Story at a glance

  • Fauci said he believed at the time the substance could have been a prank, anthrax or ricin.
  • He said anthrax would make him seriously ill, but he’d likely survive. If it were ricin, he said he’d be a “dead duck.”
  • Luckily, the white substance was tested and found to be nothing dangerous.

The nation’s top infectious diseases expert thought he could have been a “dead duck” last summer when he received an envelope of powder from an unknown source that blew up in his face, according to Politico

The news outlet got a preview of the new book “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,” authored by Washington Post journalists Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta. 

The book details an Aug. 27, 2020 incident in which National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci was opening his mail and a mysterious white powder blew onto his face and chest. 

Fauci said he believed at the time the substance could have been one of three things: a prank to scare him, anthrax or ricin. He said anthrax would make him seriously ill, but he’d likely survive, while ricin would be deadly. 


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His team then reportedly hosed him down in a chemical lab and he was required to stand naked in what looked like a kiddy pool while awaiting the results of what the substance was. 

Luckily, the white substance was tested and found to be nothing dangerous. 

Fauci first revealed the jarring incident in January in an interview with The New York Times. 

The new book is set to be released Tuesday. 


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Published on Jun 24, 2021