Tags: Coronavirus | fauci | trump | mitigation | socialdistancing

Dr. Fauci: Answer on Mitigation Was Not Meant as Criticism

dr. anthony fauci listens to others speak during a coronavirus briefing, in front of projected guidelines
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, participates in the daily coronavirus task force briefing on March 31, 2020 in Washington, DC.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 13 April 2020 06:29 PM

Dr. Anthony Fauci Monday afternoon insisted his response to a CNN question about whether earlier mitigation would have saved lives was an obvious answer to a hypothetical question, and that it was not made as criticism about how the White House has handled the coronavirus emergency.

Further, he strongly denied that his comments were coming as a result of pressure from President Donald Trump.

"Everything I do is voluntary," Fauci told the reporter. "Please. Don't even imply that."

Fauci said that while on CNN Sunday morning, host Jake Tapper had asked him a hypothetical question, which can "sometimes get you into some difficulty."

"The answer to my question was, as I always do, and am doing right now, perfectly honestly saying, yes. I mean, obviously. mitigation helps," said the doctor, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "I've been up here many times telling you that mitigation works. So if mitigation works and to instigate its, and you initiate it earlier, you will probably save more lives. If you initiate too late, you will probably lose more lives."

Meanwhile, Fauci said that discussions had been held, "mostly among the medical people," about mitigation, and that when he and task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx went in and formally met with Trump and recommended that he have  'shut down" through strong mitigation, the president listened and "went to the mitigation."

Fauci added that the second time he and Birx went in to meet with Trump, it was to tell the president that 15 days was not enough to stop the spread of coronavirus, and that time he listened as well. 

"There were interpretations of that response to a hypothetical question that I just thought it would be very nice for me to clarify, because I did not have the chance to clarify it," said Fauci.

Fauci also told a reporter that he doesn't remember the first date he and Birx talked with Trump about mitigation efforts, but the "first and only time that I went in and said we should do mitigation strongly, the response was yes, we will do it."

President Donald Trump, strongly defended his relationship with Fauci after earlier in the day retweeting a message that ended with the hashtag "FireFauci," which further sparked speculation about how he and the famed doctor, who has served under several presidential administrations, were working together.

Trump also lambasted an article in The New York Times that questioned his actions in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and showed a campaign-style video outlining the steps that his administration had taken toward fighting coronavirus.

Trump said he had not seen the hashtag when he retweeted the item, and that he never said he wanted Fauci off his task force.

"I like him," he said. "I think he's terrific...we have done a job the likes of which no one has done."

He also insisted that he and Fauci have been on the same page "from the beginning."

"I don't mind controversy," he said. "I think controversy is a good thing, not a bad thing. I want it to be honest controversy. I got a call...how are you doing with Dr. Fauci and I said I'm doing great. I didn't talk to Dr. Fauci until we just got here. Dr. Fauci asked one of the people if he could get up and speak, and he did."

Meanwhile, Trump noted that the CDC issued it's first travel notice for the coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan, China, on Jan. 6.

It was too early to shut down the country at that point, however, said Trump.

"People wanted me to act," said Trump. "I am supposed to close down the economy, the greatest economy in the history of the world, and we don't have one case confirmed in the United States."

Trump added that when he did act with a China travel ban on Jan. 31, he was slammed by key Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, and called "xenophobic."

"(They said) it was way too early. I shouldn't have done it, brutalized by the press but you know, sort of I've been brutalized for the last four years," said Trump. "I used to do well before I decided to run for politics. But I guess I'm doing okay because to the best of my knowledge I'm the president of the United States despite the things that are said."

Trump further on Monday slammed CBS after reporter Paula Reid asked him what he did during the month between the travel ban and March 1.

"A lot, a lot. In fact, we’ll give you a list,” he told her, before slamming CBS as being dishonest.

"The people are wise to you," he told Reid. "You know you’re a fake. You know that."

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Dr. Anthony Fauci Monday afternoon insisted his response to a CNN question about whether earlier mitigation would have saved lives was an obvious answer to a hypothetical question, and that it was not made as criticism about how the White House...
fauci, trump, mitigation, socialdistancing
Monday, 13 April 2020 06:29 PM
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