President Trump split with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday after the infectious disease specialist said the U.S. is still “knee-deep” in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Well, I think we are in a good place. I disagree with him,” Mr. Trump told Gray TV’s Greta Van Susteren. “Dr. Fauci said don’t wear masks and now he says wear them. And he said numerous things. Don’t close off China. Don’t ban China. And I did it anyway. I sort of didn’t listen to my experts and I banned China. We would have been in much worse shape.”
Mr. Trump was responding to remarks Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made on Monday about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
“We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this,” Dr. Fauci said during a conversation with Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health. “And I would say, this would not be considered a wave. It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline.”
Dr. Fauci, who also serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, made the remark on the eve of the U.S. setting a grim record for the most new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. More than 60,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University, marking the most since the outbreak began.
Speaking to Ms. Van Susteren that same day, Mr. Trump predicted the U.S. will be in “very good shape” within the next two to four weeks.
More than 2.9 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S. since the outbreak erupted late last year in Wuhan, China, according to data kept by Johns Hopkins. In the U.S., more than 131,000 people have died from COVID-19 and over 936,000 have recovered since the first domestic cases appeared in January, according to the university’s count.