Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, spoke frankly about the difficulties he faced dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in the Trump Administration and his hope for the future, in an interview with senior contributor Ted Koppel for “CBS Sunday Morning,” to be broadcast January 24.
[Watch a preview by clicking on the video above.]
Fauci talked with Koppel about the challenges he faced working with the Trump administration, and the threats against him – and his family – because of his work on the pandemic.
“It’s very disturbing,” he revealed. “I mean, I have to tell you, I’m not afraid – of myself, for myself. But the thing that really is disturbing to me is the harassment … continual harassment, you know, of my three daughters. … The crazies, you know, know who they are, know where they live, know what their telephone number is, know where they work.
“And, it’s just … it infuriates me.”
Fauci stressed that a more consistent leadership during the pandemic could have saved lives. “I think if we had the public health messages from the top, right down through the people in the trenches be consistent, that things might have been different,” he said. “In fact, I’m pretty sure they would have been different.”
Fauci, who became a household name during the pandemic, is hopeful about the future. “Right now things are getting better. But they’re going to get much better because President Biden has made it clear this is his top priority,” he told Koppel.
“You know the goal that’s been set, which I believe is entirely achievable, is to have 100 million vaccinations. People vaccinated; 100 million people vaccinated in the first 100 days,” Fauci said. “Primary and boost.”
Fauci also opened up about what went wrong with the pandemic response: “You can’t have mixed messaging. You cannot have the politicization of public health messages. I mean, the idea that wearing a mask or not became a political statement … that makes it beyond difficult to implement a good public health measure.”
Fauci said he understands there are risks in setting ambitious goals going forward for getting Americans vaccinated, but he said things will be different with the Biden administration.
“And that was one of the things that was kind of refreshing, in one of the first briefings that we had with President Biden and Vice President Harris, is that he said, ‘We might have setbacks. But you know when that happens what we’re going to do? We’re not going to point fingers. We’re not going to blame people. We’re not going to hide anything. We’re going to be totally transparent and honest and we’re going to try and fix it.'”
The Emmy Award-winning “Sunday Morning” is broadcast on CBS Sundays beginning at 9 a.m. ET. “Sunday Morning” also streams on CBSN [beginning at 9 a.m. ET] and CBS All Access, and is available on cbs.com and On Demand.
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