Elon Musk's 'prosecute Fauci' tweet draws backlash from health experts

Members of the medical community are asking Twitter's new owner to remove a tweet he posted regarding the outgoing director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

"My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci," Elon Musk, Twitter's CEO, said in a Dec. 11 tweet

The post drew swift backlash from medical and public health experts, who defended Anthony Fauci, MD, outgoing director of the NAID, and his work as leader of the nation's COVID-19 response. As face of the pandemic response and recommendations surrounding mitigation measures, Dr. Fauci became the center of unfounded conspiracy theories that made him a target of threats and harassment. 

"For the record: Dr. Fauci has done nothing wrong, except serve our nation. In the meantime, Mr. Musk should know that 200,000 Americans needlessly lost their lives to COVID-19 due to this kind of antiscience rhetoric and disinformation," Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, vaccine scientist at Baylor College of Medicine and endowed chair in tropical pediatrics at Texas Children's Hospital, both based in Houston, said in a tweet. "Elon, I'm asking you to take down this Tweet," he wrote in a Dec. 11 tweet. 

The Emory Division of Infectious Diseases, part of Atlanta-based Emory University, posted the following response later that day: "This is antiethical to what we stand for, insulting science, infectious disease, and people with trans/nonbinary identities who suffer from enough stigma. [Infectious disease] programs should strongly consider leaving this space permanently if this is not taken down.

A number of Mr. Musk's changes to the social media platform, such as the elimination of its COVID-19 misinformation policy, have largely been met with criticism from health experts. 


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