FLASHBACK: Jan. 21: Fauci Says Coronavirus ‘Not A Major Threat’ To U.S.

Photo Credit: Screenshot/Twitter/ Greg Kelly

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Donald Trump’s top adviser on matters related to the coronavirus, said in a January interview that the virus was “not a major threat” to the U.S.

“Bottom line. We don’t have to worry about this one, right?” Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly asked Fauci on January 21.

“Obviously, you need to take it seriously, and do the kinds of things that the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security are doing, ” Fauci responded. “But, this not a major threat for the people of the United States, and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.”

CDC Director Robert Redfield told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade late last month that he agreed with Fauci’s assessment at the time, and said that nobody could have predicted the outbreak that would eventually occur in the U.S. (RELATED: Infectious Disease Expert Says Anti-Malaria Drug Marks ‘Beginning Of The End’ Of Pandemic)

“Obviously that became corrected as they saw in the first three, four weeks in January that human to human spread was not only occurring it’s actually, as I said, more infectious and I think that led to the situation that we’re in today. I think no one could have predicted how transmissible, how infectious this virus really is,” Redfield said.

Fauci made similar comments in February, saying the threat to the U.S. from the coronavirus was “minuscule.” By early March, Fauci had changed his tune, saying the virus “could be really, really bad,” but still said he believed the situation could be mitigated. (RELATED: Could The Coronavirus Pandemic Lead To Violent Prisoners Being Released Across America?)

“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,” he said at the time.

The U.S. has become the epicenter of the pandemic, with nearly 250,000 cases, and over 6,000 deaths, according to The New York Times. Fauci and fellow coronavirus task force member Deborah Birx predicted earlier this week that as many as 240,000 Americans could ultimately die from the virus.

The pandemic has already had a devastating impact on the U.S. and global economy, with nearly 10 million Americans having filed for unemployment over the past two weeks as states have forced close businesses to closed down, and ordered its citizens to stay home in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

Fauci called for a national stay at home order Thursday night during a CNN town hall, and criticized the remaining states who have not implemented shutdown orders.

“As you said, you know, the tension between ‘federal mandated’ versus ‘states rights’ to do what they want is something that I don’t want to get into,” Fauci said. “But if you look at what’s going on in this country, I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that. We really should be.”