Appearing on CNN's "State of The Union" on Sunday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has become the most trusted member of the White House COVID-19 task force, was grilled by host Jake Tapper over Donald Trump's decision to delay shutting down the country as the coronavirus pandemic began to spread.
Fauci, who called some of the complaints about the administration "unfair," could only offer "It is what it is" to defend the administration.
After Tapper noted the lower number of COVUD-19 dead in South Korea which saw the pandemic flare up at the same time it started in the U.S., the host pressed the doctor on Trump's decisions.
"The New York Times reported yesterday that you and other top officials wanted to recommend social and physical distancing guidelines to President Trump as far back as the third week of February, but the administration didn't announce such guidelines to the American public until March 16th, almost a month later. Why?" Tapper asked.
"You know, Jake, as I've said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint. We make a recommendation, often the recommendation is taken. Sometimes it's not but it is what it is we are where we are right now," the doctor replied.
"Do you think lives could have been saved if social distancing, physical distancing, stay-at-home measures, had started the third week of February instead of mid-March?" Tapper pressed.
"You know, Jake, again, it's the 'what would have, what could have,'" Fauci explained. "It's very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated. But you're right, I mean, obviously, if we had right from the very beginning shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different but there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then."