Dr Anthony Fauci has said he expects to have a better relationship with Joe Biden than he did with Donald Trump, saying he will likely be ‘dealing with him directly much more’.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he was currently spending much of his time trying to reassure people that the vaccination is safe, and encourage them to continue to take COVID-19 seriously.
He avoided mentioning the president by name, in an interview with The New York Daily News, but said he was working to counter ‘mixed messages’, and said he was dismayed by reputable scientists being attacked.
Trump has called Fauci ‘an idiot’ and said he has been ‘a disaster’.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, was vaccinated on Tuesday
On Tuesday afternoon he spoke to The New York Daily News and said he was feeling fine
Fauci was furious when the Trump campaign put excerpts from a Fauci interview into their advertising, suggesting that Fauci was endorsing the president.
‘I do not and nor will I ever publicly endorse any political candidate,’ Fauci said in response.
‘They’re sticking me right in the middle of a campaign ad, which I thought was outrageous.’
Fauci has tried very hard not to antagonize the president, who is reportedly furious at Fauci’s approval ratings. But he accepted that he would likely have a closer relationship with Biden than Trump, who has in recent months appeared disinterested in the pandemic.
‘I believe that my relationship with President-elect Biden will be on a much more frequent basis until we get this COVID-19 under control, in the sense of dealing with him directly much more,’ said Fauci.
‘He is very much interested in personally seeing that this gets under control and that’s very clear from the conversations I’ve had with him.’
Fauci has had a difficult relationship with Donald Trump, who called the doctor an ‘idiot’
Biden has asked Fauci to continue in his current role – a job which he has held since 1984.
Fauci, who turns 80 on Christmas Eve, was given the coronavirus vaccination on Tuesday, a day after Biden.
‘I’m fine,’ he said. ‘I really didn’t notice anything. Right now I feel like nothing happened.’
Fauci said a major part of his job was now working on the public health messages, and told the paper that he spent time on social media on a daily basis addressing skepticism about the safety of the vaccine, in particular among Latino and black communities.
He said many were questioning whether the vaccine was rushed, and approval was only granted under pressure by the government or pharmaceutical companies.
‘When you have mixed messages, or when you have a situation where scientists of some repute are questioned, then people get confused,’ he said.
‘So that’s the reason we’ve got to be very consistent as much as we possibly can.’
Fauci spoke out against the ‘mixed messages’ from the government which ‘confused’ people
Fauci said the speedy development of the vaccine was due to advances in medical technology, and said it was encouraging for future pandemics.
‘The fact that we’ve now shown that using this vaccine platform technology is extraordinary in doing something in amazingly record time, we can now apply this in the future to other new viruses that emerge,’ he said.
‘To be sure, we’re going to have the emergence of new viruses.
‘We’ve had them forever, before recorded history.
‘If this was a decade ago, it would have taken truly years to get a safe and effective vaccine.’
Fauci said he expects to have a closer working relationship with Biden than Trump
The Brooklyn-born doctor said that he was confident his hometown would recover from the pandemic, which has seen many businesses collapse and an estimated 250,000 people move away.
‘I have every confidence that New York City, the New York metropolitan area, will come through fine,’ he said.
‘We need to get (New Yorkers) vaccinated. Once you get the vaccine going, they will be fine.’
Nearly 25,000 people have died in the city, and another 388,000 were infected.
‘I was born and raised on the streets of New York,’ said Fauci. ‘I’m a New Yorker in my DNA.
‘I think New York did quite well after you got hit really badly. You got a sucker punch. You recovered, and then you did actually quite well in keeping the level of infection down.’
He stressed the vaccine’s development did not signal an instant end to the need for the social distancing, masks and hand-washing that remain crucial to stopping the viral spread.
‘I think you just need to keep practicing the public health measures that we all talk about and we’ll be fine,’ he said.
‘I do believe we will.’
Fauci, asked if he would continue to wear a mask, replied: ‘Oh, you bet. Yeah.’