Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said in an interview Sunday that he’s “absolutely not” surprised President Trump contracted the novel coronavirus.
“I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask,” Fauci said during CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday.
“When I saw that on TV, I said, ‘Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come out of that, that’s gotta be a problem.’ And then sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event,” he continued.
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He seemed to be referencing a Sept. 26 White House event announcing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court that led to at least a dozen people testing positive for the virus.
Fauci, 79, one of the most trusted faces of the coronavirus task force, also said he got “really ticked off” over a campaign ad released by the Trump administration earlier this month that appeared to be a recommendation from him on the president’s handling of the pandemic.
“I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more,” Fauci was heard saying in the ad.
Fauci said his words were taken out of context, which he called “stunning.”
“Here I am, they’re sticking me right in the middle of a campaign ad. Which I thought was outrageous. I was referring to something entirely different. I was referring to the grueling work of the task force that, “God, we were knocking ourselves out seven days a week. I don’t think we could have possibly have done any more than that,” Fauci said.
Fauci, who along with health experts has long supported the use of face masks during the pandemic, also criticized the president’s views of mask-wearing.
“You know, he sometimes equates wearing a mask with weakness,” Fauci said, adding that Trump’s belief doesn’t make sense to him.
He was also asked during the interview whether the White House been controlling when he can speak with the media.
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“You know, I think you’d have to be honest and say yes. I certainly have not been allowed to go on many, many, many shows that have asked for me,” Fauci said, adding that the restrictions haven’t been consistent.
With a surging number of coronavirus cases worldwide and in the U.S., Fauci discussed his worries about the pandemic. He said that Americans are not out of the woods yet — especially as the cold weather approaches and will likely force people inside.
“When you have a million deaths and over 30 million infections globally, you can not say that we’re on the road to essentially getting out of this. So quite frankly, I don’t know where we are. It’s impossible to say,” Fauci said.
He said things would have to get “really, really bad” before another national lockdown is implemented, as many are already fatigued with restrictions during an already challenging year.
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With the November election nearly two weeks away, Fauci added that he does plan on voting in person because he likes “the atmosphere of going and voting.”