Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday resisted efforts by a staunch ally of President Donald Trump to turn his testimony about controlling the coronavirus pandemic into criticism of protests against racial injustice.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that 95 per cent of parts of European countries obliged when the shut downs first came into effect but only 50 per cent of the United States did.
"We feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021", Dr. Fauci said.
While it typically takes years to develop vaccines, new technologies, the lack of bureaucratic red tape, and the human body's robust immune response to COVID-19 have hastened the process, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. "I do think it's really important to realize it's not public health versus the economy about school opening, it's public health versus public health of the K through 12 to get the schools open", he said. "The irony, of course, is that if the president put the full weight of the federal government towards containing this pandemic, which has cost more than 150,000 Americans their lives, instead of focusing so much on his re-election, he would be in much better shape politically". "Dr. Anthony Fauci had a different explanation saying it's due in part to how the USA shut down".
The hearing comes as the number of new COVID-19 cases keep appearing at a worrisome pace.
Fauci said the reason for the surge in cases boiled down to some states not following gateway guidelines that recommended only loosening restrictions when certain parameters were reached.
White House trade advisor Peter Navarro stoked concerns about such a disagreement when he published an op-ed in USA Today earlier this month claiming that Fauci had flip-flopped on the issue of wearing masks. "You've made comments on dating, on baseball, on everything you can imagine".
"Should we limit the protesting?" And I don't judge one crowd versus another crowd.
"I don't know how many times I can answer that", Fauci replied.
Also during Friday's hearing, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who chairs the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, asked Fauci why the USA has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than Europe.
Fauci responded by saying that people should be avoiding crowds, no matter the situation.
Why it matters: He was responding directly to a tweet from President Trump, who took to the platform during the hearing to repeat his claim that the USA has reported the most cases in the world due to increased testing.
During the hearing Clyburn had displayed a chart showing rising cases in the US juxtaposed with lower levels across Europe. "If we had no testing, or bad testing, we would show very few CASES".