Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, believes political divisions in 2020 while combatting the coronavirus pandemic were “unfortunately damaging.”
CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked Fauci during Tuesday’s interview if former President Donald Trump’s “denial and lack of facts” about the coronavirus pandemic “contributed to this level of loss.” The U.S. hit 500,000 deaths due to the virus on Monday.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responded, “I’m uncomfortable going back and directly criticizing.”
After noting he was “hoping that we would see a uniform, unified approach towards all doing that together” on reopening the U.S. economy, Fauci said other “signals” were “not helpful.”
“When 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,” he said. “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 [so bad], then you don’t do the kinds of things you need to do.”
Watch Fauci’s interview below:
Political divisions contributed to the 500,000 Covid-19 deaths in the US, Dr. Fauci says.— CNN (@CNN) February 23, 2021
“When you have a common enemy you’ve got to pull together in the same way … like people on a crew team rowing in the same direction. You can’t have disparate responses.” pic.twitter.com/XWHbow1xbC
Fauci was earlier asked during the interview if “political division” in 2020 contributed to the current COVID-19 death toll.
“I certainly think that that’s part of it,” Fauci responded.
He added, “When you have such a common force, such a powerful force against you — this virus that has exerted such a toll on us — you’ve got to do it together in a unifying way and not have any kind of political ideology divisiveness getting in the way of what we’re trying to do.”
“That’s not the only thing that really was a problem, but that’s certainly in my mind, having lived through it, was something that I found really to be unfortunately damaging,” Fauci said.
Fauci was a member of the White House coronavirus task force during the Trump administration. He is now the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.