Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Fauci: Lack of candor and facts 'very likely' cost lives under Trump

After admitting to feeling "uncomfortable" about unscientific statements made under former President Donald Trump, Dr. Anthony Fauci says a lack of candor and facts during the previous administration "likely" cost lives in the pandemic.

Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and chief medical adviser to President Biden, spoke with CNN on Friday after pledging in a White House briefing that the new administration will make all of its decisions on the pandemic "based on science and evidence." He implied this is a change from Trump's administration, and when CNN host John Berman asked if a previous "lack of candor" and "lack of facts" in 2020 cost lives, Fauci said he believes so.

"It very likely did," Fauci said. "I don't want that, John, to be a sound bite, but I think if you just look at that, you can see that when you're starting to go down paths that are not based on any science at all, and we've been there before — I don't want to rehash it — that is not helpful at all."

At Thursday's White House briefing, Fauci said it's a "liberating feeling" to be able to now "let the science speak" without "repercussions" under the new president. He also said he felt "uncomfortable" by certain baseless assertions that were made about COVID-19 during the previous administration. In addition to sometimes contradicting Trump himself, Fauci was known to clash with controversial former COVID-19 adviser Scott Atlas.

"It was very clear that there were things that were said, be it regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things like that, that really was uncomfortable because they were not based on scientific fact," Fauci said at the briefing. Brendan Morrow