Trump not happy about Fauci’s warning on ending US coronavirus lockdown, here’s what he said
Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had warned that relaxing stay-at-home rules too quickly could bring more "suffering and death". He also said that a premature lifting of lockdowns could lead to additional outbreaks of the deadly coronavirus.
US President Donald Trump has said a warning given by his top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci about lifting the coronavirus pandemic restrictions too quickly “was unacceptable”.
Speaking to lawmakers on Tuesday, the White House task force coronavirus expert warned that relaxing stay-at-home rules too quickly could bring more "suffering and death".
The director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases emphasised the importance of not being "cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects" of the disease.
Fauci warned that a premature lifting of lockdowns could lead to additional outbreaks of the deadly coronavirus, which has brought the economy to its knees. He also had said the real US death toll is probably higher than the official figure.
So far, COVID-19 has killed more than 84,000 people and infected nearly 1.4 million cases.
Fauci’s straight talk and willingness to correct Trump’s exaggerations related to the pandemic and the situation in the country has drawn admiration from several people.
Reacting to Fauci's warning, Trump, on Wednesday, accused him of wanting "to play all sides of the equation". The President said he was especially dissatisfied with Fauci's caution around reopening schools too quickly.
"Look, he wants to play all sides of the equation," Trump said of his top coronavirus expert's concerns. "I was surprised by his answer actually, because, you know, it's just to me - it's not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools".
He said "the only thing that would be acceptable" is giving older teachers and professors a few more weeks before they return. "Because this is a disease that attacks age, and it attacks health," the President said.
Trump, who previously made the strength of the economy central to his pitch for re-election in November, has encouraged states to reopen businesses and schools that were shuttered to halt the spread of the highly contagious respiratory disease.
Fauci, 79, a proponent of the lockdowns, has become a target for criticism from the American far right and online conspiracy theorists since he made statements about the outbreak that were at odds with Trump’s.
In April, Trump retweeted a call to fire Fauci, after the doctor said lives could have been saved if the country had shut down sooner, spurring speculation his days in the administration could be numbered.
“Anthony is a good person, a very good person, I’ve disagreed with him,” Trump said in an interview earlier on Wednesday with Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria,” repeating his refrain that the country must reopen.
“We want to do it safely, but we also want to do it as quickly as possible. ... We have to get it open. I totally disagree with him on schools,” Trump said.
Asked about Trump’s comments, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN that Fauci was “sounding an honest voice of caution and I share his view.”
“I think we have to be very careful about the steps we take.”