Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Saturday, April 4, 2020, in Washington.
Associated Press/Patrick Semansky
After the first case of the novel coronavirus was identified in the US in late January, President Donald Trump spent weeks downplaying the virus and putting off formal orders to respond to the outbreak.
Reports have since surfaced detailing multiple warnings issued by public health officials before the US instituted measures like official stay-at-home orders.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said “no one is going to deny” that lives could have been saved if the US implemented containment measures earlier on in the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that “no one is going to deny” that lives could have been saved if the US implemented containment measures earlier on in the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the top experts on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that if President Donald Trump’s administration had announced isolation measures in February instead of late March after fielding warnings from public health officials.
Related: 6 Times Trump Contradicted Coronavirus Public Officials
“As I’ve said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint,” Fauci said. “We make a recommendation. Often the recommendation is taken. Sometimes it’s not. But it is what it is. We are where we are right now.”
After the first case of the novel coronavirus in the US was identified in January, Trump spent weeks downplaying the virus and putting off formal orders to respond to the outbreak.
Reports have since surfaced detailing the multiple warnings issued by public health officials urging the administration to address the outbreak months before the US instituted measures like official stay-at-home orders.
Fauci said a different response timeline could have meant saving lives, but described the process as “complicated.”
“Obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” Fauci said. “Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated.”
Fauci’s comments came one day after The New York Times reported that Trump’s top public health experts, including Fauci, said on February 21 that administration would need to announce aggressive social distancing policies to save lives, even if that meant disrupting normal life and the economy across the US.
Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” that if federal officials had listened to warnings from public-health experts like those reported by the Times, “we’d be in a much better position.”
“If we’d acted on some of those warnings earlier, we’d be in a much better position in terms of diagnostics and possibly masks and possibly personal protective equipment and getting our hospitals ready,” Inglesby said.
After what officials had warned would be a week of record-high deaths, 530,006 Americans were identified with the virus. Around two months after the initial cases, 20,608 have died from the virus and 32,110 have recovered, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.