FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Barack Obama, Anthony Fauci And Melinda Gates At The Wuhan Institute Of Virology In 2015?
An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows former President Barack Obama, top White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and philanthropist Melinda Gates visiting the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2015.
The photo, taken in 2014, shows Obama, Fauci and then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell visiting the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Vaccine Research Center in Maryland.
Obama, Fauci and Gates have been targets of misinformation related to the new coronavirus that has sickened over 14.1 million people worldwide to date. (RELATED: Did Anthony Fauci Sit On The Clinton Foundation’s Board For 20 Years?)
This particular post claims to show them at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2015. In the photo, Obama appears to be speaking to a woman in a lab coat, while Fauci and another woman look on. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is located in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the new coronavirus first emerged in late 2019.
The photo, found on the NIH website, actually shows Obama, Fauci and Burwell in December 2014 at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Nancy Sullivan, chief of the Biodefense Research Section of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is pictured telling Obama about “the results of the experimental Ebola vaccine,” according to the caption. Gates does not appear in the photo.
Obama, who was president at the time, visited the campus to tour the NIH Vaccine Research Center and deliver an address to NIH staff. During the speech, he “emphasized the need for emergency Congressional authorization of resources to ensure that our nation’s research and public health efforts against Ebola will lead as quickly as possible to an end to this devastating outbreak,” the NIH director’s blog says.
As of press time, the U.S. has over 3.6 million COVID-19 cases and some 139,400 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.