Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the government’s top infectious disease specialists, said in a recent interview that it is “absolutely essential” that the United States government is fully transparent with its citizens regarding the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and that a “building distrust” in U.S. public health agencies is “the elephant in the room,” comments that many pundits will interpret as a criticism of President Donald Trump.
“If you’re going to make scientific-based public health recommendations, everything has got to be transparent,” Fauci said in an interview with the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, which was posted online late Wednesday night.
Fauci argued that a lack of transparency leads to a loss of confidence within the citizenry, as the public will believe health agencies are being less than 100% truthful due to political motivations.
Fauci, who never mentioned Trump by name, argued that the U.S. has survived past pandemics and crises by being truthful and up-front with the American people, and that unvarnished honesty from the government and health officials has been crucial to previous perseverance.
“The issue that people say you don’t want to alarm people is totally nonsense,” Fauci stated.
“In anything we’ve ever done in our history, you know from world wars to depressions to anthrax attacks, now to an outbreak like this, the thing that gets people spooked is when they don’t know what’s going on, not when you tell them what’s going on,” said Fauci. “We’re a pretty strong country. We can handle the truth.”
Earlier this week, Trump attacked Fauci, calling him “a disaster” that has been around for “500 years.” The president also claimed that Americans are “tired” of hearing about the coronavirus and “tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots.” At a campaign rally last weekend, Trump mockingly warned his supporters that his opponent, Joe Biden, would “listen to the scientists” if he wins the election.
Fauci has been the director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and has worked for six different administrations, both Democrat and Republican. In October 2019, the National Academy of Medicine awarded Fauci with the first-ever Presidential Citation for Exemplary Leadership due to pioneering advances in the field of human immunoregulation and lifesaving therapies for rare immune disorders. Fauci was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar), a program that has been credited with saving millions of lives throughout the developing world.
1,170: That’s the number of new coronavirus deaths that were reported in the U.S. on Wednesday. As of Thursday morning, more than 8,378,700 people in the country have been infected with the virus, and at least 222,100 have died, according to a New York Times database.
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In the interview posted online Wednesday, Dr. Fauci said he will “always tell the truth,” even if it costs him his job. “If, in fact, somebody does want to shoot the messenger and say, ‘I don’t like what they’re saying; I don’t want to talk to them anymore,’ so be it,” Fauci said. “At least you maintain your integrity.” Fauci then recalled an old friend telling him, before advising President Ronald Reagan for the first time more than 35 years ago, to always remember that each visit to the Oval Office could be his last “because I might have to tell people in power something that they don’t want to hear.” It’s important to note that, under federal law, Trump doesn’t have the power to directly fire Dr. Fauci, a career civil servant.
A ‘building distrust’ in public health agencies is ‘the elephant in the room,’ Fauci says (CNN)
Senate Republicans try to ignore Trump’s attacks on Fauci (AP)
NAM Awards First-Ever Presidential Citation for Exemplary Leadership to Anthony Fauci (Nam.edu)
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