Health

The Questions Anthony Fauci Should Have Been Asked At His Last Press Briefing

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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Dr. Anthony Fauci gave his last press briefing before retirement Nov. 22, but the questions focused largely on his legacy and future plans rather than getting to the bottom of several pressing issues still influencing Americans.

Fauci took 16 questions from the White House Press Corps in a briefing run by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Not one question covered the origins of COVID-19, the risks of gain-of-function research or the White House spending billions of dollars on booster vaccines that hardly anyone is getting.

Instead, there were five variations of the question, “What should Americans expect this holiday season?” with regard to COVID-19. Weekly COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are currently no higher than they were in October, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are less than one-third what they were over the summer. Deaths aren’t surging either — in fact, deaths the week of Nov. 30 were reported as the lowest of 2022 on the whole. It remains to be seen if there will be a “winter surge” at all.

One question pertained to why the 2022 flu season has been particularly bad, a topic that has been covered by a wide range of epidemiologists and doctors. Two more asked about the importance of masking at a time when hardly any Americans still do so, and another asked Fauci about “misinformation” coming from the White House during the Trump administration.

Fauci used the misinformation question to highlight his disagreements with the Trump administration and complain that he has faced death threats since pushing back against the former president. He also reflected on his legacy and time in government service as multiple journalists asked about the totality of his career. (RELATED: Fauci Changes Tune: ‘Completely Open Mind’ About Lab Leak, Gives School Closure Warning)

There were six attempts to ask Dr. Fauci about the origins of COVID-19. Specifically, Daily Caller White House Correspondent Diana Glebova intended to ask what Fauci had told President Joe Biden to discuss with Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding the origins of the pandemic, and interjected multiple times to ask Fauci what he had done to look into the origins himself. Jean-Pierre did not allow any of these questions to be answered, and scolded Glebova and several other reporters who were trying to broach the topic.

No questions were asked at all about the lack of demand for the bivalent COVID-19 boosters developed by Pfizer and Moderna. The White House spent more than $5 billion purchasing these vaccines and has continued to push for Americans to get them, and yet only a fraction of eligible Americans have done so. No reporter asked the administration if the resources spent on these boosters were misused.

Not one journalist asked Fauci about gain-of-function research, either. The dangerous practice has been condemned by a number of scientists, and some believe it may have played a role in the outbreak of the global pandemic that killed millions of people. Fauci has simultaneously defended the practice while denying he funded such research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, an assertion numerous experts say is a lie.

Fauci has continued to conduct interviews and maintain a media presence. He also says he isn’t leaving public life completely after he steps down from his role as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and adviser to Biden, so he may have future opportunities to answer these questions yet. But so far, none of the journalists he’s granted access to are asking them.