A STAT Q&A with Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed that the top infectious diseases expert in the country no longer has the meetings with President Donald Trump that he once did. Nor is the Coronavirus Task Force meeting as often as they once were.
The United States surpassed 104,000 deaths from the virus, and it's expected that there will be an uptick in COVID-19 cases as states continue reopening. At the same time, unrest in cities has prompted police to use pepper spray and tear gas, which can cause coughing and sneezing from people who may be asymptomatic but have the virus.
Dr. Fauci explained that he understands the desire for states and cities to reopen and for Americans to get back to work and some sense of normalization.
"But it's a big country, and the dynamics of the outbreak are different from one part of the country to another. If people want to get out, they've really got to gauge it with the level of the outbreak in their particular area," he explained.
"When I see a situation where there is a region, a state, a city, a county where there's a considerable amount of viral activity there, and you see people crowding around bars — and there were several pictures of that, that was quite striking over the last couple of days — or on boardwalks, where they're very, very close to each other, I do get concerned," he went on.
When asked if he speaks to the president about the work being done to create the vaccine, Dr. Fauci answered simply, "no."
"We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75 percent of the time after the task force meeting, we'd meet with the president. So, I was meeting with him four times a week back, a month or so ago," he said. "But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately. And certainly, my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased."