FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show Anthony Fauci And Another Health Expert ‘Plotting’ To Stage A ‘Massive Health Scare’ Using A ‘New Virus’?

Ryan King | Contributor

A video shared on Instagram allegedly shows White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and former Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Director Dr. Rick Bright “plotting” to stage a “massive health scare” using a “new virus.”

 

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Verdict: False

The video takes Fauci and Bright’s comments at a 2019 panel about a universal flu vaccine out of context. At no point during the panel did Fauci or Bright make comments that indicate a plot to stage a “massive health scare” using a “new virus.”

Fact Check:

Featured in the viral video are two clips, one of Fauci and one of Bright, both participating in a panel discussion. The footage shows part of a Milken Institute Future of Health Summit that Fauci and Bright attended in October 2019.

“There might be a need or even an urgent call for an entity of excitement out there that’s completely disruptive, that’s not beholden to bureaucratic strings and processes,” Bright says in the Instagram video, while Fauci can seen saying, “So we really do have a problem of how the world perceives influenza, and it’s gonna be difficult to change that, unless you do it from within and say, ‘I don’t care what your perception is, we’re gonna address the problem.'”

The Instagram video appears to come from a recent, longer video published by InfoWars, a website that has promoted conspiracy theories in the past. The Instagram video takes Bright and Fauci’s comments during a panel about a universal influenza vaccine out of context to suggest Fauci and the Department of Health and Human Services are “plotting TO stage massive health scare using ‘new virus.'”

Bright made the comment about an “entity of excitement out there that’s completely disruptive” after other panel participants suggested that researching influenza is not as attractive to PhD and post-doctoral students as other research topics. One of the other panelists mentioned that non-government organizations had provided grants for influenza research and that increasing inter-disciplinary collaboration could help influenza research.

Here’s what Bright said, in part:

To make it sexy, I think we have to – I like the concept – disrupting this field. If we are just continuing thinking we’re going to work on another iteration or – and no offense, I think we need to continue what we’re doing – another iteration or another assay or another step, I don’t know if that’s enough to excite those really creative thinkers. So, in addition to doing what we’re doing so good at, I think in parallel there might be a need or even an urgent call for an entity of excitement that’s completely disruptive, that’s not beholden to bureaucratic strings and processes.

Fauci then jumped in, saying at one point that the “easiest way to get a grad student really excited about something that isn’t sexy is to, you know, put a gown on it by having a lot of money” and that more funding could draw “new people with new ideas,” according to C-SPAN.

The remark Fauci made in the Instagram video comes around the 41-minute mark of C-SPAN’s footage of the panel, while he was talking about how he believes there is a “misperception” that influenza is not a serious disease and that it is a barrier for progress on influenza research.

“It’s the diversity of what influenza means to the community. For some people, they get the flu – the real flu, not like ‘I have the stomach flu,’ but the real flu. They get better. So there’s sort of this perception, if it’s so serious, how come people get flu each year and it isn’t a catastrophe,” he said shortly before making the comment shown in the Instagram video. “When you’re dealing with a disease like HIV, if you get HIV, it’s serious whether you’re young, whether you’re middle age, whether you’re old. If you get cancer, that’s bad, whether you’re young, whether it’s intermediate. Whereas, with influenza, for some people, they go throughout life and it doesn’t impact them at all.”

Fauci went on to say that hundreds of thousands of people die of influenza each year and to reiterate that he thinks there is a “misperception” about influenza, the C-SPAN video shows. (RELATED: Was Dr. Anthony Fauci Recently Confronted By A ‘Political Influencer’ At An Airport?)

“So we really do have a problem of how the world perceives influenza, and it’s gonna be difficult to change that, unless you do it from within and say, ‘I don’t care what your perception is, we’re gonna address the problem.’ In a disruptive way and in an iterative way, because you do need both,” Fauci said.

Check Your Fact reviewed the entirety of the panel and found no indication of planning a “massive health scare” using a “new virus.”

Ryan King

Contributor

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