Dr. Anthony Fauci, now 79, was warning about the deadly potential of pandemics long before COVID-19 first surfaced in Mainland China in late 2019. Reporter McKenzie Sadeghi, in USA Today, fact-checks reports that Fauci warned President Donald Trump's incoming administration about the possibility of a deadly outbreak in early 2017 and examines what the expert immunologist had to say three and a half years ago.
Sadeghi writes that it is inaccurate to claim that Fauci was warning about COVID-19 specifically in 2017, as the disease didn't exist back then. But to say that Fauci was sounding the alarm about pandemics in general, Sadeghi explains, is absolutely correct.
"The claim that Dr. Anthony Fauci, in 2017, warned the (incoming) Trump administration of the likelihood of an infectious disease outbreak is true based on our research," Sadeghi reports. "Fauci did not warn about the coronavirus specifically, as some posts claim, but rather, that a more general 'surprise infectious disease outbreak' would take place."
According to Sadeghi, Fauci — in a January 10, 2017 speech — warned Trump's incoming administration, "There is no question that there will be a challenge to the coming administration in the arena of infectious diseases…. The thing we're extraordinarily confident about is that we're going to see this in the next few years."
That speech, Sadeghi notes, was part of an event billed as "Pandemic Preparedness in the Next Administration," and Georgetown University has posted Fauci's speech on YouTube.
Watch the speech below: