Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has said that information President Donald Trump receives in coronavirus briefings does not match some of the facts on the ground.
Fauci, speaking with ABC News for a 20/20 primetime special set to air on Tuesday night, was asked why some parts of the country are still struggling to get adequate testing and personal protective equipment.
‘We keep hearing when we go to these task force meetings that these [issues] are being corrected,’ Fauci said, according to a preview of the interview from Good Morning America. ‘But yet when you go into the trenches, you still hear about that.’
Fauci said he does not have a ‘good answer’ and ‘cannot explain’ the discrepancy, but that part of the problem stems from the fact that ‘many of the things that we needed were not produced in the United States.’
Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has said that information Trump receives in coronavirus briefings does not match some of the facts on the ground
‘We keep hearing when we go to these task force meetings that these [issues] are being corrected,’ Fauci said. ‘But yet when you go into the trenches, you still hear about that.’
Though areas that saw an early surge in coronavirus cases, such as New York, now have more testing capacity than is used on a daily basis, other areas, such as Texas and Arizona, saw long lines and inadequate testing capacity as cases soared there in June and early July.
When Fauci was pressed about any missteps he may have made himself, such as initially telling the public that masks were not helpful for the general public, he said such decisions were ‘based on the information at the moment.’
‘As a scientist, the thing you must always do is to be humble enough to know that when you get additional information, even information that might conflict what was felt earlier on, you then change your viewpoint and you change your recommendations based on the data,’ he said. ‘That’s what science is all about. Science is a learning process.’
Fauci also expressed concern about an ‘explosion’ of cases in several southern states in the past month, which he said is being fueled by ‘a surge of community spread.’
He urged Americans across the country to follow ‘some fundamental principles.’
‘The fundamentals are not rocket science,’ he said. ‘It’s universal wearing of masks, avoiding crowds, close the bars, [maintain] physical distance [and] personal hygiene, washing your hands. … No doubt you’re going to be able to turn these things around with some things as simple as that.’
In separate remarks, Fauci said that as the U.S. tops 4.2 million positive test results and 148,000 deaths, thousands more will die unless strong measures are taken to contain the virus.
‘If you look at the deaths as they’re occurring right now — about 1,000 per day — unless we get our arms around this and get it suppressed, we are going to have further suffering and further death,’ said Fauci, according to CNN.
‘That’s the reason why, as I’ve often said many, many times, there are things that we can do right now in the absence of a vaccine that can turn us around,’ he added.
With several companies racing to create a safe and reliable vaccine, Moderna on Monday announced the start of a 30,000-subject phase three trial.
Fauci on Tuesday morning dismissed Trump’s Monday night Twitter rant accusing him of ‘misleading’ Americans regarding antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine.
‘I don’t know how to address that,’ the nation’s top immunologist told Good Morning America regarding the president’s tweet storm. ‘I’m just going to, certainly, continue doing my job.’
‘I, you know, I don’t tweet, I don’t – I don’t even read them,’ Fauci, 79, told ABC News host George Stephanopoulos. ‘So I don’t really want to go there.’
Trump went on a Twitter frenzy Monday night, including retweets of posts claiming Fauci lied to the country regarding hydroxychloroquine, which the president revealed he has taken as a preventative measure to stop him from contracting coronavirus.
‘I, you know, I don’t tweet, I don’t – I don’t even read them,’ Fauci, 79, told ABC News host George Stephanopoulos (left) Tuesday morning. ‘So I don’t really want to go there,’ he continued, adding he doesn’t know ‘how to address’ the president’s tweets
Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, pushed back Tuesday morning: ‘I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances.’
The president’s Twitter storm included reposts of videos of a doctor who claimed the anti-Malaria drug is a ‘cure’ for COVID-19.
Several of the tweets he shared with his 84 million followers, however, were taken down by Twitter citing misinformation regulations.
Facebook and YouTube also removed video of Dr. Stella Immanuel’s speech outside the Supreme Court, which, before it was taken down, garnered tens of millions of views Monday on Facebook alone.
The president’s insistence that the drug does work come as the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for controlling and regulating all prescription and over-the-counter medications, pharmaceuticals and vaccines, said hydroxychloroquine is ‘unlikely to be effective’ in treating the virus.
‘I just will continue to do my job no matter what comes out because I think it’s very important,’ Fauci said Tuesday. ‘We’re in the middle of a crisis with regard to an epidemic – a pandemic. This is what I do, this is what I’ve been trained for my entire professional life and I’ll continue to do it.’
Fauci has advised six presidents since joining the National Institute of Health in 1984.
The full interview with Dr. Fauci will air on ABC on Tuesday at 9pm ET as part of the 20/20 special report “American Catastrophe: How Did We Get Here?”