Dr. Fauci: My ‘Speaking the Truth at All Times’ on Coronavirus May Be Why I ‘Haven’t Been on Television’
Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke out about his notable absence from television in an interview with the Financial Times published Friday, guessing that he has not been invited to speak in front of cameras due to his refusal to sugar-coat the coronavirus pandemic.
The White House coronavirus task force member has often been at odds with President Donald Trump on the virus, and told the FT he hasn’t seen the commander in chief since June 2. When asked about reports that he is being prevented from appearing on television, Fauci suggested it has to do with his comments conflicting with Trump’s tendency to downplay the pandemic.
“I have a reputation, as you probably have figured out, of speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things,” he said. “And that may be one of the reasons why I haven’t been on television very much lately.”
Sticking to his promise to be truthful about the pandemic, Fauci revealed that this epidemic is “the big one,” adding that the coronavirus combines elements from past outbreaks to create “the perfect storm.”
“You have a random virus jump species from an animal to a human that is spectacularly efficient in spreading from human to human, and has a high degree, relatively speaking, of morbidity and mortality,” he said.
Speaking to the FT over Zoom, Fauci also rejected Trump’s claim that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are “harmless” — guessing that the president misinterpreted the severity of the illness when someone said the mortality rate is one percent.
Trump made the comment during a speech at the White House last Saturday, claiming that after the U.S. tested “over 40 million people” it has been determined that 99 percent of cases are “totally harmless.”
Fauci assumed that the comment was simply a mistake, avoiding the fact that Trump has repeatedly played down the coronavirus outbreak.
“I’m trying to figure out where the president got that number,” Fauci said. “What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1 percent. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 percent is not a problem, when that’s obviously not the case.”
Fauci explained that even those who do not die from the coronavirus can become severely ill, noting that confusion on the virus’s gravity may stem from the fact that it affects patients differently. While some patients are put on ventilators with little chance of survival, others are completely asymptomatic.
“I have never seen a virus or any pathogen that has such a broad range of manifestations,” he added. “Even if it doesn’t kill you, even if it doesn’t put you in the hospital, it can make you seriously ill.”
The infectious disease expert also said he has received death threats from people who believe the coronavirus is a hoax, those who do not trust government experts, and from others who fear another lockdown amid the pandemic.
“I’ve gotten death threats. My family has been harassed, my wife and my children,” he said. “That required my getting security protection for a while.”
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