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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke October 19, 2022

Video shows Fauci reflecting on early recommendations to not wear masks

If Your Time is short

  • In a recent interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci reflected on his recommendation early in the coronavirus pandemic for most people to not wear masks. “If I had to do it over again, of course, I would have analyzed it a little bit better,” he said. He wasn’t talking about his regrets in “forcing masks.”

On Oct. 16, ABC News aired an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci in which he reflected on his years of public service.

He’s set to retire in December, nearly three years after the COVID-19 pandemic made him a household name. 

A recent Instagram post claimed that in his interview with "This Week" host Jonathan Karl, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the president’s chief medical adviser, admitted "he failed Americans during the pandemic when unnecessarily forcing masks." 

"If I had to do it over again, of course, I would have analyzed it a little bit better," Fauci can be seen saying in a clip from the interview in the post. 

But he’s not talking about "unnecessarily forcing masks" on Americans. 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Before Fauci’s comment in the post’s clip, Karl asked him what the "biggest misconception" about him is. 

"That I was misleading people," Fauci said. 

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Karl then said, "Would you take back what you said about masks? Obviously, the guidance changed." 

"Yes," Fauci said. 

"But you were very definitive," Karl said. "You said there’s absolutely no reason for people to be wearing masks."

"Yes," Fauci said. "I mean, sure, if I had to do it over again, of course. I would have analyzed it a little bit better."

But Karl and Fauci are clearly talking about comments Fauci made in March 2020, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, to discourage people from wearing masks. 

"Right now, people should not be walking — there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask," Fauci said during an interview on CBS’ "60 Minutes" that aired March 8, 2020. 

Fauci would later revise his recommendation. By July 2020, he and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were both saying most people should wear face coverings in public settings to reduce COVID-19’s spread.

Today, the CDC says wearing a mask "can help prevent severe illness" and recommends wearing masks in indoor public transportation settings, if a person is at high risk for getting very sick or indoors with someone at high risk of getting very sick. More guidance on when to wear a mask or respirator in connection with COVID-19 is on the CDC’s website.

 We rate claims that this video shows Fauci admitting he failed Americans by unnecessarily forcing them to wear masks False.


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Video shows Fauci reflecting on early recommendations to not wear masks

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