The chief medical adviser to the president was speaking with Dr Larry Corey at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington on Tuesday to receive the honorary Hutch Award.
The award is typically given to baseball players who act as healthcare advocates off the field. Dr Fauci is the second non-player to receive the award.
Dr Corey, the former president of Fred Hutch, discussed Dr Fauci’s long career and the future of the pandemic in front of around 100 employees and medical experts.
“We are expecting another surge in the fall,” Dr Fauci said concerning Covid-19 cases.
Looking back at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Dr Corey said, “at the epicentre of the initial outbreak, WA1 – Washington 1 is considered the ancestral model strain”.
“No, I developed the ancestral model strain,” Dr Fauci joked. “I created it.”
“That’s right, you let it loose,” Dr Corey said.
“I was in my kitchen, and I...” Dr Fauci said, acting as if he dropped something to the floor.
A Republican National Committee Twitter account tweeted out the 35-second segment from the hourlong conversation, saying that “top Biden science advisor Anthony Fauci jokes and laughs about the origins of COVID and gain-of-function research”.
Top Biden science advisor Anthony Fauci jokes and laughs about the origins of COVID and gain-of-function research pic.twitter.com/JIKzJpAPeY
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 10, 2022
Dr Fauci has been the target of death threats and baseless conspiracy theories surrounding Covid-19.
He arrived at the cancer centre with Secret Service agents at his side, King 5 reported.
“It’s still amazing to me that people can still hold onto such untruths. They have so much going on in their lives, that they just accept it as fact,” Dr Fauci said on Tuesday.
Dr Fauci was also in Seattle to throw the first pitch on Tuesday night in the MLB game between the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees.
He has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984.
Last year, he told CNN that “the threats come and go, it’s just really amazing”.
“I could say something to you that somebody doesn’t like, like ‘you shouldn’t be removing mask mandates’, and then all of a sudden you get a bunch of threats because people don’t like what you say,” he added.
“It’s just extraordinary,” he said at the time. “I’ve never experienced anything like before, for sure. And I hope I never will again after this.”