A senior official at the Department of Health and Human Services is attempting to dictate what Dr. Anthony Fauci will say in upcoming interviews to prevent him from discussing the risk of COVID-19 in children, Politico reports. Dr. Paul Alexander, a senior advisor to Trump-appointed HHS Public Affairs Secretary Michael Caputo, has repeatedly emailed press officers at the National Institute of Health, where Fauci works, to instruct him to downplay risks.
In one example, Alexander emailed about an upcoming MSNBC interview, “Can you ensure Dr. Fauci indicates masks are for the teachers in schools. Not for children. There is no data, none, zero, across the entire world, that shows children especially young children, spread this virus to other children, or to adults or to their teachers. None. And if it did occur, the risk is essentially zero.” Scientists within HHS and NIH reportedly pushed back on his remarks. More than 500,000 U.S. children have been infected with the coronavirus. In response to the report, Fauci said on Fox News, “I would never be muzzled about anything when it comes to science and evidence and the facts.”