FACT CHECK: Viral Post Claims Anthony Fauci Said He Would Not Take A COVID-19 PCR Test
A viral Instagram post allegedly shows Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, saying he will not take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
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The footage, which dates back to March 2020, ends before Fauci said he would take a test if he were “in a situation where I’m at a higher risk.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines at the time prioritized testing for certain groups due to limited availability of tests, but the guidelines have since changed.
Social media users in recent days have been re-sharing a short clip of Fauci being interviewed on CNN to suggest Fauci flatly stated he would not take a PCR test for COVID-19. The video includes text that reads “Will Dr. Fauci Take PCR Covid Test?”
“I’m not taking a test for a simple reason: I have no symptoms. I’m practicing pretty good social distancing,” he says in the video. After the interviewer briefly interjects, he adds, “Not everybody in the United States should take a test. I mean, I have no symptoms.” It then plays a clip of actor and comedian Kevin Hart.
The video clip, however, has been misleadingly edited and leaves out important context, Check Your Fact found after reviewing the interview in its entirety. (RELATED: Was Dr. Anthony Fauci Recently Confronted By A ‘Political Influencer’ At An Airport?)
The interview took place in mid-March 2020, when testing was not yet widely available and CDC guidelines prioritized certain groups for COVID-19 testing. Those groups included hospitalized patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, individuals with symptoms who had come into contact with a suspected or confirmed case or had traveled to an affected area, and people with symptoms who were 65 and older or who had a medical condition that puts them at a higher risk for poor outcomes, according to a March 8, 2020, CDC Health Alert Network document.
The video in the Oct. 12 Instagram post abruptly switches to the clip of Hart before Fauci goes on to say, “If I’m in a situation where I’m at a higher risk, I will take a test.”
There are now COVID-19 tests readily available that can determine if a person has a current infection, as well as ones that can tell if a person has previously been infected with the virus, according to the CDC website. Current CDC guidelines now recommend COVID-19 testing for people who have COVID-19 symptoms, individuals who have been exposed to others with COVID-19, those who “have been asked or referred” by “their healthcare provider, or state, tribal, local, or territorial health department” and unvaccinated people who take part in activities that put them at higher risk for contracting the disease.
There have been a total of over 45 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S. to date, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resources Center.