Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is revealing why he thinks he has not “been on television” while also pushing back against President Donald Trump’s claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are considered “totally harmless.”
During an interview with The Financial Times, Fauci noted that his refusal to sugar-coat things may be the reason why he no longer appears on television with the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
“I have a reputation, as you probably have figured out, of speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things,” Fauci said. “And that may be one of the reasons why I haven’t been on television very much lately.”
Fauci was also asked about Trump’s 99% claim and he admitted that he is still trying to determine where the president’s source is for that figure.
“I’m trying to figure out where the president got that number,” Fauci said during the interview published on Friday.
The top infectious disease expert went on to suggest the president may be noting the 1% mortality rate while focusing on the opposite end of the spectrum.
“What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1 percent,” Fauci said. “And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 percent is not a problem when that’s obviously not the case.”
Fauci’s latest interview came as the president disagreed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines and pushed the CDC to revise its guidelines on reopening schools. However, CDC Director Robert Redfield declined to do so, but instead, said the CDC will provide more information.
Despite alarming spikes in coronavirus cases across the United States, Trump also threatened to withhold federal funding if schools do not fully open with in-person classes in the fall, as previously reported on IJR.
During Trump’s interview with Sean Hannity on Thursday evening, he also criticized Fauci, saying, “Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes.”
Although the president has falsely claimed the increase in positive cases is “only” due to expanded testing, experts have pointed to the increase in the infection rate.
As of Friday morning, there are more than 3.2 million known coronavirus cases in the United States with a death toll of more than 136,000.