Dr Fauci says a year ago he did not anticipate ‘anything close to 500,000 people dying’ from COVID – and claims the variants are NOT a game-changer because vaccine works against dominant UK strain
- Dr Anthony Fauci appeared on several TV shows on Thursday to discuss COVID
- A year ago, March 11 2020, Fauci testified before Congress about the virus
- He said he never imagined the death toll would be so astronomical
- Fauci blamed the ‘politicization’ of the virus for the high death toll in the U.S.
- He urged people to continue wearing masks and socially distancing
- He said the mutant viruses were concerning but not ‘showstoppers’
‘It was exactly one year ago this morning I said things are going to get much worse before they get better,’ he said.
‘But I did not realize in my mind even anything close to more than half a million people having died in this country.’
Fauci told Good Morning America on Thursday he underestimated the scale of the tragedy
Fauci said he never expected that half a million U.S. citizens would die from COVID
He said people should get vaccinated (above, in LA on Thursday) but keep wearing masks
Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said that the vaccination program was giving hope.
He told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would shortly roll out a new series of guidelines for people who have been vaccinated, giving them more freedom and encouraging others to be vaccinated themselves.
He said mutations should always be taken seriously – but he was optimistic that the U.K. variant was being limited by the vaccine, and other variants were not proving to be a ‘showstopper’.
Fauci said that variants of the virus were concerning, but not necessarily a ‘showstopper’
‘But one of the positive aspects is the 117 variant, the one from the United Kingdom – the vaccines that we are distributing now do quite well against them.
‘There are others that are not so good, but they are not the dominant ones. They don’t necessarily have to be a showstopper.
‘The more people we vaccinate, the more quickly we vaccinate them, the less chance you give a variant to take hold.’
He told NBC that the politicization of safety measures and ‘mixed messages’ out of Washington were to blame for the high number of fatalities.
Host Savannah Guthrie noted that Fauci said exactly one year ago that 27 people in the U.S. had died from COVID-19 and asked what he would have thought then of today’s death toll of more than 531,000.
People in Chicago are seen lining up for the vaccination at a mass-inoculation site Wednesday
‘I have to tell you quite honestly, Savannah, it would have shocked me completely,’ said Fauci.
Asked what went wrong, Fauci pointed to the ‘divisiveness in our country.’
He continued: ‘Even simple, commonsense public health measures took on a political connotation.
‘If you wanted to wear a mask, you were on this side. If you wanted to stay in and avoid congregate settings, you were on this side. It wasn’t a pure public health approach. It was really very much influenced by the divisiveness that we had in this country.’