Resurfaced interviews show Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1984, was opposed to “draconian” quarantines that could have “unintended consequences” – back in 2014 during an Ebola outbreak in Africa.
He warned in late October of that year that enforcing mandatory quarantines would discourage medical professionals from volunteering aid in stricken areas. Governors from both major parties had imposed mandatory 21-day quarantines on people returning from affected countries in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading into the U.S.
“The best way to protect us is to stop the epidemic in Africa, and we need those health care workers — so we do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer to go,” he said at the time.
In an October 2014 interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Fauci declined to criticize both Govs. Andrew Cuomo, of New York, and Chris Christie, of New Jersey, over the quarantines – but warned that “we have to be careful that there aren’t unintended consequences.”
“The best way to stop this epidemic is to help the people in West Africa,” he told Todd. “We do that by sending people over there, not just from the U.S.A, but from other places. We need to treat them, returning people, with respect…They’re really heroes, so the idea that we’re being a little bit draconian, there are other ways to protect.”
Those other ways included various levels of monitoring, he said.
“Go with the science,” he said.
Ebola does not spread as easily as the coronavirus, but it carries a significantly higher death rate, with milder strains killing more than 50% of victims, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Ebola virus is also not contagious until symptoms appear, while COVID-19 can be transferred through asymptomatic people.
The coronavirus death rate in the U.S. is less than 2%, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.