Stand up for the facts!

Misinformation isn't going away just because it's a new year. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke March 15, 2021

No, Fauci didn’t admit he’s not listening to COVID-19 science

If Your Time is short

  • Anthony Fauci said in a CNN interview that making a “judgment call” was necessary when scientific evidence isn’t available, but he didn’t say he’s not listening to science when he supports COVID-19 policies.
 

A Rumble post by conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza has spread widely on Facebook with this headline: "Fauci admits he isn’t listening to the science when advocating policy."

But that doesn’t accurately describe the video clip in the post, which was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

In the 1:20 minute clip of a March 10 CNN interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser on COVID-19, CNN anchor John Berman asked about the Biden administration’s pledge to "make its decisions based on science."

"What’s the science behind not saying it’s safe for people who have been vaccinated — received two doses — to travel?" the reporter asked.

Fauci responded that it was a good question and said "the CDC is carefully heading in that direction." He mentions the recent announcement made by Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can gather indoors without masks.

"That was the first in a multi-step process that they are going to be rolling out," Fauci said on CNN. "They’re being careful, understandably. They want to get science, they want to get data, and then when you don’t have the data, and you don’t have the actual evidence, then you've got to make a judgment call. And I think that’s what you’re going to be seeing in the next weeks. You’re going to see little by little, more and more guidelines, getting people to be more and more flexible. The first installation of this is what can vaccinated people do in the home setting. Obviously the next one is going to be what you’re asking, what about travel, what about going out, what about getting a haircut, what about doing things like that. That’s all imminently going to be coming out."

The post’s headline implies that there is a scientific consensus and Fauci is deliberately ignoring it. But that’s not what Fauci said. Fauci talked about making a judgment call when there’s no science and data available to inform a policy position. 

The Rumble post says as much in its single line of text beneath the video: "During an interview on CNN Fauci said that when you don’t have the data you have to make a judgment call."

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people shouldn’t travel if they can help it. Walensky said that because the vast majority of Americans are still unvaccinated the agency would wait to update its travel guidance until "we have more protection across the communities and across the population."

While some experts have said they believe that guidance to be overly cautious, others say the caution is needed given the emergence of more contagious variants of the virus.

But Fauci clearly didn’t say he was advocating for a policy in spite of scientific evidence, as the headline on this post states. We rate that claim False. 

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

No, Fauci didn’t admit he’s not listening to COVID-19 science

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up