Dr. Anthony Fauci advised Obama-era Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell against wearing a mask – even slamming the practice as “not really effective” – in private emails obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request.
Burwell, also the former Director of President Barack Obama’s Office of Management and Budget, emailed the National Institue of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director on February 4th, 2020 inquiring about the necessity of wearing a mask for a forthcoming trip and advice on the direction of a donation to China from investor Ray Dalio.
The following day, Fauci’s response included a declaration that “I do not recommend that you wear a mask,” adding that the “typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus.”
In full, Fauci’s response read:
Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection. The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you. I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a vey low risk location. Your instincts are correct, money is best spent on medical countermeasures such as diagnostics and vaccines.