You don't see that too often. Someone actually demanded answers from Anthony Fauci. The doctor joined the hosts of Morning Joe to discuss the emails that were leaked yesterday. To say he dodged these questions is an understatement.
Reporter Willie Greist pushed Dr. Fauci to answer the question about whether or not he now believes that the virus came from a lab. He referenced the emails from April of 2020 that came to light yesterday- some of which hinted that the virus came from a Wuhan Lab.
“Since those e-mails in April of 2020, Dr. Fauci, have you come around more to the possibility of a lab leak theory?” asked Willie Greist. “Do you think it's more credible today than it was then?”
Dr. Fauci responded with a wishy, washy answer and he admitted he wasn’t sure.
“You know, I'm not so sure,” said Fauci. “I think one of the things that has stimulated interest, which I think is important to investigate, is the idea- and we need to find out if it's true or not, of the fact that there were some people who worked at the lab who got ill.”
He continued his answer, explaining the importance of having an open mind.
“If you look historically, the way things have rolled out, the original SARS/COV1, MERS, Ebola- the diseases that emerge from a reservoir and an animal, it happens all the time,” continued Fauci.
“And that's the reason why we feel that's the most likely. But since we haven't proven that, you've got to keep an open mind, and an open mind means you continue to look. As an open mind. Not in a pejorative way of thinking that they did something nefarious... Just keep an open mind and take a look. And that's what everyone wants right now.”
Greist continued to press Fauci and asked if he believed that it was in China’s best interest to hide if there was a lab leak.
“I don't want to be speculating on that because Every time I say something like that, you know it as well as I, it will get completely taken out of context and go into the Twitter world like crazy,” answered Fauci.
Luckily near the end of this interview, Joe Scarborough came to Fauci’s rescue by saying he shouldn’t be asked about the possibility of COVID coming from a lab and compared it to him being a NBA basketball player.
“I’m terrible at basketball,” said Scarborough. “You're about medicine. You're about health. You're about studying that. These questions about China, I mean, that's up to the politicians to sort through. That's up to the politicians to figure out. It may not be in the best interest of China's leaders for this to come out.”
This is a little ironic considering Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) had been trying to figure this out for the past year and was shut down as a conspiracy theorist.
Here is a transcript of the show from this morning.
MSNBC's Morning Joe
WILLIE GIEST: Welcome back to Morning Joe. 7:28 here in the morning. Joining us now, Chief medical adviser to the president, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Dr. Fauci, good morning. It's good to see you. We want to talk about the state of coronavirus, but as you may have heard, many of your e-mails were made public in a FOIA request from Buzzfeed and "The Washington post." Let me ask you a couple of questions about that. First of all, in April of 2020, the lab leak theory from the Wuhan lab was discussed in some of your e-mails. Dr. Collins, the head of the NIH seemed to think it was a conspiracy. Did you agree at that time, in April of 2020 that the lab leak theory was a conspiracy theory?
ANTHONY FAUCI: No, not necessarily at all. The situation is we didn't know and we still don't know what the origin is. That if you look historically and the way things rolled out, we all felt and still do, actually, Willie that it is more likely to be a natural jumping of species from an animal reservoir to a human. However, since we don't know that for sure, that you've got to keep an open mind. So You can say you think one thing is more likely than the other, but the fact that it could have been something else clearly was there. It was low on the list of what we thought the likelihood was. But, in fact, that's the reason why we all are now saying there's a considerable amount, appropriately, of interest in trying to find out what the origin is. And that's why we're all in favor of a fair, open investigation to see if we can actually find out the origin. Because we want to make sure this doesn't happen again.
GIEST: Since those e-mails in April of 2020, Dr. Fauci, have you come around more to the possibility of a lab leak theory? Do you think it's more credible today than it was then?
FAUCI: You know, I'm not so sure. I think one of the things that has stimulated interest, which I think is important to investigate, is the idea, and we need to find out if it's true or not, of the fact that there were some people who worked at the lab who got ill. We need to find out, "A," is that true? And "B," what was the nature of their illness? And those are things we just need to find out. If that's something that turns out to be an important feature, then you can say, hmm, that may lean a little bit more towards one. But I think what people might be getting confused, is there conflation of more interest in it or really more evidence? The evidence is very sparse. And that's the reason why we want to keep looking. The evidence for one of the other. If you look historically, the way things have rolled out, the original SARS/cov1, MERS, Ebola, the diseases that emerge from a reservoir and an animal, it happens all the time. And that's the reason why we feel that's the most likely. But since we haven't proven that, you've got to keep an open mind, and an open mind means you continue to look. As an open mind. Not in a pejorative way of thinking that they did something nefarious or what happened. Just keep an open mind and take a look. And that's what everyone wants right now.
GEIST: The conventional wisdom for so long, as you know, that it was zoonotic, that it went from an animal to a human being- that there were types of a bat in the wet market, there were talk of penguins in the wet market. Is there more evidence for that theory than there is the lab leak? In other words, aren't they both equally possible?
FAUCI: Obviously, when you say "Possible," anything is possible. And that's the reason why I say you need to keep an open mind. One of the things that people need to understand is that you need to keep looking for that link of the jump naturally from an animal to a human. I think one of the things that happened early on is that the scientists, you know, some people don't want to admit it, but the scientists in China, many of them are really very good scientists. I think epidemiology, one of the things that they did wrong is that they cleaned out the market as soon as there was this outrage for fear that it would spread even more. That could have been an epidemiological mistake, because they may have wiped out evidence of the jumping of species. But you still have to keep looking. And that's what everyone is doing, to continue to look. I have to keep emphasizing that, because people who are pejorative about it and conflate different things keep saying, well, you think this, you think this. An open mind is the clear thing we need to do.
WILLIE GEIST: A question you probably hear a lot, I hear a lot is from people out on the street and people who are on our show. Why is this so hard? Why is it so hard to find the source of this outbreak that's killed more than 3 million people around the world, 600,000 people here in the united States, has upended our lives and our economy? Is it because China is so opaque. Is it because W.H.O is not sharing information? Why is this so difficult?
ANTHONY FAUCI: You know,there are several reasons, Willie, why it's difficult. I think one of the things is that we need better access to all the information. I mean, it's obviously in China's interests to find out exactly what it is. And the "Is" of the natural theory would be to find that link. So you have to keep looking for it. I mean, obviously, you want openness and cooperation. One of the ways you can get it is don't be accusatory. Try to get both a forensic, a scientific, and an investigational approach. I think the accusatory part about it is only going to get them to pull back even more. We've got to do it in a combination of diplomacy, scientific forensic investigation, and do it in a way of the people of good faith, not who want to do blame, but people who in good faith are really trying to find out what the origin is. And we're seeing a lot of, you know -- I don't even want to describe it. A lot of pointing of fingers and things like that. Keep an open mind and go after the truth.
GEIST: You say it's in China's interests. Though, would you agree, Dr. Fauci, it's in their interests to hide it, if there was a lab leak or worse, if they were designing something in their lab, that the world that America didn't know, that it came out of their own lab, wouldn't they want to conceal that?
FAUCI: Willie, I don't want to be speculating on that Because Every time I say something like that, you know it as well as I, it will get completely taken out of context and go into the Twitter world like crazy. So, I'm going to leave that to other people and not surmise and guess who's interests its in. It's not helpful. Everything you say gets completely taken out of context.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: And it's really, it would be like me, talking about what it's like to be an NBA player. I wouldn't know -- I'm terrible at basketball. You're about medicine. You're about health. You're about studying that. These questions about China, I mean, that's up to the politicians to sort through. That's up to the politicians to figure out. It may not be in the best interest of China's leaders for this to come out. It certainly, though, it is certainly in the best interests of the Chinese people and also, I'm sure a lot of medical doctors over there want that to happen as well. I just want to -- let's just be very clear about this, because people love writing stories about how this has changed and they go from last summer, a lot of people on main street media went after Tom cotton for suggesting that it could have come from a lab to this summer. Now people are going after you, acting as if we all know for certain it came out of a lab. The truth is, we are still looking through a glass darkly, because we just don't have the data. We just don't have the information. And until we have that, doctor, we're not going to know, are we?
FAUCI: Joe, that’s just what I finished talking to Willie about.