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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

‘He wants to play all sides of equation’: Trump criticises Fauci on US reopening strategy

This isn't the first time that Trump and Fauci have had a disagreement over US' coronavirus response.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 14, 2020 2:40:38 pm
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Washington. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin listen. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Not all seems to be well between US President Donald Trump and his administration’s top public health official Dr Anthony Fauci.

While not overtly, Donald Trump has criticised Fauci’s throwing caution to the wind on reopening of the country, and more importantly of schools, too soon given that confirmed coronavirus cases and death toll in the country are the highest in the world. The President on Wednesday called on governors across the nation to try reopening schools in their respective states, even as he accused Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, of wanting to ‘play all sides of the equation’.

“Look, he wants to play all sides of the equation,” Trump said. “I think they should open the schools, absolutely. I think they should,” the President told reporters at the White House. “Our country’s got to get back and it’s got to get back as soon as possible. And I don’t consider our country coming back if the schools are closed,” he added.

On Tuesday, in a testimony before the Senate committee, Dr Fauci had bluntly warned that opening up too soon may cause more deaths and damage to the economy which stood in sharp contrast to Trump’s renewed push to reopen the nation in an attempt to reverse the economic damage during an election year. Fauci had, however, made it clear that he believes reopening decisions will likely differ from one region to the other. Fauci told the committee,”We don’t know everything about this virus and we really better be pretty careful, particularly when it comes to children.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Anthony Fauci, Anthony Fauci hearing, Anthony Fauci coronavirus hearing, World news, Indian Express Dr. Anthony Fauci at a White House press conference in Washington D.C.

Trump said “it was not an acceptable answer”. He said the coronavirus has “had very little impact on young people”, although there seems to be a growing concern over cases of a mysterious inflammatory syndrome in young people that is thought to be related to the virus.

Read | AP Exclusive: Docs show top White House officials buried CDC report

However, this isn’t the first time that Trump and Fauci have had a disagreement over US’ coronavirus response.

In fact, in an interview with the CNN last month, Anthony Fauci said the Trump administration’s mitigation efforts could have saved more lives had they acted sooner to execute social distancing rules.

Following this, Trump had retweeted a message from a supporter who used the hashtag “Time to #FireFauci” which prompted widespread speculation over a possible rejig within the White House coronavirus task force.

Later, when the White House clarified, as per Reuters, that Fauci would not be fired after the CNN interview, Fauci admitted that he had made a poor choice of words. The infectious disease expert said, as quoted by Reuters, that the nature of the ‘hypothetical’ question got him in some ‘difficulty’.

Also Read | US must reopen even if more Americans get sick, die: Trump

The coronavirus, which first emerged in China’s Wuhan city last year, has claimed nearly 3,00,000 lives and infected over 4.3 million people across the world so far. The US alone has recorded close to 85,000 COVID-19 deaths.

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