Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, removes a Washington Nationals protective mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.
Kevin Dietsch | Bloomberg | Getty Images
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that he won’t be silenced when discussing the science and facts about the coronavirus after a report said a Trump administration official is trying to “muzzle” him.
Earlier Wednesday, Politico reported that Paul Alexander, an official at the Department of Health and Human Services, is trying to prevent Fauci from speaking about the risks that the coronavirus poses to children. Alexander, a Trump administration appointee, instructed press officers and other staff about what Fauci should say during media interviews, Politico wrote, citing emails.
“I would never be muzzled about anything when it comes to science and evidence and the facts,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during an interview on Fox News.
HHS did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the Politico report.
Fauci was appointed director of NIAID in 1984 and has worked under six U.S. presidents.
His comments on the pandemic have often been at odds with President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials who have frequently downplayed the virus. For instance, on Tuesday, Fauci said a coronavirus vaccine probably won’t be ready by the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3, even after Trump suggested Monday that one could be ready before then.
Fauci has also spoken about the wide range of symptoms the virus can manifest, including in children, and has warned that some schools should take a more cautious approach to reopening.
On Wednesday, Fauci said schools in areas with low rates of coronavirus infections, or “green zones,” should have no problems bringing kids back to school.
“If you’re in a yellow zone, it’s more of a risk, so you may want to modify your schedule,” he said. “If you’re in a red zone, there’s a high degree of viral activity, I think you need to think twice before you get children to go back to school.”