Former President Donald Trump deserves credit for the vaccines being used to fight COVID-19, but so do President Joe Biden and their predecessors, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.
"If you look at the real thing that made this work, the fundamental basic science that led to what's being used right now that's highly, highly successful, it transcends multiple administrations," said Fauci on CNN's "New Day," pointing out that the research came because of actions supported by presidents all the way back to former President Bill Clinton.
"There's credit to go all around on this," said Fauci, who served on Trump's Coronavirus Task Force and is now Biden's chief medical advisor on COVID-19.
His comments came after Biden, in a speech Wednesday, said that getting the virus is "not a partisan act" and pointed out that the science "was done under Democratic and Republican administrations."
The first vaccines were "authorized under a Republican president," said Biden, referring to Trump, but were "widely developed" and deployed "by a Democratic president," referring to himself.
Fauci acknowledged that he believes it's "well-deserved" to give Trump credit on the vaccines, and he's believed that "all along."
"I have never really done anything sharply critical at all of the Trump administration," said Fauci. "Not at all. And I've always given them credit. The idea of 'Operation Warp Speed' and the investment of that amount of money to get that amount of vaccines ready to go clearly is something that should be given as credit to the Trump administration. No doubt about that."
Meanwhile, Fauci said the "prognosis is good" for the country's continued recovery from the pandemic.
"Now we're below 20,000 per day on a weekly average," said Fauci. "That was highly predictable when you get more and more people vaccinated ... the one thing we want to make sure is that we don't declare victory prematurely and feel that because things are going in the right direction that we don't have to keep vaccinating people."
Biden has a goal of getting at least a first shot into the arms of at least 70% of the adults in the United States, but "we even want to surpass that," said Fauci.
Meanwhile, Fauci said there may be an uptick of cases in the weeks after Monday's Memorial Day holiday, with more people heading out as the nation's mandates lifted, but that won't be uniform through the nation.
"If you look at the map of the percentage of people in different states that have reached a certain level of vaccinated people, if you have a very high percentage of people vaccinated, you're not going to see a substantial blip." he said. "You may see a little, but not anything that even resembles the surge."
However, there is still a concern in states where fewer than 50% of the population is vaccinated, said Fauci, but with about 50% of adults fully vaccinated nationally, he fees there won't be the kind of surges that have been seen in the past.
Meanwhile, Fauci said he is "cautiously optimistic" that there will be a COVID-19 vaccine for children who are younger than 12 before the end of the year.
He also said it will remain to be seen if the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo will spark outbreaks, but insisted the safest thing the Olympians can do is to get vaccinated before they compete.
However, Fauci said he would not give his opinion on whether the Games should be canceled, but as for himself, as he's vaccinated, he'd feel safe to go.
"There's not a chance in the world that I would have the time to go, so that's a moot point," he said.
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