President Donald Trump on Tuesday rebuked Dr. Anthony Fauci’s blunt assessment of the US’ coronavirus response, claiming that the country is “in a good place” even as new cases surge.
“Well, I think we are in a good place. I disagree with him,” Trump said to Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren, according to a transcript of the interview released Tuesday.
“Dr. Fauci said don’t wear masks and now he says wear them. And he said numerous things. Don’t close off China. Don’t ban China. I did it anyway. I didn’t listen to my experts and I banned China. We would have been in much worse shape.”
“We’ve done a good job,” the President said. “I think we are going to be in two, three, four weeks, by the time we next speak, I think we’re going to be in very good shape.”
The President’s comments come after Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, had said Monday that the status of the coronavirus pandemic in the US is “really not good.”
“We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this. And I would say, this would not be considered a wave. It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline,” Fauci said in a Facebook Live interview with National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins.
“The European Union as an entity, it went up and then came down to baseline,” he continued. “Now they’re having little blips, as you might expect, as they try to reopen. We went up, never came down to baseline, and now it’s surging back up. So it’s a serious situation that we have to address immediately.”
Fauci on Monday had specifically pointed to “a series of circumstances associated with various states and cities trying to open up” too early as a key factor in the virus’s surge and emphasized the US “should use the public health effort as a vehicle and a pathway to get to safe reopening.”
“So we’ve got to make sure that we don’t create this binary type thing of ‘it’s us against them,’ ” he said of public health efforts and the US economy.
“It’s not. We’re all in it together.”
Trump conceded Tuesday that there are spikes in the virus in “some areas that looked like we were going to escape, that they were going to escape, and all of a sudden it became hot.”
“But I think you’re going to see with all of the things that we’re doing, and with all of the therapeutics that are coming out, and then ultimately the vaccine, we’re going to be in very good shape very soon,” he claimed.
Fauci’s assessment built on the stark warning he had issued to lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week, telling them he wouldn’t be surprised if the US sees new cases of coronavirus rising to a level of 100,000 a day.
“We are now having 40-plus-thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned,” Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
He specifically expressed dismay over people congregating in crowds and not wearing masks and inadequate attention being paid to guidelines on reopening.
“We’re going to continue to be in a lot of trouble,” he said. “And there’s going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop.”
This story has been updated with remarks Tuesday from President Donald Trump.