Anthony FauciAnthony FauciPublix Offers Employees Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine 5 Store Gift Card Sunday Shows: COVID-19 Dominates As Grim Milestone Approaches Fauci: ‘Devastating’ 500,000 Coronavirus Death Milestone MORE, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said Monday that the political divide over mask use contributed to the US death toll from coronavirus.
Fauci made the remarks on the same day the death toll in the country reached half a million people a year after the pandemic began. In an interview with Reuters, Fauci called the bleak milestone “impressive” and said the division over the use of masks, which divided Americans politically during a presidential election year, turned the public health measure into a political statement.
“Even under the best of circumstances, this would have been a very serious problem,” Fauci said.
“However, that does not explain how a rich and sophisticated country can have the highest percentage of deaths and be the most affected country in the world,” Fauci said.
Fauci also called “incomprehensible” the disregard by some governors and mayors for recommendations on how to safely reopen the country after last spring’s near-national closures.
“When the American spirit is so divided, it really makes me sad,” he said.
While Fauci wouldn’t put all the blame on the former Trump administration, he noted that “the lack of engagement from the highest leaders to try to do everything that was science-based was clearly detrimental to the effort.”
While the United States has 4 percent of the world’s population, it accounts for nearly 20 percent of all coronavirus deaths, according to Reuters.
“This is the worst thing that has happened to this country regarding the health of the nation in more than 100 years,” Fauci said.
Fauci told Reuters that it was difficult to predict when the pandemic would end due to the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus in South Africa and Brazil. Some studies have indicated that these strains are more resistant to existing coronavirus vaccines.
Fauci has suggested that Americans could regain pre-pandemic life by Christmas, but warned that the restrictions could last until next year.