Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday described the politicization of the coronavirus pandemic as “really unfortunate.”
“The politicization, the hostility, back and forth is something — I’ve been through multiple outbreaks over the last 35, 40 years as you well know — I’ve never seen such a situation where there’s been as much divisiveness,” Fauci told International Association of Providers of AIDS Care President José M. Zuñiga at the end of a virtual presentation he gave during the Virtual Fast-Track Cities 2020 conference.
“So you have to be able to function in the context of good public health practices, at the same time that it seems that everything is politicized, which is really unfortunate,” added Fauci.
Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, spoke on the same day Bob Woodward released tapes in which President Trump acknowledged the pandemic’s severity.
Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center notes there are more than 6.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. The pandemic has also killed 191,168 people in this country.
The White House’s response to the pandemic has been widely criticized. Trump, among other things, has downplayed the coronavirus’ impact in the U.S. and made dubious claims about when a potential vaccine may be available.
Fauci on Wednesday acknowledged the U.S. government is currently supporting “one way or the other either directly or indirectly” 6-7 potential vaccines, including three that are currently in phrase 3 trials. Fauci noted “we will know whether one or more of these are safe and effective” by November or December.
“We are actually cautiously optimistic that we will reach that goal,” he said.
Trump in recent days has said a vaccine could be ready as soon as next month.
“It’s certainly is a possibility, but I think it’s unlikely that we’ll get a definitive answer by then,” said Fauci.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.