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Fauci: Attacks on me are really also 'attacks on science'

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci says he puts 'very little weight in the craziness of condemning me' Beware language and the art of manipulation The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay MORE said Wednesday that conservative attacks on him are really "attacks on science" because he has been following the scientific process in his recommendations.

"It's very dangerous, Chuck, because a lot of what you're seeing as attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science, because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning, have been fundamentally based on science," Fauci told host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddPortman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Sanders against infrastructure deal with more gas taxes, electric vehicle fees Fiona Hill: Summit with Biden was 'a very important' symbolic win for Putin MORE on MSNBC.

Republican attacks on Fauci have escalated in recent days following the release of many of his emails from early in the pandemic, with Republicans arguing Fauci was not forthcoming about the possibility of a lab leak as the origin of the virus, and that he changed his mind about the effectiveness of masks.

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"If you go through each and every one of them you can explain and debunk it immediately," Fauci said of the attacks.

For example, he pointed to criticism that "he should be fired because he in the beginning changed his mind about masks," initially saying the general public did not need masks, before later saying they did.

Fauci said he was simply following the science that was known at the time, along with the surgeon general and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Initially, he said there was thought to be a shortage of masks, there was no evidence masks worked outside of a hospital setting with medical-grade masks and the extent of asymptomatic transmission was not known.

When the understanding on those three factors changed, the recommendation changed, Fauci said.

"As a scientist, as a health official, when those data change, when you get more information, it's essential that you change your position because you've got to be guided by the science and the current data," he said.

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"People want to fire me or put me in jail for what I've done, namely follow the science," he said.

As for the lab leak, a theory that has grown in credibility recently and that the Biden administration is investigating, Fauci said he has long thought it is a possibility but not the most likely origin.

"I feel this way, I haven't changed, most of the scientists I know feel that way, that the most likely origin is a natural origin from an animal reservoir to human, however we have not ruled out the possibility that there could have been a leak from the lab," he said.