Anthony Fauci, who to many watching the now-regular White House press briefings on the pandemic has become the scientific voice of reason about how to respond to the new coronavirus, runs from place to place in normal times and works long hours. Now the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has even less time to sleep and travels at warp speed, typically racing daily from his office north of Washington D.C. to his home in the capital, and then to the White House to gather with the Coronavirus Task Force in the Situation Room. He then usually flanks President Donald Trump addressing the media--and when he isn't there, concerned tweets begin immediately.
Q: You're standing there saying nobody should gather with more than 10 people and there are almost 10 people with you on the stage. And there are certainly more than 10 journalists in the audience.
A: I know that. I’m trying my best. I cannot do the impossible.
Q: What about the travel restrictions? President Trump keeps saying that the travel ban for China, which began 2 February, had a big impact [on slowing the spread of the virus to the United States] and that he wishes China would have told us three to four months earlier and that they were “very secretive.” [China did not immediately reveal the discovery of a new coronavirus in late December, but by 10 January, Chinese researchers made the sequence of the virus public.] It just doesn't comport with facts.
A: I know, but what do you want me to do? I mean, seriously Jon, let’s get real, what do you want me to do?
Q: Most everyone thinks that you’re doing a remarkable job, but you're standing there as the representative of truth and facts but things are being said that aren't true and aren't factual.
A: The way it happened is that after he made that statement [suggesting China could have revealed the discovery of a new coronavirus three to four months earlier], I told the appropriate people, it doesn't comport, because two or three months earlier would have been September.
Q: You have not said China virus. [Trump frequently calls the cause of the spreading illness, known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a “China virus” or a “Chinese virus.”]
Q. And you never will, will you?
Q: Right now, why do we have a travel ban on visitors from China when there are few cases in China other than imported cases? What's the logic?
A: I'm sorry. I was just looking at two text messages, one from a governor and one from the White House. I gotta get off.
‘I’m going to keep pushing.’ Anthony Fauci tries to make the White House listen to facts of the pandemic
The infectious disease researcher has become the United States’s most trusted coronavirus expert