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Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., praised President Joe Biden's commitment to science and data as a refreshing departure from the previous administration.
“The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence and science is, and know that’s it — let the science speak, it is somewhat of a liberating feeling.”
President Biden moved swiftly on his first full day in the White House on Thursday to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, his top priority as he turns the page on four years of Donald Trump's tumultuous leadership.
The Biden administration is aiming at a coordinated federal coronavirus response to the 10-month pandemic, focused on boosting vaccines, increasing testing, reopening schools and addressing inequalities thrown up by the disease.
Trump, who frequently sought to play down the severity of the virus which has killed more than 405,000 Americans, left much of the pandemic planning to individual states, which has resulted in a patchwork of policies across the country.
- What has been your experience with this new team? And, in your view, what would have been different, in terms of the trajectory of this outbreak from the start, had a team like this been in place at the beginning?
ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, I can tell you my impression of what's going on right now, the team. I don't know if I can extrapolate other things. But one of the things that was very clear as recently as about 15 minutes ago when I was with the president is that one of the things that we're gonna do is to be completely transparent, open, and honest.
If things go wrong, not point fingers, but to correct them. And to make everything we do be based on science and evidence. I mean, that was literally a conversation I had 15 minutes ago with the president, and he has said that times.
- Is there anything that you, looking back on your comments over the last 10 or 12 months, would like to now, with that sort of license to amend or clarify?
ANTHONY FAUCI: No. I mean, I always said everything on the bas-- that's why I got in trouble sometimes. Well, you know one of the new things in this administration is if you don't know the answer, don't guess. Just say you don't know the answer. Yeah.
I mean, obviously I don't want to be going back, you know, over history. But it was very clear that there were things that were said, be it regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things like that, that really was uncomfortable because they were not based on scientific fact. I can tell you, I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of contradicting the president.
So it was really something that you didn't feel that you could actually say something and there wouldn't be any repercussions about it. The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence, what the science is, and know that's it, let the science speak, it is somewhat of a liberating feeling.
- I mean, you had basically vanished for a few months there for a while. You feel like you're back now?
ANTHONY FAUCI: I think so. [LAUGHING]