Trump calls Fauci's advice on reopening schools "unacceptable"

United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticised the congressional testimony delivered by the nation's top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci a day earlier against the dangers of reopening the economy and schools too quickly. The doctor's suggestion at Senate hearing that the country ought to be careful about reopening schools too quickly angered Trump.

Trump downplayed the risks of the virus to children in the interview.

"Anthony is a good person, a very good person", Trump said, before acknowledging he and Fauci have had disagreements in the past over the country's coronavirus response.

Dr Fauci warned that opening too early could allow the highly contagious and deadly virus to resume spreading and this "could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery".

The president, who previously made the strength of the economy central to his pitch for re-election in November, has encouraged states to reopen businesses and schools that were shuttered to halt the spread of the highly contagious respiratory disease.

Though the Trump administration has tried to control the information released by the agency, CDC Director Robert Redfield painted a dire picture as he testified Tuesday before the Senate. Because the more and more we learn, we're seeing things about what this virus can do that we didn't see from the studies in China or in Europe.

Fauci went on to note there have been a number of cases of children with the coronavirus who also developed a perplexing inflammatory syndrome.

His focus on getting the USA economy back open is gaining momentum as businesses struggle to stay solvent and millions of Americans register for unemployment relief.

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"We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic", said epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove.

Trump said "it was not an acceptable answer".

Dr. Fauci did not literally warn in January 2017 that the Trump administration would certainly face a deadly pandemic affecting the USA, but he said more generally (while speaking on the subject of pandemic preparedness) there was "no question" that a "surprise outbreak" of infectious disease would occur.

The disagreement shows the battle between weighing health concerns versus economics. Axios similarly reported last week that Trump had complained about the way that the deaths were counted, "suggesting the real numbers are actually lower".

And now I'm calling on" -Kaitlan Collins: "Sir, I just wanted to" -President Donald Trump: - "the young lady in the back.

The president has steadfastly refused to wear a mask in recent weeks, despite new White House guidelines that require those around them to do so.

Dr. Fauci was also blocked by the administration from testifying to the Democratic-led House of Representatives. Hence, he has directed schools and businesses to open their shutters. And maybe some of them shouldn't open quite yet.

  • Michelle Webb