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'Unacceptable': Trump hits out at warning by top diseases expert to lift Covid-19 restrictions slowly

Trump has accused Anthony Fauci of wanting “to play all sides of the equation”.
May 14th 2020, 7:33 AM 45,042 84

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has said calls by the country’s top medical advisor Anthony Fauci for a highly cautious lifting of pandemic restrictions are “not acceptable.”

Trump accused Fauci of wanting “to play all sides of the equation”, a comment that suggested he is tiring of the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

He has called on governors to reopen schools that were closed because of the coronavirus while taking issue with Fauci’s caution against moving too quickly in sending students back to class.

The issue is emerging as a flashpoint in the standoff between the White House and medical experts over how quickly to reopen the country.

“I think they should open the schools, absolutely. I think they should,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.

“Our country’s got to get back and it’s got to get back as soon as possible. And I don’t consider our country coming back if the schools are closed.”

But Fauci, an internationally respected expert on infectious diseases, testified in Congress on Tuesday that ending the lockdown too quickly could have “really serious” consequences.

“There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control,” he said.

This was starkly at odds with Trump’s push to put the health emergency behind him and focus on getting the US economy back open.

That view is gaining momentum as businesses struggle to stay solvent and millions of Americans register for unemployment relief.

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.”

Trump and Fauci have publicly disagreed before, including on the effectiveness of certain drugs that have been tested to treat the virus.

He has also complained to aides and confidants about Fauci’s positive media attention and his willingness to contradict the president.

But the president has also acknowledged that the blowback to removing the doctor would be fierce.

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Trump has stuck by Fauci during the pandemic, but the doctor is increasingly in the background as the president pushes his reopening message.

“Anthony is a good person, a very good person. I’ve disagreed with him,” Trump said in a segment of an interview on Fox Business Network due to air early Thursday.

“I think that we have to open our schools,” Trump said in the interview.

“We have to open our country. Now, we want to do it safely, but we also want to do it as quickly as possible. We can’t keep going on like this. You’re having bedlam already in the streets,” he said.

“I totally disagree with him on schools.”

With reporting from Press Association.'s coronavirus newsletter cuts through the misinformation and noise with the clear facts you need to make informed choices. Sign up here

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Stephen McDermott


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