Amid the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated mask guidance and new information coming to light about the origins of COVID-19, experts and Americans alike are questioning the credibility of those calling the shots throughout the pandemic — including the high-profile Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“The agency [CDC] has lost all credibility,” Dr. Marty Makary, Fox News medical contributor and professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, said. “They have been consistently delinquent, misrepresenting COVID risk levels. The public sees through the CDC’s flawed guidance on schools, travel and summer camps that use the guise of science. That’s why 52% of Americans no longer trust the CDC.”

The CDC's new mask guidance for vaccinated people creates confusion.

The CDC’s new mask guidance for vaccinated people creates confusion.

Dr. Brett Giroir, the former White House Coronavirus Task Force testing czar and former Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) assistant secretary, said the confusion surrounding the CDC’s new guidance is a result of “awful communication and planning around the guidance” as well as a “terrible choice of words.” 

“The real message is: If you are vaccinated, and not in a special group like the immunosuppressed, it is safe for you and for others around you for you to be without a mask indoors,” Giroir said. “But, if you are in areas of significant disease or in a high risk circumstance and you are not vaccinated, it is still safer to wear a mask than not to wear one.”

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On top of mistrust in the CDC, Fauci’s credibility is wavering, some experts claim. He recently said he is “not convinced” COVID-19 developed naturally outside of a Wuhan lab, as a report came out that three Wuhan lab workers were diagnosed with COVID-like symptoms just before the official outbreak in China. 

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky testified Wednesday that a laboratory origin of COVID-19 is “one possibility.” 

Yet, in May 2020, Fauci told National Geographic: “What’s out there now is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.” But in May, he flip-flopped.

When asked by a Politifact reporter if he was still confident that COVID-19 developed naturally, he said: “No, actually no, I’m not convinced about that.”

Security personnel gather near the entrance of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where three lab workers were diagnosed with COVID-like symptoms just before China's outbreak. 

Security personnel gather near the entrance of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where three lab workers were diagnosed with COVID-like symptoms just before China’s outbreak.  (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Virus origins aside, Fauci has also given mixed messages surrounding mask mandates. 

In March 2020 he said “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” and in June 2020 he discouraged mask-wearing to conserve them for health workers, qualifying that “personal protective equipment… were in very short supply.” But then, in January of 2021 he said double-masking “makes common sense, it’s more effective.” 

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Giroir acknowledged this mixed messaging can, in part, be credited to new information and data, but that there could have been better transparency.

“The change in mask guidance was based on new information and data,” he said. “Of course, I had some issues back then because we did not know that masks did not work. We just did not have affirmative evidence that they did work, and we needed to conserve masks for health care workers. Fauci should have been upfront with that as well as the rest of the medical leadership on the task force, stating that we don’t know if they work instead of saying don’t wear them.”

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., a member of the House of Representative’s China Task Force, who recently uncovered that $1.1 million dollars in U.S. taxpayer funding was sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said he is troubled by Dr. Fauci’s mixed messaging on mask mandates but feels it is “nothing new.” 

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he is now "not convinced" COVID-19 developed naturally outside of a Wuhan lab. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he is now “not convinced” COVID-19 developed naturally outside of a Wuhan lab. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)

“He has been wrong, intentionally deceptive, and inconsistent throughout this entire pandemic. A few examples of Fauci’s failures include: claiming there was very little risk to Americans in January of 2020, opposing President Trump’s China travel ban then crediting it with saving lives, and wrongly predicting an explosion of cases in Texas after Gov. Abbott lifted the state mask mandates,” Reschenthaler said. “It is long past time for Dr. Fauci to stop talking to the American public. Fauci should resign or be fired immediately.”

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, proposed the “FIRED” (Fauci Incompetence Requires Early Dismissal) Act in light of his mixed messaging. 

“Dr. Fauci is at odds with the CDC,” he said. “He has repeatedly put political science ahead of the science on COVID-19.”

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However, Giroir said he does not think Fauci has flip-flopped in 2021. 

“The current confusion is because the overall guidance from CDC is confusing, and it is obvious that the CDC changed guidance without briefing him extensively,” he added. 

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