Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday morning that the Trump administration’s “lack of candor” and failure to prioritize science regarding the coronavirus “very likely” cost lives.
Fauci, who is serving as President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, also told CNN’s “New Day” that the previous administration’s rhetoric surrounding the pandemic led to divisiveness and an overall lack of trust among Americans.
“You know, it very likely did,” Fauci said when asked if the Trump administration’s “lack of facts” contributed to the death toll.
“We’ve had a lot of divisiveness, we’ve had facts that were very, very clear that were questioned, people were not trusting what health officials were saying,” Fauci said. “You can see when you’re starting to go down paths that are not based on any science at all – and we’ve been there before, I don’t want to rehash it – that is not helpful at all.”
Fauci, who has led the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases since 1984, was largely sidelined from the Trump administration after contradicting President Trump on issues like masks and the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine at combatting the coronavirus. While taking questions during a Biden press briefing on Thursday, Fauci said that it was “somewhat liberating” to state the scientific facts and “let them speak for themselves.”
The coronavirus is the worst that it has been in the United States since the pandemic began last March, with daily cases averaging over 200,000 and the nation seeing some of its deadliest days. On Tuesday, the U.S. became the first country to record 400,000 coronavirus deaths, with the most recent 100,000 occurring over just 36 days.
Biden officially released his administration’s strategy to combat the virus on Thursday and plans to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of testing materials, personal protective equipment and vaccines. It also reinforces the requirement to wear masks on federal property, requires passengers to take COVID-19 tests before flying and orders the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to supply the necessary resources for schools to reopen safely. (RELATED: Biden Unveils New Coronavirus Plan – Here’s What’s In It)
“We have a serious opponent here,” Fauci said. “The president made the analogy of a war. Yeah, if you look at the numbers, over 400,000 people dead, that’s quite comparable to World War II.”
“That’s the reason we’ve really got to restore trust and restore a unified approach,” he added.
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