Why Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis didn’t surprise Dr. Fauci

Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a lot of mixed messages about the coronavirus. Whether they are about how the disease spreads, the best treatment options, or the most effective safety measures and precautions, many of these mixed messages have come from the president himself, as he has repeatedly bucked the experts and, by his own admission, downplayed the severity of the virus (per NPR). 

During a March 2020 interview with renowned journalist Bob Woodward, that was made public in September, President Donald Trump said, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” But playing it down didn’t protect the president, as the Trump caught coronavirus in October 2020 and was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for a couple of days before being released back to the White House. Trump is reportedly recovering just fine, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, isn’t surprised that the president’s good attitude didn’t protect him from COVID-19. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci was worried for President Donald Trump

On Oct. 19, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci told 60 Minutes that nothing about President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis was unexpected. He said he was “absolutely not” surprised that Trump caught the virus because, as Dr. Fauci said, he knows that Trump refused to wear masks when around other people, despite the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation. Dr. Fauci told 60 Minutes that he saw the White House Rose Garden event where countless guests gathered to witness Trump officially announce Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

“I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask,” Dr. Fauci revealed. “When I saw that on TV, I said, ‘Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come outta that, that’s gotta be a problem. And then, sure enough, it turned out to be a super-spreader event,” Dr. Fauci said. Dr. Fauci also noted that watching Trump grapple with mask-wearing also worries him. 

Dr. Fauci was 'ticked off' by Donald Trump's campaign

Dr. Anthony Fauci also told CBS’s 60 Minutes that he knows he switched his recommendations about mask-wearing over the course of the pandemic. At the beginning of the nationwide lockdown, Dr. Fauci was most worried that there would be a shortage of masks for healthcare workers. But when it became clear that people without any coronavirus symptoms were a large part of how it spread, he recommended people wear any mask they could get their hands on immediately. 

President Donald Trump has since used this switch to defend not wearing a mask. However, Dr. Fauci told 60 Minutes that he wishes the president would rock one more often. “He sometimes equates wearing a mask with weakness,” Dr. Fauci said of Trump. Although Dr. Fauci wasn’t surprised that the president got coronavirus, he was surprised to see that he himself was misquoted in a Trump campaign ad. “I got really ticked off,” he said. As the campaign comes to an end and the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on, all anyone can hope is that Trump and Dr. Fauci see eye to eye sometime soon. 

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