Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday July 10, 2020
Fauci says he hasn’t briefed Trump in two months as Covid-19 cases rise
Donald Trump says Dr Anthony Fauci is “a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes”. Fauci says he last saw Trump on 2 June and has not briefed him in two months.
The president was speaking to the Fox News host Sean Hannity. The most senior non-political member of the White House coronavirus taskforce and America’s top public health expert was having lunch with the Financial Times.
Meanwhile, nearly 3.2 million coronavirus cases have been recorded in the US and almost 133,000 people have died. More than 60,000 new cases were confirmed on Thursday, the latest in a succession of unwelcome records.
States which reopened early, Arizona, Texas and Florida prominent among them, are facing steep rises in cases and crushing pressure on testing and hospital beds. Early hotspots, such as California, New York and New Jersey, are pausing or modifying reopening, or considering re-entering lockdown.
“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say we have a serious ongoing problem, right now, as we speak,” Fauci said. “What worries me is the slope of the curve. It still looks like it’s exponential.”
He continued: “I think we have to realise that some states jumped ahead of themselves. Other states did it correctly. But the citizenry didn’t listen to the guidelines and they decided they were going to stay in bars and go to congregations of crowds and celebrations.”
Fauci put that down, in part, to a very American problem with authority. It is one the president seems to share.
“A lot of them said don’t wear a mask, don’t wear a mask,” Trump told Hannity about advisers including Fauci. “Now they are saying wear a mask. A lot of mistakes were made, a lot of mistakes.”
Many observers charge that Trump has made them, by refusing to wear a mask or consider a national mandate and by declining to “listen to my experts” in general. The president told Fox News he would probably wear a mask to visit Walter Reed hospital on Saturday. But he also mocked Joe Biden, his presumptive opponent in November, for wearing a “massive” mask in public.
Before bad weather intervened, Trump had been due to stage a rally in New Hampshire this weekend, although in the open air rather than in an indoor arena as in Tulsa, Oklahoma last month. Public health authorities said that event contributed to a surge in cases.
To Hannity, Trump said: “We have cases all over the place. Most of the cases immediately get better, they are people, young people, they have sniffles and two days later they are fine and they are not sick to start.”
That was an echo of his claim last week that 99% of Covid-19 cases are “totally harmless”. (The Guardian)