On April 12, 2020, an official at the National Institutes of Health emailed Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and then CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield fretting about the increasing hostilities between the U.S. and World Health Organization over the coronavirus pandemic.
Then President Donald Trump was threatening to withdraw funding from the international health organization for getting “every aspect” of the outbreak wrong
“I am concerned about the recent fight between the US and WHO because it may adversely impact the current global efforts in controlling the spread of COVID-19,” said the email, which also raised questions about the accuracy of China’s Covid-19 case and fatality data.
Fauci responded: “This pandemic has been extremely challenging for many countries around the globe including China and the USA. I can only say that I (and I am sure that Bob Redfield feels the same way) prefer to look forward and not to assign blame or fault.”
“There are enough problems ahead that we must face together,” he added.
The message from the NIH official, whose name is redacted, was made public as part of a dump of thousands of Fauci’s emails from the first half of 2020, which were obtained by BuzzFeed News and other media outlets through the Freedom of Information Act. As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases within NIH, Fauci was at the center of the storm.
The anxious note, and Fauci’s ominous reply, illustrate the chaos of the moment.