23.02.2024

Dr Fauci responds to Trump tweet insisting he has not misled the public over coronavirus

The nation’s leading infectious disease expert was forced to respond to statements President Donald Trump promoted on social media suggesting he “misled the American public” about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine to treat the novel coronavirus.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1984 and a member of the White House coronavirus response task force, told Good Morning America on Tuesday: “’I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances.”

Hydroxychloroquine has not been proven effective in treating Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has caused more than 650,000 deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Dr Fauci has repeatedly taken this stance when asked about the anti-malaria drug, even as the president claimed without evidence that it could help treat Covid-19 patients. Mr Trump later told reporters at a White House event he was taking the drug as an apparent form of prevention.

The president was retweeting a link to War Room: Pandemic, a show featuring his former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon. The retweet was among a series of links and statements the president posted to his account supporting hydroxychloroquine and claiming the drug was effective in treating Covid-19.

Asked about the president’s tweets, Dr Fauci responded: “I don’t tweet. I don’t even read them, so I don’t really want to go there.”

He added: “I just will continue to do my job no matter what comes out, because I think it’s very important.”

Dr Fauci said he would “certainly” continue doing his job despite the tweets, telling host George Stephanopoulos: “We’re in the middle of a crisis with regard to an epidemic, a pandemic, this is what I do, this is what I’ve been trained for my entire professional life, and I’ll continue to do it.”

The epidemiologist has faced seemingly increasing criticism from Mr Trump’s allies and even the White House itself, with trade adviser Peter Navarro defending an Op-Ed he wrote that suggested Dr Fauci made mistakes throughout the coronavirus pandemic in an interview with Fox News on Monday.

“The only thing I regret is Dr Fauci’s pitch the other day at Opening Day,” he quipped. “I felt bad for him.”

Dr Fauci has remained above the fray throughout the apparent tensions. When asked by Stephanopoulos about the “charge” he had been misleading the public, the doctor put simply: “I have not been misleading the public under any circumstances.”

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