A lack of transparency by Chinese officials — particularly about the novel coronavirus’ transmission and the obstruction of a top U.S. scientist from investigating it — played a significant role in allowing COVID-19 to spread outside China, NIAID director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.
The big picture: Axios first spoke with Fauci one year ago this week about the “mysterious pneumonia” in Wuhan, China, which he suspected was a novel coronavirus but was being reported by Chinese health officials as not that infectious.
“Back then, the lack of full appreciation of the seriousness of what we were dealing in, was [due to] a number of reasons,” Fauci says. “Some things were absolutely not known by anybody. And, some things were known by the Chinese and they weren’t very transparent about it,” he adds, citing their delayed reporting on person-to-person and asymptomatic transmission of the virus.