(NewsNation) — Dr Anthony Fauci says he was placed in an “uncomfortable position” tasked with relaying COVID-19 information during the Donald Trump administration.
Fauci, an infectious disease expert and chief medical adviser to the White House, will retire in December.
Appearing Thursday on NewsNation’s “CUOMO”, Fauci recounted lessons learned from the nation’s early COVID-19 response. While he claims the former president made statements about the virus that are “untrue”, Fauci stands firm that all of the chief medical adviser’s recommendations are rooted in science, not politics.
“You have a mix of presidents trying to answer medical questions and me standing there and being put in an uncomfortable position… when he says something that’s totally untrue and has to publicly correct it,” Fauci said. “I don’t enjoy that because I have a lot of respect for the presidential office.”
Fauci also defended the COVID-19 lockdown that came at the start of the pandemic, saying they were “saving lives” while hospitals were stormed.
“The only way you can stop it is to stop the virus in its tracks,” he said.
Looking back, “We would have been much stricter in demanding the wearing of masks,” Fauci said.
“What we know now about this virus, or we don’t know in January, February and March 2020,” Fauci said, “we don’t know about the fact … aerosol transmission or that people who don’t have symptoms are the main spreaders of the virus.”
Recommendations to close schools and enforce protective orders in place early during the pandemic were celebrated by some and criticized by others, but the decision was not made lightly, Fauci said.
“We said that we should do everything we can to keep the children in school, but to protect them while they are in school by surrounding them with people who are vaccinated, getting good ventilation in the school,” Fauci said. “That’s what we were talking about. Now, that was before children were allowed to be vaccinated. Nobody wants to keep children out of school. We are totally aware of the real and potential negative consequences on children, but you are making serious decisions like It’s to save lives.”
Looking ahead, much remains unknown about the long-term effects of COVID. In that sense, learning more about the long-term effects of what is sometimes referred to as remote COVID is of “deep urgency,” Fauci said.
“The problem is that we don’t know or understand what the underlying pathogenic mechanisms are,” Fauci said. “Is that the reality? You bet… Laboratory data seems normal, yet someone is very tired.”