America’s top infectious disease expert shot down Donald Trump when asked to respond to the US president’s tweets saying that there could be variations in the number of Covid-related deaths.
Mr Trump tweeted that the numbers of deaths were “fake news”.
Asked to respond to this, Dr Anthony Fauci said: “The deaths are real deaths.
“All you need to do is go out into the trenches, go to the hospitals, see what the healthcare workers are dealing with, they are under very stressed situations,” Dr Fauci told ABC News.
“In many areas of the country, the hospital beds are stretched, people are running out of beds, running out of trained personnel who are exhausted right now. That’s real, that’s not fake, that’s real.”
Mr Trump responded on Twitter attempting to take credit for the work of Dr Fauci, a man he has often been at odds with during the pandemic. Mr Trump tweeted that Dr Fauci “works for me and the Trump Administration, and I am in no way given any credit for my work”.
Dr Jerome Adams, the US surgeon general and another member of the Trump administration, backed up Dr Fauci, telling CNN: “From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers.”
“I think people need to be very aware that it’s not just about the deaths… it’s about the hospitalisations, the capacity. These cases are having an impact in an array of ways and people need to understand there’s a finish line in sight, but we’ve got to keep running toward it,” Dr Adams said on CNN’s State of the Union.
The relationship between the president and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has become worse and worse during the pandemic.
The first signs of disagreement came in February, when Mr Trump suggested the virus would go away with the arrival of warmer weather and was contradicted by Dr Fauci.
In an interview published in Science magazine in March, Dr Fauci said: “I can’t jump in front of him and push him down,” when Mr Trump says things that aren’t true.
Mr Trump has repeatedly contradicted Dr Fauci on Twitter throughout the pandemic.
On 11 September, Dr Fauci, speaking on MSNBC, said: “There were times I was out there telling the American public how difficult this is, how we’re having a really serious problem, and the president is saying that it’s something that’s going to disappear, which obviously is not the case. So there was and is some disagreements in what we say and what comes out in the White House.”
Dr Fauci told CNN in October that Mr Trump’s attacks were just “noise” and that he wasn’t bothered by them.
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