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Fauci testifies before Congress for pandemic investigation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dr. Anthony Fauci, who led the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, rejected Republican criticism of his handling of the pandemic at a hearing on Monday, including accusations that the virus may have been created in a Chinese lab with U.S.-funded research.

The hearing was the culmination of a 15-month probing the roots of the virus and the nation’s response to the pandemic, led by Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chair of the House Oversight Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before Congress in a culmination of a 15-month investigation into the nation’s COVID-19 response
  • Republicans grilled Fauci over his handling of the pandemic, while Democrats said the investigation had not uncovered any wrongdoing
  • Fauci’s testimony will be included in the subcommittee’s final investigation report, expected to be released late this year

The subcommittee has spent more than a year on the investigation, which has produced 115 investigative letters, 30 transcribed interviews, 27 hearings and more than 1.5 million pages of documents, according to Wenstrup.

Wenstrup has said that the pandemic response went wrong from the start, when public health officials such as Fauci, then director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), began basing policy on what Wenstrup said were merely scientific guesses.

“Doctor Fauci, under your leadership, the United States health agencies adopted specific policy aims as a single dogmatic truth without the benefit of debate. Out of a desire for a single narrative,” Wenstrup said at the June 3 hearing.

According to Wenstrup, that single narrative included that the virus emerged from nature, rather than from a laboratory, and that vaccine mandates and social distancing were necessary.

Fauci defending his record, as well as social distancing and other policies that he said were based on the science available at the time. For example, he said the 6-foot social distancing guidance came from studies about the distance that virus could be carried in droplets. The CDC later updated its guidance after coronavirus was discovered to spread through aerosols, which can travel more than 6 feet.

“The accusation being circulated that I influenced these scientists to change their minds by bribing them with millions of dollars in grant money is absolutely false,” he said at the hearing. “The second issue is a false accusation that I tried to cover up the possibility that the virus originated from a lab.”

Fauci’s testimony will be included in the subcommittee’s final investigation report, expected to come out late this year.”  

“We are following the facts. Holding wrongdoers accountable and planning for a better, more prepared future,” Wenstrup said.

After the hearing, Democrats said the investigation had uncovered no evidence that Fauci did anything wrong, and that the hearing missing an important opportunity to discuss best practices for the next pandemic.

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