Behind in the polls, President Trump lashed out at Dr. Anthony Fauci at his North Carolina rally today as the crowd booed.
‘He’s a Democrat, everybody knows it, he’s Cuomo’s friend,’ Trump said of Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, as he referenced New York’s Democratic governor.
Trump called Fauci a ‘friend’ and a ‘nice guy’ before making up quotes that the doctor never said.
Fauci’s role as a top adviser for the government on health concerns has spanned six presidents and has focused on research for a multitude of viruses and illnesses, including HIV, AIDS, SARS, Zika, Ebola, tuberculosis, and malaria.
In 2008, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush.
During his tenure, he’s won support and praise from both Republican and Democratic politicians, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
He recently objected to being used in a Trump campaign ad, saying that his comments, which portrayed Trump in a good light, were taken out of context.
Early in the pandemic, Fauci had urged Americans to reserve masks for healthcare professionals fearing that there could be a personal protective equipment shortage.
‘It’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And, often, there are unintended consequences – people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face,’ Fauci also said.
More recently, Trump has parroted a version of that line when asked about his resistance to mask-wearing.
Fauci, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has since recommended Americans wear masks, now that there’s evidence of coronavirus spread due to people unaware they’re infected.
For the second time Thursday, Trump also cited dubious numbers claiming that ’85 percent’ of people who wear masks catch the coronavirus.
Trump continued to complain that he’s taken heat for hosting large rallies without social distancing where many of his supporters do not wear masks.
‘And look at all the masks,’ Trump told his Greenville, North Carolina audience Thursday. ‘They keep saying nobody wears masks.’
Reporters on the ground and photographs show only sporadic mask-wearing.
Trump and his aide Hope Hicks, who was also recently infected with the coronavirus, did not wear masks today.
Fauci today called a herd immunity proposal being embraced by the White House “total nonsense.”
The so-called Great Barrington Declaration authored by a small group of doctors calls for quickly reaching herd immunity by letting COVID-19 spread uncontrolled among the young and healthy population while protecting the vulnerable.
Herd immunity, typically achieved with a vaccine, is the point at which a disease, like measles, stops spreading widely throughout a population because enough people have already had it and are immune to it.
It’s not clear if prior COVID-19 infection confers long-term immunity to the disease.
“If you just let things rip and let the infection go … that, quite frankly, George, is ridiculous,” Fauci said today in an interview.
Fauci, who appeared impassioned while railing against the proposal, noted that 30 percent of the population has underlying health conditions that makes them vulnerable.
Additionally, older adults, even those who are otherwise healthy, are far more likely than young adults to become seriously ill if they get COVID-19.
“What that will do is that there will be so many people in the community that you can’t shelter, that you can’t protect, who are gonna get sick and get serious consequences,” Fauci said.
“So this idea that we have the power to protect the vulnerable is total nonsense because history has shown that that’s not the case. And, and if you talk to anybody who has any experience in epidemiology and infectious diseases, they will tell you that that is risky, and you’ll wind up with many more infections of vulnerable people, which will lead to hospitalizations and deaths. So I think that we just got to look that square in the eye and say it’s nonsense,” he said.
The declaration has been embraced by Scott Atlas, neuroradiologist and adviser to Trump who has no obvious expertise on infectious diseases.