News and Commentary

Fauci: March 2020: ‘It’s Possible’ Hundreds Of Thousands Could Die From COVID. Fauci Now: I Did Not Expect It To Be That High.
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On Sunday, appearing on ABC News’ “This Week” with guest host Martha Raddatz, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director at the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, stated that he had not expected the number of deaths from the coronavirus, which have reached 350,000 in the United States, to be so high.

Last March, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Brianna Keilar asked, “Are you thinking that hundreds of thousands of Americans could die from this?” Fauci answered, “Yes, it is possible.”

Raddatz prompted Fauci’s response on Sunday by querying, “I want to start by saying this. We report the numbers of deaths and cases every day. But I want to pause for a moment and ask you your reaction to 350,000 deaths we’ve now reached. Did you ever expect it to be that high?”

Fauci replied:

No, Martha, I did not. But, you know, that’s what happens when you’re in a situation where you have surges related to so many factors inconsistent adhering to the public health measures, the winter months coming in right now with the cold allowing people or essentially forcing people to do most of their things indoors as opposed to outdoors. And then the traveling associated with the holiday season is all of the ingredients that unfortunately make for a situation that is really terrible.

“I mean, to have 300,000 cases in a given day and between 2,000 and 3,000 deaths per day is just terrible,” he continued. “I mean, it is. I mean, there is no running away from the numbers, Martha. It’s something that we absolutely got to grasp and get our arms around and turn that — turn that inflection down by very intensive adherence to the public health measures uniformly throughout the country with no exceptions.

Last March, Keilar triggered Fauci’s answer by commenting, “So, one week ago, we were reporting 19 deaths, 490 infected. Today, the count is at least 60 deaths, almost 3,000 infected. And you say, as we heard, that the virus may continue to get worse for another two months. There have been estimates of hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. who could die or, in the worst-case scenario, millions. Can you tell the American people that that is possible?”

Fauci answered, “It’s possible because, when you do a model, you have a worst- case scenario, the best-case scenario, and the reality is, how you react to that will depend where you’re going to be on that curve.”

A little later, Keilar said, “I do think one of the important points of illustrating for people the number of people who could die is that it really makes it clear to them why it’s so important to do what they should be doing, so — to stem the tide of this. Are you thinking that hundreds of thousands of Americans could die from this?”

Fauci replied, “I say that, and it sometimes gets taken out of context, but we have to be realistic and honest. Yes, it is possible.”

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