Dr. Fauci was also criticized by Peter Navarro, President Trump’s top trade adviser, in an opinion piece for USA Today in which he said the disease expert had been “wrong about everything I have interacted with him on”.
However, the White House distanced itself from Peter Navarro’s remarks, with communications chief Alyssa Farah tweeting that the article “didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes” and was “the opinion of Peter alone”.
Asked about Peter Navarro’s piece as he departed the White House for Atlanta, President Trump said he should not have written it.
“Well he made a statement representing himself. He shouldn’t be doing that,” the president said.
In his interview with The Atlantic, Dr. Fauci said he was not thinking of resigning over the attacks on him.
“I think the problem is too important for me to get into those kinds of thoughts and discussions. I just want to do my job. I’m really good at it. I think I can contribute. And I’m going to keep doing it,” he said.
Dr. Fauci has also told Reuters that he believes the US will successfully develop a vaccine against the coronavirus by the end of the year.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the US has reported more than 3.4 million cases of coronavirus, and more than 136,000 deaths nationwide.
Speaking on May 13 at the White House, President Trump took issue with Dr. Fauci’s comments to a Senate hearing a day earlier about the risks to children of reopening and his assessment that a vaccine was unlikely before classes could begin this autumn.
He said: “Look, he wants to play all sides of the equation.”
“I was surprised by his answer actually, because, you know, it’s just to me – it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools,” the president told reporters.
The president said “the only thing that would be acceptable” is giving older teachers and professors a few more weeks before they return.
“Because this is a disease that attacks age, and it attacks health,” he said.
“But with the young children, I mean, and students, it’s really – just take a look at the statistics. It’s pretty amazing,” he added.
President Trump is keen to get Americans back to work and has praised governors who are moving to do so while criticizing others for not acting aggressively enough.
The US is split over President Trump’s focus on protecting livelihoods, critics accuse him of gambling with lives to serve his own political interests ahead of November’s re-election bid.
His latest comments come amid reports of some young children being severely affected by an inflammatory syndrome that could be linked to the virus.
Speaking to lawmakers on May 12, Dr. Fauci, a White House task force coronavirus expert, warned that relaxing stay-at-home rules too quickly could bring more “suffering and death”.
The director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases emphasized the importance of not being “cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects” of the disease.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said: “We just have to see on a step-by-step basis as we get into the period of time with the fall, about reopening the schools, exactly where we will be in the dynamics of the outbreak.”
He also said the real US death toll is probably higher than the official figure.
On May 12, Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan said he was lifting that state’s stay-at-home measure, replacing it on May 15 with a “safer-at-home” order.
The Republican, who has been critical of President Trump, cited a two-week decline in severe cases and deaths that federal guidelines recommend.
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