Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciRegeneron halts trial of COVID-19 antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Pollsters stir debate over Trump numbers Donald Trump Jr. claims US coronavirus death rate at ‘almost nothing’ MORE, the nation’s leading disease expert, took aim at the White House’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak as the country has seen a spike in cases as it approaches winter, saying “it’s not a good situation.”
“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told The Washington Post in an interview this weekend. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said “all the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors.”
“You could not possibly be positioned more poorly,” he continued.
In a broad interview with the paper, Fauci warned of the country reaching a point where it could see over 100,000 coronavirus cases recorded daily if it does not reverse course quickly when it comes to public health practices. His comments came shortly after the country recorded a surge in COVID-19 infections last week, as multiple states have been reporting record number of cases in recent weeks.
Fauci said in the interview that Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenPoll: Trump leads Biden by 7 points in Iowa Biden campaign cancels event in Texas after pro-Trump cars surrounded its bus Obama shooting three pointer while campaigning for Biden goes viral MORE’s campaign “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective,” while President TrumpDonald John TrumpPoll: Trump leads Biden by 7 points in Iowa Biden campaign cancels event in Texas after pro-Trump cars surrounded its bus Obama shooting three pointer while campaigning for Biden goes viral MORE is “looking at it from a different perspective” by focusing on “the economy and reopening the country.”
He also said that the coronavirus task force has been having fewer meetings, despite rising cases in the country and that “the public health aspect of the task force has diminished greatly.”
Fauci told the paper that the president not as accessible to him and White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah BirxDeborah BirxThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Pollsters stir debate over Trump numbers The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump, Biden set for weekend swing state sprint Kushner told Woodward in April Trump was ‘getting the country back from the doctors’ MORE as he once was. Fauci said the last time he and the president spoke was around the start of October.
“The last time I spoke to the president was not about any policy; it was when he was recovering in Walter Reed, he called me up,” Fauci told the paper.
“All of a sudden, they didn’t like what the message was because it wasn’t what they wanted to do anymore. They needed to have a medical message that was essentially consistent with what they were saying,” he said in the interview.
While he told the paper he has been attending staff meetings by phone, he also said he hasn’t been at the White House often since it saw its own coronavirus outbreak among staffers last month.
The interview comes roughly two weeks after Trump blasted Fauci in a call with his campaign staff, saying the public health expert was a “disaster” and claiming that Americans “are tired of COVID.”
“Yup, there’s going to be spikes, there’s going to be no spikes, there’s going to be vaccines. With or without vaccines, people are tired of COVID,” Trump said on the call, according to audio obtained by The Hill. “I have the biggest rallies I have ever had and we have COVID. People are saying whatever, just leave us alone. They’re tired of it.”
“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots, these people, these people that have gotten it wrong. Fauci is a nice guy, he’s been here for 500 years, he called every one of them wrong,” Trump also said.
Fauci said in his interview over the weekend that the “the only medical person who sees the president on a regular basis is Scott Atlas.”
“It’s certainly not Debbie Birx,” he added before going on to criticize Atlas, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University and another member of the White House coronavirus task force.
“He insists he’s not somebody who’s pushing for herd immunity,” Fauci told the paper. “He says, ‘That’s not what I mean.’ [But] everything he says — when you put them together and stitch them together — everything is geared toward the concept of ‘it doesn’t make any difference if people get infected. It’s a waste of time. Masks don’t work. Who cares.’”
“And the only thing you need to do is protect the vulnerable, like people in the nursing homes,” Fauci said.
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.
In a statement to the Post on Saturday, White House spokesman Judd DeereJudd DeereTrump officials blur lines on campaigning, governing Trump considers ordering government analysis on fracking economics: report Trump’s company paid at least .5M by federal government: report MORE knocked Fauci over his comments and accused him of playing politics with just days ahead of the election.
“It’s unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force and someone who has praised President Trump’s actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics,” Deere told the paper.
“As a member of the Task Force, Dr. Fauci has a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy, but he’s not done that, instead choosing to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent — exactly what the American people have come to expect from The Swamp,” he added.