Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the claim in an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who asked whether it had been a mistake to close schools for so long.
“Was it a mistake in so many states, in so many localities, to see schools closed as long as they were?” Karl asked.
Fauci responded: “I don’t want to use the word ‘mistake’ because if I do it gets taken out of the context that you’re asking me the question on.”
Karl clarified: “Could there be too high a price?,” referencing recent reports that show academic scores have plummeted over the past two years.
“What we should realize, and have realized, is that there will be deleterious collateral consequences when you do something like that,” Fauci said. “The idea that this virus doesn’t affect children is not so. We’ve already lost close to 1,500 kids so far.
“If you go back, and I ask anybody to go back over the number of times that I’ve said we’ve got to do everything we can to keep the schools open, no one plays that clip,” he said.
“They always come back and say, ‘Fauci is responsible for closing the schools.’ I had nothing to do [with it], I mean, let’s get down to the facts.”
However, past interviews during the pandemic prove that Fauci favored school shutdowns. In March 2020, for example, Fauci told PBS, “So, clearly in certain circumstances, particularly in areas where there’s community spread, the schools should be closed.”
In September 2020, Fauci told CNN that schools should only reopen “once the virus is under control.”