The White House has lashed out at Dr. Anthony Fauci — after the nation’s leading infectious disease expert praised Joe Biden and warned that the US is “in for a whole lot of hurt” from COVID-19 this fall and winter.
White House spokesman Judd Deere called Fauci’s comments “unacceptable and breaking with all norms.”
“Dr. Fauci has a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy, but he’s not done that, instead choosing to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent,” Deere said in a statement late Saturday.
“Dr. Fauci knows that the risks today are dramatically lower than they were only a few months ago with mortality rates falling over 80 percent.”
In the lengthy interview with the Washington Post on Friday, Fauci said the country is in for “a whole lot of hurt” this winter.
“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly,” Fauci said.
He also accused pandemic adviser Scott Atlas of not taking the virus seriously as the number of daily cases nationwide continues to climb, saying he has “real problems” with his fellow White House coronavirus task force members.
“He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense,” he told the paper.
“The idea of this false narrative that if you don’t die, everything is hunky dory is just not the case,” Fauci said.
“But to say, ‘Let people get infected, it doesn’t matter, just make sure people don’t die’ — to me as a person who’s been practicing medicine for 50 years, it doesn’t make any sense at all.”
The 79-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also praised Democratic presidential nominee Biden’s campaign for “taking it seriously from a public health perspective” by wearing masks and practicing social distancing on the campaign trail.
Fauci said he has not spoken to President Trump since he was recovering from the virus at Walter Reed Medical Center in early October.
The US saw over 550,000 new COVID-19 cases in the week ending Oct. 31, according to CDC figures.