Dr. said Thursday he would have been “shocked” a year ago by the to . He blamed unnecessary deaths on the dangerous political “divisiveness” in the nation and “mixed messages” from the . A year ago, Fauci warned at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing that the COVID-19 situation would get “much worse” before it improved — but he had no idea how dire it would become, he told Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today” show.
“It was March 11, 2020, I said that but I did not in my mind think that ‘much worse’ was going to be 525,000 deaths,” Fauci revealed. Had he known the toll a year ago, it “,” he added.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President, blamed the overwhelming death toll on “divisiveness in our country” and “mixed messages” from Washington added, without explicitly naming . Biden has consistently recommended , social distancing, and exercising caution before reopening businesses.
“Even simple, commonsense public health measures took on a political connotation,” Fauci said. “If you wanted to wear a mask, you were on this site. If you wanted to stay in and avoid congregate settings, you were on this site. It wasn’t a purely public health approach. It was very much influenced by the divisiveness that we had in this country.”
The World Health Organization declareda year ago Thursday. Two weeks before that, Trump boasted that the U.S. was doing a “ ” against the spread of COVID-19 and that the 15 reported cases in the nation would quickly be “down to close to zero.”
He declared the following day that “.”
Trump repeatedly pushed for businesses and schools to fully open as the pandemic raged andprecautions with disdain, including wearing masks and social distancing.
After Trump contracted— unaffordable and inaccessible for most public — he ripped off his mask upon returning to the White House early last October. He told . “ ,” he added. That day, the U.S. recorded , less than half of the death toll four months later.
Though the U.S. has only 4% of the world’s population, it has 20% of its COVID-19 deaths.
Fauci said that he and other health officials are concerned about another possible coronavirusare too quickly reversing their safety restrictions — against the advice of health experts.
Though Fauci isof the tunnel” with increasing vaccinations and a plateau in cases, we still have to “keep putting our foot to the pedal when it comes to public health measures,” he said. still need to be careful and, “at a minimum,” wear masks.