In the most direct rebuke of the infectious disease expert who helped guide his administration’s global coronavirus response, President Donald Trump called out Dr. Anthony Fauci as “wrong” on slowing the spread in the U.S.
“Wrong! We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases. How did Italy, France & Spain do? Now Europe sadly has flare ups. Most of our governors worked hard & smart. We will come back STRONG!”
Trump’s comments came in response to Fauci’s comments to the House select subcommittee investigating the Trump administration’s pandemic response, tweeted out by CBS News.
“If you look at what happened in Europe when they shut down or locked down or went into shelter-in-place – however you want to describe it – they really did it to the tune of about 95-plus percent of the country did that. When you actually look at what we did, even though we shut down, even though it created a great deal of difficulty, we really functionally shutdown only 50% in the sense of the totality of the country.”
While Fauci might be technically correct in his estimations, those comments do not distinctly qualify as Europe is a group of individual countries, while the United States is a collection of a number of states, each with its own respective governors in charge.
Many of the less-populous states that shutdown less, saw far fewer cases initially, but that does not necessarily mean they had a better response when weighed with Fauci’s logic. The initial leaders of the most coronavirus cases – New York, New Jersey, and Michigan – were led by Democratic governors with very strict shutdowns. Yet, they had many cases and the most deaths.
“There are some states that did it very well, there are some states that did not,” Fauci did admit to Congress, but that comment was not included in the tweet Trump responded to.
Then, as for Trump’s comments, the testing has now ramped up to around 820,000 tests per day – whereas before, when the country was shut down, the testing was far less robust to determine the precise number of cases, making Fauci’s above comment about the effectiveness of the U.S. shutdowns mere speculation.
Fauci was referring to total COVID-19 cases, many of which are now being found via testing of asymptomatic and younger patients. While the U.S. cases are rising amid the ramped up testing, the rates of death and hospitalizations are declining: Far, far more confirmed COVID-19 cases and still less deaths or hospitalizations in the U.S. than the spring peak of severe cases.
“We cannot test our way out of this or any pandemic,” Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services Adm. Brett Giroir, the White House coronavirus task force testing czar, said at the congressional hearing.
Fauci did admit testing has vastly improved throughout the U.S.
“I think that things are significantly different and improved now,” he told Congress, which also was not promoted by CBS News’ tweet that Trump was responded to above.
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