Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading US infectious disease expert, said the White House coronavirus outbreak is “not a hoax’ and could have been prevented.
“It’s an unfortunate situation when you see something like that because that could have been prevented,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a virtual conversation with students and families at American University on Tuesday.
More than a dozen White House officials and staff including President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19. Trump announced his diagnosis on Friday.
Many of those who tested positive attended an event last Saturday where Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee. Photos of the event showed people socializing without masks and ignoring other social distancing measures meant to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
In response to a question by a student on how to handle family members who still don’t believe the virus is real or serious, Fauci said: “Right now we have 210,000 people who have died and 7.3 million people (who) have been infected. Globally, there are over 1 million people who have died. That is not a hoax.”
He added: “You can’t say that people all over the world and American allies are all lying and calling it a hoax.”