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Old video used to misrepresent Fauci position on virus testing

March 3, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said on CNN that because he has no symptoms related to the new coronavirus there is no reason for him to be tested for it.  

AP’S ASSESSMENT: Missing context. Fauci made this statement during a March 15, 2020, interview on CNN when testing for the virus was not readily available for Americans. 

THE FACTS: As the WHO declared the coronavirus a global pandemic in March 2020, Fauci warned about dangers that the virus would spread. At the time, nearly 3,000 cases had been reported in the U.S. and officials were scrambling to offer COVID-19 testing options. 

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Then-Vice President Mike Pence said at the time that the U.S. could test about 15,000 to 20,000 Americans a day in comparison to today where millions of people can get tested for the virus daily. 

In an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar, Fauci was asked if he would get tested after touching the same podium and microphone as the president. Fauci replied he would not be getting tested. 

“I’m not taking the test for a simple reason: I have no symptoms,” he said. “I’m practicing pretty good social distancing.”

In those early days of the pandemic, health officials were advising Americans to only get tested if they showed symptoms of the virus since testing was not widely available. Testing at the time was primarily done on people who were hospitalized or had a doctor’s referral. 

“Not everybody in the United States should take a test,” Fauci said during the 2020 interview. “I mean I have no symptoms, there’s no reason for me to take a test. If I’m in a situation where I’m at a higher risk, I will take a test.”

Social media users were sharing Fauci’s interview almost a year later to suggest that Americans never needed to get tested and did not need them now. 

“Straight from the horse’s mouth,” one post sharing the video on Twitter said. 

The video being shared online was watermarked with “The News Junkies Cartoons,” a pro-Trump group that has YouTube channel with similar edited political videos. 

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536