The United States, despite its wealth, did “worse than most” other countries with its response to the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday after the nation’s COVID-19 death toll passed a half-million people.
However, Fauci, who is now President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, told ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” that the country must now look forward to making a unified effort to combat the deadly disease, rather than continuing to look back.
“I believe that if you look back historically, we’ve done worse than most any other country, and we’re a highly developed, rich country,” said Fauci.
Part of the problem, he said, was in having different responses by the states rather than a unified approach, but at the same time, “it’s so tough to go back and try to do a metaphoric autopsy on how things went. It was just bad. It is bad now.”
The numbers of deaths from the pandemic are also stunning, said Fauci, particularly remembering what had been said at this time last year.
“Remember back in the late winter and early spring of 2020 when we were saying we could get as high as 240,000 and people were thinking, we were being hyperbolic about it and here we are at 500,000 deaths,” said Fauci.
Moving forward, the country must all “pitch in” and keep up the fight against the “common enemy.”
“We’re in some good shape now with the vaccines, but it’s going to be a race against the infections that keep coming and our ability to do two things and do it well,” said Fauci, encouraging Americans to continue doing the public health measures such as wearing masks and avoiding congregated settings.
Fauci also responded to an opinion piece from Johns Hopkins Dr. Marty Makary, who wrote for The Wall Street Journal that his research points to the United States achieving herd immunity against COVID by April.
“The numbers are coming down,” said Fauci. “We have got to be really careful and not just say, we’re finished now, we’re through it … we’ve got to keep pushing and pushing because this thing can bounce back with the variants.”