Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday warned the public against letting their guard down on COVID-19, despite President Trump’s return to the campaign trail as the country records more than 215,000 fatalities from the pandemic thus far.
During an interview with CBS on Wednesday, Fauci was asked about his response to people saying that they’re no longer worried about COVID-19 now that Trump — who is 74 and clinically obese, which is a demographic placed at higher risk of suffering serious consequences from contracting the novel coronavirus — has returned to the campaign trail.
Upon returning to the White House last week following his four-day hospitalization at Walter Reed the weekend before, Trump urged his supporters to not to be afraid of the coronavirus or let it “dominate” their lives.
Although Fauci was not directly asked about the President’s rosy takeaway from his COVID-19 diagnosis, he appeared to disagree with Trump’s call to his supporters.
“That’s sort of like saying someone was speeding in a car at 95 miles an hour and didn’t get in an accident, so I can go ahead and speed and not get in an accident,” Fauci said.
After saying that “there’s a great deal of variability” and that he’s “very, very pleased that the President did so well” when he contracted the coronavirus, Fauci pointed out that “there are also a lot of people who are his age and his weight which did not do as well as the President did.”
“The President was fortunate. He obviously has a good constitution, he did quite well and I hope and I believe he will continue to do very well, but you can’t take an ‘N equals 1,’ and say: OK, then everybody who is in that category is going to do well,” Fauci said. “That’s not so.”
Later in the interview, Fauci said that he signed off on the President’s participation in an NBC town hall Thursday night, citing his review of the “totality” of the COVID-related tests that Trump has taken.
“I, and one of my colleagues who’s very experienced in this, Dr. Cliff Lane, came to the conclusion — I think certainly correctly — that he is of no threat to transmit the virus to anybody else,” Fauci said.
When asked whether the President is putting the people who he travels with in danger at this point, Fauci replied: “The answer to that is no, he is not.”
Fauci’s interview with CBS comes a few days after he denied consenting to being featured in a new advertisement from the Trump campaign touting the President’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fauci did not address the Trump campaign ad that he’s featured in during the interview.
The CBS interview also comes on the heels of his absence in recent White House briefings, which include those held by Trump’s medical team outside of Walter Reed following the President’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
Fauci told CBS that he spoke to the President last week, but declined to go into detail about what they discussed.
Watch Fauci’s remarks below: