Fauci: I’ll Never Be “Muzzled” When Talking About Coronavirus

https://www.reutersconnect.com/all?id=tag%3Areuters.com%2C2020%3Anewsml_RC2ZUI998EU6&share=true

Fauci: I’ll Never Be “Muzzled” When Talking About Coronavirus

The disease expert has at times been in public disagreement with the President.

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci asserted Wednesday that he will never be “muzzled” when talking about the science and facts behind the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

“I would never be muzzled about anything when it comes to science and evidence and the facts,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said during an interview on Fox News.

Earlier on Wednesday, emails obtained by Politico showed that Paul Alexander, an official at the Department of Health and Human Services and a Trump administration appointee, often tried to prevent Fauci from speaking about the dangerous risks that the novel coronavirus poses to children.

“I continue to have an issue with kids getting tested and repeatedly and even university students in a widespread manner … and I disagree with Dr. Fauci on this. Vehemently,” Alexander wrote in an August 27 email, responding to a summary of what Fauci intended to tell a Bloomberg reporter.

On Tuesday, Alexander told Fauci’s press team that the infectious disease expert should not encourage mask-wearing by children during an MSNBC interview.

“Can you ensure Dr. Fauci indicates masks are for the teachers in schools. Not for children,” Alexander wrote.

“There is no data, none, zero, across the entire world, that shows children especially young children, spread this virus to other children, or to adults or to their teachers. None. And if it did occur, the risk is essentially zero.”

Fauci’s comments during the pandemic largely have been in conflict with President Donald Trump, who has frequently downplayed the deadliness of the virus.

For example, on Tuesday, Fauci admitted that a viable coronavirus vaccine likely won’t be ready by the U.S. presidential election on November 3, even as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already directed states to prepare vaccine distribution facilities by November 1.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has also controversially stated that the agency is willing to skip the full federal approval process in order to green-light a vaccine as soon as possible.

“It’s unlikely we’ll have a definitive answer” by Election Day, Fauci said Tuesday during the Research! America 2020 National Health Research Forum.

Trump, however, suggested Monday during a press conference that a viable vaccine could indeed be ready for distribution by November 3.

“We could have a vaccine soon, maybe even before a very special day,” he said. “You know what day I’m talking about.”

Now more than eight months into the pandemic, there are roughly 27.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, including at least 900,000 related deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Image: Reuters