Bill Gates Vaccine Adviser Was 'Seriously Worried' About Fauci's Health, Emails Show

An executive at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told Dr. Anthony Fauci that he was "seriously worried" about the infectious disease expert's health during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, released emails show.

On Tuesday, Buzzfeed News published around 3,200 pages of emails from Fauci's inbox, the most high-profile health expert communicating with the public during the pandemic, while The Washington Post released more than 860 pages.

Buzzfeed obtained emails from January to June 2020, while the Post saw correspondence from March to April of last year, showing an insight into the work and schedule of Fauci during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.

One exchange obtained by the Post showed Emilio Emini, an executive at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in charge of coordinating vaccination efforts, raising concern with Fauci, 80, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about the condition of his health.

Fauci was put in touch with Emini by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates after he spoke to him on the phone about a global vaccine effort, according to the emails. The foundation's stated goal is to reduce inequality and improve healthcare around the world, and Gates has been a vocal figure throughout the pandemic and an advocate for vaccinations.

In an email apparently following their phone conversation, Fauci told Gates that he was "enthusiastic about moving forward on a collaborative and hopefully synergistic approach to COVID-19" with the foundation and federal health agencies.

After Gates put Fauci in touch with Emini, the executive got in contact with the nation's top infectious disease expert and raised concerns about the state of his health, amid the latter's frequent television appearances during the first wave of the pandemic.

"I see you on TV almost every day, and although you continue to have considerable energy, I am seriously worried about you," Emini wrote in an email dated April 2, 2020, obtained by the Post. "The nation and the world absolutely need your leadership."

Fauci replied to the executive at around 1:53 a.m. on April 3, saying: "I will try to engage as much as I can given my current circumstances."

The emails released on Tuesday highlighted the packed schedule Fauci faced throughout the first wave of the pandemic, with the health expert admitting in correspondence that he was not getting much sleep.

In an email from February 2, 2020, published by Buzzfeed, Fauci wrote: "This is White House in full overdrive and I am in the middle of it," and replied to a journalist just two days later, saying: "I am really tired. Not much sleep these days."

In another email released by Buzzfeed from February 5, 2020, Fauci said: "Am hanging in there. Feels like my internship and first year residency when I was on every other night and every other weekend, but actually never left the hospital because the patients were so sick."

Later in the month, Fauci received an email from National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins, where he wrote at the end of the correspondence: "Get some sleep!"

Fauci, who was tasked with communicating the science of the pandemic to the U.S., often had to contradict then President Donald Trump, as the latter appeared to play down the seriousness of the pandemic.

In a CNN interview in June 2020, Fauci explained that the work had been tough, saying: "I'm chronically fatigued, I don't get a lot of sleep. I'm constantly briefing, talking, doing things, hopefully getting the right cause out."

Despite his lack of sleep, the released emails showed that Fauci was courteous in his replies throughout the first wave of the pandemic, thanking those who offered suggestions and replying into the early morning hours.

Newsweek has contacted the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a representative of Fauci for comment.

Dr Anthony Fauci released emails
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director at the National Institute Of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a hearing with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, on the Covid-19 response, on Capitol Hill on March 18, 2021, in Washington, D.C. An executive at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told Fauci that he was “seriously worried” about the infectious disease expert’s health during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, released emails show. Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty Images