During a Tuesday appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, sounded off on the “low points” over the last year of the coronavirus pandemic.
Host Alisyn Camerota asked Fauci about now-former President Donald Trump downplaying the severity of the coronavirus in its early stages of the outbreak with his “lack of facts.”
Fauci said he is “uncomfortable” with “directly criticizing” anybody, but said it’s “really almost self-evident” that Trump’s rhetoric contributed to lives being lost. He added it was “painful” to see people referring to the virus as “fake news” or a “hoax” as hospitals were being overrun with cases.
“[W]hen signals come saying this isn’t so bad, we’re in pretty good shape, when we’re saying we’re not — we being the health people — that was not helpful because the people who wanted to deny that this is something that was serious, when you get a signal from above that it might not be, then you don’t do the kinds of things you need to do. I mean, I still have flashing in my mind those scenes of when we were trying to tell people to really be careful and avoid congregate settings and you used to see on television at night people crowded at bars, inside, no masks. I mean, that was just asking for trouble. And, in fact, that’s what we got. A lot of trouble.”
“There were several low points from the standpoint — I mean, I don’t have emotional reactions to these things. I’ve been through this so many times in different situations, but it does, you know, intellectually pain me when I see things like pleading for people to do the kinds of things that you know work, the mask-wearing, the physical separation,” he added. “And the denial — I mean, one of the things that I think if I go through the multiple things that were actually painful for me was when you were seeing situations where there were hospitals that were almost overrun, where you were having 20 ICU beds in a particular hospital and 50 people who needed ICU care, and in those same regions there were people who were denying that this was going on, saying, ‘Oh, it’s fake news. It’s a hoax.’ I mean, how could you possibly say that when people in your own state, your own city, your own county are dying? I mean … that just boggled me. And it still does. It still does how reality can be put aside in denying the seriousness of the situation we’re in. And here we are today looking at 500,000 Americans who have died thus far.”
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