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.
The government’s own coronavirus-prevention advice is that people should wear face coverings “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain”.
The Mayo Clinic itself requires all patients and visitors to its medical centers to wear a mask or face covering.
VP Pence’s visit came on the same day that the US coronavirus caseload topped one million and the number of deaths surpassed 57,000.
President Donald Trump has himself previously said he has no plans to wear a mask.
The vice-president defended his decision to flout hospitals rules as necessary in order to meet with staff and patients.
He said: “As vice-president of the United States, I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus.
“And when the CDC issued guidelines about wearing a mask, it was their recognition that people that may have the coronavirus could prevent the possibility of conveying the virus to someone else by wearing a mask.
“And since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible healthcare personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you.”
According to news website Axios, Mike Pence has never once worn a mask while in public since the pandemic began while continuing to travel throughout the country.
A Mike Pence aide was the first White House member to test positive for the virus in late March.
As of April 4, there were almost 8,500 deaths from Covid-19 in the US, with most in New York state – the epicenter of the outbreak.
On the same day, New York state recorded 630 more Covid-19 deaths, another daily record that takes its toll to 3,565. New York state now has almost as many cases – over 113,000 – as the whole of Italy.
The president gave a candid assessment of what lies ahead for the US in the coming weeks.
He said: “This will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week, and there will be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn’t done but there will be death.”
To support states in their fight against Covid-19, President Trump said his administration would be deploying a “tremendous amount of military, thousands of soldiers, medical workers, professionals”.
The military personnel will “soon” be advised of their assignments, the president said, adding that “1,000 military personnel” were being deployed to New York City.
President Trump also addressed his use of the Defense Production Act, a Korean-War-era law which gives him powers to control the production and supply of US-made medical products.
He said he was “very disappointed” with 3M, a US company that makes masks, saying it “should be taking care of our country” instead of selling to others.
However, the president rejected accusations that the US had committed an act of “modern piracy” by redirecting 200,000 Germany-bound masks for its own use.
On the question of easing social-distancing restrictions, President Trump reiterated a familiar theme.
President Trump has said: “The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”
Elsewhere in the world, there has been cause for optimism as the number of new infections and deaths from coronavirus has started to gradually diminish.
Globally, more than 60,000 people have died and more than 1.1 million have been infected, Johns Hopkins University says.
Though the tally kept by Johns Hopkins records one million confirmed cases, the actual number is thought to be much higher.
It took a month and a half for the first 100,000 cases to be registered, but one million was reached after a doubling in cases over the past week.
Nearly a quarter of cases have been registered in the US, while Europe accounts for around half.
On April 2, Spain said 950 people had died in the previous 24 hours – thought to be the highest number of deaths of any country in one day.
The number of confirmed Spanish cases rose from 102,136 on April 1 to 110,238 – an 8% rise that is similar to the rate recorded in previous days. Spanish authorities believe the virus is now peaking and say they expect to see a drop in figures in the days ahead.
Spain is the second-worst hit nation in terms of deaths. It has also lost nearly 900,000 jobs.
US infectious disease chief Anthony Fauci said that “as sobering a number as that [100,000] is, we should be prepared for it. Is it going to be that much? I hope not and the more we push on mitigation the less likely it would be that number.
“But being realistic, we need to prepare ourselves… it will be difficult – no one is denying we are going through a very difficult time right now.”
President Donald Trump is expected to help businesses in America by allowing them to delay payments on certain tariffs.
The US imposes tariffs – fees for importing certain products from overseas – on a raft of goods, including steel from China.
However, the president is expected to waive payment of these fees for 90 days to help improve US companies’ cashflows as they struggle with lockdowns.
The 90-day breathing space will apply to specific goods from “most-favored nations”, although these are not expected to include imports from China or Europe.
Around 400 chief executives of small, medium, and large companies in the US urged President Trump in a letter on March 31 to delay the collection of these fees for up to 180 days.
The cash would normally be paid direct to the US government.
As more US states tighten measures to fight the coronavirus, about three out of four Americans are now, or about to be, under some form of lockdown.
The US has almost 175,000 confirmed virus cases and over 3,400 deaths.
It surpassed Italy last week as the country with the highest number of people suffering from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and Arizona became the latest states to order citizens to stay at home, meaning 32 of 50 states have taken such steps.
Meanwhile governors are quarrelling with President Donald Trump about the availability of testing kits.
New York City is the worst-hit place in the US, with 914 confirmed fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Some 245 million people are already under orders to stay at home, or facing such orders which come into effect later on March 31.
Almost two-thirds of states have issued directives for their citizens to stay put, while the remaining states have localized orders in effect.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been reluctant to impose a state-wide order, said he would instruct people in four counties in the south – where more than half the state’s cases of the virus exist – to stay at home. He said this would last until at least the middle of May.
In general, the “lockdowns” allow people to only go out to get essential supplies and medicines, or limited forms of exercise.
The economic consequences have been profound, with millions of people having lost their jobs.
All 50 states in the US have been hit by the deadly coronavirus as West Virginia reported its first case of the infection on March 17.
Announcing the state’s first Covid-19 patient, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said: “We knew this was coming.”
So far, there are 108 deaths in the US from coronavirus and more than 6,300 confirmed cases nationwide.
Globally, there are 217,325 cases and 8,917 people have died as of March 18.
As the Trump administration seeks a $1 trillion stimulus package, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly warned Republican senators privately on March 17 that if Congress failed to act, US unemployment could hit 20% – almost double the jobless rate during the Great Recession after the 2008 financial crisis.