On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, rejected the idea that Trump did not act early to stop the Chinese coronavirus. Fauci echoed Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, saying that misinformation from China prevented experts from predicting the impact the virus would have on Americans.
Fauci’s remarks came in response to CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta suggesting that if the Trump administration had acted sooner, less American lives would have been lost.
Acosta said, “there may be Americans at home saying if we had started this sooner we might not have 100,000 to 200,000 Americans dying.”
“Just to underscore what Dr. Birx was saying, if there was no virus in the background, there was nothing to mitigate,” Fauci responded. “If there was virus there that we didn’t know about, then the answer to your question is probably yes. Now the only trouble with that is that whenever you come out and say something like that, it always becomes almost a sound bite that gets taken out of context, but I think that’s very important, what Dr. Birx has said, is that if there was covert infections here that we didn’t know about, and we didn’t mitigate them, that they would’ve made a difference. If there was virtually nothing there, then there’s nothing to mitigate. And I don’t know the answer to your question.”
Acosta replied, “But we were watching South Korea, excuse me, and China and Italy, and we weren’t taking action when those countries were spiking.”
“In a perfect world, it would have been nice to know what was going on [in China],” Fauci responded. “We didn’t, but I believe Jim, that we, we acted very, very early in that.”