President Donald Trump retweeted a message April 12 that defended his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak and called for Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, to be fired.
Trump’s reaction was to a tweet by former congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine.
“Fauci is now saying that had Trump listened to the medical experts earlier he could’ve saved more lives,” Lorraine’s tweet reads. “Fauci was telling people on February 29th that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US public at large.”
“Time to #FireFauci…” she added.
Lorraine seemed to be referring to a Feb. 29 interview Fauci gave on NBC’s “Today” show when he was asked by a reporter whether Americans should be changing their habits in the face of the COVID-19 threat.
“No. Right now, at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis,” Fauci replied. “Right now, the risk is still low. But this could change.”
Fauci then added in the interview that although the risk was low at the time, it could spike when community spread was observed, saying that this could “force you to become much more attentive to doing things that would protect you from spread.”
The number of fatalities attributed to COVID-19 in the United States stands at more than 22,000 as of April 13.
On April 12, Fauci was asked on CNN if earlier action on social distancing and “stay-at-home” policies could have saved lives.
He responded in part: “It’s very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated.”
Trump, in his retweet of Lorraine’s message, wrote that he responded early to the threat of the outbreak by banning travel from China, the source of the virus.
“Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape. I banned China long before people spoke up,” the president wrote.
Trump later posted another tweet: “I was criticized for moving too fast when I issued the China Ban, long before most others wanted to do so.”
In the April 12 interview on CNN, Fauci also said that the economy in parts of the country could have a “rolling reentry” as early as next month, provided health authorities can quickly identify and isolate people who become infected.
Trump, at the April 10 briefing of the CCP virus task force, said his administration’s response to the virus was having an effect.
“Our experts are monitoring the data from every part of our country having to do with the topic that we’re here to discuss. In the midst of grief and pain, we’re seeing clear signs that our aggressive strategy is saving countless lives,” Trump said.