Yes, he did say that around January 21st — twice — and if TikTok is a source of truth about our scientists, as it is for millions of people in the U.S., then those millions will go on to conclude scientists don't know, as they did.
One thing that TikTok eliminated was what he said right before that: Obviously, you need to take it seriously and do the kind of things the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security is doing.
And after: It’s a very, very low risk to the United States, but it’s something we, as public health officials, need to take very seriously. And it's an evolving situation which could change on a moment's notice.
Easy for me to say looking back, but I wish he could have acted then (the day after the first case was diagnosed in the U.S.) like the chief scientist in South Korea, Kim Woo-Ju, did right away. But when Fauci did, soon after he made his mid-January statements, the anti-science sentiment that has grown in the U.S. — and now makes us different from places like Vietnam, China, Canada, Taiwan, Germany and New Zealand — Fauci was sidelined and labeled alarmist.
My personal opinion is it's better to get science from an interview like this than a snippet from TikTok: