White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed with Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine that the U.S. coronavirus death rate is “unacceptable” compared to other nations.
Kaine grilled Fauci during a Senate hearing Tuesday on why the U.S. couldn’t avoid massive death tolls and economic losses like countries such as South Korea, which has been widely praised for its coronavirus response. (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Jan.21: Fauci Says Coronavirus ‘Not A Major Threat’ To U.S.)
“The U.S. has the seventh highest per capita death rate in the world. Our death rate is off the charts higher than than in India, Australia, New Zealand Japan and Mexico,” Kaine said. “If we want to open up our economy and schools we have to learn the lessons of nations that have managed this well.”
Kaine then asked Fauci if the U.S. death rate compared to other countries is “unacceptable,” which Fauci agreed it was. (RELATED: Sweden Is Reaping The Benefits After Defying Conventional Coronavirus Wisdom)
“Yes of course,” Fauci responded. “A death rate at that high is something that in any manner or form in my mind is unacceptable.”
While Fauci agreed with Kaine that the death rate was “unacceptable,” he pushed back on Kaine’s assertion that the death rate was “unnecessary.”
“I don’t know if we can say that, Senator,” Fauci replied.
“But, would you say that the U.S. has to do better?” Kaine asked.
“Of course, you always have to do better,” Fauci agreed.
The U.S. has suffered over 80,000 coronavirus deaths, and has roughly 1.3 million confirmed cases, according to a running tracker from the New York Times. Fauci took questions from lawmakers throughout the morning and early afternoon Tuesday during a virtual appearance in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.