Top White House infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is under increased scrutiny as the US looks toward recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
Top administration officials, including COVID-19 testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir, have begun openly criticizing Fauci’s policy recommendations. Giroir told NBC News on Sunday that “I respect Dr. Fauci a lot, but Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right, and he also doesn’t necessarily, he admits that, have the whole national interest in mind.”
Fauci under fire
Dr. Fauci, along with fellow White House coronavirus task force colleague Dr. Deborah Birx, was behind much of the US’s coronavirus response, but his policy recommendations are under the microscope as the US eases into the new normal.
Giroir pointed out that Fauci looks at COVID-19 “from a very narrow public health point of view,” which led to the oppressive and economically catastrophic lockdowns that consumed the nation for the better part of two months.
Now, as cases in the US begin to spike once more, Fauci has begun talking about renewing lockdowns, a practice that many leaders including President Trump have indicated are not an option going forward.
Fauci’s overly-cautious recommendations have run afoul of other administration officials that believe that the US needs to cope with the risk of COVID-19 instead of hunkering down until the virus burns itself out or a vaccine is fully developed.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Fauci believes some states should return to lockdown mode in order to flatten the rising number of cases, but Giroir told the New York Post that he disagrees.
According to the Post, Giroir doesn’t “‘think we need to shut down’ again — ‘at least in most places around the country’ — but suggested Americans should ‘avoid bars’ and ‘wear a mask in public.'”
Trump isn’t the only one
Fauci and Trump have maintained a respectful and cordial relationship throughout the pandemic, but in recent days, President Trump has amplified his criticism of Fauci’s handling of the outbreak.
Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week that “Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes. A lot of them said don’t wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. Now they are saying wear a mask. A lot of mistakes were made, a lot of mistakes.”
Trump and Giroir aren’t the only administration officials that have pointed out the fallibility of Fauci’s policy decisions. An unidentified administration official told CNN on Monday that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things,” listing numerous examples of Fauci’s missteps throughout the US’s coronavirus pandemic response.
Fauci and Trump are reportedly no longer speaking, though Giroir said that “There is complete, open, honest discussion within the task force. Taskforce meets three to four times a week.”