WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci has some new coronavirus guidance: “Do what you’re told.”
In an interview Thursday, the coronavirus task force member and infectious disease expert pushed back on the notion that scientists were “authoritarian” for promoting strict lockdowns and social distancing measures.
But the 79-year-old suggested the American spirit of independence had gotten in the way and the nation needed to follow their orders, whether they liked it or not.
“I was talking with my UK colleagues who are saying the UK is similar to where we are now, because each of our countries have that independent spirit,” Fauci said during a panel with other experts in Washington, DC.
“I can understand that, but now is the time to do what you’re told,” he said, as first reported by CNBC.
The longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has repeatedly clashed with President Trump and his administration, who have dismissed him as “a bit of an alarmist” amid the pandemic.
Fauci said Thursday it was unfortunate that America’s scientists had been “lumped into politics” and that people were unwilling to follow their guidance because society was so “divisive.”
“All of a sudden, science gets caught in a lot of this divisiveness,” he told the audience.
It comes as public health officials and the Trump administration grapple with how to combat new record numbers of daily coronavirus infections.
Daily US cases topped 150,000 for the first time Wednesday, while hospitalizations have also hit another all-time high.
Fauci said the nation could avoid another round of economically devastating lockdowns if people simply washed their hands, wore a mask and remained socially distant.
“It sounds simple in the context of this ominous outbreak, but in fact we can turn it around,” he said.
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