Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci re-emerged from a lengthy absence from national media on Thursday, appearing on CNN’s coronavirus town hall to mark his first major television interview since May 4.
While Fauci has recently been on a “modified quarantine” due to possible exposure to White House staffers infected with COVID-19, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases chief has continued to participate in the White House coronavirus task force and testified before the Senate last week via remote.
Fauci, who has been targeted by pro-Trump figures after appearing to contradict some of the president’s comments on the virus, has been conspicuously absent from TV as the White House pushes for a robust reopening of the economy, as CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported earlier this week. Other public health experts on the task force, such as Dr. Deborah Birx, have also been noticeably absent.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper immediately greeted Dr. Fauci on Thursday night by asking why we haven’t heard more from the task force and medical experts in recent weeks.
“And if they aren’t going to have daily briefings about facts and science, can you or the NIH or can the CDC have their own daily briefings with top scientists? There are a lot of Americans out there who still want to hear from scientists every day,” Cooper added.
“That’s a good point,” Fauci reacted. “I think you’re probably going to be seeing a little bit more of me and my colleagues. There was a period of time, there was a little bit of a lull of our being out there with the press.”
“I believe that’s going to change. We’ve been talking with the communications people and they realize we need to get some of this information out, particularly some of the scientific issues for which I’m predominantly responsible for. So hopefully we’ll be seeing more of us,” he continued.
Fauci would go on to say that the task force has “changed a bit” and that he’s in a subgroup with other public health leaders “talking about some of the scientific issues.” He further noted that the task force as a whole is more focused on reopening the economy and the economic impact of the pandemic.
Besides appearing on the CNN town hall on Thursday, Fauci also sat down for an interview with Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts that was aired by ONE, a global NGO dedicated to ending extreme poverty and preventable disease.