a YouTube channel that uploaded an old clip of Fauci saying masks were not necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as if it was new — the video segment was from more than two months earlier. (By the way, I did finally hear back from the user who uploaded it, who said: “Personally I don’t have an opinion on Dr. Fauci, good or bad.”)

Other criticisms overlook the caveats he included with his reassuring words.

Fauci’s comments also came in the context of Trump, who offered a drumbeat of encouragement. In mid-February, Trump said “we’re in very good shape,” and near the end of the month that “the coronavirus is very much under control.”

PolitiFact has fact-checked several misleading claims about what Fauci has said. Here is a summary of Fauci in his own words on the travel ban, wearing masks, the size of the threat, and the risk of asymptomatic transmission

Click here to read more.

Fauci did not claim that lockdowns were no longer necessary

Although Dr. Anthony Fauci did at one point say “widespread” lockdowns are not necessary, a viral tweet takes his comment out of context. Watch the fact-check»

Tucker Carlson claims COVID-19 “poses virtually zero threat” to teachers

Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s language paints a black-and-white picture for children and teachers between death and full recovery. Other outcomes — including hospitalization — have occurred and are also harmful. Get the facts»

Will the CDC stop labeling coronavirus an “epidemic”?

Despite a dip in death rates, which are expected to rise again, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still considers COVID-19 an epidemic. An article claiming otherwise is False. Read the fact-check»

How close is the U.S. to a COVID-19 vaccine?

Scientists say they see steady progress and are expressing cautious optimism that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready by spring 2021. Here’s a rundown of the 10 vaccine candidates that are furthest along in the clinical phases. Check it out»

Did all of these politicians benefit from the coronavirus stimulus?

A Facebook post claims that some wealthy Republicans and other public figures have benefited from the government’s $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. While Kanye West, Jared Kushner’s family and Rep. Roger Williams were connected to companies that received federal money, the post oversimplifies how others benefited. Read the fact-check»

Viral Facebook post claims COVID-19 resurgence is political conspiracy

The United States is not alone in seeing a resurgence of coronavirus infections, and many experts believe the country is still in its first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more»

No proof that nasal swabs, the preferred COVID-19 test, are ‘implanting something’

An ominous Facebook post suggests that instead of just retrieving a sample with a swab to test for the presence of COVID-19, testers are “implanting something.” The reasoning: Nasal swabs are used instead of those from the mouth. The CDC recommends the former procedure and there’s no evidence to support the rest of this claim. Read the fact-check»

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Alex Mahadevan is a senior multimedia reporter at MediaWise. He can be reached at amahadevan@poynter.org or on Twitter at @AlexMahadevan. Follow MediaWise on TikTok.

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Alex Mahadevan is senior multimedia reporter with the MediaWise project. He most recently worked as a data journalist at the personal finance startup The Penny…
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