Dr. Anthony Fauci takes 'liberating' turn at center stage
(Sourced from PTI)
US' leading infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is back. In truth, he never really went away. But after enduring nearly a year of darts and undermining comments from former President Donald Trump, he now speaks with the authority of the White House again. He called it "liberating" on Thursday to be backed by a science-friendly administration that embraced his recommendations to battle COVID-19.
"One of the new things in this administration is, if you don't know the answer, don't guess. Just say you don't know the answer," Dr. Fauci said in one-pointed observation during a White House briefing. Dr. Fauci's highly visible schedule on Thursday, the first full day of President Joe Biden's term, underscored the new administration's confidence in him and the urgency of the moment.
Dr. Fauci's day began with a 4 am meeting with World Health Organization officials and stretched past 4 pm at the lectern in the White House briefing room. The breakneck pace showcased the urgent need to combat COVID-19 that has killed over 400,000 Americans.
Dr. Fauci asserted he believed the new administration would not trade in mixed messages that so often came from the Trump White House, where scientific fact was obscured by the president's political agenda. Dr. Fauci acknowledged that it had been difficult at times to work for Trump, who played down the severity of COVID-19, refused to consistently promote mask-wearing, and touted unproven scientific remedies.
Dr. Fauci said that he took no pleasure in contradicting the President, a move that often drew Trump's wrath. Meanwhile, Biden, during his presidential campaign, had pledged to make him his Chief Medical Advisor when he took office, and the 80-year-old scientist was in motion.
Further, during the meeting with WHO, Dr. Fauci assured that the US would join its effort to deliver coronavirus vaccines to poor countries. Previously, Trump withdrew the US from the group out of anger. He also stood alongside Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the White House as they unveiled a series of executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
To recall, Trump frequently undermined Dr. Fauci's credibility, falsely insisting that the pandemic was nearly over. Trump regularly referenced his early skepticism about the effectiveness of masks for ordinary Americans, a position that Dr. Fauci quickly abandoned in the face of more evidence. He also mercilessly attacked him, retweeting messages that called for the doctor's dismissal and reveled in Fire Fauci! chants at rallies.
"There was political influence on the message of COVID-19. It became political to say that coronavirus was devastating our community because it was interpreted as a judgment on Trump," said Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious-diseases physician and professor at the Boston University School of Medicine.