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Fact check: Dr. Anthony Fauci is not the author of a viral Facebook post on viruses

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 10/30/2020 Adrienne Dunn, USA TODAY
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The claim: Dr. Anthony Fauci wrote an essay about viruses that went viral

As the country heads into winter, following months of warnings from health experts, coronavirus cases are rising in most states, and the U.S. is setting new records for daily case counts since the pandemic began.

The coronavirus pandemic has been the subject of a flurry of misinformation, perpetuated by social media and public figures. 

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President Donald Trump, one of the country's most influential spreaders of misinformation, has sown doubt about pandemic safety measures and public health officials, including the nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

Fauci is a vocal advocate for pandemic safety measures, encouraging face masks, social distancing and responsible behavior. His status as a public figure has also resulted in his becoming the subject of misinformation, particularly misattributed quotes.

One Facebook post, which has been shared by thousands of people, claims Fauci is the author of an essay that compares various viruses, like chickenpox and HIV, and how people respond to them, to make a case for the seriousness of COVID-19. 

a man wearing a suit and tie: Dr. Anthony Fauci wearing a Washington Nationals themed mask at a Senate committee hearing. © Kevin Dietsch, AP Dr. Anthony Fauci wearing a Washington Nationals themed mask at a Senate committee hearing.

More: Fact check: What's true and what's false about coronavirus?

Did Fauci write the Facebook essay?

The safety first sentiment of the essay is consistent with Fauci's messaging throughout the pandemic, but he is not the author of the essay.

In July, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Fauci directs, told PolitiFact that Fauci did not author the post.

Additionally, in the comments of one shared Facebook post of the essay, user Amy Wright takes credit for the letter. 

"I have seen that people are sharing this with the attribution to Dr. Fauci. People who are simply sharing something they've seen and feel aligned with the thoughts being shared is one thing," Wright wrote. "But the person or persons who originally decided to add that attribution... well I have to say the impetus behind that decision mystifies me."

Our ruling: False

The claim in the post has been rated FALSE. The essay was not written by Dr. Anthony Fauci, which was confirmed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Additionally, someone else has taken credit for writing it.

Our fact check sources:

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Dr. Anthony Fauci is not the author of a viral Facebook post on viruses

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