Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the federal government’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the past 35 years, is one of the most respected public health officials in Washington, D.C. And right now he’s battling two outbreaks: COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that’s crossing the nation and the globe, and President Donald Trump’s pressure for him to provide ammunition so he can lie to the American people about the impending pandemic.
Fauci, who is 79, appears to be winning both battles.
“You should never destroy your own credibility. And you don’t want to go to war with a president,” Fauci told Politico in an interview. “But you got to walk the fine balance of making sure you continue to tell the truth.”
In a meeting that was open to reporters Monday Fauci repeatedly had to inform and ultimately correct President Trump who kept trying to minimize the amount of time a vaccine would be ready for the public. Trump kept saying months and Fauci said a year, more likely a year and a half.
Fauci also predicts COVID-19 will end up being bad.
“I don’t think that we are going to get out of this completely unscathed,” he says. “I think that this is going to be one of those things we look back on and say, ‘boy, that was bad.’”
Politico also lists a few of Trump’s failures already with the coronavirus crisis.
Trump fires off tweets about coronavirus, promising a vaccine will arrive “soon” (Fauci says in a best-case scenario it will be a year — and that might be optimistic), or says in press conferences that “we are totally prepared” (Fauci and other health officials warn the risk could change in a moment’s notice). The president also referred to a coronavirus “hoax” in a campaign rally — the night before the first death from the virus was reported in the U.S.
Fauci issues this warning: “It could be really, really bad. I don’t think it’s gonna be, because I think we’d be able to do the kind of mitigation. It could be mild. I don’t think it’s going to be that mild either. It’s really going to depend on how we mobilize.”
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