FACT CHECK: Did Anthony Fauci Say Mask Mandates Were A ‘Broad Spectrum Failure’?

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A photo shared on Instagram claims former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci sees mask mandates as a “broad spectrum failure.”



Verdict: Misleading

The post took Fauci’s statement out of context. In a New York Times article, he goes on to say he believes well-fitted KN95 or N95 masks are the most effective.

Fact Check:

Fauci recently deflected criticism he received for the guidance he gave during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Fox News. Fauci believes that parts of the response “clearly went wrong,” but circled back to the CDC’s recommendations as the root of the response, NY Post reports.

The Instagram post purports Fauci admitted the mask mandate was not useful in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The post shares a screenshot of a tweet reiterating the claim and includes an article from the New York Times.

“Dr. Anthony Fauci finally admits that mask mandates were a broad spectrum failure,” the tweet reads. “From a broad public health standpoint, at the population level, masks work at the margins — maybe 10%.”

The quote has been taken out of context, however. The whole quote, found in a New York Times article, reads, “From a broad public-health standpoint, at the population level, masks work at the margins — maybe 10 percent. But for an individual who religiously wears a mask, a well-fitted KN95 or N95, it’s not at the margin. It really does work.”

Notably, Fauci specifies that consistently wearing a well-fitted KN95 or N95 “really does work.” (RELATED: Did Marco Rubio Accuse Anthony Fauci Of A ‘Fake Data Crime’?)

Check Your Fact reached out to the White House and the NIAID comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received from either source.

This is not the first time Fauci has been the subject of misinformation since his retirement. Check Your Fact previously debunked a claim in January 2023 allegedly showing Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio accusing Fauci of a “fake data crime.”

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter


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