The face of America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic admitted he would have done some things differently, given the chance.
Dr. Anthony Fauci will retire from his two high-profile jobs in December. He spoke at length with Jonathan Karl in an interview aired Sunday on ABC’s program “This Week.”
He has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 38 of his 54 years of service with the National Institutes of Health.
“I have been driving onto that campus every single day, every single weekend for the last 54 years,” Fauci ruminated. “So I don’t even want to think about what it’s going to be like when I drive off the campus for the last time.”
Although many conservatives have vilified Dr. Fauci, he gave credit where credit was due for getting vaccines produced with unprecedented speed.
Fauci told Karl he has not communicated with Trump since the former president left office. He praises the former administration for its Operation Warp Speed that developed the COVID-19 vaccines in record time.
“Just as he takes the blame for things in the administration, he should take the credit for things in the administration,” Fauci said. “That was a positive thing, Operation Warp Speed. And they should take credit for that.” Trump takes credit for Operation Warp Speed so the chief medical adviser to the president probably meant Trump should get credit for his achievement.
Fauci was asked if it was a mistake to close schools as a pandemic response given the educational and social harm associated with remote learning.
“I think in some — I don’t want to use the word ‘mistake,’ Jon, because if I do, it gets taken out of the context that you’re asking me the question on,” Fauci replied. “And I don’t want to do that because that’s just happened too many times over the last years with me.”
“Did we pay too high a price?” Karl pressed.
“Yeah, I would say that what we should realize, and have realized, that there will be deleterious collateral consequences when you do something like that,” responded Fauci.
The ABC host asked the virologist what he considers the biggest misconception of him is.
“I think the misconception is that I was misleading people,” Fauci remarked. “You know, to say that I, who have been adviser to seven presidents, and have never ever veered one way or the other from an ideological standpoint, and for somebody to say that, you know, I’m… political, I mean that’s completely crazy.”
“Would you take back what you said about masks?” Karl asked. “Obviously, the guidance changed… but you were very definitive. You said there’s absolutely no reason for people to be wearing masks.”
“Yes. I mean, sure, if I had to do it over again, of course,” Fauci replied. “I would have analyzed it a little bit better.”
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