Tags: fauci | birx | coronavirus | vaccine | trump | biden

Dr. Fauci: 'Inconvenient Truths' Came Into Play With COVID Response

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said statements about diseases must be based "on the evidence as you see it." (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 March 2021 08:22 AM

Part of dealing with difficult situations, including the COVID-19 pandemic, involves telling people "some things that might be inconvenient truths," Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.

Fauci was responding to questions concerning comments made by Dr. Deborah Birx about her reactions to some of former President Donald Trump's controversial statements on the pandemic.

"The thing I knew even before getting into this situation with COVID-19, various versions of it and different experiences I've had over the almost 37 years that I've been director of the institute dealing with these types of outbreaks, often in charge of situations, is that you've just got to be completely honest and true to yourself, and to your principles," Fauci, now President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." 

Birx, the former coronavirus response coordinator in the Trump White House, told ABC News in an interview airing Monday that she thinks "every day" about the moment when she sat by while the then-president asked about the possibility of injecting disinfectant to treat COVID-19. 

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, didn't mention Birx by name, but said that while inconvenient truths might put one at odds with people, as a scientist and public health figure, statements must be based "on the evidence as you see it."

"One of the things that people get confused about is that when you're dealing with an evolving situation like a pandemic, you may have to make a decision based on what you know in January or February, but the situation changes," said Fauci, who himself has come under fire for his statements that have changed during the pandemic.

"You have to be flexible enough, humble enough, and honest enough to realize that what you knew a few months ago does not necessarily completely pertain now. But you've just got to be honest and true to yourself and not be afraid of the consequences."

Fauci also spoke about the country's declining numbers of COVID-19, noting that the statistics have plateaued at 45,000 to 60,000 new cases a day which is still an "unacceptably high level."

"Although there is good news in the sense of the vaccine continues to get rolled out, we've gone between 2 million to 3 million per day, that's very good news," Fauci said. "But if all of a sudden we declare victory, we can risk a surge. They're seeing that in Europe."

At this point, about 11% to 12% of Americans are now fully vaccinated, and just more than 20% have gotten at least one dose, and there aren't any safety signals beyond allergic reactions to the vaccine. 

Recent polls, though, show 20% of Americans say they won't get the vaccine, so the current push with the Biden administration is to reach out and explain to people that the vaccines are important for achieving immunity in the United States. 

However, Fauci said he has not reached out directly to Trump about promoting the vaccine, even after a video of former presidents and their wives – with the exclusion of the Trumps – was released to urge Americans to get their shots. 

Fauci added the United States will be working also on a global push on the vaccines, including making $4 billion in distributions to COVAX, the consortium of organizations and nations, but "we've got to make sure that we get our citizens vaccinated, and when we do, we will have enough vaccine, and the president has mentioned this, to be able to help out other countries by giving them some of our surpluses," he said. 

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Part of dealing with difficult situations, including with the COVID-19 pandemic, involves telling people "some things that might be inconvenient truths," Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday...
fauci, birx, coronavirus, vaccine, trump, biden
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2021-22-16
Tuesday, 16 March 2021 08:22 AM
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