Aug 23, 2022 - Health

Fauci: "Untruths have almost become normalized"

A screenshot of NIAID Director Anthony Fauci on "Rachel Maddow" on Monday night.
A screenshot of NIAID Director Anthony Fauci on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" on Monday night. Photo: NBC

Anthony Fauci, who's stepping down from his roles as NIAID director and President Biden's chief medical adviser in December, opened up on being the target of pandemic conspiracy theories during an interview on MSNBC on Monday evening.

What he's saying: "What we're dealing with now is just a distortion of reality, conspiracy theories which don't make any sense at all pushing back on sound public health measures, making it look like trying to save lives is encroaching on people's freedom," Fauci said on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."

  • "Untruths have almost become normalized, how we can see something in front of our very eyes and deny it's happening? That's the environment we're living in," Fauci continued, pointing to the televised hearings of the House panel investigating the Capitol riot.
  • "You have some people who actually don't believe it happened. How could that possibly be? And it's now spilling over in denial about public health principles," he added.

Why it matters: Fauci became the public face of the U.S. response to the COVID pandemic as the nation's top infectious disease expert.

  • That made him a target for some conspiracy theorists, which led to his security being stepped up when he served on the White House coronavirus task force during the Trump administration due to threats to his personal safety.
  • A West Virginia man was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison this month for sending emails to Fauci threatening to hurt or kill him and his family.

The big picture: The 81-year-old Fauci has been serving as Biden's chief medical adviser since January 2021 and as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.

Go deeper: Scientists, doctors condemn personal attacks on Fauci

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