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White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday called Dr. Anthony Fauci “an undeniable asset” despite emails that have exposed his knowledge of and efforts to tamp down the Wuhan “lab leak” theory to explain the COVID-19 pandemic’s origin. President Biden still has confidence in Fauci, who is his chief medical adviser and the government’s top infectious disease expert, Psaki said. “He’s been an undeniable asset in our country’s pandemic response,” Psaki said at her daily press briefing. “But it’s obviously not that advantageous for me to relitigate the substance of emails from 17 months ago.” Psaki said, “The president and the administration feel that Dr. Fauci has played an incredible role and getting the pandemic under control and being a voice to the public throughout the course of this pandemic.” The longtime director of the NIAID previously came under fire for inconsistent public health guidance. For example, he did not promote mask-wearing in February, March and early April 2020 as the respiratory virus spread in the US, despite the historical use of masks to counter airborne viruses and their successful early adoption in East Asia.

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