Fauci promised he would be out and about more. “We’ve been talking with the communications people, and they realize we need to get some of this information out, particularly some of the scientific issues for which I’m predominantly responsible for, so hopefully we’ll be seeing more of us, will get the opportunity to talk to you.” Once more, he was a source of common-sense advice: Go for a walk. Wear a mask. Socially distance. He’ll forgo a haircut for now.
On Friday, Fauci gave an interview for the Hill. He tempered the president’s unrealistic happy talk about producing a vaccine by the end of the year. He frowned on the “Operation Warp Speed” moniker coined by Trump. “I’m a little concerned by that name because it can imply by warp speed that you’re going so fast that you’re skipping over important steps and are not paying enough attention to safety, which is absolutely not the case,” he said. “But in this program of hastening the development of the vaccine, it’s something that we do feel actually is feasible to get the kinds of doses that you would need.” He remained optimistic but measured about our ability to find a vaccine.
Most important, he warned states to maintain precautions as they began to reopen. “It is prudent for states who are at various levels of infection to follow the guidelines that have come out about reopening or opening America again,” Fauci warned. “And that is to get past the gateway criteria and then go into the various phases at the rates that are prescribed by the guidelines. Obviously if some states don’t do that, there is always a risk that you may have a resurgence.”
Fauci remains one of the most trusted people in America precisely because he steers clear of divisive partisanship and delivers objective data. A Quinnipiac poll released this week shows his approval rating is 68 percent, 26 points higher than Trump’s. Even a majority of Republicans (51 percent) approve of the job Fauci is doing. It is easy to figure out why. As he puts it, he makes certain to “give the best public health advice and guidance based on data, based on science and based on evidence.”
Fauci has conveyed lifesaving information to millions of Americans, avoiding hype and hyperbole. Managing to stay in an administration that has consistently demonstrated its hostility to science without sacrificing candor is no easy feat. His ability to communicate scientific information effectively is reflected in the overwhelming number of Americans who are following his advice (e.g., wearing masks) and in their determination to avoid excessively risky behavior. Fauci has no doubt saved countless lives by encouraging Americans to follow social-distancing measures and by acting as a restraint on the president, who remains a menace to public health. Moreover, Fauci has restored our faith that facts do matter to the vast majority of Americans.
For all that we can say, stay healthy and well done, Dr. Fauci.