Anthony Fauci doesn’t have a Twitter account. But he does have a lot to say about the recent scrutiny following the release of his emails from 2020 — an especially busy time in his tenure as America’s chief immunologist. Republicans like Ron DeSantis have used the emails as fodder for criticism, accusing him of “faucism” (yes, that’s a play on fascism). Fauci’s response: “Here’s a guy whose entire life has been devoted to saving lives. And now you’re telling me he’s like Hitler? Come on, folks. Get real.”

[You can listen to this episode of “Sway” on Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

In this conversation, Kara Swisher and Fauci parse the science from the politics. She presses him on the Wuhan lab leak theory, which critics claim Fauci and the media were too quick to dismiss. They discuss what went wrong with his early mask-wearing guidance and whether there is room for error or evolution of advice when it comes to public health in a social media age. And of course, they dig into some of the 4,000 or so pages of Fauci’s emails, including exchanges with Sylvia Burwell, the former Health and Human Services secretary, and Mark Zuckerberg. (No, he was not asking Zuck for help with his Instagram.)

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

Anthony Fauci on the Lab Leak Theory and Emailing Mark Zuckerberg 1
Illustration by The New York Times; photograph by Pete Marovich for The New York Times

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“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Heba Elorbany, Matt Kwong and Daphne Chen and edited by Nayeema Raza and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair and Michelle Harris; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Erick Gomez; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Liriel Higa and Joseph Tisdall.